Val Hall

University of Wales, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

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Publications (31)84.07 Total impact

  • J.S. Brazier, V. Hall
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    ABSTRACT: A novel method for the provision of an anaerobic atmosphere suitable for the growth of clinically significant anaerobic bacteria was evaluated. The AnaeroGenTM (Oxoid) was compared to an existing commercially available system based on the catalysis of internally generated hydrogen. The new system successfully facilitated the growth of a range of 50 strains of anaerobes and its overall performance compared very favourably with the established method.
    Letters in Applied Microbiology 06/2008; 18(1):56 - 58. · 1.63 Impact Factor
  • Val Hall
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    ABSTRACT: The roles of the 'classical'Actinomyces spp. as colonizers of oral cavities of man and animals, in development of intra-oral infections and as agents of actinomycosis have been well documented. This mini-review focuses on perceptions of human colonization and infection that have emerged in the past decade, largely as a result of advances in classification, identification and direct detection from clinical material. Arguably, of the greatest importance is the recognition of actinomycosis as a major factor and indicator of poor prognosis in both infected osteoradionecrosis and bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaws. Among recently described species, Actinomyces graevenitzii has been isolated almost exclusively from oral and respiratory sites and may be a causative agent of actinomycosis. Conversely, several other Actinomyces spp. are isolated commonly from superficial soft tissue infections. Members of the genus Actinobaculum, which is closely related to Actinomyces, are strongly associated with urosepsis. Isolation and identification of Actinomyces and related genera by conventional methods remain difficult. Diagnosis is commonly belated and based solely upon histological findings. Development of direct detection methods may aid patient management and further elucidate clinical associations.
    Anaerobe 03/2008; 14(1):1-7. · 2.02 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Infection - J INFECTION. 01/2007; 55(3).
  • Val Hall
    12/2006: pages 575 - 586; , ISBN: 9780470017968
  • Journal of Infection - J INFECTION. 01/2006;
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    ABSTRACT: A previously undescribed filamentous, beaded, Gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium was isolated from pus of a human dental abscess. Based on its cellular morphology and the results of biochemical testing the organism was tentatively identified as a member of the genus Actinomyces, but it did not correspond to any currently recognized species of this genus. Comparative 16S rRNA gene sequencing studies showed the bacterium represents a distinct subline within the genus Actinomyces, clustering within a group of species that includes Actinomyces bovis, the type species of the genus. Sequence divergence values of >8 % with other recognized species within this phylogenetic group clearly demonstrated that the organism represents a hitherto unknown species. Based on biochemical and molecular phylogenetic evidence, it is proposed that the unidentified organism recovered from a dental abscess be classified as a novel species, Actinomyces dentalis sp. nov. The type strain is R18165T (=CCUG 48064T=CIP 108337T).
    International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology 02/2005; 55(Pt 1):427-31. · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In clinical microbiology laboratories, the identification of Actinomyces-like bacteria can be very laborious and problematic. In the present study, we focused on reactivity patterns of 4 commercial test kits, RapID ANA II, RapID 32A, RapID CB Plus, and BBL Crystal ANR ID, that could be used for rapid preliminary identification of Actinomyces isolates belonging to newly described Actinomyces and closely related species. Out of the 54 strains tested, 25 strains (46%) were correctly identified to the genus/group level by BBL Crystal ANR ID system, 16 strains (30%) by RapID 32 A, 11 strains (20%) by RapID CB Plus, and 7 strains (13%) by RapID ANA II. The main problems with these kits were due to occasional weak enzymatic and sugar fermentation reactions. In conclusion, chromogenic substrate sensitivity and specificity need to be enhanced in order to improve the reliability of the test results of these kits, and the present database updated in order to more precisely identify newly described Actinomyces and closely related species.
    Anaerobe 01/2005; 11(1-2):99-108. · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clostridial infections in injecting drug users in the United Kingdom are a relatively new phenomenon that came to light in 2000 when cases of serious illness and deaths due to Clostridium novyi were recorded. In the period December 2003 to April 2004, the Anaerobe Reference Laboratory received twelve referrals of an extremely rare isolate, Clostridium histolyticum, from cases of infection in injecting drug users submitted from nine different hospitals in England and Scotland. Molecular typing of these isolates by two different methods of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and PCR ribotyping revealed they are all indistinguishable, indicating a common source of the infections, most probably a batch of heroin that was recently distributed across the UK.
    Euro surveillance: bulletin europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin 10/2004; 9(9):15-6. · 5.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We evaluated four commercially available kits for rapid identification of Actinomyces and related species. The kits identified correctly 26 to 65% of "classical" Actinomyces strains to the species level and 13 to 49% of newly described Actinomyces strains to the genus level, thus indicating relatively poor applicability and a need to update these kits.
    Journal of Clinical Microbiology 02/2004; 42(1):418-20. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A previously undescribed facultatively anaerobic, catalase-negative, Actinomyces-like bacterium was isolated from the nose of a human. On the basis of its cellular morphology and the results of biochemical testing, the micro-organism was tentatively identified as a member of the genus Actinomyces, but it did not correspond to any currently recognized species. Comparative 16S rRNA gene sequencing studies showed the bacterium to be a hitherto unknown subline within the genus Actinomyces, displaying sequence divergence values of more than 6 % with respect to recognized species of the genus. On the basis of biochemical, molecular chemical and molecular phylogenetic evidence, it is proposed that the unknown organism, strain R2014(T) (=CCUG 46092(T)=CIP 107668(T)), be classified as the type strain of a novel species, Actinomyces nasicola sp. nov.
    International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology 10/2003; 53(Pt 5):1445-8. · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A previously undescribed Actinomyces-like bacterium was isolated from a human dental abscess. Based on its cellular morphology and the results of biochemical testing the organism was tentatively identified as a member of the genus Actinomyces, but it did not correspond to any currently recognized species of this genus. Comparative 16S rRNA gene sequencing studies showed the bacterium represents a hitherto unknown subline within the genus Actinomyces, clustering within a group of species, which includes Actinomyces bovis, the type species of the genus. Based on biochemical and molecular phylogenetic evidence, it is proposed that the unknown organism recovered from a dental abscess be classified as a new species, Actinomyces oricola sp. nov. The type strain of Actinomyces oricola is R5292(T) (=CCUG 46090(T)=CIP 107639(T)).
    International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology 10/2003; 53(Pt 5):1515-8. · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A sentinel study was carried out to determine the antimicrobial susceptibilities of Gram-positive anaerobic cocci (GPAC) freshly isolated from clinical material in diagnostic laboratories in England and Wales. A total of 113 GPAC isolates consisting predominantly of current or former members of the genus Peptostreptococcus was obtained from 17 sentinel laboratories in England and one in Wales. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 10 antimicrobial agents were determined by the Etest method. The agents tested were: penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin, cefoxitin, clindamycin, chloramphenicol, imipenem, co-amoxiclav, piperacillin/tazobactam and metronidazole. MIC50 and MIC90 values for each drug-species combination were calculated whenever suitable numbers of each species were obtained. Excellent spectra of activity (0% resistance) against GPAC were seen for metronidazole, piperacillin/tazobactam, cefoxitin, imipenem and chloramphenicol. Low degrees of resistance to co-amoxiclav (3.5%), clindamycin (7.1%), penicillin (7.1%) and significant degrees of resistance to tetracycline (41.6%) and erythromycin (27.4%) were detected. Some examples of putative macrolide-lincosamide linked resistance were noted in seven (6.2%) isolates of GPAC. This study is one of the largest susceptibility studies specifically on GPAC carried out to date and the resulting data may be of value to those involved in the empirical treatment of infections involving Gram-positive anaerobic cocci.
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 09/2003; 52(2):224-8. · 5.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An unusual gram-positive, facultatively anaerobic, catalase-positive, diphtheroid-shaped organism originating from an unknown human clinical source was characterized by biochemical, molecular chemical and molecular phylogenetic methods. Based on its morphological and biochemical characteristics and the presence of a murein based on meso-diaminopimelic acid, the unidentified organism was tentatively assigned to the genus Corynebacterium. However, the unknown organism was found to lack the distinctive, short-chain corynomycolic acids that are considered to be characteristic of this genus. Despite the absence of these characteristic lipids, comparative 16S rRNA gene sequencing showed that the unknown bacterium was phylogenetically a member of the genus Corynebacterium and was distinct from all currently known species. Based on both phenotypic and 16S rRNA sequence considerations, it is proposed that the unknown organism be classified as a novel species, Corynebacterium atypicum sp. nov. The type strain of C. atypicum is strain R2070T (=CCUG 45804T=CIP 107431T).
    International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology 08/2003; 53(Pt 4):1065-8. · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A hitherto undescribed Actinomyces-like bacterium was isolated from human urine. Based on its biochemical characteristics, the unidentified bacterium did not correspond to any currently described Actinomyces species or related taxa. Comparative 16S rRNA gene sequencing showed that the unknown bacterium exhibits a specific phylogenetic association with the genus Actinobaculum, but a sequence divergence of > 5% from the two currently recognized members of this genus, Actinobaculum schaalii and Actinobaculum suis, demonstrates that it represents a distinct species. Based on both phenotypic and 16S rRNA gene sequence considerations, it is proposed that the unknown bacterium from urine should be classified as a novel species, Actinobaculum urinale sp. nov. The type strain of Actinobaculum urinale is CCUG 46093(T) (= CIP 107424(T)).
    International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology 05/2003; 53(Pt 3):679-82. · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A previously undescribed Actinomyces-like bacterium was isolated from a lesion in the jaw of a cow. Based on its cellular morphology and the results of biochemical testing, the organism was tentatively identified as a member of the genus Actinomyces. Comparative 16S rRNA gene sequencing studies showed that the bacterium represents a hitherto unknown species within the genus Actinomyces, and is related to a group of species that includes Actinomyces turicensis and its close relatives. It is proposed that the unknown organism be classified as Actinomyces vaccimaxillae sp. nov. (the type strain is CCUG 46091T =CIP 107423T).
    International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology 04/2003; 53(Pt 2):603-6. · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fifteen strains of an anaerobic, catalase-negative, gram-positive diphtheroid-shaped bacterium recovered from human sources were characterized by phenotypic and molecular chemical and molecular genetic methods. The unidentified bacterium showed some resemblance to Actinomyces species and related taxa, but biochemical testing, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of whole-cell proteins, and amplified 16S ribosomal DNA restriction analysis indicated the strains were distinct from all currently named Actinomyces species and related taxa. Comparative 16S rRNA gene sequencing studies showed that the bacterium represents a hitherto-unknown phylogenetic line that is related to but distinct from Actinomyces, Actinobaculum, Arcanobacterium, and Mobiluncus: We propose, on the basis of phenotypic and phylogenetic evidence, that the unknown bacterium from human clinical specimens should be classified as a new genus and species, Varibaculum cambriensis gen. nov., sp. nov. The type strain of Varibaculum cambriensis sp. nov. is CCUG 44998(T) = CIP 107344(T).
    Journal of Clinical Microbiology 03/2003; 41(2):640-4. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An outbreak of serious illness and death occurred in injecting drug users during 2000 in Scotland, Ireland and England. National and international collaboration was necessary for the investigation and management of this outbreak. In England and Wales active case-finding was initiated, coupled with standardised data collection and microbiological investigation of cases. Twenty-six definite or probable cases were identified in England between 1 April and 31 Aug. 2000; 17 of these occurred in the North. The overall case fatality was 50% (13/26). The principal apparent risk factor was a history of intramuscular or subcutaneous injection of heroin and the limited duration of the outbreak suggested that the problem might have been related to a particular supply of heroin. Clostridium novyi was isolated from two English cases. Taken in conjunction with contemporaneous microbiological and epidemiological results from Scottish and Irish cases, the probable aetiology for this outbreak was infection with C. novyi associated with both a particular supply of heroin and the method of preparation and injection used. A 'toolkit' was distributed in Sept. 2000 to all Consultants for Communicable Disease Control in England and Wales to assist them with the ongoing surveillance, investigation and management of this condition. Lessons learned have been used to produce guidance for the investigation and management of outbreaks of unexplained serious illness of possible infective aetiology.
    Journal of Medical Microbiology 12/2002; 51(11):978-84. · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Peptostreptococci are gram-positive, strictly anaerobic bacteria which, although regarded as members of the commensal human microflora, are also frequently isolated from sites of clinical infection. The study of this diverse group of opportunist pathogens has been hindered by an inadequate taxonomy and the lack of a valid identification scheme. Recent re-classification of the Peptostreptococcus family into five distinct genus groups has helped to clarify the situation. However, this has been on the basis of 16S rRNA sequence determinations, which are both time-consuming and expensive. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the use of PCR-amplified ribosomal DNA spacer polymorphisms for the rapid differentiation of the currently recognised taxa within the group of anaerobic gram-positive cocci. A collection comprising 19 reference strains with representatives of each of the 15 species, two close relatives and two of the well-characterised groups, together with 38 test strains was studied. All strains were identified to species group level by phenotypic means. Amplification of the 16S-23S intergenic spacer region (ISR) with universal primers produced distinct banding patterns for all the 19 reference strains and the patterns could be differentiated easily visually. However, of the 38 test strains, less than half could be speciated from ISR analysis alone. Only five groups produced correlating banding patterns for all members tested (Peptoniphilus lacrimalis, P. ivorii, Anaerococcus octavius, Peptostreptococcus anaerobius and Micromonas micros). For other species, either the type strain differed significantly from other species members (e.g., A. hydrogenalis) or there appeared to be considerable intra-species variation (e.g., A. vaginalis). Partial 16S rRNA gene sequences for the 'trisimilis' and 'betaGAL' groups showed that both are most closely related to the Anaerococcus group. This work highlights the heterogeneous nature of a number of Peptostreptococcus species and hence the need for still further revision of the taxonomy of this important group of pathogens.
    Journal of Medical Microbiology 12/2002; 51(11):949-57. · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pathogenic species of the genus Clostridium may contaminate the materials used in the injection of drugs and under the right conditions may cause serious or life-threatening disease. C. novyi type A was implicated in an outbreak of severe infection with high mortality in injecting drug users who injected heroin extravascularly. The isolation of such highly oxygen-sensitive clostridia from clinical material may require adherence to enhanced methods and, once isolated, commercially available anaerobe identification kits alone may not give an accurate identification. Additional phenotypic tests that are useful in recognising the main pathogenic species are described. Differentiation of C. novyi type A from C. botulinum type C in reference laboratories was based on 16S rDNA sequence data and specific neutralisation of cytopathic effects in tissue culture.
    Journal of Medical Microbiology 12/2002; 51(11):985-9. · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Eight strains of a previously undescribed catalase-negative Actinomyces-like bacterium were recovered from human clinical specimens. The morphological and biochemical characteristics of the isolates were consistent with their assignment to the genus Actinomyces, but they did not appear to correspond to any recognized species. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis showed the organisms represent a hitherto unknown species within the genus Actinomyces related to, albeit distinct from, a group of species which includes Actinomyces turicensis and close relatives. Based on biochemical and molecular genetic evidence, it is proposed that the unknown isolates from human clinical sources be classified as a new species, Actinomyces cardiffensis sp. nov. The type strain of Actinomyces cardiffensis is CCUG 44997(T).
    Journal of Clinical Microbiology 10/2002; 40(9):3427-31. · 4.07 Impact Factor