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  1. Al-Herz W
    Med Princ Pract, 2018;27(5):436-442.
    PMID: 30149382 DOI: 10.1159/000493267
    OBJECTIVES: To study the available data on the prevalence of atopic diseases and food allergy in children living on the Arabian Peninsula.

    METHODS: A PubMed search for relevant published articles was conducted using the following search terms singly or in combination: "atopy," "atopic disease," "atopic disorder," "International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood," "ISAAC," "asthma," "allergic rhinitis," "eczema," and "food allergy" in combination with the names of countries of the Arabian Peninsula (Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Yemen). The search captured studies published up to December 2017.

    RESULTS: A total of 8 publications reporting prevalence rates of any type of atopic disease in children in 7 countries of the Arabian Peninsula were retrieved. The prevalence of all atopic disorders was comparable between countries of the Arabian Peninsula. The overall prevalence of asthma ranged from 8 to 23%, while the reported prevalence of eczema ranged from 7.5 to 22.5%. There was great variation in the prevalence rates of rhinoconjunctivitis, which ranged from 6.3 to 30.5%. The prevalence of food allergy (8.1%) was reported for 1 country only, the United Arab Emirates.

    CONCLUSIONS: The reported overall rates of atopic disease in countries of the Arabian Peninsula are comparable to those reported in other industrialized countries. This is probably related to the good economic status in the region, which is reflected in the living standards and lifestyle. Further, genetic factors, such as factors related to gene polymorphism, and the high rate of consanguinity in the region may contribute to the higher prevalence of atopic diseases.

  2. Al-Herz W, Essa S
    Front Immunol, 2019;10:1231.
    PMID: 31191561 DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.01231
    Objective: To present the frequency and spectrum of viral infections in primary immunodeficient children. Methods: The data was obtained from the Kuwait National Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders (PIDs) Registry during the period of 2004-2018. Results: A total of 274 PID children were registered in KNPIDR during the study period with predominance of immunodeficiencies affecting cellular and humoral immunity, followed by combined immunodeficiencies with associated syndromic features and diseases of immune dysregulation. Overall infectious complications affected 82.4% of the patients, and viral infections affected 31.7% of the registered patients. Forty-five patients (16.4%) developed viral infections caused by at least 2 organisms, among those 20 patients were affected by three or more viral infections. There was a statistically significant association between viral infections and PID category. However, there was no statistically significant association between viral infections and gender or the patients' onset age. There was a total of 170 viral infections during the study period and the causes of these infections were predominated by CMV (22.2%), adenovirus (11.7%), EBV (11.1%), and enteroviruses (7.4%). CMV and parainfluenza infections were more common in the group of immunodeficiencies affecting cellular and humoral immunity while EBV and human papilloma virus (HPV) were more common in the immune dysregulation group and combined immunodeficiencies with associated syndromic features, respectively. The most common presentation was viremia (28.8%) followed by pneumonia (28.2%) and skin infections (17.6%). The most common causes of viremia were CMV followed by adenovirus and EBV, while the most common organisms causing pneumonia were CMV followed by rhinovirus and parainfluenza. There were 80 deaths among the registered patients, 10% were caused by viral infections. Conclusions: Viral infections are common in PIDs and result into a wide-range of clinical manifestations causing significant morbidity and mortality.
  3. Al-Herz W, Al-Ahmad M, Al-Khabaz A, Husain A, Sadek A, Othman Y
    Front Immunol, 2019;10:1754.
    PMID: 31396239 DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.01754
    Objective: To present the report from the Kuwait National Primary Immunodeficiency Registry between 2004 and 2018. Methods: The patients were followed prospectively between January 2004 and December 2018 and their collected data included sociodemographic, diagnosis, clinical presentation, laboratory tests, and treatment. Results: A total of 314 PID patients (165 males and 149 females) were registered during the study period. Most of the patients (n = 287, 91.4%) were Kuwaiti nationals and the prevalence among Kuwaitis was 20.27/100,000 with a cumulative incidence of 24.96/100,000 Kuwaitis. The distribution of the patients according to PID categories was as follow: immunodeficiencies affecting cellular and humoral immunity, 100 patients (31.8%); combined immunodeficiencies with associated syndromic features, 68 patients (21.7%); predominantly antibody deficiencies, 56 patients (17.8%); diseases of immune dysregulation, 47 patients (15%); congenital defects of phagocyte number or function, 20 patients (6.4%); autoinflammatory disorders, 1 patient (0.3%); and complement deficiencies, 22 patients (7%). The mean age of the patients at onset of symptoms was 26 months while the mean age at diagnosis was 53 months and the mean delay in diagnosis was 27 months. Most of the patients (n = 272, 86%) had onset of symptoms before the age of 5 years. Parental consanguinity rate within the registered patients was 78% and a positive family history of PID was noticed in 50% of the patients. Genetic testing was performed in 69% of the patients with an overall diagnostic yield of 90%. Mutations were identified in 46 different genes and more than 90% of the reported genetic defects were transmitted by an autosomal recessive pattern. Intravenous immunoglobulins and stem cell transplantation were used in 58% and 25% of the patients, respectively. There were 81 deaths (26%) among the registered patients with a mean age of death of 25 months. Conclusions: PID is not infrequent in Kuwait and the reported prevalence is the highest in the literature with increased proportion of more severe forms. Collaborative efforts including introduction of newborn screening should be implemented to diagnose such cases earlier and improve the quality of life and prevent premature deaths.
  4. Al-Herz W, Chou J, Delmonte OM, Massaad MJ, Bainter W, Castagnoli R, et al.
    Front Immunol, 2018;9:3146.
    PMID: 30697212 DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.03146
    Objective: To present the genetic causes of patients with primary immune deficiencies (PIDs) in Kuwait between 2004 and 2017. Methods: The data was obtained from the Kuwait National Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders Registry. Genomic DNA from patients with clinical and immunological features of PID was sequenced using Sanger sequencing (SS), next generation sequencing (NGS) of targeted genes, whole exome sequencing (WES), and/or whole genome sequencing (WGS). Functional assays were utilized to assess the biologic effect of identified variants. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for 22q11.2 deletion and genomic hybridizations arrays were performed when thymic defects were suspected. Results: A total of 264 patients were registered during the study period with predominance of patients with immunodeficiencies affecting cellular and humoral immunity (35.2%), followed by combined immunodeficiencies with associated syndromic features (24%). Parental consanguinity and family history suggestive of PID were reported in 213 (81%) and 145 patients (55%), respectively. Genetic testing of 206 patients resulted in a diagnostic yield of 70%. Mutations were identified in 46 different genes and more than 90% of the reported genetic defects were transmitted by in an autosomal recessive pattern. The majority of the mutations were missense mutations (57%) followed by deletions and frame shift mutations. Five novel disease-causing genes were discovered. Conclusions: Genetic testing should be an integral part in the management of primary immunodeficiency patients. This will help the delivery of precision medicine and facilitate proper genetic counseling. Studying inbred populations using sophisticated diagnostic methods can allow better understanding of the genetics of primary immunodeficiency disorders.
  5. Beaussant-Cohen S, Jaber F, Massaad MJ, Weeks S, Jones J, Alosaimi MF, et al.
    J. Allergy Clin. Immunol., 2019 Aug;144(2):606-608.e4.
    PMID: 31103457 DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2019.05.003
  6. El-Sayed ZA, Abramova I, Aldave JC, Al-Herz W, Bezrodnik L, Boukari R, et al.
    World Allergy Organ J, 2019;12(3):100018.
    PMID: 30937141 DOI: 10.1016/j.waojou.2019.100018
    Background: X-linked agammaglobulinemia is an inherited immunodeficiency recognized since 1952. In spite of seven decades of experience, there is still a limited understanding of regional differences in presentation and complications. This study was designed by the Primary Immunodeficiencies Committee of the World Allergy Organization to better understand regional needs, challenges and unique patient features.

    Methods: A survey instrument was designed by the Primary Immunodeficiencies Committee of the World Allergy Organization to collect both structured and semi-structured data on X-linked agammaglobulinemia. The survey was sent to 54 centers around the world chosen on the basis of World Allergy Organization participation and/or registration in the European Society for Immunodeficiencies. There were 40 centers that responded, comprising 32 countries.

    Results: This study reports on 783 patients from 40 centers around the world. Problems with diagnosis are highlighted by the reported delays in diagnosis>24 months in 34% of patients and the lack of genetic studies in 39% of centers Two infections exhibited regional variation. Vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis was seen only in countries with live polio vaccination and two centers reported mycobacteria. High rates of morbidity were reported. Acute and chronic lung diseases accounted for 41% of the deaths. Unusual complications such as inflammatory bowel disease and large granular lymphocyte disease, among others were specifically enumerated, and while individually uncommon, they were collectively seen in 20.3% of patients. These data suggest that a broad range of both inflammatory, infectious, and autoimmune conditions can occur in patients. The breadth of complications and lack of data on management subsequently appeared as a significant challenge reported by centers. Survival above 20 years of age was lowest in Africa (22%) and reached above 70% in Australia, Europe and the Americas. Centers were asked to report their challenges and responses (n = 116) emphasized the difficulties in access to immunoglobulin products (16%) and reflected the ongoing need for education of both patients and referring physicians.

    Conclusions: This is the largest study of patients with X-linked agammaglobulinemia and emphasizes the continued morbidity and mortality of XLA despite progress in diagnosis and treatment. It presents a world view of the successes and challenges for patients and physicians alike. A pivotal finding is the need for education of physicians regarding typical symptoms suggesting a possible diagnosis of X-linked agammaglobulinemia and sharing of best practices for the less common complications.

  7. Marciano BE, Huang CY, Joshi G, Rezaei N, Carvalho BC, Allwood Z, et al.
    J. Allergy Clin. Immunol., 2014 Apr;133(4):1134-41.
    PMID: 24679470 DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2014.02.028
    BACKGROUND: Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is a syndrome characterized by profound T-cell deficiency. BCG vaccine is contraindicated in patients with SCID. Because most countries encourage BCG vaccination at birth, a high percentage of patients with SCID are vaccinated before their immune defect is detected.

    OBJECTIVES: We sought to describe the complications and risks associated with BCG vaccination in patients with SCID.

    METHODS: An extensive standardized questionnaire evaluating complications, therapeutics, and outcomes regarding BCG vaccination in patients given a diagnosis of SCID was widely distributed. Summary statistics and association analysis was performed.

    RESULTS: Data on 349 BCG-vaccinated patients with SCID from 28 centers in 17 countries were analyzed. Fifty-one percent of the patients had BCG-associated complications, 34% disseminated and 17% localized (a 33,000- and 400-fold increase, respectively, over the general population). Patients receiving early vaccination (≤1 month) showed an increased prevalence of complications (P = .006) and death caused by BCG-associated complications (P < .0001). The odds of experiencing complications among patients with T-cell numbers of 250/μL or less at diagnosis was 2.1 times higher (95% CI, 1.4-3.4 times higher; P = .001) than among those with T-cell numbers of greater than 250/μL. BCG-associated complications were reported in 2 of 78 patients who received antimycobacterial therapy while asymptomatic, and no deaths caused by BCG-associated complications occurred in this group. In contrast, 46 BCG-associated deaths were reported among 160 patients treated with antimycobacterial therapy for a symptomatic BCG infection (P < .0001).

    CONCLUSIONS: BCG vaccine has a very high rate of complications in patients with SCID, which increase morbidity and mortality rates. Until safer and more efficient antituberculosis vaccines become available, delay in BCG vaccination should be considered to protect highly vulnerable populations from preventable complications.

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