[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction:
Rotavirus (RV) infection in neonatal age can be mild or even asymptomatic. Several studies have reported that RV is responsible for 31%-87% of pediatric nosocomial diarrhea and causes gastroenteritis outbreaks in pediatric and neonatal units.
Study clinical characteristics, genotypes and risk factors of RV infection in neonatal age.
A prospective study was conducted from April 2009 till April 2013 in the neonatal special care unit of the largest tertiary pediatric hospital of Greece. Fecal samples and epidemiological data were collected from each neonate with gastrointestinal symptoms. RV antigen was detected with a rapid immunochromatography test. RV positive samples were further genotyped with RT PCR and sequencing using specific VP7 and VP4 primers.
Positive for RV were 126/415 samples (30.4%). Mean age of onset was 18 days. Seventy four cases (58%) were hospital acquired. Seasonality of RV infection did not differ significantly throughout the year with the exception of 4 outbreaks. Genotypes found during the study period were G4P (58.7%), G1P (14.7%), G12P (9.3%), G3P (9.3%), G12P (5.3%), G9P (1.3%) and G2P (1.3%). RV cases presented with: diarrhea (81%), vomiting (26.2%), fever (34.9%), dehydration (28.6%), feeding intolerance (39.7%), weight loss (54%), whilst 19% of cases were asymptomatic. Comparing community with hospital acquired cases differences in clinical manifestations were found.
Significant incidence of nosocomially transmitted RV infection in neonatal age including asymptomatic illness exists. Genotypes causing nosocomial outbreaks are not different from community strains. Circulating vaccines can be effective in prevention of nosocomial RV infection through herd immunity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
In Greece recently, higher-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) replaced the 7-valent (PCV7); the 10-valent (PCV10) became available in May 2009 and the 13-valent (PCV13) in June 2010.
We investigated the nasopharyngeal colonization with Streptococcus pneumoniae in day-care center attendees in Athens and the prefecture of Viotia. Between December 2010 and June 2011, nasopharyngeal cultures were obtained 4 times, at enrollment and then every 6 to 8 weeks.
Among the 233 children, 225 (96.6%) had been vaccinated with ≥1 dose of PCV7. One tenth of the PCV7 vaccinated attendees had also received ≥1 dose of PCV13 or PCV10. During the 4 samplings, 358 isolates were recovered from a total of 874 samples. Of the 233 children, 183 (78.5%) were found to carry S. pneumoniae at least once. The overall serotype distribution among carriers was similar regardless of the time lapsed since the last PCV7 dose. A high frequency of 19A (17.1%) coincided with a low frequency of 19F (1.4%). Non-PCV13 serotypes accounted for 73.1% of the isolates; 23B, 15B/C, 16F, 21, 11A, 15A, 6C, 10A, 22F and 23A were the most common. Among attendees aged 24-59 months (median age 42 months), prolonged carriage of a non-PCV13 serotype was relatively common, mainly for 21 and 16F. One out of 4 cases of colonization with the prevalent non-PCV13 serotypes was followed by persistent carriage for 5 to 14 weeks.
During this period of transition to the higher-valent PCVs in the day-care center setting, non-PCV13 serotypes dominated and exhibited prolonged colonization. The frequency and the duration of prolonged carriage tends to be increased, if sampling frequency increases and the carriage time before and after positive cultures is taken into consideration. Further studies regarding the fitness of the colonizing non-PCV13 serotypes will likely to be seen in the future.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe the first case of Kingella kingae arthritis in a 16-month-old girl in Greece, which has been diagnosed by novel molecular techniques. A joint aspiration of her knee was performed before the initiation of antibiotics, as well as on the 5 and 14 day of empiric antimicrobial therapy. The synovial fluid white blood cell count decreased from 65,000 to 1,500 cells/mm, but the percentage of neutrophils remained 90% in all three specimens. Molecular analysis of the synovial fluid specimens by real-time polymerase chain reaction and multilocus sequence typing enabled us to reveal the presence of Kingella kingae belonging to the international sequence type-complex 14, which persisted up to the 5 day of antibiotic therapy.
No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nonadherence to recommended pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) schedules may have implications for protection against pneumococcal disease. In this commentary, we have assessed adherence to the recommended dosing schedules (the completion of the primary PCV and booster series) in different European countries. We found that adherence with the PCV schedule was lower than that for diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (DTaP) and that higher adherence was observed in countries where PCV vaccination is recommended and funded. Adherence with the booster dose is often lower than that with the primary series completion, and it is often given after the recommended age. These data highlight the need to encourage timely vaccination of children with PCV, in line with local immunization schedules. There is no single solution to improve adherence; actions need to be tailored to the context of individual countries through initiatives at the national, regional, and local levels and should target different stakeholders.
No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Clinical Therapeutics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are still sparse data on vaccination coverage against human papillomavirus (HPV) among students in the health professions. The aim of this study was to investigate HPV vaccination coverage in female students from the health professions in Greece.
A self-administered, anonymous questionnaire was distributed to second-year and third-year female students pursuing degrees in medicine, nursing, and paramedical health disciplines in central Greece.
Overall vaccination coverage was 44.3%. The major reason for lack of vaccination was fear about safety of the vaccine. Participants who had received information about safety of the vaccine from the mass media and paramedical students had lower vaccination coverage in comparison with students who had received information about vaccine safety from alternative sources.
Further quantitative and qualitative research is needed to design educational activities targeting female students in the health professions in order to create a positive domino effect and improve HPV vaccination coverage levels in Greece.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An experimental 26-valent M protein Group A streptococcal (GAS) vaccine has entered clinical studies. Pharyngeal GAS emm type surveillances in different areas and time-periods enhance the understanding of the epidemiology of GAS pharyngitis. Moreover, these surveillances, combined with the data on GAS invasive disease, can play a significant role in the formulation of multivalent type-specific vaccines.
During a 7-year period (1999-2005), 2408 GAS isolates were recovered from consecutive children with pharyngitis in Western Greece. The overall macrolide resistance rate was 22.8%. Along the study period we noted a tendency towards significantly decreased rates of resistance, with the lowest rates occurring in 2002 (15.3%), 2003 (15%) and 2004 (16.7%). A random sample of isolates from each year, 338 (61.7%) of the 548 macrolide-resistant and 205 (11%) of the macrolide-susceptible, underwent molecular analysis, including emm typing.
The 543 typed isolates had 28 different emm types. A statistically significant association was found between macrolide resistance and emm4, emm22 and emm77, whereas emm1, emm3, emm6, emm12, emm87 and emm89 were associated with macrolide susceptibility. A significant yearly fluctuation was observed in emm4, emm28 and emm77. The most common macrolide-resistant GAS were emm77 isolates harboring erm(A), either alone or in combination with mef(A), emm4 carrying mef(A), emm28 possessing erm(B), emm75 carrying mef(A), emm12 harboring mef(A) and emm22 carrying erm(A). We estimated that 82.8% of the isolates belonged to emm types included in the novel 26-valent M protein vaccine. The vaccine coverage rate was determined mainly by the increased frequency of nonvaccine emm4 isolates.
A limited number of emm types dominated among macrolide-susceptible and macrolide-resistant GAS isolates. We observed seasonal fluctuations, which were significant for emm4, emm28 and emm77. This type of data can serve as baseline information if the novel 26-valent M protein GAS vaccine is introduced into practice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prevalence of carbapenem-resistant pathogens (CRPs) has increased worldwide. Given the importance of CRPs for public health and the high rates of carbapenem resistance observed in Greece, the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP) under the auspices of the Ministry of Health has undertaken initiatives to develop an Action Plan (i) to estimate the burden of CRP infections in acute-care hospitals in Greece and (ii) to implement infection control measures to limit the intrahospital transmission of these organisms. Starting in November 2010, specific infections caused by CRPs were reported to the HCDCP weekly. Results showed that CRP infections constitute a significant public health problem in acute-care hospitals in this country, with a mean incidence of 0.48 per 1000 patient-days and a crude 28-day mortality rate of 34.4%. The second phase of the Action Plan consists of systemic evaluation for adherence to an infection control bundle including enhanced standard infection control practices, separation of carriers and infected patients from non-carriers, and strict implementation of contact precautions. Communication between hospitals and public health authorities has been established to facilitate rapid notification and feedback.
No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Toxoplasmosis is caused by infection with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Acute infections in pregnant women may be transmitted to the fetus and cause severe illness. The purpose of this study was to establish a dedicated surveillance network (DSN) for congenital toxoplasmosis (CT) in Greece, in order to assess the birth prevalence of CT.
A DSN of thirty clinicians was established for reporting CT cases from hospitals throughout Greece. The clinicians were selected on the basis that there was a high possibility the suspected cases would be referred to them from district hospitals or private clinics. Suspected cases of CT were reported on a monthly basis with a zero reporting card during a surveillance period from April 2006 to December 2009. A questionnaire was sent for any suspected case to record information including demographic parameters, clinical signs and symptoms and laboratory results. Serological and molecular confirmation of cases was performed by the Pasteur Hellenic Institute. All newborns suspected of CT received treatment and were serologically and clinically followed up for one year.
The monthly response rate reached 100%, although only after reminders sent to 65% of the participant physicians. Sixty-three suspected CT cases were recorded by the DSN during the study period including fourteen confirmed and seven probable cases. Ten cases (47.6%) presented with symptoms at birth. Chorioretinitis was the most prominent manifestation, occurring in five symptomatic CT cases (50%). No other symptoms appeared by the end of the one year clinical follow up. No case was recorded by the existing surveillance system of the Hellenic Center of Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP) during the same time period. Birth prevalence was estimated at 0.45, 0.51 and 0.51 per 10,000 births for 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively. The incidence rate of symptomatic CT at birth was estimated at 0.10 cases per 10,000 births per year in Greece (for the period 2007–2009).
The DSN for CT proved to be more sensitive than the classical notification system, easy in application and very efficient in reporting rare diseases such as CT. Similar DSNs could be used to provide useful information on other rare diseases.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · BMC Public Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are common in children. The cause of URTIs is usually viral, but parents' attitudes often contribute to inappropriate prescription of antibiotics, promoting antibiotic resistance. The objective of this study was to identify possible risk factors associated with antibiotic misuse in Greece, a country with high levels of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. Methods. A knowledge-attitude-practice (KAP) questionnaire was developed and distributed to Greek parents caring for children who were 5-6 years old, between January and July of the same school year. Results. The sample of the study contained 5312 parents from all geographic areas of Greece. The risk factors of being a father, having low education, having immigrant status, being a single parent, having low income, having <2 or >3 children, living in the islands, and being without experience in recurrent URTIs were significantly associated to inadequate knowledge, inappropriate attitudes, and wrong practices. Conclusions. This study has identified the main groups of parents that should be targeted in future intervention programs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
We sought to characterize the temporal trends in nasopharyngeal carriage of macrolide-resistant pneumococci during a period with increased heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) coverage in Central Greece.
Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates were recovered from 2649 nasopharyngeal samples obtained from day-care center attendees in Central Greece during 2005–2009. A phenotypic and genotypic analysis of the isolates was performed, including the identification of macrolide resistance genes mef(A), subclasses mef(A) and mef(E), as well as erm(B).
Of the 1105 typeable S. pneumoniae isolates, 265 (24%) were macrolide-resistant; 22% in 2005, 33.3% in 2006, 23.7% in 2007, and 20.5% in 2009 (P=0.398). Among these macrolide-resistant pneumococci, 28.5% possessed erm(B), 24.3% erm(B)+mef(E), 41.8% mef(E), and 5.3% mef(A). A mef gene as the sole resistance determinant was carried by 31% of macrolide-resistant isolates belonging to PCV7 serotypes and 75.8% of the non-PCV7 serotypes. Across the 4 annual surveillances, pneumococci carrying mef(A) gradually disappeared, whereas serotype 19F isolates carrying both erm(B) and mef(E) persisted without significant yearly fluctuations. Among isolates belonging to non-PCV7 serotypes, macrolide-resistance was observed in those of serotypes 6A, 19A, 10A, 15A, 15B/C, 35F, 35A, and 24F. In 2009, ie 5 years after the introduction of PCV7 in our country, 59% of macrolide-resistant pneumococci belonged to non-PCV7 serotypes.
Across the study period, the annual frequency of macrolide-resistant isolates did not change significantly, but in 2009 a marked shift to non-PCV7 serotypes occurred. Overall, more than half of the macrolide-resistant isolates possessed erm(B) either alone or in combination with mef(E). erm(B) dominated among isolates belonging to PCV7 serotypes, but not among those of non-PCV7 serotypes.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · BMC Infectious Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Protracted bacterial bronchitis is a major cause of persistent cough in childhood. The organisms most commonly isolated are nontypable Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae . There are no studies addressing typing of these organisms when recovered from the lower airways.
Isolates of these two organisms (identified in BAL samples from children undergoing routine investigation of a chronic cough thought to be attributable to a protracted bacterial bronchitis) were subject to typing. Samples were collected in Sheffield, England, and Athens, Greece. The majority of the children from Sheffield had received pneumococcal-conjugate vaccines 7 or 13 (PCV-7 or PCV-13) conjugate vaccine but only a minority of Greek children had received PCV-7.
All 18 S pneumoniae isolates from Greek BAL samples are serotypes contained in PCV-13 while 10 are contained in PCV-7. In contrast, 28 of the 39 samples from Sheffield contained serotypes that are not included in PCV-13. All 26 of the nontypable H influenzae samples obtained in Sheffield produced distinct multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis profiles. There was a significant difference between children from Athens and Sheffield in the distribution of serotypes contained or not contained in the pneumococcal vaccine ( P = .04). More specifically, immunization with pneumococcal vaccine was related with isolation of S pneumoniae serotypes not included in the vaccine (OR, 0.021; CI, 0.003-0.115; P < .001).
The data suggest that both vaccine and nonvaccine S pneumoniae serotypes may play a role in protracted bacterial bronchitis and provide some hints that serotype replacement may occur in response to the introduction of conjugate vaccines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a serious cause of morbidity and mortality in hospital environment, but also, lately, in the community. This case report is, to our knowledge, the first detailed description of a community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus ST80 orbital cellulitis in a previously healthy neonate. Possible predisposing factors of microbial acquisition and treatment selection are also discussed.
A 28-day-old Caucasian boy was referred to our hospital with the diagnosis of right orbital cellulitis. His symptoms included right eye proptosis, periocular edema and redness. Empirical therapy of intravenous daptomycin, rifampin and ceftriaxone was initiated. The culture of pus yielded a methicillin-resistant S. aureus isolate and the molecular analysis revealed that it was a Panton-Valentine leukocidine-positive ST80 strain. The combination antimicrobial therapy was continued for 42 days and the infection was successfully controlled.
Clinicians should be aware that young infants, even without any predisposing condition, are susceptible to orbital cellulitis caused by community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Prompt initiation of the appropriate empirical therapy, according to the local epidemiology, should successfully address the infection, preventing ocular and systemic complications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a common cause of morbidity among children in developed countries and accounts for an incidence of 10-40 cases per 1000 children in the first 5 years of life. Given the clinical, social and economic importance of CAP, there is general agreement that prompt and adequate therapy is essential to reduce the impact of the disease. The aim of this discussion paper is to consider critically the available data concerning the treatment of uncomplicated pediatric CAP and to consider when, how and for how long it should be treated. This review has identified the various reasons that make it difficult to establish a rational approach to the treatment of pediatric CAP, including the definition of CAP, the absence of a pediatric CAP severity score, the difficulty of identifying the etiology, limited pharmacokinetic (PK)/pharmacodynamic (PD) studies, the high resistance of the most frequent respiratory pathogens to the most widely used anti-infectious agents and the lack of information concerning the changes in CAP epidemiology following the introduction of new vaccines against respiratory pathogens. More research is clearly required in various areas, such as the etiology of CAP and the reasons for its complications, the better definition of first- and second-line antibiotic therapies (including the doses and duration of parenteral and oral antibiotic treatment), the role of antiviral treatment and on how to follow-up patients with CAP. Finally, further efforts are needed to increase vaccination coverage against respiratory pathogens and to conduct prospective studies of their impact.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We studied the attitudes with regard to occupational vaccines and vaccination coverage among healthcare workers in pediatric departments. Completed vaccination rates were 33%, 33%, 41.7%, 3%, 5.8%, 69.2% and 36.3% against measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and tetanus-diphtheria, respectively. Susceptibility rates were 14.2%, 15.7%, 14.6%, 7.6%, 87.4%, 22.6% and 61.8% for measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and tetanus-diphtheria, respectively. Mandatory vaccinations were supported by 70.6% of healthcare workers, with considerable differences by target disease.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to study whether the use of the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) led to a shift in the Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes distribution and whether it modified the resistance to antibiotics, 2649 nasopharyngeal samples were obtained between 2005 and 2009, from children attending day-care centers in Central Greece. The percentage of attendees vaccinated with ≥1 dose of PCV7 increased from 12.9% (2005) to 95.5% (2009). Non-PCV7 serotypes replaced those belonging to PCV7. In 2009, 19F was virtually the only PCV7 serotype that continued to circulate. A significant increase in the frequency of penicillin-intermediate (oral penicillin V breakpoints) isolates coincided with a marked reduction in isolates with high resistance to penicillin. Several non-PCV7 serotypes colonized the children, but their frequency varied substantially from year to year. Each one of 14 specific non-PCV7 serotypes, i.e. 6A, 11A, 15B, 23A, 10A, 16F, 38, 22F, 15C, 19A, 35F, 24F, 6C, and 7F, accounted for ≥2% of pneumococcal isolates in at least 2 annual surveillances. An increase in non-PCV7 serotypes with antibiotic resistance, beyond 6A and 19A, occurred. Intermediate resistance to penicillin was observed in serotype 23B, 15B, 15C, 15A, 35F, 6C, and 24F pneumococci. Their exact role in invasive and non-invasive disease remains to be seen in the years ahead.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are common in children and represent a significant cause of antibiotic abuse which contributes to the development of antibiotic resistance. A survey was conducted in Cyprus in 2006 to assess parents' and pediatricians' Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) concerning the role of antibiotics in children with URTIs. A school-based stratified geographic clustering sampling was used and a pre-tested KAP questionnaire was distributed. A different questionnaire was distributed to paediatricians. Demographic factors associated with antibiotic misuse were identified by backward logistic regression analysis. The parental overall response rate was 69.3%. Parents (N = 1,462) follow pediatricians advice and rarely administer antibiotics acquired over the counter. Although a third expects an antibiotic prescription for URTI symptoms, most deny pressuring their doctors. Low parental education was the most important independent risk factor positively related to antibiotic misuse (OR = 2.88, 95%CI 2.02 to 4.12, p < 0.001). Pediatricians (N = 33) denied prescribing antibiotics after parental pressure but admit that parents ask for antibiotics and believe they expect antibiotic prescriptions even when not needed. In conclusion, Cypriotic parents trust their primary care providers. Although it appears that antibiotic misuse is not driven by parental pressure, the pediatricians' view differs.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are common in children. The cause of URTIs is usually viral, but parents' attitudes often contribute to inappropriate prescription of antibiotics, promoting antibiotic resistance. The objective of this study was to document and analyse parental beliefs on antibiotic use for children with URTIs in Greece, a country with high levels of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance.
A knowledge-attitude-practice questionnaire was developed and distributed to Greek parents caring for children who were 5-6 years old, between January and July of the same school year. The sample of the study contained parents from all geographic areas of Greece.
The majority of Greek parents (80%) believed that UTRIs are mostly self-limited, although 74% of them expected to receive antibiotics when such a diagnosis was given. Earache was the most common reason for which parents expected antibiotics (45%). Greek parents rarely gave antibiotics to their children without medical advice (10%) and most (88%) believed that unnecessary antibiotic use drives antibiotic resistance and they were happy to receive symptomatic therapy if instructed by their physician. Almost 70% of parents confused antibiotics with other medicines used for symptomatic therapy for a child with URTI.
Greek parents have a trusted relationship with their paediatrician and rarely give antibiotics without medical advice, indicating that parents contribute less than expected to antibiotic misuse. Parents also appreciate the benign course of most URTIs and the fact that unnecessary antibiotic use is harmful. More time needs to be invested in educating mostly physicians on the potential benefit from reducing antibiotic prescribing for children with URTI.