register interest

Dr Louise Thwaites

Research Area: Global Health
Scientific Themes: Tropical Medicine & Global Health and Immunology & Infectious Disease

Antimicrobial resistance is a major concern throughout the world. Since the introduction of penicillin, antibiotics have been used so widely that bacteria have adapted and are becoming more and more resistant to them.  OUCRU’s research focuses on the following areas:

  • Emergence of antimicrobial resistance, looking at how and why antibiotic resistance is developing.
  • Preventing resistance to antimicrobials: working out how best to prevent resistance developing.
  • Alternative treatment options: to find the best treatment options for antimicrobial resistant infections.
  • The role of agriculture: to identify of the main drivers of antimicrobial use and resistance in animal production.

There are no collaborations listed for this principal investigator.

Yen LM, Thwaites CL. 2019. Tetanus (vol 393, pg 1657, 2019) LANCET, 393 (10182), pp. 1698-1698.

Van HMT, Anh NT, Hong NTT, Nhu LNT, Nguyet LA, Thanh TT, Ny NTH, Hang VTT, Khanh TH, Viet HL et al. 2019. Enterovirus A71 Phenotypes Causing Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, Vietnam. Emerg Infect Dis, 25 (4), pp. 788-791. | Show Abstract | Read more

We investigated enterovirus A71-associated hand, foot and mouth disease in Vietnam and found that, after replacing subgenogroup C4 in 2013, B5 remained the leading cause of this disease. In contrast with previous observations, this switch did not result in an explosive outbreak, and B5 evolution was driven by negative selection.

Loan HT, Yen LM, Kestelyn E, Hao NV, Thanh TT, Dung NTP, Turner HC, Geskus RB, Wolbers M, Tan LV et al. 2018. Intrathecal Immunoglobulin for treatment of adult patients with tetanus: A randomized controlled 2x2 factorial trial. Wellcome open research, 3 pp. 58. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite long-standing availability of an effective vaccine, tetanus remains a significant problem in many countries. Outcome depends on access to mechanical ventilation and intensive care facilities and in settings where these are limited, mortality remains high. Administration of tetanus antitoxin by the intramuscular route is recommended treatment for tetanus, but as the tetanus toxin acts within the central nervous system, it has been suggested that intrathecal administration of antitoxin may be beneficial. Previous studies have indicated benefit, but with the exception of one small trial no blinded studies have been performed. The objective of this study is to establish whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin reduces the need for mechanical ventilation in patients with tetanus. Secondary objectives: to determine whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin reduces autonomic nervous system dysfunction and length of hospital/ intensive care unit stay; whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin in the treatment of tetanus is safe and cost-effective; to provide data to inform recommendation of human rather than equine antitoxin. This study will enroll adult patients (≥16 years old) with tetanus admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City. The study is a 2x2 factorial blinded randomized controlled trial. Eligible patients will be randomized in a 1:1:1:1 manner to the four treatment arms (intrathecal treatment and human intramuscular treatment, intrathecal treatment and equine intramuscular treatment, sham procedure and human intramuscular treatment, sham procedure and equine intramuscular treatment). Primary outcome measure will be requirement for mechanical ventilation. Secondary outcome measures: duration of hospital/ intensive care unit stay, duration of mechanical ventilation, in-hospital and 240-day mortality and disability, new antibiotic prescription, incidence of ventilator associated pneumonia and autonomic nervous system dysfunction, total dose of benzodiazepines and pipecuronium, and incidence of adverse events. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02999815 Registration date: 21 December 2016.

Hoa NT, Thuong NTT, Clapham HE, Thu TTA, Kestelyn E, Thwaites CL. 2019. Increasing women's leadership in science in Ho Chi Minh City. Lancet, 393 (10171), pp. 523-524. | Read more

Nhan LNT, Hong NTT, Nhu LNT, Nguyet LA, Ny NTH, Thanh TT, Han DDK, Van HMT, Thwaites CL, Hien TT et al. 2018. Severe enterovirus A71 associated hand, foot and mouth disease, Vietnam, 2018: preliminary report of an impending outbreak. Euro Surveill, 23 (46), pp. 10-14. | Show Abstract | Read more

Since January 2018, over 53,000 hospitalisations and six deaths due to hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) have occurred across Vietnam with most cases from September onward. In a large tertiary referral hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, enterovirus A71 subgenogroup C4 was predominant, while B5 was only sporadically detected. The re-emergence of C4 after causing a severe HFMD outbreak with > 200 deaths in 2011-12 among susceptible young children raises concern of another impending severe outbreak.

Hoang MTV, Nguyen TA, Tran TT, Vu TTH, Le NTN, Nguyen THN, Le THN, Nguyen TTH, Nguyen TH, Le NTN et al. 2019. Clinical and aetiological study of hand, foot and mouth disease in southern Vietnam, 2013-2015: Inpatients and outpatients. Int J Infect Dis, 80 pp. 1-9. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) has been associated with large outbreaks among young children in the Asia-Pacific Region since 1997, including cases of severe illness and death. Severe illness is often associated with enterovirus A71 (EV-A71). Vietnam experienced a large sustained outbreak of 200000 hospitalized cases and over 200 deaths in 2011-12, the large majority occurring in southern Vietnam. METHODS: A prospective observational study was conducted in the outpatient clinics, infectious diseases wards, and paediatric intensive care units of the three main referral centres for the treatment of HFMD in southern Vietnam. Demographic data, basic laboratory parameters, and clinical data were recorded, and molecular diagnostic tests were performed. RESULTS: Between July 2013 and July 2015, a total of 1547 children were enrolled. Four serotypes of enterovirus A (EV-A71, Coxsackievirus (CV) A6, A10, and A16) were responsible for 1005 of 1327 diagnosed cases (75.7%). An unexpected dominance of EV-A71 was found among both inpatients and outpatients, as well as a strong association with severe illness. CV-A6 and CV-A10 emerged in Vietnam during the study period and replaced CV-A16. CV-A10 was associated with different clinical and laboratory characteristics. During admission, 119 children developed a more severe illness. It was found that children with a skin rash showed less progression of severity, but when a rash was present, a macular rash was significantly associated with an increased risk of progression. CONCLUSIONS: This study represents the most comprehensive descriptive HFMD study from Vietnam to date. Co-circulation and replacement of different serotypes has implications for vaccine development and implementation. These findings from a severely affected country add to our understanding of the presentation, progression, and aetiology of HFMD.

Dat VQ, Huong VTL, Turner HC, Thwaites L, van Doorn HR, Nadjm B. 2018. Correction: Excess direct hospital cost of treating adult patients with ventilator associated respiratory infection (VARI) in Vietnam. PLoS One, 13 (11), pp. e0208361. | Show Abstract | Read more

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206760.].

Loan HT, Yen LM, Kestelyn: E, Hao NV, Thanh TT, Dung NTP, Turner H, Geskus R, Wolbers M, Tan LV et al. 2018. Intrathecal Immunoglobulin for treatment of adult patients with tetanus: A randomized controlled 2x2 factorial trial Wellcome Open Research, 3 pp. 58-58. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite long-standing availability of an effective vaccine, tetanus remains a significant problem in many countries. Outcome depends on access to mechanical ventilation and intensive care facilities and in settings where these are limited, mortality remains high. Administration of tetanus antitoxin by the intramuscular route is recommended treatment for tetanus, but as the tetanus toxin acts within the central nervous system, it has been suggested that intrathecal administration of antitoxin may be beneficial. Previous studies have indicated benefit, but with the exception of one small trial no blinded studies have been performed. The objective of this study is to establish whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin reduces the need for mechanical ventilation in patients with tetanus. Secondary objectives: to determine whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin reduces autonomic nervous system dysfunction and length of hospital/ intensive care unit stay; whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin in the treatment of tetanus is safe and cost-effective; to provide data to inform recommendation of human rather than equine antitoxin. This study will enroll adult patients (≥16 years old) with tetanus admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City. The study is a 2x2 factorial blinded randomized controlled trial. Eligible patients will be randomized in a 1:1:1:1 manner to the four treatment arms (intrathecal treatment and human intramuscular treatment, intrathecal treatment and equine intramuscular treatment, sham procedure and human intramuscular treatment, sham procedure and equine intramuscular treatment). Primary outcome measure will be requirement for mechanical ventilation. Secondary outcome measures: duration of hospital/ intensive care unit stay, duration of mechanical ventilation, in-hospital and 240-day mortality and disability, new antibiotic prescription, incidence of ventilator associated pneumonia and autonomic nervous system dysfunction, total dose of benzodiazepines and pipecuronium, and incidence of adverse events. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02999815 Registration date: 21 December 2016

Dat VQ, Huong VTL, Turner HC, Thwaites L, van Doorn HR, Nadjm B. 2018. Excess direct hospital cost of treating adult patients with ventilator associated respiratory infection (VARI) in Vietnam. PLoS One, 13 (10), pp. e0206760. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Ventilator associated respiratory infections (VARIs) are the most common hospital acquired infections in critical care worldwide. This work aims to estimate the total annual direct hospital cost of treating VARI throughout Vietnam. METHODS: A costing model was constructed to evaluate the excess cost of diagnostics and treatment of VARI in Vietnam. Model inputs included costs for extra lengths of stay, diagnostics, VARI incidence, utilisation of ventilators and antibiotic therapy. RESULTS: With the current VARI incidence rate of 21.7 episodes per 1000 ventilation-days, we estimated 34,428 VARI episodes in the 577 critical care units in Vietnam per year. The extra cost per VARI episode was $1,174.90 and the total annual excess cost was US$40.4 million. A 1% absolute reduction in VARI incidence density would save US$1.86 million annually. For each episode of VARI, the share of excess cost components was 45.1% for critical care unit stay and ventilation, 3.7% for diagnostics and 51.1% for extra antimicrobial treatment. CONCLUSIONS: At the current annual government health expenditure of US$117 per capita, VARI represents a substantial cost to the health service in Vietnam. Enhanced infection prevention and control and antimicrobial stewardship programmes should be implemented to reduce this.

Thuy DB, Campbell J, Nhat LTH, Hoang NVM, Hao NV, Baker S, Geskus RB, Thwaites GE, Chau NVV, Thwaites CL. 2018. Hospital-acquired colonization and infections in a Vietnamese intensive care unit. PLoS One, 13 (9), pp. e0203600. | Show Abstract | Read more

Data concerning intensive care unit (ICU)-acquired bacterial colonization and infections are scarce from low and middle-income countries (LMICs). ICU patients in these settings are at high risk of becoming colonized and infected with antimicrobial-resistant organisms (AROs). We conducted a prospective observational study at the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Vietnam from November 2014 to January 2016 to assess the ICU-acquired colonization and infections, focusing on the five major pathogens in our setting: Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), Escherichia coli (E. coli), Klebsiella spp., Pseudomonas spp. and Acinetobacter spp., among adult patients with more than 48 hours of ICU stay. We found that 61.3% (223/364) of ICU patients became colonized with AROs: 44.2% (161/364) with rectal ESBL-producing E. coli and Klebsiella spp.; 30.8% (40/130) with endotracheal carbapenemase-producing Acinetobacter spp.; and 14.3% (52/364) with nasal methicillin-resistant S. aureus. The incidence rate of ICU patients becoming colonized with AROs was 9.8 (223/2,276) per 100 patient days. Significant risk factor for AROs colonization was the Charlson Comorbidity Index score. The proportion of ICU patients with HAIs was 23.4% (85/364), and the incidence rate of ICU patients contracting HAIs was 2.3 (85/3,701) per 100 patient days. The vascular catheterization (central venous, arterial and hemofiltration catheter) was significantly associated with hospital-acquired bloodstream infection. Of the 77 patients who developed ICU-acquired infections with one of the five specified bacteria, 44 (57.1%) had prior colonization with the same organism. Vietnamese ICU patients have a high colonization rate with AROs and a high risk of subsequent infections. Future research should focus on monitoring colonization and the development of preventive measures that may halt spread of AROs in ICU settings.

Loan HT, Yen LM, Kestelyn E, Hao NV, Mai NTH, Thuy DB, Duong HTH, Dung NTP, Phu NH, Lieu PT et al. 2018. A Pilot Study to Assess Safety and Feasibility of Intrathecal Immunoglobulin for the Treatment of Adults with Tetanus. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 99 (2), pp. 323-326. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tetanus remains a significant burden in many low- and middle-income countries. The tetanus toxin acts within the central nervous system and intrathecal antitoxin administration may be beneficial, but there are safety concerns, especially in resource-limited settings. We performed a pilot study to assess the safety and feasibility of intrathecal human tetanus immunoglobulin in five adults with tetanus before the conduct of a large randomized controlled trial. Intrathecal injection via lumbar puncture was given to all patients within a median 140 (range 100-165) minutes of intensive care unit (ICU) admission. There were no serious adverse effects associated with the procedure although three patients had probably related minor adverse events which resolved spontaneously. Median ICU length of stay was 14 (range 5-17) days. Two patients required mechanical ventilation and one developed a deep vein thrombosis. Within 240 days of hospital discharge, no patients died and all patients returned to work.

Rudd KE, Seymour CW, Aluisio AR, Augustin ME, Bagenda DS, Beane A, Byiringiro JC, Chang C-CH, Colas LN, Day NPJ et al. 2018. Association of the Quick Sequential (Sepsis-Related) Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) Score With Excess Hospital Mortality in Adults With Suspected Infection in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. JAMA, 319 (21), pp. 2202-2211. | Show Abstract | Read more

Importance: The quick Sequential (Sepsis-Related) Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) score has not been well-evaluated in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Objective: To assess the association of qSOFA with excess hospital death among patients with suspected infection in LMICs and to compare qSOFA with the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria. Design, Settings, and Participants: Retrospective secondary analysis of 8 cohort studies and 1 randomized clinical trial from 2003 to 2017. This study included 6569 hospitalized adults with suspected infection in emergency departments, inpatient wards, and intensive care units of 17 hospitals in 10 LMICs across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Exposures: Low (0), moderate (1), or high (≥2) qSOFA score (range, 0 [best] to 3 [worst]) or SIRS criteria (range, 0 [best] to 4 [worst]) within 24 hours of presentation to study hospital. Main Outcomes and Measures: Predictive validity (measured as incremental hospital mortality beyond that predicted by baseline risk factors, as a marker of sepsis or analogous severe infectious course) of the qSOFA score (primary) and SIRS criteria (secondary). Results: The cohorts were diverse in enrollment criteria, demographics (median ages, 29-54 years; males range, 36%-76%), HIV prevalence (range, 2%-43%), cause of infection, and hospital mortality (range, 1%-39%). Among 6218 patients with nonmissing outcome status in the combined cohort, 643 (10%) died. Compared with a low or moderate score, a high qSOFA score was associated with increased risk of death overall (19% vs 6%; difference, 13% [95% CI, 11%-14%]; odds ratio, 3.6 [95% CI, 3.0-4.2]) and across cohorts (P < .05 for 8 of 9 cohorts). Compared with a low qSOFA score, a moderate qSOFA score was also associated with increased risk of death overall (8% vs 3%; difference, 5% [95% CI, 4%-6%]; odds ratio, 2.8 [95% CI, 2.0-3.9]), but not in every cohort (P < .05 in 2 of 7 cohorts). High, vs low or moderate, SIRS criteria were associated with a smaller increase in risk of death overall (13% vs 8%; difference, 5% [95% CI, 3%-6%]; odds ratio, 1.7 [95% CI, 1.4-2.0]) and across cohorts (P < .05 for 4 of 9 cohorts). qSOFA discrimination (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUROC], 0.70 [95% CI, 0.68-0.72]) was superior to that of both the baseline model (AUROC, 0.56 [95% CI, 0.53-0.58; P < .001) and SIRS (AUROC, 0.59 [95% CI, 0.57-0.62]; P < .001). Conclusions and Relevance: When assessed among hospitalized adults with suspected infection in 9 LMIC cohorts, the qSOFA score identified infected patients at risk of death beyond that explained by baseline factors. However, the predictive validity varied among cohorts and settings, and further research is needed to better understand potential generalizability.

Loan HT, Yen LM, Kestelyn E, Hao NV, Thanh TT, Dung NTP, Turner HC, Geskus RB, Wolbers M, Tan LV et al. 2018. Intrathecal Immunoglobulin for treatment of adult patients with tetanus: A randomized controlled 2x2 factorial trial. Wellcome Open Res, 3 pp. 58. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite long-standing availability of an effective vaccine, tetanus remains a significant problem in many countries. Outcome depends on access to mechanical ventilation and intensive care facilities and in settings where these are limited, mortality remains high. Administration of tetanus antitoxin by the intramuscular route is recommended treatment for tetanus, but as the tetanus toxin acts within the central nervous system, it has been suggested that intrathecal administration of antitoxin may be beneficial. Previous studies have indicated benefit, but with the exception of one small trial no blinded studies have been performed. The objective of this study is to establish whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin reduces the need for mechanical ventilation in patients with tetanus. Secondary objectives: to determine whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin reduces autonomic nervous system dysfunction and length of hospital/ intensive care unit stay; whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin in the treatment of tetanus is safe and cost-effective; to provide data to inform recommendation of human rather than equine antitoxin. This study will enroll adult patients (≥16 years old) with tetanus admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City. The study is a 2x2 factorial blinded randomized controlled trial. Eligible patients will be randomized in a 1:1:1:1 manner to the four treatment arms (intrathecal treatment and human intramuscular treatment, intrathecal treatment and equine intramuscular treatment, sham procedure and human intramuscular treatment, sham procedure and equine intramuscular treatment). Primary outcome measure will be requirement for mechanical ventilation. Secondary outcome measures: duration of hospital/ intensive care unit stay, duration of mechanical ventilation, in-hospital and 240-day mortality and disability, new antibiotic prescription, incidence of ventilator associated pneumonia and autonomic nervous system dysfunction, total dose of benzodiazepines and pipecuronium, and incidence of adverse events. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02999815 Registration date: 21 December 2016.

Pisani L, Algera AG, Serpa Neto A, Ahsan A, Beane A, Chittawatanarat K, Faiz A, Haniffa R, Hashemian R, Hashmi M et al. 2018. PRactice of VENTilation in Middle-Income Countries (PRoVENT-iMIC): rationale and protocol for a prospective international multicentre observational study in intensive care units in Asia. BMJ Open, 8 (4), pp. e020841. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Current evidence on epidemiology and outcomes of invasively mechanically ventilated intensive care unit (ICU) patients is predominantly gathered in resource-rich settings. Patient casemix and patterns of critical illnesses, and probably also ventilation practices are likely to be different in resource-limited settings. We aim to investigate the epidemiological characteristics, ventilation practices and clinical outcomes of patients receiving mechanical ventilation in ICUs in Asia. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: PRoVENT-iMIC (study of PRactice of VENTilation in Middle-Income Countries) is an international multicentre observational study to be undertaken in approximately 60 ICUs in 11 Asian countries. Consecutive patients aged 18 years or older who are receiving invasive ventilation in participating ICUs during a predefined 28-day period are to be enrolled, with a daily follow-up of 7 days. The primary outcome is ventilatory management (including tidal volume expressed as mL/kg predicted body weight and positive end-expiratory pressure expressed as cm H2O) during the first 3 days of mechanical ventilation-compared between patients at no risk for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), patients at risk for ARDS and in patients with ARDS (in case the diagnosis of ARDS can be made on admission). Secondary outcomes include occurrence of pulmonary complications and all-cause ICU mortality. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: PRoVENT-iMIC will be the first international study that prospectively assesses ventilation practices, outcomes and epidemiology of invasively ventilated patients in ICUs in Asia. The results of this large study, to be disseminated through conference presentations and publications in international peer-reviewed journals, are of ultimate importance when designing trials of invasive ventilation in resource-limited ICUs. Access to source data will be made available through national or international anonymised datasets on request and after agreement of the PRoVENT-iMIC steering committee. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT03188770; Pre-results.

Dat VQ, Geskus RB, Wolbers M, Loan HT, Yen LM, Binh NT, Chien LT, Mai NTH, Phu NH, Lan NPH et al. 2018. Continuous versus intermittent endotracheal cuff pressure control for the prevention of ventilator-associated respiratory infections in Vietnam: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 19 (1), pp. 217. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Ventilator-associated respiratory infection (VARI) comprises ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) and ventilator-associated tracheobronchitis (VAT). Although their diagnostic criteria vary, together these are the most common hospital-acquired infections in intensive care units (ICUs) worldwide, responsible for a large proportion of antibiotic use within ICUs. Evidence-based strategies for the prevention of VARI in resource-limited settings are lacking. Preventing the leakage of oropharyngeal secretions into the lung using continuous endotracheal cuff pressure control is a promising strategy. The aim of this study is to investigate the efficacy of automated, continuous endotracheal cuff pressure control in preventing the development of VARI and reducing antibiotic use in ICUs in Vietnam. METHODS/DESIGN: This is an open-label randomised controlled multicentre trial. We will enrol 600 adult patients intubated for ≤ 24 h at the time of enrolment. Eligible patients will be stratified according to admission diagnosis (180 tetanus, 420 non-tetanus) and site and will be randomised in a 1:1 ratio to receive either (1) automated, continuous control of endotracheal cuff pressure or (2) intermittent measurement and control of endotracheal cuff pressure using a manual cuff pressure meter. The primary outcome is the occurrence of VARI, defined as either VAP or VAT during the ICU admission up to a maximum of 90 days after randomisation. Patients in both groups who are at risk for VARI will receive a standardised battery of investigations if their treating physician feels a new infection has occurred, the results of which will be used by an endpoint review committee, blinded to the allocated arm and independent of patient care, to determine the primary outcome. All enrolled patients will be followed for mortality and endotracheal tube cuff-related complications at 28 days and 90 days after randomisation. Other secondary outcomes include antibiotic use; days ventilated, in ICU and in hospital; inpatient mortality; costs of antibiotics in ICU; duration of ICU stay; and duration of hospital stay. DISCUSSION: This study will provide high-quality evidence concerning the use of continuous endotracheal cuff pressure control as a method to reduce VARI, antibiotic use and hospitalisation costs and to shorten stay. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02966392 . Registered on November 9, 2016. Protocol version: 2.0; issue date March 3, 2017.

Anh NT, Nhu LNT, Van HMT, Hong NTT, Thanh TT, Hang VTT, Ny NTH, Nguyet LA, Phuong TTL, Nhan LNT et al. 2018. Emerging Coxsackievirus A6 Causing Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, Vietnam. Emerg Infect Dis, 24 (4), pp. 654-662. | Show Abstract | Read more

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a major public health issue in Asia and has global pandemic potential. Coxsackievirus A6 (CV-A6) was detected in 514/2,230 (23%) of HFMD patients admitted to 3 major hospitals in southern Vietnam during 2011-2015. Of these patients, 93 (18%) had severe HFMD. Phylogenetic analysis of 98 genome sequences revealed they belonged to cluster A and had been circulating in Vietnam for 2 years before emergence. CV-A6 movement among localities within Vietnam occurred frequently, whereas viral movement across international borders appeared rare. Skyline plots identified fluctuations in the relative genetic diversity of CV-A6 corresponding to large CV-A6-associated HFMD outbreaks worldwide. These data show that CV-A6 is an emerging pathogen and emphasize the necessity of active surveillance and understanding the mechanisms that shape the pathogen evolution and emergence, which is essential for development and implementation of intervention strategies.

Thwaites CL. 2017. Botulism and tetanus Medicine, 45 (12), pp. 739-742. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2017 Botulism and tetanus are diseases caused by neurotoxins produced by Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium tetani, respectively. The bacteria and the toxins they produce are closely related. Both diseases are rare in the UK and the developed world, but tetanus, in particular, is a major cause of death in the developing world, causing between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths each year. In botulism a descending flaccid paralysis occurs, whereas in tetanus generalized muscle spasms develop. Autonomic nervous system dysfunction can occur in either disease, and in tetanus cardiovascular parameters can fluctuate widely. Early involvement of respiratory muscles means that rapid recognition and prompt institution of supportive measures are important in improving survival.

Phu VD, Nadjm B, Duy NHA, Co DX, Mai NTH, Trinh DT, Campbell J, Khiem DP, Quang TN, Loan HT et al. 2017. Ventilator-associated respiratory infection in a resource-restricted setting: impact and etiology. J Intensive Care, 5 (1), pp. 69. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Ventilator-associated respiratory infection (VARI) is a significant problem in resource-restricted intensive care units (ICUs), but differences in casemix and etiology means VARI in resource-restricted ICUs may be different from that found in resource-rich units. Data from these settings are vital to plan preventative interventions and assess their cost-effectiveness, but few are available. Methods: We conducted a prospective observational study in four Vietnamese ICUs to assess the incidence and impact of VARI. Patients ≥ 16 years old and expected to be mechanically ventilated > 48 h were enrolled in the study and followed daily for 28 days following ICU admission. Results: Four hundred fifty eligible patients were enrolled over 24 months, and after exclusions, 374 patients' data were analyzed. A total of 92/374 cases of VARI (21.7/1000 ventilator days) were diagnosed; 37 (9.9%) of these met ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) criteria (8.7/1000 ventilator days). Patients with any VARI, VAP, or VARI without VAP experienced increased hospital and ICU stay, ICU cost, and antibiotic use (p < 0.01 for all). This was also true for all VARI (p < 0.01 for all) with/without tetanus. There was no increased risk of in-hospital death in patients with VARI compared to those without (VAP HR 1.58, 95% CI 0.75-3.33, p = 0.23; VARI without VAP HR 0.40, 95% CI 0.14-1.17, p = 0.09). In patients with positive endotracheal aspirate cultures, most VARI was caused by Gram-negative organisms; the most frequent were Acinetobacter baumannii (32/73, 43.8%) Klebsiella pneumoniae (26/73, 35.6%), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (24/73, 32.9%). 40/68 (58.8%) patients with positive cultures for these had carbapenem-resistant isolates. Patients with carbapenem-resistant VARI had significantly greater ICU costs than patients with carbapenem-susceptible isolates (6053 USD (IQR 3806-7824) vs 3131 USD (IQR 2108-7551), p = 0.04) and after correction for adequacy of initial antibiotics and APACHE II score, showed a trend towards increased risk of in-hospital death (HR 2.82, 95% CI 0.75-6.75, p = 0.15). Conclusions: VARI in a resource-restricted setting has limited impact on mortality, but shows significant association with increased patient costs, length of stay, and antibiotic use, particularly when caused by carbapenem-resistant bacteria. Evidence-based interventions to reduce VARI in these settings are urgently needed.

Trieu HT, Anh NTK, Vuong HNT, Dao TTM, Hoa NTX, Tuong VNC, Dinh PT, Wills B, Qui PT, Van Tan L et al. 2017. Long-term outcome in survivors of neonatal tetanus following specialist intensive care in Vietnam. BMC Infect Dis, 17 (1), pp. 646. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Neonatal tetanus continues to occur in many resource-limited settings but there are few data regarding long-term neurological outcome from the disease, especially in settings with critical care facilities. METHODS: We assessed long-term outcome following neonatal tetanus in infants treated in a pediatric intensive care unit in southern Vietnam. Neurological and neurodevelopmental testing was performed in 17 survivors of neonatal tetanus and 18 control children from the same communities using tools previously validated in Vietnamese children. RESULTS: The median age of children assessed was 36 months. Eight neonatal tetanus survivors and 9 community control cases aged < 42 months were tested using the Bayley III Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (Bayley III-VN) and 8 neonatal tetanus survivors and 9 community controls aged ≥42 months were tested using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children. No significant reductions in growth indices or neurodevelopmental scores were shown in survivors of neonatal tetanus compared to controls although there was a trend towards lower scores in neonatal tetanus survivors. Neurological examination was normal in all children except for two neonatal tetanus survivors with perceptive deafness and one child with mild gross motor abnormality. Neonatal tetanus survivors who had expienced severe disease (Ablett grade ≥ 3) had lower total Bayley III-VN scores than those with mild disease (15 (IQR 14-18) vs 24 (IQR 19-27), p = 0.05) with a significantly lower cognitive domain score (3 (IQR 2-6) severe disease vs 7 (IQR 7-8) mild disease, p = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Neonatal tetanus is associated with long-term sequelae in those with severe disease. In view of these findings, prevention of neonatal tetanus should remain a priority.

Thuy DB, Campbell J, Hoang NVM, Trinh TTT, Duong HTH, Hieu NC, Duy NHA, Hao NV, Baker S, Thwaites GE et al. 2017. A one-year prospective study of colonization with antimicrobial-resistant organisms on admission to a Vietnamese intensive care unit. PLoS One, 12 (9), pp. e0184847. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is a paucity of data regarding initial bacterial colonization on admission to Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Patients admitted to ICUs in LMICs are at high-risk of subsequent infection with antimicrobial-resistant organisms (AROs). We conducted a prospective, observational study at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from November 2014 to January 2016 to assess the colonization and antimicrobial susceptibility of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella spp., Pseudomonas spp. and Acinetobacter spp. among adult patients within 48 hours of ICU admission. We found the admission colonization prevalence (with at least one of the identified organisms) was 93.7% (785/838) and that of AROs was 63.1% (529/838). The colonization frequency with AROs among patients admitted from the community was comparable to those transferred from other hospitals (62.2% vs 63.8%). Staphylococcus aureus was the most commonly isolated bacteria from nasal swabs (13.1%, 110/838) and the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization prevalence was 8.6% (72/838). We isolated Escherichia coli from rectal swabs from almost all enrolled patients (88.3%, 740/838) and 52.1% (437/838) of patients were colonized by extended spectrum β-lactamase producing Escherichia coli. Notably, Klebsiella pneumoniae was the most frequently isolated bacteria from the tracheal swabs (11.8%, 18/153). Vietnamese ICU patients have a high rate of colonization with AROs and are thus at risk of subsequent infections with these organisms if good infection control practices are not in place.

Schultz MJ, Dunser MW, Dondorp AM, Adhikari NKJ, Iyer S, Kwizera A, Lubell Y, Papali A, Pisani L, Riviello BD et al. 2017. Current challenges in the management of sepsis in ICUs in resource-poor settings and suggestions for the future. Intensive Care Med, 43 (5), pp. 612-624. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Sepsis is a major reason for intensive care unit (ICU) admission, also in resource-poor settings. ICUs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) face many challenges that could affect patient outcome. AIM: To describe differences between resource-poor and resource-rich settings regarding the epidemiology, pathophysiology, economics and research aspects of sepsis. We restricted this manuscript to the ICU setting even knowing that many sepsis patients in LMICs are treated outside an ICU. FINDINGS: Although many bacterial pathogens causing sepsis in LMICs are similar to those in high-income countries, resistance patterns to antimicrobial drugs can be very different; in addition, causes of sepsis in LMICs often include tropical diseases in which direct damaging effects of pathogens and their products can sometimes be more important than the response of the host. There are substantial and persisting differences in ICU capacities around the world; not surprisingly the lowest capacities are found in LMICs, but with important heterogeneity within individual LMICs. Although many aspects of sepsis management developed in rich countries are applicable in LMICs, implementation requires strong consideration of cost implications and the important differences in resources. CONCLUSIONS: Addressing both disease-specific and setting-specific factors is important to improve performance of ICUs in LMICs. Although critical care for severe sepsis is likely cost-effective in LMIC setting, more detailed evaluation at both at a macro- and micro-economy level is necessary. Sepsis management in resource-limited settings is a largely unexplored frontier with important opportunities for research, training, and other initiatives for improvement.

Thuy DB, Campbell JI, Thanh TT, Thuy CT, Loan HT, Hao NV, Minh YL, Tan LV, Boni MF, Thwaites CL. 2017. Tetanus in Southern Vietnam: Current Situation. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 96 (1), pp. 93-96. | Show Abstract | Read more

In Vietnam, there are no accurate data on tetanus incidence to allow assessment of disease burden or vaccination program efficacy. We analyzed age structure of 786 tetanus cases admitted to a tertiary referral center in Vietnam for three separate years during an 18-year period to examine the impact of tetanus prevention programs, namely the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) and the Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) initiative. Most cases were born before the initiation of EPI. Median age increased from 33 (interquartile range: 20-52) in 1994, to 46 (32-63) in 2012 (P < 0.001). Birth-year distribution was unchanged, indicating the same birth cohorts presented with tetanus in 1994, 2003, and 2012. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay measurements in 90 men and 90 women covered by MNT but not EPI showed 73.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 62.9-82.1%) of women had anti-tetanus antibody compared with 24.4% (95% CI: 15.9-34.7%) of men, indicating continued tetanus vulnerability in older men in Vietnam.

Thwaites CL, Lundeg G, Dondorp AM, sepsis in resource-limited settings–expert consensus recommendations group* of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) and the Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit (MORU) in Bangkok, Thailand. 2016. Infection management in patients with sepsis and septic shock in resource-limited settings. Intensive Care Med, 42 (12), pp. 2117-2118. | Read more

Thwaites CL, Lundeg G, Dondorp AM, sepsis in resource-limited settings–expert consensus recommendations group of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) and the Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit (MORU) in Bangkok, Thailand. 2016. Recommendations for infection management in patients with sepsis and septic shock in resource-limited settings. Intensive Care Med, 42 (12), pp. 2040-2042. | Read more

Hoang VMT, Nguyen TA, Tran TT, Ha MT, Do V, Ho V, Nguyen TH, Huu KT, Le N, Vinh CNV et al. 2016. Clinical features and virology of hand foot mouth disease in Southern Vietnam, July 2013 March 2015 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 45 pp. 20-20. | Read more

Thwaites CL, Loan HT. 2015. Eradication of tetanus. Br Med Bull, 116 (1), pp. 69-77. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: The causative agent of tetanus, Clostridium tetani is widespread in the environment throughout the world and cannot be eradicated. To reduce the number of cases of tetanus efforts are focussed on prevention using vaccination and post-exposure wound care. SOURCES OF DATA: Medline, Pubmed and Cochrane databases; World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund publications. AREAS OF AGREEMENT: The maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination initiative has resulted in significant reductions in mortality from neonatal tetanus throughout the world. AREAS OF CONTROVERSY: Although there are few data available it is likely that large numbers of children and adults, particularly men, remain unprotected due to lack of booster immunization. AREAS TIMELY FOR DEVELOPING RESEARCH: It remains unclear how HIV and malaria affect both responses to vaccination and transplacental transfer of antibodies or how this might affect timing of vaccination doses.

Trieu HT, Lubis IN, Qui PT, Yen LM, Wills B, Thwaites CL, Sabanathan S. 2016. Neonatal Tetanus in Vietnam: Comprehensive Intensive Care Support Improves Mortality. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc, 5 (2), pp. 227-230. | Show Abstract | Read more

We report a 66% reduction in neonatal tetanus mortality after introducing a new management bundle integrating antibiotic therapy, muscle relaxation and invasive monitoring. The latter allowed rapid detection of autonomic instability which was treated with magnesium sulphate. This is the first report of its use in neonatal tetanus.

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.

Lam PK, Trieu HT, Lubis IND, Loan HT, Thuy TTD, Wills B, Parry CM, Day NPJ, Qui PT, Yen LM, Thwaites CL. 2015. Prognosis of neonatal tetanus in the modern management era: an observational study in 107 Vietnamese infants. Int J Infect Dis, 33 pp. 7-11. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Most data regarding the prognosis in neonatal tetanus originate from regions where limited resources have historically impeded management. It is not known whether recent improvements in critical care facilities in many low- and middle-income countries have affected indicators of a poor prognosis in neonatal tetanus. We aimed to determine the factors associated with worse outcomes in a Vietnamese hospital with neonatal intensive care facilities. METHODS: Data were collected from 107 cases of neonatal tetanus. Clinical features on admission were analyzed against mortality and a combined endpoint of 'death or prolonged hospital stay'. RESULTS: Multivariable analysis showed that only younger age (odds ratio (OR) for mortality 0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.48-0.98) and lower weight (OR for mortality 0.06, 95% CI 0.01-0.54) were significantly associated with both the combined endpoint and death. A shorter period of onset (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.88-0.99), raised white cell count (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.02-1.35), and time between first symptom and admission (OR 3.77, 95% CI 1.14-12.51) were also indicators of mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Risk factors for a poor outcome in neonatal tetanus in a setting with critical care facilities include younger age, lower weight, delay in admission, and leukocytosis.

Thwaites CL, Beeching NJ, Newton CR. 2015. Maternal and neonatal tetanus. Lancet, 385 (9965), pp. 362-370. | Show Abstract | Read more

Maternal and neonatal tetanus is still a substantial but preventable cause of mortality in many developing countries. Case fatality from these diseases remains high and treatment is limited by scarcity of resources and effective drug treatments. The Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Initiative, launched by WHO and its partners, has made substantial progress in eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus. Sustained emphasis on improvement of vaccination coverage, birth hygiene, and surveillance, with specific approaches in high-risk areas, has meant that the incidence of the disease continues to fall. Despite this progress, an estimated 58,000 neonates and an unknown number of mothers die every year from tetanus. As of June, 2014, 24 countries are still to eliminate the disease. Maintenance of elimination needs ongoing vaccination programmes and improved public health infrastructure.

Nhu NTK, Lan NPH, Campbell JI, Parry CM, Thompson C, Tuyen HT, Hoang NVM, Tam PTT, Le VM, Nga TVT 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.

Sabanathan S, Tan LV, Thwaites L, Wills B, Qui PT, Rogier van Doorn H. 2014. Enterovirus 71 related severe hand, foot and mouth disease outbreaks in South-East Asia: current situation and ongoing challenges. J Epidemiol Community Health, 68 (6), pp. 500-502. | Read more

Thwaites GE, Thwaites CL. 2013. Tetanus pp. 508-510. | Read more

Loan HT, Parry J, Nga NTN, Yen LM, Binh NT, Thuy TTD, Duong NM, Campbell JI, Thwaites L, Farrar JJ, Parry CM. 2012. Semi-recumbent body position fails to prevent healthcare-associated pneumonia in Vietnamese patients with severe tetanus. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 106 (2), pp. 90-97. | Show Abstract | Read more

Healthcare-associated pneumonia (HCAP) is a common complication in patients with severe tetanus. Nursing tetanus patients in a semi-recumbent body position could reduce the incidence of HCAP. In a randomised controlled trial we compared the occurrence of HCAP in patients with severe tetanus nursed in a semi-recumbent (30°) or supine position. A total of 229 adults and children (aged ≥1 year) with severe tetanus admitted to hospital in Vietnam, were randomly assigned to a supine (n=112) or semi-recumbent (n=117) position. For patients maintaining their assigned positions and in hospital for>48h there was no significant difference between the two groups in the frequency of clinically suspected pneumonia [22/106 (20.8%) vs 26/104 (25.0%); p=0.464], pneumonia rate/1000 intensive care unit days (13.9 vs 14.6; p=0.48) and pneumonia rate/1000 ventilated days (39.2 vs 38.1; p=0.72). Mortality in the supine patients was 11/112 (9.8%) compared with 17/117 (14.5%) in the semi-recumbent patients (p=0.277). The overall complication rate [57/112 (50.9%) vs 76/117 (65.0%); p=0.03] and need for tracheostomy [51/112 (45.5%) vs 69/117 (58.9%); p=0.04) was greater in semi-recumbent patients. Semi-recumbent body positioning did not prevent the occurrence of HCAP in severe tetanus patients.

Thwaites CL, Yen LM, Cordon SM, Thwaites GE, Loan HT, Thuy TTD, 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.

Thwaites CL, Yen LM, Loan HT, Thuy TTD, 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.

Thwaites CL, Yen LM, Cordon SM, Binh NT, T N, Nga N, White NJ, Soni N, MacDonald IA, Farrar JJ. 2006. Urinary catecholamine excretion in tetanus. Anaesthesia, 61 (4), pp. 355-359. | Show Abstract | Read more

Imperfect understanding of the pathophysiology of tetanus has limited therapeutic advances. Autonomic disturbance is a major cause of mortality and is believed to be associated with catecholamine release, predominantly norepinephrine. We measured epinephrine and norepinephrine concentrations in 24-h urine collections from tetanus and critically ill patients suffering from other severe diseases. In patients with severe tetanus, mean (SD) epinephrine was 164.18 (129.37) nmol x day(-1) compared with 45.18 (37.74) nmol x day(-1) in mild-moderate disease (p = 0.008). In the severe group, mean (SD) norepinephrine was 411.64 (208.5), and 121.00 (81.81) nmol x day(-1) in moderately ill patients (p < 0.001). Compared with critically ill control patients, median epinephrine was 331.77 in tetanus patients and 89.70 nmol x day(-1) in controls (p < 0.001). Median norepinephrine concentration was 788.02 nmol x day(-1) in tetanus and 300.05 nmol x day(-1) in control patients, p = 0.006. The study finds a novel result of increased epinephrine excretion in tetanus and confirms that catecholamine excretion in tetanus exceeds that in other critically ill patients. These results should be considered in designing more effective therapeutic strategies.

Thwaites CL, Yen LM, Glover C, Tuan PQ, Nga NTN, Parry J, Loan HT, Bethell D, Day NPJ, White NJ et al. 2006. Predicting the clinical outcome of tetanus: the tetanus severity score. Trop Med Int Health, 11 (3), pp. 279-287. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To create a new tetanus score and compare it with the Phillips and Dakar scores. METHODS: We used prospectively acquired data from consecutive patients admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, to create the Tetanus Severity Score (TSS) with multivariate logistic regression. We compared the new score with Phillips and Dakar scores by means of resubstituted and prospective data, assessing performance in terms of sensitivity, specificity and area under receiver operator characteristic curves. RESULTS: Resubstitution testing yielded a sensitivity of 77% (298/385) and a specificity of 82% (1,183/1,437) for the TSS; 89% (342/385) and 20% (281/1,437) for the Phillips score; and 13% (49/385) and 98% (1,415/1,437) for the Dakar score. The TSS showed greatest discrimination with 0.89 area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (95% CI 0.88-0.90); this was 0.74 for the Dakar score and (95% CI 0.71-0.77) and 0.66 for the Phillips score (95% CI 0.63-0.70; P values <0.001). Prospective testing showed 65% (13/20) sensitivity and 91% (210/230) specificity for the TSS; 80% (16/20) and 51% (118/230) for the Phillips score; and 25% (5/20) and 96% (221/230) for the Dakar score. The TSS achieved the greatest area under TSS of 0.89 (95% CI 0.82-0.96), significantly greater than the Phillips score [0.74 (0.6-0.88), P = 0.049] but not the Dakar score [0.80, (0.71-0.90), P = 0.090]. CONCLUSIONS: The TSS is the first prospectively developed classification scheme for tetanus and should be adopted to aid clinical triage and management and as a basis for clinical research.

Thwaites CL. 2005. Tetanus Current Anaesthesia & Critical Care, 16 (1), pp. 50-57. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite long-standing availability of a vaccine, tetanus continues to cause high morbidity and mortality throughout the world. In the developed world, the elderly have traditionally been most at risk due to decline in protective antibody levels, however recent cases have occurred in younger people, particularly injecting drug users. Much of the management is supportive, although treatment aimed at preventing toxin release and uptake into the central nervous system should be given. Recent studies have focussed on optimizing antitoxin effect and improving control of muscle spasms and cardiovascular instability. This paper reviews these and other current concepts regarding the pathophysiology and management of tetanus. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Thwaites CL, Yen LM, Nga NTN, Parry J, Binh NT, Loan HT, Thuy TTD, Bethell D, Parry CM, White NJ et al. 2004. Impact of improved vaccination programme and intensive care facilities on incidence and outcome of tetanus in southern Vietnam, 1993-2002. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 98 (11), pp. 671-677. | Show Abstract | Read more

Unvaccinated individuals throughout the world are vulnerable to tetanus, but there are few data regarding the impact of focused vaccination programmes and modern intensive care facilities on the disease, particularly in the developing world. The Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam admitted 2422 patients with tetanus aged > or =1 year between April 1993 and December 2002, during which time vaccine coverage and treatment facilities improved. The proportion of children < or =10 years old admitted with tetanus fell from 11.1 to 5.6% over the 10 year period (P = 0.002). The proportion of women aged 20-40 years fell from 10.1 to 1.2% (P < 0.001). Mortality rates fell from a maximum of 27.81% in 1994 to 10.04% in 2002 (P < 0.001). Thus, a marked reduction in tetanus incidence has occurred in age groups specifically targeted by the national vaccination programme. However, tetanus continues to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality in individuals outside the target population. Improved intensive care facilities, such as mechanical ventilation and low-cost infection control procedures are associated with a significant reduction in mortality.

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 CL, Farrar JJ. 2003. Magnesium sulphate as a first line therapy in the management of tetanus. Anaesthesia, 58 (3), pp. 286. | Read more

Thwaites CL, Farrar JJ. 2003. Preventing and treating tetanus. BMJ, 326 (7381), pp. 117-118. | Read more

Thwaites CL. 2002. Tetanus Practical Neurology, 2 (3), pp. 130-137. | Read more

Hoa NT, Thuong NTT, Clapham HE, Thu TTA, Kestelyn E, Thwaites CL. 2019. Increasing women's leadership in science in Ho Chi Minh City. Lancet, 393 (10171), pp. 523-524. | Read more

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