Noel D McCarthy

The University of Warwick, Coventry, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (67)364.43 Total impact

  • Karen J Ford · Sarah Lang · Andrew J Pollard · Noel D McCarthy
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    ABSTRACT: Immunization advice services can support health professionals by providing rapid access to accurate and reliable current information and advice. The Vaccine Advice for Clinicians Service (VACCSline) is a service for health professionals working within the Thames Valley Area of the UK. We reviewed all 4299 enquiries received by VACCSline over 3 years. Queries were summarized by vaccine type and topic of enquiry. Associations with profession and workplace of the enquirer were tested using Fisher's exact tests. Incomplete immunization status and non-UK schedules were the most common topics of enquiry. Practice nurses were the main service users followed by doctors. Enquiries varied by professional role. Alterations to the immunization programme led to temporary changes to enquiry content and some more persistent adjustments in the balance of enquiries were identified, such as an increase in enquiries relating to vaccination in pregnancy. The content of enquiries to VACCSline is broad, confirming the need for immunizers to have a wide knowledge base and access to specialist advice to assist with complex scenarios. Systematic data capture provided intelligence to guide training and materials to support immunizers. A wider networked application of this approach could improve support for immunizers. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Faculty of Public Health. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Public Health
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    ABSTRACT: This serological follow up study assessed the kinetics of antibody response in children who previously participated in a single centre, open-label, randomised controlled trial of low-dose compared to standard-dose diphtheria booster preschool vaccinations in the United Kingdom (UK). Children had previously been randomised to receive one of three combination vaccines: either a combined adsorbed tetanus, low-dose diphtheria, 5-component acellular pertussis and inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) (Tdap-IPV, Repevax(®); Sanofi Pasteur MSD); a combined adsorbed tetanus, low-dose diphtheria and 5-component acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap, Covaxis(®); Sanofi Pasteur MSD) given concomitantly with oral polio vaccine (OPV); or a combined adsorbed standard-dose diphtheria, tetanus, 2-component acellular pertussis and IPV (DTap-IPV, Tetravac(®); Sanofi Pasteur MSD). Blood samples for the follow-up study were taken at 1, 3 and 5 years after participation in the original trial (median, 5.07 years of age at year 1), and antibody persistence to each vaccine antigen measured against defined serological thresholds of protection. All participants had evidence of immunity to diphtheria with antitoxin concentrations greater than 0.01IU/mL five years after booster vaccination and 75%, 67% and 79% of children who received Tdap-IPV, Tdap+OPV and DTap-IPV, respectively, had protective antitoxin levels greater than 0.1IU/mL. Long lasting protective immune responses to tetanus and polio antigens were also observed in all groups, though polio responses were lower in the sera of those who received OPV. Low-dose diphtheria vaccines provided comparable protection to the standard-dose vaccine and are suitable for use for pre-school booster vaccination. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Vaccine
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    ABSTRACT: The contribution of wild birds as a source of human campylobacteriosis was investigated in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK) over a ten year period. The probable origin of human C. jejuni genotypes, as described by multi-locus sequence typing, was estimated by comparison to reference populations of isolates from farm animals and five wild bird families, using the STRUCTURE algorithm. Wild bird-attributed isolates accounted for between 476 (2.1%) and 543 (3.5%) cases annually. This proportion did not vary significantly by study year (P=0.934) but varied seasonally, with wild bird attributed genotypes comprising a greater proportion of isolates during warmer compared to cooler months (P=0.003). The highest proportion of wild bird-attributed illness occurred in August (P<0.001), with a significantly lower proportion in November (P=0.018). Among genotypes attributed to specific groups of wild birds, seasonality was most apparent for Turdidae-attributed isolates, which were absent during cooler, winter months. This study is consistent with some wild bird species representing a persistent source of campylobacteriosis, and contributing a distinctive seasonal pattern to disease burden. If Oxfordshire is representative of the UK as a whole in this respect, these data suggest that the national burden of wild bird-attributed isolates could be in the order of 10,000 annually. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Environmental Microbiology Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Cattle are the second most common source of human campylobacteriosis. However, routes to account for this scale of transmission have not been identified. In contrast to chicken, red meat is not heavily contaminated at point of sale. Although effective pasteurization prevents milk-borne infection, apparently sporadic infections may include undetected outbreaks from raw or perhaps incompletely pasteurized milk. Methods: A rise in Campylobacter gastroenteritis in an isolated population was investigated using whole-genome sequencing (WGS), an epidemiological study, and environmental investigations. Results: A single strain was identified in 20 cases, clearly distinguishable from other local strains and a reference population by WGS. A case-case analysis showed association of infection with the outbreak strain and milk from a single dairy (odds ratio, 8; Fisher exact test P value = .023). Despite temperature records indicating effective pasteurization, mechanical faults likely to lead to incomplete pasteurization of part of the milk were identified by further testing and examination of internal components of dairy equipment. Conclusions: Here, milk distribution concentrated on a small area, including school-aged children with low background incidence of campylobacteriosis, facilitated outbreak identification. Low-level contamination of widely distributed milk would not produce as detectable an outbreak signal. Such hidden outbreaks may contribute to the substantial burden of apparently sporadic Campylobacter from cattle where transmission routes are not certain. The effective discrimination of outbreak isolates from a reference population using WGS shows that integrating these data and approaches into surveillance could support the detection as well as investigation of such outbreaks.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Clinical Infectious Diseases
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    ABSTRACT: Background Since 2011, an increase in Shigella flexneri has been observed in men due to faecal-oral transmission associated with sexual contact between men who have sex with men (MSM). Sexual history is not routinely collected for cases of gastrointestinal infections.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Sexually Transmitted Infections
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    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · American Journal of Epidemiology
  • Sarah Lang · Karen J Ford · Tessa John · Andrew J Pollard · Noel D McCarthy
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The success of immunisation programmes depends on the quality with which they are administered. The Vaccine Advice for CliniCians Service (VACCSline) is an advice service to support immunisers and promote excellence in immunisation practice, through specialist guidance and local education, covering a catchment population of two million people. All enquiries are recorded onto a database and categorised. Vaccine error is selected when a vaccine has not been prepared or administered according to national recommendations or relevant expert guidance. Method: All enquiries from 2009 to 2011, categorised on the VACCSline database as 'vaccine error' were analysed and subjected to a detailed free-text review. Results: Of 4301 enquiries, 158 (3.7%) concerned vaccine errors. The greatest frequency of errors, 145 (92.9%) concerned immunisations delivered in primary care services; 92% of all errors occurred during either vaccine selection and preparation or history checking and scheduling. Administration of the wrong vaccine was the most frequent error recorded in 33.3% of reports. A shared first letter of the vaccine name was noted to occur in 13 error reports in which the incorrect vaccine was inadvertently administered. Consultations involving pairs of siblings were associated with various errors in seven enquiries. Failure to revaccinate after spillage (seven reports) showed a widespread knowledge gap in this area. Conclusion: Advice line enquiries provide intelligence to alert immunisers to the errors that are commonly reported and may serve to highlight processes that predispose to errors, thus informing immuniser training and updating.
    No preview · Article · May 2014 · Quality in primary care
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    ABSTRACT: Patients born outside the UK have contributed to a 20% rise in the UK's tuberculosis incidence since 2000, but their effect on domestic transmission is not known. Here we use whole-genome sequencing to investigate the epidemiology of tuberculosis transmission in an unselected population over 6 years. We identified all residents with Oxfordshire postcodes with a Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture or a clinical diagnosis of tuberculosis between Jan 1, 2007, and Dec 31, 2012, using local databases and checking against the national Enhanced Tuberculosis Surveillance database. We used Illumina technology to sequence all available M tuberculosis cultures from identified cases. Sequences were clustered by genetic relatedness and compared retrospectively with contact investigations. The first patient diagnosed in each cluster was defined as the index case, with links to subsequent cases assigned first by use of any epidemiological linkage, then by genetic distance, and then by timing of diagnosis. Although we identified 384 patients with a diagnosis of tuberculosis, country of birth was known for 380 and we sequenced isolates from 247 of 269 cases with culture-confirmed disease. 39 cases were genomically linked within 13 clusters, implying 26 local transmission events. Only 11 of 26 possible transmissions had been previously identified through contact tracing. Of seven genomically confirmed household clusters, five contained additional genomic links to epidemiologically unidentified non-household members. 255 (67%) patients were born in a country with high tuberculosis incidence, conferring a local incidence of 109 cases per 100 000 population per year in Oxfordshire, compared with 3·5 cases per 100 000 per year for those born in low-incidence countries. However, patients born in the low-incidence countries, predominantly UK, were more likely to have pulmonary disease (adjusted odds ratio 1·8 [95% CI 1·2-2·9]; p=0·009), social risk factors (4·4 [2·0-9·4]; p<0·0001), and be part of a local transmission cluster (4·8 [1·6-14·8]; p=0·006). Although inward migration has contributed to the overall tuberculosis incidence, our findings suggest that most patients born in high-incidence countries reactivate latent infection acquired abroad and are not involved in local onward transmission. Systematic screening of new entrants could further improve tuberculosis control, but it is important that health care remains accessible to all individuals, especially high-risk groups, if tuberculosis control is not to be jeopardised. UK Clinical Research Collaboration (Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research [NIHR]), and NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · The Lancet Respiratory Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: A free-range broiler breeder flock was studied in order to determine the natural patterns of Campylobacter colonisation over a period of 63 weeks. Campylobacter STs were not mutually exclusive and on average colonised only 17.7% of the birds tested at any time. Campylobacter STs typically reached a peak in prevalence upon initial detection in the flock before tailing off, although the ST and antigenic flaA short variable region in combination were stable over a number of months. There was evidence that, with a couple of exceptions, the ecology of C. jejuni and C. coli differed, with the latter forming a more stable population. Despite being free-range, no newly colonising STs were detected over a 6 week period in autumn and a 10 week period in winter, towards the end of the study. There was limited evidence that those identified amongst broiler chicken flocks on the same farm site were likely to colonise the breeder flock earlier (R2 0.16, p 0.01). These results suggest that there is natural control of Campylobacter dynamics within a flock which could potentially be exploited in designing new intervention strategies, and that the two different species should perhaps be considered separately.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Environmental Microbiology
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    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · American journal of epidemiology
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    ABSTRACT: Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was proposed in 1998 as a portable sequence-based method for identifying clonal relationships among bacteria. Today, in the whole-genome era of microbiology, the need for systematic, standardized descriptions of bacterial genotypic variation remains a priority. Here, to meet this need, we draw on the successes of MLST and 16S rRNA gene sequencing to propose a hierarchical gene-by-gene approach that reflects functional and evolutionary relationships and catalogues bacteria 'from domain to strain'. Our gene-based typing approach using online platforms such as the Bacterial Isolate Genome Sequence Database (BIGSdb) allows the scalable organization and analysis of whole-genome sequence data.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Nature Reviews Microbiology
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    ABSTRACT: Campylobacter- spp.-related gastroenteritis in diners at a catering college restaurant was associated with consumption of duck liver pâté. Population genetic analysis indicated that isolates from duck samples were typical of isolates from farmed poultry. Campylobacter spp. contamination of duck liver may present a hazard similar to the increasingly recognized contamination of chicken liver.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Emerging Infectious Diseases
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    ABSTRACT: Antimicrobial resistance is increasing among clinical Campylobacter cases and is common among isolates from other sources, specifically retail poultry - a major source of human infection. In this study the antimicrobial susceptibility of isolates from a UK-wide survey of Campylobacter in retail poultry in 2001 and 2004--5 was investigated. The occurrence of phenotypes resistant to tetracycline, quinolones (ciprofloxacin and naladixic acid), erythromycin, chloramphenicol and aminoglycosides was quantified. This was compared with a phylogeny for these isolates based upon Multi Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) to investigate the pattern of antimicrobial resistance acquisition. Antimicrobial resistance was present in all lineage clusters, but statistical testing showed a non-random distribution. Erythromycin resistance was associated with Campylobacter coli. For all antimicrobials tested, resistant isolates were distributed among relatively distant lineages indicative of widespread acquisition. There was also evidence of clustering of resistance phenotypes within lineages; indicative of local expansion of resistant strains. These results are consistent with the widespread acquisition of antimicrobial resistance among chicken associated Campylobacter isolates, either through mutation or horizontal gene transfer, and the expansion of these lineages as a proportion of the population. As Campylobacter are not known to multiply outside of the host and long-term carriage in humans is extremely infrequent in industrialized countries, the most likely location for the proliferation of resistant lineages is in farmed chickens.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · BMC Microbiology
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    Full-text · Dataset · Jul 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Sequence-based typing is essential for understanding the epidemiology of Campylobacter infections, a major worldwide cause of bacterial gastroenteritis. We demonstrate the practical and rapid exploitation of whole-genome sequencing to provide routine definitive characterization of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli for clinical and public health purposes. Short-read data from 384 Campylobacter clinical isolates collected over 4 months in Oxford, United Kingdom, were assembled de novo. Contigs were deposited at the website and automatically annotated for 1,667 loci. Typing and phylogenetic information was extracted and comparative analyses were performed for various subsets of loci, up to the level of the whole genome, using the Genome Comparator and Neighbor-net algorithms. The assembled sequences (for 379 isolates) were diverse and resembled collections from previous studies of human campylobacteriosis. Small subsets of very closely related isolates originated mainly from repeated sampling from the same patients and, in one case, likely laboratory contamination. Much of the within-patient variation occurred in phase-variable genes. Clinically and epidemiologically informative data can be extracted from whole-genome sequence data in real time with straightforward, publicly available tools. These analyses are highly scalable, are transparent, do not require closely related genome reference sequences, and provide improved resolution (i) among Campylobacter clonal complexes and (ii) between very closely related isolates. Additionally, these analyses rapidly differentiated unrelated isolates, allowing the detection of single-strain clusters. The approach is widely applicable to analyses of human bacterial pathogens in real time in clinical laboratories, with little specialist training required.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Journal of clinical microbiology
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    Noel D McCarthy · Iain A Gillespie · Sarah J O'Brien

    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · American journal of epidemiology
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    ABSTRACT: In November, 2012, a 28-year-old man, presented with a 4-day history of fever, shivers, sweating, and vomiting. He had type-2 diabetes, which was being treated with sitagliptin and metformin. On admission he had evi dence of a systemic infl ammatory response (temperature 39·3°C, pulse 160 bpm, respiratory rate 30 per min, white cell count 15·0×10⁹ per L, with 12·3 neutrophils and 0·2 mye locytes), abnormalities of blood clotting (INR 1·6, PTT 57 s, fi brinogen 0·99 g/L (normal range 1·5–4·5); plate lets 19×10⁹ per L), multi-organ failure (creatinine 167 μmol/L, raised alanine aminotransferase 511 U/L and bilirubin 87 μmol/L), progressive hypoxia, hyperglycaemia glucose 20·6 mmol/L), and lactic acidosis (PH 7·29, lactate 7·5 mmol/L). He was diagnosed with overwhelming sepsis and transferred to the intensive care unit. Initial treatment was with piperacillin-tazobactam, insulin, oxygen, and aggressive fl uid replacement, including platelet infusions, fresh frozen plasma, and cryo-precipitate. Ventilatory support was required 15 h after admission, at which time he was anuric. Renal replace-ment therapy was needed for 21 days and ventilatory support for 38 days, partly because of pseudomonas superinfection of the chest that was diagnosed on day 17. Tests for legionella and leptospira and initial blood cultures were negative. Serum taken 30 days after admission had a high IgG titre to Seoul hantavirus (1:10 000 by IFA, Euroimmun, Medizinische Labor-diagnostika AG), although serum from 1 month before admission (sent for hepatitis screening because of a mild transaminasaemia) was negative. Hantavirus RNA was not detected in either sample. We learnt that he kept two pet agouti rats (Rattus norvegicus) that he had acquired from a larger pack bred in England. Seoul hantavirus RNA was detected by RT-PCR 1 in blood taken from these two rats and from seven of the larger group. In November, 2011, one of the English owners had been hospitalised with fever, renal impairment, spleno megaly, and thrombo cytopenia that was secondary to an unidentifi ed viral illness. Retrospective Seoul hantavirus serological Lancet 2013; 381: 1070 Rare and Imported Pathogens Department (S
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · The Lancet
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    ABSTRACT: We report the detection of a strain of Seoul hantavirus (SEOV) in pet rats in England and Wales. The discovery followed an investigation of a case of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Wales. Hantavirus RNA was detected via real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and classic RT-PCR in pet rats belonging to the patient. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis confirmed the virus to be a SEOV that is similar, but not identical, to a previously reported United Kingdom strain from wild rats.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Eurosurveillance: bulletin europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin
  • Noel McCarthy

    No preview · Article · Feb 2013 · The Lancet Infectious Diseases
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    Preview · Dataset · Jan 2013

Publication Stats

2k Citations
364.43 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • The University of Warwick
      Coventry, England, United Kingdom
  • 2014
    • Public Health England
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2004-2014
    • University of Oxford
      • • Department of Zoology
      • • Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine (CCVTM)
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
    • University of Oslo
      Kristiania (historical), Oslo, Norway
  • 2013
    • Swansea University
      • Institute of Life Science "ILS"
      Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 2005
    • University of Wuerzburg
      • Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology
      Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany