[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The investigation of respiratory infections by molecular techniques provides important information about the epidemiology of respiratory disease, especially during the post-vaccination era. The objective of the present study was the detection of bacterial pathogens directly in clinical samples from patients with upper and lower respiratory tract infections using multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays developed in our laboratory. Clinical samples taken over a three-year period (2007–2009) and obtained from 349 patients (adults (n = 66); children (n = 283)) with signs and symptoms of certain upper or lower respiratory tract infections, consisted of: bronchoalveolar lavages (BAL, n = 83), pleural fluids (n = 29), and middle-ear aspirates (n = 237). Overall, 212 samples (61%) were confirmed by culture and/or PCR. Among the positive samples, Streptococcus pneumoniae OPEN ACCESS Diagnostics 2013, 3 223 (mainly serotype 3) was predominant (104/212; 49.0%), followed by non-typable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) 59/212; 27.8%) and Streptococcus pyogenes (47/212; 22%). Haemophilus influenzae type b was detected in only three samples. The underlying microbiology of respiratory infections is gradually changing in response to various selective pressures, such as vaccine use and antibiotic consumption. The application of multiplex PCR (mPCR) assays is particularly useful since it successfully identified the microorganisms implicated in acute otitis media or lower respiratory tract infections in nearly 75% of patients with a positive result compared to conventional cultures. Non-culture identification of the implicated pneumococcal serotypes is also an important issue for monitoring pneumococcal infections in the era of conjugate pneumococcal vaccines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of the present study was the investigation of the characteristics and epidemiology of acute gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus in Athens greater area. The study was conducted at two paediatric hospitals ("Agia Sophia" and "Pentelis" Children's Hospitals) from August 2005 to July 2007 including 7933 children with signs and symptoms of acute gastroenteritis. The results revealed that: 1) there is a seasonal fluctuation of the disease with the highest number of cases recorded between winter and spring, 2) a high percentage (90.5%) of patients were children aged less than 5 years, while 47.6% of them belonged in the age group of 6-24 months and 3) co-infections with other viruses or bacteria were observed in 13.2% of the cases. According to our results, rotavirus is the major cause of viral gastroenteritis in children - mainly at ages under 5 years old - while, winter seasonality is observed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serogroup B is the major isolate from patients with invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in Greece. This study used the whole cell enzyme-linked immuosorbent assay (ELISA) with monoclonal antibodies to screen Neisseria meningitidis isolates obtained from patients with IMD between 1993 and 2003 to determine if serosubtypes included in the hexavalent Por A OMP vaccines being tested in northern Europe were prevalent in Greece. During this period there were significant changes in the proportions of serogroups B and C isolated from patients. Serogroup C was predominant in 1996-1997 but fell sharply with corresponding increases in serogroup B. Of the 591 isolates sent to the National Meningitis Reference Laboratory in Athens during this period, 325 (55%) were serogroup B. Among those tested for serosubtype, porA proteins used for the vaccine being tested in Britain were detected on 85/284 (30%) strains and for the vaccine being tested in the Netherlands 175/284 (62%). P1.14 (58/284, 20%) the predominant serosubtype among the Greek isolates, is not present in either vaccine formulation; 23/284 (8%) strains did not react with any of the monoclonal antibodies. Our results indicate that introduction of the vaccines currently being evaluated in northern Europe would not be warranted in the Greek population.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated the characteristics of 20 community acquired methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains isolated in a paediatric hospital in Athens. Eighteen of these, all isolated from skin and soft tissue infections, carried the Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) determinants. They all were found resistant to fusidic acid, tetracycline and kanamycin, and displayed a PFGE pattern identical to that of the well-described ST80 CA-MRSA clone circulating in various European countries.
No preview · Article · Jun 2005 · Eurosurveillance: bulletin europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In response to an increase in the number of cases of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in northern regions of Greece, a survey was carried out to determine if there was an increase in carriage of Neisseria meningitidis, particularly in areas where there have been increases in immigrant populations from neighbouring countries. The second objective was to determine if there was an increase in the serogroup C:2a:P1.5,2 a phenotype associated with recent outbreaks or changes in antibiotic sensitivities. As carriage of Neisseria lactamica is associated with development of natural immunity to IMD, the third objective was to determine the carriage rate of N. lactamica in this population. Among 3167 individuals tested, meningococci were isolated from 334 (10.5%). Compared with our previous studies, the proportion of meningococcal carriers was significantly increased among children in secondary education (11.3%) (chi2=9.67, P<0.005) and military recruits (37.4%) (chi2=21.11, P<0.000). Only 5/334 (1.5%) isolates expressed the phenotype associated with the increase in IMD in Greece. N. lactamica was isolated from 146/3167 (4.6%) participants. It was isolated from 71/987 (7.2%) children attending primary or nursery schools; however, the highest proportion of carriers (11.3%) was found in the boarding school for young Albanian men. In the 21-59-year age range, the majority of N. lactamica isolates (22/25, 88%) were from women, probably due to closer or more prolonged contact with children in the primary school age range. Smoking was significantly associated with isolation of meningococci from men but not from women. Penicillin-insensitive strains (25/334, 7.5%) were identified in all four regions examined; the majority (14/25, 56%) were obtained from military personnel. We conclude that there was a higher proportion of carriers in the population of northern Greece; however, the increase in carriage rate was not associated with the influx of immigrants from neighbouring countries, and there was not a higher incidence of the C:2a:P1.5,2 strain responsible for increased disease activity in Greece in either the immigrant or local populations.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2003 · FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During February and March 1995, a survey of meningococcal carriage in 625 school children was carried out in a suburb of Athens in which there was a large number of ethnic Greeks who had immigrated from Russia beginning in the early 1990s. The objectives of the study were: (1) to determine if factors associated with carriage of meningococci observed in a previous study of Greek school children were similar for the immigrant population; (2) to compare phenotypic characteristics of meningococci from the immigrant population with those isolated from children in Athens. Overall isolation rate for meningococci was 82/625 (13.1%), significantly higher than that found for school children in Athens (5.8%) during the winter of 1990 1991 (5.8%) (chi=25.98, P=0.0000003). By univariate analysis, carriage was not associated with sex, number of individuals per household, blood group, secretor status, socioeconomic level or maternal smoking; however, it was associated with fathers' smoking. The high proportion of men who smoked compared with the low proportion of women smokers might contribute to this finding. The main serogroup of meningococci isolated from this population was A (28%). While serogroup A appears to be more prevalent among Russian and Kurdish immigrants (14%) than among Greek school children or military recruits (4%), there has not been an increase in group A meningococcal disease in Greece. The isolation rate for N. lactamica was high 105/625 (17.3%). A few of these strains bound some of the monoclonal antibodies used for meningococcal serotyping and subtyping, and they are being examined in greater detail.
Full-text · Article · Feb 1999 · FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology