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Journal: The Lancet infectious diseases


The emergence of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that can persist in the community and replace existing hospital-adapted lineages of MRSA means that it is necessary to understand transmission dynamics in terms of hospitals and the community as one entity. We assessed the use of whole-genome sequencing to enhance detection of MRSA transmission between these settings.

Concepts: Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcaceae


18,500 laboratory-confirmed deaths caused by the 2009 pandemic influenza A H1N1 were reported worldwide for the period April, 2009, to August, 2010. This number is likely to be only a fraction of the true number of the deaths associated with 2009 pandemic influenza A H1N1. We aimed to estimate the global number of deaths during the first 12 months of virus circulation in each country.

Concepts: Influenza, Swine influenza, Pandemic, Influenza vaccine, 2009 flu pandemic, Influenza A virus subtype H1N1, Pandemic H1N1/09 virus, H1N1


A new betacoronavirus-Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)-has been identified in patients with severe acute respiratory infection. Although related viruses infect bats, molecular clock analyses have been unable to identify direct ancestors of MERS-CoV. Anecdotal exposure histories suggest that patients had been in contact with dromedary camels or goats. We investigated possible animal reservoirs of MERS-CoV by assessing specific serum antibodies in livestock.

Concepts: Severe acute respiratory syndrome, Livestock


Yersinia pestis has caused at least three human plague pandemics. The second (Black Death, 14-17th centuries) and third (19-20th centuries) have been genetically characterised, but there is only a limited understanding of the first pandemic, the Plague of Justinian (6-8th centuries). To address this gap, we sequenced and analysed draft genomes of Y pestis obtained from two individuals who died in the first pandemic.

Concepts: Pandemic, Yersinia pestis, Bubonic plague, Black Death, Plague, Third Pandemic, Pandemics, Plague of Justinian


BACKGROUND: As Chagas disease continues to expand beyond tropical and subtropical zones, a growing need exists to better understand its resulting economic burden to help guide stakeholders such as policy makers, funders, and product developers. We developed a Markov simulation model to estimate the global and regional health and economic burden of Chagas disease from the societal perspective. METHODS: Our Markov model structure had a 1 year cycle length and consisted of five states: acute disease, indeterminate disease, cardiomyopathy with or without congestive heart failure, megaviscera, and death. Major model parameter inputs, including the annual probabilities of transitioning from one state to another, and present case estimates for Chagas disease came from various sources, including WHO and other epidemiological and disease-surveillance-based reports. We calculated annual and lifetime health-care costs and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for individuals, countries, and regions. We used a discount rate of 3% to adjust all costs and DALYs to present-day values. FINDINGS: On average, an infected individual incurs US$474 in health-care costs and 0·51 DALYs annually. Over his or her lifetime, an infected individual accrues an average net present value of $3456 and 3·57 DALYs. Globally, the annual burden is $627·46 million in health-care costs and 806 170 DALYs. The global net present value of currently infected individuals is $24·73 billion in health-care costs and 29 385 250 DALYs. Conversion of this burden into costs results in annual per-person costs of $4660 and lifetime per-person costs of $27 684. Global costs are $7·19 billion per year and $188·80 billion per lifetime. More than 10% of these costs emanate from the USA and Canada, where Chagas disease has not been traditionally endemic. A substantial proportion of the burden emerges from lost productivity from cardiovascular disease-induced early mortality. INTERPRETATION: The economic burden of Chagas disease is similar to or exceeds those of other prominent diseases globally (eg, rotavirus $2·0 billion, cervical cancer $4·7 billion) even in the USA (Lyme disease $2·5 billion), where Chagas disease has not been traditionally endemic, suggesting an economic argument for more attention and efforts towards control of Chagas disease. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Infectious disease, Cardiomyopathy, Heart failure, Infection, Chagas disease, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


The causes of antibiotic resistance are complex and include human behaviour at many levels of society; the consequences affect everybody in the world. Similarities with climate change are evident. Many efforts have been made to describe the many different facets of antibiotic resistance and the interventions needed to meet the challenge. However, coordinated action is largely absent, especially at the political level, both nationally and internationally. Antibiotics paved the way for unprecedented medical and societal developments, and are today indispensible in all health systems. Achievements in modern medicine, such as major surgery, organ transplantation, treatment of preterm babies, and cancer chemotherapy, which we today take for granted, would not be possible without access to effective treatment for bacterial infections. Within just a few years, we might be faced with dire setbacks, medically, socially, and economically, unless real and unprecedented global coordinated actions are immediately taken. Here, we describe the global situation of antibiotic resistance, its major causes and consequences, and identify key areas in which action is urgently needed.

Concepts: Immune system, Medicine, Bacteria, Oncology, Antibiotic resistance, Surgery, Antibiotic, Penicillin


Diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection is controversial because of many laboratory methods, compounded by two reference methods. Cytotoxigenic culture detects toxigenic C difficile and gives a positive result more frequently (eg, because of colonisation, which means that individuals can have the bacterium but no free toxin) than does the cytotoxin assay, which detects preformed toxin in faeces. We aimed to validate the reference methods according to clinical outcomes and to derive an optimum laboratory diagnostic algorithm for C difficile infection.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Infection, Antibiotic resistance, Clostridium difficile, Diarrhea, Clostridium, Clostridia


The global programmes to eliminate both malaria and lymphatic filariasis are facing operational and technical challenges. Available data show that the use of treated or untreated bednets and indoor residual spraying for malaria control concomitantly reduced filarial rates. In turn, mass drug administration campaigns against lymphatic filariasis can be combined with the distribution of insecticide-treated bednets. Combining these disease control efforts could lead to more efficient use of resources, more accurate attribution of effects, and more effective control of both diseases. Systematic integration requires coordination at all levels, mapping of coendemic areas, and comprehensive monitoring and evaluation.

Concepts: Malaria, Integral, Vector, Filariasis, Doxycycline, Tropical disease, Tropical diseases


Influenza is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Treatment options are scarce, and new drugs with novel mechanisms of action are needed. We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of nitazoxanide, a thiazolide anti-infective, for treatment of acute uncomplicated influenza.

Concepts: Mortality rate, Quantum mechanics, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness


We present a case of a patient with Lemierre’s syndrome caused by Fusobacterium necrophorum who developed a right frontal lobe brain abscess. We summarise the epidemiology, microbiology, pathogenesis, clinical presentation, diagnosis, complications, therapy, and outcomes of Lemierre’s syndrome. F necrophorum is most commonly associated with Lemierre’s syndrome: a septic thrombophlebitis of the internal jugular vein. Patients usually present with an exudative tonsillitis, sore throat, dysphagia, and unilateral neck pain. Diagnosis of septic thrombophlebitis is best confirmed by obtaining a CT scan of the neck with contrast. Complications of the disease include bacteraemia with septic abscesses to the lungs, joints, liver, peritoneum, kidneys, and brain. Treatment should include a prolonged course of intravenous beta-lactam antibiotic plus metronidazole.

Concepts: Liver, Internal jugular vein, Jugular vein, Frontal lobe, Common facial vein, Neck, Abscess, Fusobacterium necrophorum