[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A total of 359 vancomycin-resistant enterococci (344 Enterococcus faecium and 15 E. faecalis) collected during 2007 from eight tertiary-care hospitals in Greece were analysed for genotypic characteristics. Four common clones, ST412, ST203, ST16 and ST17, were identified among E. faecium and one clone, ST28, among E. faecalis strains.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · European Journal of Clinical Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Noroviruses are the major cause of gastroenteritis sporadic cases and outbreaks worldwide. The purpose of the present study was to estimate the importance of Norovirus as causal agent of sporadic cases of acute gastroenteritis and to determine the genogroup of the circulating strains in Northern Greece during the period 2005-2006. Thus a total of 460 faecal samples (142 derived from adults and 318 from children) were examined for Norovirus presence by application of an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Specifically, the viral antigen was detected with a commercialy available EIA kit, whereas viral RNA was detected with RT-PCR targeted to a region of the polymerase gene. Norovirus was detected in 51 out of the 460 samples (11.1%). All positive samples were also examined with a second RT-PCR targeted to region D of the capsid, which is suitable for the separation of GI and GII genogroups. This second RT-PCR revealed 38 strains of the GII genogroup and one strain of the GI genogroup, while for the remainder 12 strains it was negative. Norovirus was detected in all age groups and during the whole period of study. However, two seasonal peaks were observed. Our results indicate that Norovirus constitutes an important cause of acute gastroenteritis in Greece. The GII is the dominant genogroup in Greece, as is the case worldwide. The combination of two diagnostic methods implements increased diagnostic sensitivity whenever the presence of Norovirus is investigated.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epstein-Barr virus esophagitis in an immunocompetent host is a rare entity. It represents either primary infection or reactivation and is usually characterized by acute onset and extensive ulcerative involvement of the upper and middle third of the esophagus.
A case of Epstein-Barr virus esophagitis in a 27-year-old woman with no immunosuppressive factors, and having gastrointestinal symptoms is reported here. Using real-time polymerase chain reaction, biopsy and blood specimens were tested for candida and herpes viruses. Epstein-Barr virus DNA was detected in tissue samples. The patient was treated with acyclovir with resolution of the symptomatology.
The prevalence of esophagitis remains undefined in both immunodeficient and immunocompetent individuals and should be taken into consideration in a patient presenting with esophageal symptoms. This case report stresses the role of Epstein-Barr virus infection in the pathogenesis of esophagitis, a rare condition in an immunocompetent host. In this setting, active infection may represent a primary infection or reactivation. Histopathological examination alone may miss the diagnosis, while polymerase chain reaction techniques optimize the diagnostic sensitivity, establish a diagnosis, and lead to an appropriate therapy.
Preview · Article · Jun 2009 · Journal of Medical Case Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective was to investigate the genetic relationships among Echovirus 6 (E6) strains circulating in Greece and to compare them with the respective strains from other geographic regions. Cerebrospinal fluid samples collected during the period 2006-2007 from 84 patients with aseptic meningitis or encephalitis were tested for a probable enteroviral infection. Two RT-PCRs amplifying overlapping regions of the VP1 gene were performed, while isolation procedures were applied in one third of cases. All PCR products were sequenced, and further phylogenetic analysis was performed for E6 strains. Enteroviruses were detected in 27 out of 84 cases (32.14%) and E6 was the predominant serotype (11 out of 27, 40.74%). Three distinct clades of Greek E6 sequences were seen in the phylogenetic tree: sequences of the present study were placed in clades A and B, while sequences of a former study in Greece were clustered in clade C. Sequences of clades A and C presented high genetic homology (>95%) with sequences from other countries, while sequences of clade B were unique, differing by more than 15% from all known E6 sequences. The most prevalent enterovirus in Greece during the period 2006-2007 was E6, and was associated with aseptic meningitis. A high degree of heterogeneity was observed among Greek E6 strains.
No preview · Article · Feb 2009 · European Journal of Clinical Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human herpesviruses (HHVs) and enteroviruses (EVs) are the major causative agents of CNS viral infections. The aim of the study was to identify the etiology and determine the frequency of aseptic meningitis and encephalitis due to HHVs and EVs in an immunocompetent adult population.
Eighty-one patients (ages >or=15) with aseptic meningitis or encephalitis treated in the Infectious Diseases Hospital of Thessaloniki, Greece, during 2003-2006, were included in the study. Polymerase chain reaction for detection of herpes- and enterovirus genome direct in cerebrospinal fluid samples was performed.
Based on clinical and laboratory data, 36/81 patients had meningitis and 45/81 had encephalitis. Etiology was defined in 11 patients (31%) with aseptic meningitis. EVs were the major causative agents (8/36, 22%), followed by varicella zoster virus (2/36, 5%) and herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) (1/36, 3%). Etiology was identified in 8 of 45 (18%) patients with encephalitis, EV (4/45, 9%) and HSV-1 (4/45, 9%) being the most common pathogens.
Enteroviruses are the most common cause of adult aseptic meningitis and together with HSV-1 the main causes of encephalitis.
No preview · Article · Sep 2008 · European Journal of Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A total of 10420 Gram-positive cocci (including staphylococci, enterococci and various groups of streptococci) collected from clinically significant specimens in ten Greek hospitals during 2006--2007 were tested for their susceptibility to daptomycin. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined by the broth microdilution method. Daptomycin demonstrated very high activity against Enterococcus faecalis (MIC at which 50% of the isolates were inhibited (MIC50) = 1mg/L and MIC at which 90% of the isolates were inhibited (MIC90) = 1.36 mg/L), Enterococcus faecium (MIC50 = 1.36 mg/L and MIC90 = 1.90 mg/L), Streptococcus pyogenes (MIC50 = 0.12 mg/L and MIC90 = 0.50mg/L), Streptococcus agalactiae (MIC50 = 0.09 mg/L and MIC90 = 0.12 mg/L), Streptococcus pneumoniae (MIC50 = 0.24 mg/L and MIC90 = 0.5 mg/L) and viridans group streptococci (MIC50 = 0.50 mg/L and MIC90 = 0.89 mg/L). Resistance to linezolid and vancomycin for enterococci and to penicillin for streptococci appears to be independent of reduced susceptibility to daptomycin. On the other hand, daptomycin was also active against meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MIC50 = 0.44 mg/L and MIC90 = 0.78 mg/L) and meticillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci (MIC50 = 0.24 mg/L and MIC90 = 0.44 mg/L); however, 0.9% of the staphylococci tested had an MIC > 1mg/L, which is the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute breakpoint proposed for susceptibility. For all tested organism groups, resistance to daptomycin was not associated with glycopeptide resistance.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2008 · International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Three major groups of the plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (Qnr) determinants have been identified so far in Enterobacteriacae; QnrA that includes six, QnrB 19 and QnrS three variants, respectively (6). ...
Full-text · Article · Jun 2008 · Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study describes the development of a real-time PCR protocol for rapid detection of the most common bla(VIM) (bla(VIM-1), bla(VIM-2), bla(VIM-3), bla(VIM-4), bla(VIM-5), bla(VIM-6), bla(VIM-10), bla(VIM-11), bla(VIM-12)) and bla(IMP) (bla(IMP-1), bla(IMP-2), bla(IMP-6), bla(IMP-8), bla(IMP-10), bla(IMP-15), bla(IMP-19), bla(IMP-20)) genes in a single reaction. The genes were specifically detected and clearly differentiated into four groups, i.e., (i) bla(VIM-1)-like (bla(VIM-1), bla(VIM-4), bla(VIM-5), bla(VIM-12)); (ii) bla(VIM-2)-like (bla(VIM-2), bla(VIM-3), bla(VIM-6), bla(VIM-10), bla(VIM-11)); (iii) bla(IMP-1)-like (bla(IMP-1), bla(IMP-6), bla(IMP-10)); and (iv) bla(IMP-2)-like (bla(IMP-2), bla(IMP-8), bla(IMP-15), bla(IMP-19), bla(IMP-20)), by melting curve analysis of the real-time PCR products. The protocol was used to screen positive bla(VIM-1), bla(VIM-2) and bla(IMP-1) control strains, 70 Gram-negative isolates resistant to carbapenems, and 30 Gram-negative isolates susceptible to carbapenems (negative controls).
Preview · Article · Jan 2008 · Clinical Microbiology and Infection
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enteroviruses are the most common cause of aseptic meningitis, presenting in epidemic or endemic form.
To determine the causative agent of an aseptic meningitis outbreak in autumn, 2005 in Patras, Greece.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples taken during May 2005-February 2006 from children admitted to the Children Hospital of Patras with signs of aseptic meningitis were tested for the presence of enteroviral RNA. Typing was performed by nucleotide analysis.
Enteroviruses were detected in 11 (57.9%) of 19 tested CSF samples. In a 12-day period (27 October-7 November 2005) five aseptic meningitis cases were observed. Echovirus 15 was detected in all five cases, and differed from the prototype strain by 27.6%. Enteroviruses before and after this cluster of cases were of different serotypes (Echovirus 9, Echovirus 6). All patients with Echovirus 15 infection were male with a mean age of 7.7 years (2 months-13 years), all recovered successfully.
This is the first report of a cluster of aseptic meningitis cases caused by Echovirus 15. The causative agent was a new variant of Echovirus 15.
No preview · Article · Oct 2007 · Journal of Clinical Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enteroviruses (EVs) are the most commonly identified cause of aseptic meningitis. Rapid detection and characterization of EV meningitis is essential in making decisions for patient management and treatment. A total of 52 cases of acute aseptic meningitis that occurred from March 2003 to April 2005 were investigated for EVs using viral culture and/or molecular methods directly in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). EVs were detected in 21 out of 52 (40.4%) patients using reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) and/or tissue culture. EVs were isolated from six out of 37 (16.2%) cultured specimens, while 20 out of 52 (38.4%) specimens yielded positive results when 5'non-coding region (5'NCR) RT-PCR assay was used. One specimen that was culture-positive was RT-PCR-negative. Using the VP1-2A RT-PCR and sequence analysis, 14 of the 21 positive EVs were identified as: four strains of Coxsackie virus B5, five echovirus 11, two echovirus 9, one echovirus 5, one echovirus 14, and one Coxsackie virus A9. Fever, headache, vomiting, and stiff neck were the most pronounced symptoms. Pleocytosis with the predominance of lymphocytes and mild elevated protein levels characterized the CSF specimens. Coxsackie virus B5 and echovirus 11 were the predominant serotypes during the study period. Although there was seasonal enteroviral activity (April-November), cases also occurred in the cold months. The 5'NCR and VP1-2A RT-PCR with sequence analysis were found to be superior to conventional methods for direct diagnosis and the typing of EVs.
No preview · Article · Jan 2006 · Journal of Clinical Laboratory Analysis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in the northern Greek population was determined in 1984, 1994 and 2004, and changes during this period were investigated. In total, 1014, 812 and 958 sera from individuals aged 1 day to 70 years were examined in 1984, 1994 and 2004, respectively, for IgG and IgM anti-Toxoplasma antibodies with the standard immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and microparticle enzyme immunoassay (MEIA). In individuals positive for IgM-specific antibodies, primary infection with Toxoplasma was diagnosed on the basis of the Toxoplasma serological profile (IFA, MEIA, conventional IgM and IgA ELISAs, immunosorbent agglutination assay and IgG avidity test). The prevalence of IgG-specific antibodies in the general population was 37%, 29.9% and 24.1% in 1984, 1994 and 2004, respectively, and was 35.6%, 25.6% and 20%, respectively, in women of reproductive age (15-39 years). The incidence of Toxoplasma infection, based on cases of primary infection and the annual seroconversion rate for the general population, was estimated to be 1.25% and 1.1% in 1984, 1.05% and 0.93% in 1994, and 0.85% and 0.8% in 2004. The significant decline in prevalence, and the shift towards an older age group, observed during this period could be explained by the improved socio-economic situation. The high (80%) proportion of women of reproductive age susceptible to Toxoplasma infection, with an estimated 90-200 neonates infected in utero annually, seems to present a potential risk to public health. Education of the public and prophylactic measures may become increasingly important.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2005 · Clinical Microbiology and Infection
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thirty strains of adenovirus (Ads) associated with ocular disease have been isolated over a period of 4 years in Thessaloniki, Northern Greece. Eleven strains were isolated from sporadic patients with conjunctivitis or keratoconjunctivitis in Thessaloniki city between 1998 and 2000. Nineteen strains were isolated from patients with keratoconjunctivitis during an outbreak of Ads in the area of Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki and Serres cities) in 2002. PCR-sequence method using primers targeted against the hypervariable regions (HVRs) of hexon gene, as well as the neutralization test were used for typing the Ad isolates and assessing a possible relation among these strains, and their genetic variability. Ad4 with very close homology to variant Z-G 95-873 was the most frequent genotype causing sporadic conjunctivitis over a period of 4 years. Two other strains, one Ad2, and one Ad3 were similar to the prototype ones, and a third one shows close homology to the variant of prototype Ad15, the Morrison strain. The genome typing of twenty two Ad8 isolates showed very close homology in their amino acid and nucleotide sequences to the variant of Ad8, strain 1127 (accession no. X74663). Four were isolated from patients with keratoconjunctivitis in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 18 during the outbreak in 2002. As far as strain 1127 is concerned, all the Ad8 isolates showed the same changes in the HVR 1 and HVR 2 except one isolate in 1998, which showed some changes outside the HVRs. During the outbreak of Ad8 keratoconjunctivitis, it was not possible to identify the exact source of infection (nosocomial or/and outpatients). Finally, Ad4 variant Z-G 95-873 and Ad8 which is closely related to the strain 1127, were found to be the predominant adenoviruses circulating in Northern Greece during 1998-2002.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2005 · Journal of Medical Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study assessed immunity to poliomyelitis in a representative sample of 1064 persons living in northern Greece. Antibody prevalences in the individuals tested were 91.1% (95% confidence interval (CI): 89.4-92.8), 92.1% (95% CI: 90.5-93.7) and 83.1% (95% CI: 80.8-85.4) for poliovirus types 1, 2 and 3, respectively. For poliovirus type 3, a gap in immunity was found in individuals aged 10-29 years. Re-vaccination of adolescents living in northern Greece is suggested to ensure herd immunity and to minimise the risk of importation of wild poliovirus from endemic countries.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2005 · Clinical Microbiology and Infection
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Here we report the results of a retrospective study on the epidemiological characteristics and genetic relationships of the virus isolates responsible for the last poliomyelitis cases in Greece. The last wild poliomyelitis case in Greece was detected in 1996, and the last vaccine-related strain was isolated in 1998. The whole of Europe, including Greece, is now considered to be polio-free.
No preview · Article · Jan 2004 · Journal of Clinical Laboratory Analysis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Effects of feeding levels (64 g kg−0.75 d−1 = low; 87 g kg−0.75 = high) and recombinant porcine somatotropin (rpST) on energy balance traits of castrate pigs (approximately 53 kg live weight) in 8 groups of 12 each were studied in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement. In two consecutive balance periods of 12 d each, ambient temperatures were changed 3 °C each day at 0900 in a stepwise fashion from 23 to 8 °C and then upward from 8 to 23 °C. Four groups received 4 mg of rpST per day per animal and four groups received a placebo. Control high feeding level pigs were pair-fed with ad libitum fed rpST-treated pigs. Pigs treated with rpST showed an increased heat production of 65 kJ kg−0.75 d−1 and maintenance requirement (MEm) of 75 kJ kg−0.75 d−1 compared to control. Protein deposition was 130 and 176 g d−1, and fat deposition 210 and 134 g d−1 in control and rpST-treated pigs, respectively. Feed:gain ratio improved from 2.92 to 2.26 and rate of gain from 665 to 840 g d−1 with rpST. High feeding level pigs had increased heat production (+97 kJ kg−0.75) and retained more energy (+220 kJ kg−0.75 d−1). They also showed increased protein and fat depositions, and rate of gain. Pigs at optimal and suboptimal temperatures showed similar metabolic responses to rpST.
No preview · Article · Nov 1997 · Livestock Production Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sera from 308 healthy Greek females of reproductive age were examined for specific IgG antibodies to human parvovirus B19 by recombinant-Elisa to determine the immunity rates of this part of population to parvovirus B19. Also paired maternal sera and amniotic fluids from nine pregnancies with hydrops fetalis were investigated for specific IgG and IgM antibodies and parvovirus DNA by polymerase chain reaction and southern hybridization analysis. The latter study was conducted to find out the participation of parvovirus B19 infection in hydrops fetalis cases in Greece. The overall prevalence of IgG antibodies in healthy Greek females was at a rate of 57.8% rising with age. One case of hydrops fetalis out of the nine examined, was diagnosed prenatally as parvovirus B19 maternal-fetal infection. It was a twin pregnancy with one fetus hydropic and the other growth retarded. Premature birth of liveborn infants was followed by neonatal death, 48 h after delivery. The contribution of parvovirus B19 in cases of non-immune hydrops fetalis was at 11% in this part of the world.
No preview · Article · Sep 1997 · European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recent outbreak of diphtheria in the Newly Independent States (NIS) of the former USSR and the immigration from these high risk areas to Greece prompted us to determine the diphtheria antitoxin levels by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) in 509 healthy individuals (307 males and 202 females) from northern Greece. The population under study was divided in ten age groups from 1 day to > 60 years old. Diphtheria antitoxin levels of > or = 0.1 IU/ml were considered as protective ones. 44.6% of the examined people were found susceptible. The children up to their twenties seem to be immune to diphtheria in a high proportion (86-88.4%). The diphtheria antitoxin levels declined sharply above this age (17.6% in the age group 21-30 years old). The level of protection in adults appeared to be higher in the oldest group (49%). According to these results, the adults are not properly protected. Booster doses of vaccine for them are recommended to improve the resistance of the northern Greek population from possible infection by toxigenic stains of Corynebacterium diphtheriae, imported or endogenous.
No preview · Article · Jul 1997 · European Journal of Epidemiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thirty two pregnant women, immune to human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) before conception, were examined with a combination of amniocentesis, and blood sampling for fetal HCMV infection. The pregnant women had no history of recurrent infection and they all had normal ultrasonographic findings. Maternal sera and amniotic fluids were examined for anti-HCMV antibodies and viral DNA by enzyme immunoassay and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). All maternal sera were negative for viral DNA and IgM anti-HCMV antibodies. However, HCMV DNA was detected in the amniotic fluid of four pregnant women. These four cases were considered as fetal HCMV infections. Three of them were followed up after birth. The three neonates appeared clinically normal at birth, but HCMV DNA was detected in their urine specimens and in two of them in the cord blood sera. Although the neonates were asymptomatic at birth, the possibility of developing sequelae later on, cannot be excluded. The results show that HCMV recurrent maternal infection is silent and difficult to be suspected and diagnosed. They also show that fetal HCMV infection is not rare among pre-immune pregnant women.
No preview · Article · Dec 1996 · European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Following the WHO programme to monitor influenza, the National Influenza Centre for N. Greece presents the results of a laboratory surveillance during 1983-93. Influenza viruses were isolated every year except for 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons. Type A viruses predominated in 1983-84, 1985-86, 1988-89 and 1989-90. Type B viruses were prevalent in 1990-91 and 1992-93. Both types of A and B viruses circulated concurrently in the community during the winters of 1984-85 and 1991-92. Seroconversions (CF tests) occurred each year against A, B or both types of influenza viruses. In 1986-87 and 1987-88 when no viruses were recovered, there were seroconversions to B viruses, suggesting influenza B activity in the area. Serological surveys by haemagglutination inhibition (HI) tests were also conducted in 1986-87 and 1988-89. The patterns of the isolated strains were similar to those recorded worldwide at the same time. There have been however differences in the virulence of the viruses and the duration of influenza seasons in this part of the world during 1983-93.
No preview · Article · Apr 1995 · Journal of Infection