Visnja Skerk

Croatian National Institute of Public Health, Zagreb - Centar, Grad Zagreb, Croatia

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Publications (47)59.3 Total impact

  • Sexually transmitted infections 12/2013; · 2.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although Chlamydia trachomatis resistance is not of great concern due to its excellent sensitivity to the currently recommended first-line antibiotics (azithromycin and doxycycline), clinical treatment failures have been reported and some of them were linked to laboratory proved resistance. The aim of this study was to determine in vitro susceptibility to azithromycin and doxycycline for 24 urogenital chlamydial strains isolated in Croatia-a country with the highest consumption of azithromycin in Europe and with very high antibiotic prescription rates. Fourteen isolates from cervical swabs, nine from male urethral swabs, and one isolate from expressed prostatic secretion were tested in McCoy cell culture system. All strains were susceptible to azithromycin and doxycycline with minimal inhibitory concentration for azithromycin and doxycycline ranging from 0.064 to 0.125 μg/mL and 0.016 to 0.064 μg/mL, and minimal chlamydicidal concentration ranging from 0.064 to 2.0 μg/mL and 0.032 to 1.0 μg/mL, respectively. Since we still lack information on whether C. trachomatis is evolving in vivo in response to antibiotic selection pressure, this kind of surveillance for resistance is essential in detecting shifts in antimicrobial susceptibilities.
    Folia Microbiologica 12/2012; · 0.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic bacterial prostatitis (CBP) is characterized by intense clinical symptoms, frequent relapse episodes and poor quality of life. Aggressive antibacterial therapy is warranted to eradicate the causative pathogens and to achieve a permanent cure. We administered a "switch-therapy" protocol to 30 patients showing severe CBP symptoms and two or more relapse episodes in the previous 12 months. Patients received intravenous azithromycin (500 mg/day) and ciprofloxacin (800 mg/day) for 3 days, followed by oral ciprofloxacin (1 g/day) for 25 days.Twenty-seven (90%) patients showed pathogen eradication at test-of-cure (TOC) visit. Five cases of infection relapse were detected at follow-up. At the TOC visit, 25 patients (83%) showed mild/absent symptoms, measured with the NIH-chronic prostatitis symptom index.These results indicate the efficacy of a "switch-therapy" protocol, based on combined azithromycin and ciprofloxacin. Comparative studies on larger CBP patient populations are warranted to confirm these encouraging results.
    Journal of chemotherapy (Florence, Italy) 12/2011; 23(6):350-3. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    Visnja Skerk, Goran Stimac, Ognjen Kraus
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    ABSTRACT: S indrom prostatitisa čest je klinički entitet i naziv je za niz poremećaja funkcije prostate.1,2 O sindromu prostatitisa govorimo stoga što etiologija bolesti nije u potpunosti razjašnjena, a dijagnostički i terapijski kriteriji nisu jasno određeni.3-5 Sindrom prostatitisa najčešći je urološki problem u muškaraca mlađih od 50 godina i treći najčešći urološki problem u starijih muškaraca.6 Prevalencija sindroma prostatitisa približno je 10% u muškaraca u dobi od 20 do 74 godine.7 Prostatitis utječe na kvalitetu života bo-lesnika u jednakoj mjeri kao bolest koronarnih arterija ili Crohnova bolest8, a na mentalno zdravlje bolesnika utječe jednako kao i šećerna bolest ili kongestivno sr-čano zatajenje.1 Povijesno je prostatitis podijeljen u četiri katego-rije:9,10 1. akutni bakterijski prostatitis, 2. kronični bakterijski prostatitis, 3. nebakterijski prostatitis i 4. prostatodinija. Godine 1995. National Institute of Health SAD-a (NIH) osniva radionicu koja donosi novu, unaprijeđenu klasifikaciju sindroma prostatitisa (tablica 1).11 Tri godine kasnije, 1998. godine, International Prostatitis Collaborative Network potvrđuje korist ove klasifikacije u kliničkoj primjeni i znanstvenim istra-živanjima, a ubrzo je donesen internacionalni upitnik NIH-Chronic Prostatits Symptom Index koji se odnosi na tri najvažnije skupine simptoma kroničnog prostatitisa: bol ili nelagoda, mokrenje i utjecaj simptoma na kvali-tetu života koji omogućuje objektivnu procjenu težine simptoma, progresije bolesti i vrednovanje rezultata provedenog liječenja.12 Najčešća forma sindroma prostatitisa je skupina 3., dakle kronični nebakterijski prostatitis/sindrom kronične zdjelične boli, koja čini 90% svih oblika sin-droma prostatitisa.13 Antimikrobno liječenje indicira-no je kod akutnog i kroničnog bakterijskog prostatitisa, upalnog oblika sindroma kronične zdjelične boli, te u odabranih bolesnika s neupalnim oblikom sindroma kronične zdjelične boli i s asimptomatskim upalnim prostatitisom.14-17
    Medix. 09/2011; 96:134-8.
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic bacterial prostatitis (CBP) is a persistent infection of the prostate characterized by poor quality of life mainly due to frequent relapse episodes caused by incomplete eradication of causative pathogens. Aggressive antibacterial therapy is required to attenuate the severe symptoms of CBP and to achieve a permanent cure. Although fluoroquinolones are currently recommended as first-choice agents, macrolide antibiotics are emerging as a noteworthy option for the treatment of CBP. Macrolide antibiotics are characterized by an impressive array of distinct pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) properties. These properties include high intracellular accumulation in phagocytes and at sites of infection, including the prostate; broad antibiotic but also biofilm-inhibiting properties; immunomodulating and inflammation-resolving activities. These features offer particular advantages for the treatment of chronic infections of the prostate gland, which are not easily amenable to drug therapy. Macrolides may be exploited to counteract the unsatisfactory rates of clinical symptom improvement and pathogen eradication. The results of a number of clinical trials support this proposal.
    Molecular Medicine Reports 01/2011; 4(6):1035-44. · 1.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the association between eradication of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and symptom regression in chronic prostatitis, 55 symptomatic patients were subjected to segmented tests to localise CT in first voided urine (VB1), prostatic secretions (EPS), post-massage voided (VB3) or semen specimens. Patients were divided in three treatment groups: the 'urethral involvement' group ('U': VB1 positive, EPS/VB3/Semen negative) was treated with 500 mg day(-1) azithromycin for 3 days. The 'prostatitis' group ('P': VB1 negative, EPS/VB3/semen positive) with 4-week levofloxacin-azithromycin combination. A third group, 'U+P' (VB1, EPS/VB3/semen positive) received both treatments in sequence. In P patients, eradication of CT was paralleled by marked, sustained symptom improvement and by significant decrease of serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. Compared with U patients, undergoing rapid regression of symptoms related to painful micturition after short-term azithromycin, U+P patients showed symptom and pathogen persistence in VB3/EPS/semen and required additional treatment with 4-week levofloxacin-azithromycin to achieve pathogen eradication, symptom regression, and decrease of PSA. Our results support a causative role of CT in chronic bacterial prostatitis. In the presence of a positive urethral localisation of the pathogen, thorough microbiological investigation together with focused symptom analysis may reveal an underlying chlamydial prostatitis and direct effective therapy with appropriate antibacterial agents.
    Andrologia 12/2010; 42(6):366-75. · 1.55 Impact Factor
  • Journal of chemotherapy (Florence, Italy) 10/2010; 22(5):364-5. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the last decade, an impressive amount of clinical research data has shed new light on pathogenesis and management of the chronic prostatitis syndrome. A new classification and a validated symptom score have enabled urologists worldwide to speak a "common language", thus greatly improving the amount and quality of focused research in this field. In Europe, a large number of groups and experts have been actively involved in this research, and have developed in many cases a genuine view on prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain etiology, diagnosis and treatment. The present paper, written by a panel of researchers from Europe and Far East Russia, reviews the most recent findings, discusses the most controversial contemporary topics on prostatitis syndromes, and highlights a number of unresolved issues requiring further research and study.
    Archivio italiano di urologia, andrologia: organo ufficiale [di] Società italiana di ecografia urologica e nefrologica / Associazione ricerche in urologia 06/2010; 82(2):75-82.
  • Suncanica Ljubin Sternak, Visnja Skerk
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    ABSTRACT: Chlamydia trachomatis (C. trachomatis) is the most common bacterial causative agent of sexually transmitted diseases today. Treatment outcome will depend on the choice of antimicrobial drug. Therefore, it is very important to know antimicrobial sensitivity of this pathogen. Cultivation in cell culture is a method of choice for diagnosis of C. trachomatis infection, in terms of medico-legal investigations and follow-up after completed therapy, but also serves for determining the antimicrobial sensitivity of C. trachomatis. Tetracyclines, macrolides and kinolones are commonly used in the treatment of the C. trachomatis infection. Resistance to these antibiotics was described for strains isolated from unsuccessfully treated patients. All described resistant clinical strains demonstrated in vitro heterotypic resistance. To date no homotypic resistance was described for human isolates. An evaluation of antimicrobial resistance and treatment outcome in C. trachomatis infection is complicated by the lack of standardized tests, as well as by the fact that in vitro resistance does not correlate with clinical outcome. In case of any suspicion of unsuccessful treatment of genitourinary infection caused by C. trachomatis isolation should be attempted and isolated strains forwarded to a specialized laboratory.
    Medicinski glasnik 02/2010; 7(1):26-31. · 0.20 Impact Factor
  • Visnja Skerk, Alemka Markotić
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    ABSTRACT: Urogenital infections are among the most common infectious diseases of humans in the world. They are one of the leading causes of acute diseases, chronic health impairment and mortality. Sexually transmitted infections are important public health problem due to their epidemic spread, numerous complications leaving permanent consequences on the human health as well as large expenses that health care systems and individuals have to pay for their detection, prevention and treatment. Urinary tract infections are the most common bacterial infections in humans and the most common reason for justified antibiotic prescriptions. Prostatitis syndrome is the most common urological problem in males younger than 50 years of age and third most common urological problem in older men. This paper does not deal with all existing problems regarding antimicrobial treatment of sexually transmitted infections, urinary tract infections and prostatitis syndrome, however basic guidelines that cover the majority of conditions are presented.
    Medicinski glasnik 02/2010; 7(1):1-11. · 0.20 Impact Factor
  • Journal of chemotherapy (Florence, Italy) 09/2009; 21(4):465-6. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the period between October 1st and November 30th, 2006, we investigated a total of 3188 episodes of UTI (802 among males; 2386 among females) recorded in 108 family medicine offices in 20 cities in Croatia. The most common UTIs in women were acute uncomplicated cystitis (62%), complicated UTIs - cystitis and pyelonephritis (14%), urethritis (9%), acute uncomplicated pyelonephritis (6%), recurrent cystitis (5%), asymptomatic bacteriuria (3%) and recurrent pyelonephritis. The most common UTIs in men were complicated UTIs - cystitis and pyelonephritis (48%), urethritis (25%), prostatitis (24%) and asymptomatic bacteriuria (3%). Etiological diagnosis was made in 999 (31%) UTI episodes before antimicrobial therapy was given. The most frequently isolated causative pathogens were Escherichia coli (77%), Enterococcus faecalis (9%), Proteus mirabilis (5%), Klebsiella spp (3%), Streptococcus agalactiae (3%) and Enterobacter (1%). Antimicrobial drug was administered in 2939 (92.19%) UTI episodes, in 1940 (66.01%) as empirical therapy, and in 999 (34%) as targeted antimicrobial therapy. The most commonly administered drug in empirical therapy for acute uncomplicated cystitis, recurrent cystitis and urethritis in women was cephalexin, for acute uncomplicated pyelonephritis and complicated UTIs in women co-amoxiclav, and for UTIs in males ciprofloxacin. The results of this research of 3188 UTI episodes in family medicine physicians' offices provide a confirmatory answer to question whether empirical antimicrobial therapy of UTI prescribed by Croatian family practitioners is in accordance with the national guidelines.
    Collegium antropologicum 07/2009; 33(2):625-31. · 0.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We examined a total of 194 patients over 18 years of age with chronic prostatitis syndrome and no evidence of structural or functional lower genitourinary tract abnormalities. The following data were obtained for each patient: clinical history--the severity of chronic prostatitis symptoms scored by a Croatian translation of the NiH CPSI questionnaire, clinical status including digitorectal examination, urethral swab specimens, and selective samples of urine and expressed prostatic secretion, according to the 4-glass localization test (meares and Stamey localization technique). Patients were treated orally with antimicrobial agents in doses and duration according to clinical practice in Croatia. An infectious etiology was determined in 169 (87%) patients. Chlamydia trachomatis was the causative pathogen in 38 (20%), Trichomonas vaginalis in 35 (18%), Enterococcus in 36 (19%) and Escherichia coli in 35 (18%) patients. In the remaining 25 patients the following causative pathogens were found: Ureaplasma urealyticum, Proteus mirabilis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Streptococcus agalactiae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Comparison of symptoms scores and effect on quality of life has shown that the most severe clinical presentation of disease was recorded in patients with chronic bacterial prostatitis caused by E. coli and Enterococcus (p<0.001). Clinical success was paralleled by bacteriological eradication in chronic bacterial prostatitis caused by C. trachomatis, Enterococcus and E. coli (kappa >0.2<0.5), but not in inflammatory chronic pelvic pain syndrome caused by T. vaginalis.
    Journal of chemotherapy (Florence, Italy) 04/2009; 21(2):181-7. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We examined a total of 1014 patients over 18 years of age; 252 with urethritis and 762 with chronic prostatitis syndrome. the mean age of patients with urethritis was 32.7 and with prostatitis syndrome 37.6 years. Clinical symptoms of urethritis were present from a few days to several months. in patients with chronic prostatitis syndrome, symptoms were present for at least 3 months. Chlamydia trachomatis alone was confirmed in 26 (10%) and in combination with Ureaplasma urealyticum in 6 (2%) patients with urethritis. in 171 (68%) patients with urethritis neither C. trachomatis nor U. urealyticum or Mycoplasma hominis were found. C. trachomatis alone was confirmed in 70 (9%), and in combination with other microorganisms in 7 (1%) patients with chronic prostatitis syndrome. in Croatia, the frequency of chronic chlamydial prostatitis has not significantly changed in the last 10 years, while the frequency of infections among adolescents decreased. the recommended regimen for acute chlamydial urethritis in Croatia is azithromycin 1.0 g as a single dose, and a total dose of 4-4.5 g azithromycin for chronic chlamydial prostatitis.
    Journal of chemotherapy (Florence, Italy) 03/2009; 21(1):63-7. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we present two cases, a female and a male patient with Schnitzler-like syndrome. Both patients had two major (monoclonal gammopathy and chronic urticaria) and almost all minor symptoms (e.g. arthralgia, bone pain, fever, etc.) of Schnitzler syndrome. It is considered that interleukine (IL)-1 has important influence on immunopathogenesis of Schnitzler syndrome. However, when looked at the immune response in our two patients, we found significant differences between them. In the sera of the female patient, IL-1beta was increased. However, the highest increase was found for granulocyte- colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), IL-32 alpha and IL-17E (IL-25). The male patient had a significant increase in the percentage of NK-cells, a decrease in CD4+ helper cells and no increase in cytokine levels. In both patients an increase in CD40L (CD154) was found. Our statement is that, besides clinical symptoms and signs, additional immune parameters should be tested before diagnosis of Schnitzler syndrome is established.
    Clinical and experimental rheumatology 01/2009; 27(3):507-9. · 2.66 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Clinical Virology 11/2007; 40(2):171-2. · 3.29 Impact Factor
  • Journal of chemotherapy (Florence, Italy) 09/2007; 19(4):465-6. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Since the beginning of 1999, over 1500 patients with symptoms of chronic prostatitis were examined at Dr. Fran Mihaljević University Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb. In almost all of these patients urethral swabs and quantitative segmented bacteriologic cultures and microscopy of expressed prostatic secretion (EPS) or voided bladder urine3 (VB3) were performed as described by Meares and Stamey. Urethral swabs, EPS or VB3 were examined for the presence of Chlamydia (C.) trachomatis by McCoy culture and Lugol stain or by immunofluorescent typing with monoclonal antibodies. In the majority of patients C. trachomatis was demonstrated in parallel in EPS or VB3 by DNA/RNA hybridization method. Normal white blood cell count viewed per high power field<10 was found in 362 (68%) of 536 patients with symptoms of chronic prostatitis and C. trachomatis detected in EPS or VB3. These findings additionally suggest that C. trachomatis can be suspected as a causative pathogen in all categories of chronic prostatitis syndrome. Furthermore, this paper summarizes the results of five previously published clinical studies on the efficacy and tolerability of various treatment schemes for chronic chlamydial prostatitis, conducted from the beginning of 1999 until the end of 2003.
    Acta dermatovenerologica Croatica: ADC / Hrvatsko dermatolosko drustvo 01/2007; 15(3):135-40. · 0.48 Impact Factor
  • Journal of chemotherapy (Florence, Italy) 03/2006; 18(1):115-6. · 0.83 Impact Factor
  • The Journal of Men's Health & Gender. 03/2006; 3(1):80–81.