C König

IST Austria, Klosterneuberg, Lower Austria, Austria

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Publications (8)23.68 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In contrast to the infection with other hepatotropic viruses, hepatitis A virus (HAV) always causes acute self-limited hepatitis, although the role for virus-specific CD8 T cells in viral containment is unclear. Herein, we analyzed the T cell response in patients with acute hepatitis by utilizing a set of overlapping peptides and predicted HLA-A2 binders from the polyprotein. A set of 11 predicted peptides from the HAV polyprotein, identified as potential binders, were synthesized. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients were tested for IFNγ secretion after stimulation with these peptides and ex vivo with HLA-A2 tetramers. Phenotyping was carried out by staining with the activation marker CD38 and the memory marker CD127. Eight out of 11 predicted HLA-A2 binders showed a high binding affinity and five of them were recognized by CD8+ T cells from patients with hepatitis A. There were significant differences in the magnitude of the responses to these five peptides. One was reproducibly immunodominant and the only one detectable ex vivo by tetramer staining of CD8+ T cells. These cells have an activated phenotype (CD38hi CD127lo) during acute infection. Three additional epitopes were identified in HLA-A2 negative patients, most likely representing epitopes restricted by other HLA-class I-alleles (HLA-A11, B35, B40). Patients with acute hepatitis A have a strong multi-specific T cell response detected by ICS. With the tetramer carrying the dominant HLA-A2 epitope, HAV-specific and activated CD8+ T cells could be detected ex vivo. This first description of the HAV specific CTL-epitopes will allow future studies on strength, breadth, and kinetics of the T-cell response in hepatitis A.
    Journal of Hepatology 09/2010; 54(2):201-8. · 9.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on a measles outbreak originating in an anthroposophic community in Austria, 2008. A total of 394 (94·9%) cases fulfilled the outbreak case definition including 168 cases affiliated to the anthroposophic community. The source case was a school pupil from Switzerland. The Austrian outbreak strain was genotype D5, indistinguishable from the Swiss outbreak strain. A school-based retrospective cohort study in the anthroposophic school demonstrated a vaccine effectiveness of 97·3% in pupils who had received a single dose of measles-containing vaccine and 100% in those who had received two doses. The vaccination coverage of the cases in the anthroposophic community was 0·6%. Of the 226 outbreak cases not belonging to the anthroposophic community, the 10–24 years age group was the most affected. Our findings underline the epidemiological significance of suboptimal vaccination coverage in anthroposophic communities and in older age groups of the general population in facilitating measles virus circulation. The findings of this outbreak investigation suggest that the WHO European Region is unlikely to achieve its 2010 target for measles and rubella elimination.
    Epidemiology and Infection 01/2010; · 2.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the first foodborne outbreak of Shigella sonnei described in Austria. On July 14 2008, AGES was informed of a cluster of 22 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with S. sonnei restricted to public health district X in the province of Salzburg. All cases had attended a youth-group trip to a small village in the province of Tyrol from July 7 to July 9. An outbreak case among the trip participants was a person who (1) attended the trip and (2) fell ill with diarrhea in the period between July 8 and July 12. Among the 61 trip participants, 42 fitted the outbreak case definition, including 31 culture-confirmed cases. A household outbreak case was a person who (1) did not participate in the trip, (2) fell ill with diarrhea not before July 10 and (3) had household contact with an outbreak case between one and three days before onset of illness. Of the 11 household outbreak cases, 10 were tested by stool culture and four of these had a laboratory-confirmed S. sonnei infection. In addition, one of the two hostel staff tested positive for S. sonnei. All 36 isolates were biotype gl, lysotype 12, and were indistinguishable from each other by PFGE. A cohort study among the trip participants revealed a risk ratio of 2.71 for consumption of salad (on at least 1 of the 3 days of the trip) (95% CI: 1.38-5.32, P = 0.004). Among the 42cases, 34 could be explained by consumption of salad. The landlady of the hostel, who prepared the salad with bare hands, was a carrier and was assumed to be the source of contamination of the salad. Without proper epidemiological analytical investigation of this shigellosis outbreak, its association with food consumption would not have been identified.
    Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 03/2009; 121(3-4):157-63. · 0.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In April 2008, a general foodborne outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis phage type 6 affected nine persons (two households in Salzburg and one household in Tyrol; eight microbiologically confirmed cases and one possible case). Epidemiological investigation revealed that all cases had eaten lunch together at a farm. Homemade bread dumpling loaf, prepared with eggs from the farm, was the most likely vehicle for the pathogen. Six eggs were bacteriologically tested and yielded the outbreak strain on the egg shells. The farm's egg laying flock consisted of 12 hens, which were identified as the source of infection by isolating the outbreak strain from samples of hen fecal material and dust. Molecular subtyping using multiple loci variable number of tandem repeats analysis (MLVA) revealed a pattern unique to isolates from the outbreak, different from nine epidemiologically unrelated isolates tested for comparison. The laying hens were culled and no further cases of salmonellosis were associated with the farm. This example demonstrates the considerable potential of outbreak investigation to elucidate the transmission of infection along the food chain and to provide information essential for implementation of targeted measures for prevention of foodborne illness.
    Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 03/2009; 121(3-4):132-6. · 0.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Norovirus is increasingly recognized as a leading cause of outbreaks of foodborne disease. We report on an outbreak in Austria that reached a total of 176 cases, affecting pupils and teachers from four schools on a skiing holiday in a youth hostel in the province of Salzburg in December 2007. A questionnaire was sent to the four schools in order to obtain data from persons attending the school trip on disease status, clinical onset, duration of illness and hospitalization. A cohort study was undertaken to identify the sources of infection. The school trip attendees were interviewed by questionnaire or face-to-face on their exposure to food items from the menu provided by the hostel owner. Of the 284 school holiday-makers, 176 fitted the definition of an outbreak case (attack rate 61.9%). A total of 264 persons on the ski holiday participated in the cohort study (response rate 93%). The day-by-day food-specific analyses did not find any food items served on any of five days (December 8-12) of the holiday to be associated with infection risk. The day-specific risk analyses revealed Monday December 10 (RR: 9.04; 95% CI: 6.02-13.6; P < 0.001) and Tuesday December 11 (RR: 3.37; 95% CI: 2.56-4.43; P < 0.001) as the two most risky days for having being exposed to norovirus. According to the epidemiological investigation, airborne transmission of norovirus originating from the first vomiting case most probably initiated this outbreak; foodborne genesis was excluded. During recent years, norovirus has become increasingly established as the most important causative agent of epidemic gastroenteritis in holiday-makers all over Europe. Tourism is one of the primary industries in Austria. Timely involvement of the relevant public health authorities is essential in any outbreak of norovirus gastroenteritis, irrespective of its genesis.
    Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 02/2009; 121(3-4):120-4. · 0.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An outbreak of hepatitis A affecting 21 residents of an Austrian city occurred from the end of November 2007 until mid-January 2008. A case series investigation suggested the consumption of food purchased from supermarket X as the common link. A food handler employed in the delicatessen department of that supermarket had been serologically diagnosed with hepatitis A on 28th November 2007. During the infectious period of approximately 3 weeks, he worked on 11 days. Interviews with the other cluster cases revealed that the hepatitis A virus (HAV)-infected food handler did not practice appropriate hand hygiene. The investigation revealed no other possible source of infection. We hypothesize that the food of the delicatessen department contaminated by the HAV-infected food handler during his infectious period was the source of the outbreak. The district public health authority recommended the reinforcement of hygiene precautions, i.e., access to viricidal hand disinfectant and the use of disposable gloves and single-use paper towels, in the involved supermarket. The federal ministry of health recommended HAV vaccination for all food handlers in food production and gastronomy companies; this recommendation was included in the Austrian national vaccination plan 2008, even though the vaccination of food handlers is costly and its cost-effectiveness is not proven. Appropriate and regular hand hygiene, particularly after toilet visits, is the most effective measure for preventing HAV transmission.
    European Journal of Clinical Microbiology 11/2008; 28(4):385-91. · 3.02 Impact Factor
  • Euro surveillance: bulletin europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin 05/2008; 13(17). · 5.49 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Hepatology. 52:S39.