Given that Campylobacter jejuni is recognized as the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide, recent findings showing comparable levels of Campylobacter concisus in patients with gastroenteritis would suggest that this bacterium is clinically important. The prevalence and abundance of Campylobacter concisus in stool samples collected from patients with acute gastroenteritis was examined using quantitative real-time PCR. The associated virulence determinants exotoxin 9 and zonula occludens toxin DNA were detected for Campylobacter concisus-infected samples using real-time PCR. Campylobacter concisus was detected at high prevalence in patients with gastroenteritis (49.7 %), higher than that observed for Campylobacter jejuni (∼5 %). The levels of Campylobacter concisus were putatively classified into clinically relevant and potentially transient subgroups based on a threshold developed using Campylobacter jejuni levels, as the highly sensitive real-time PCR probably detected transient passage of the bacterium from the oral cavity. A total of 18 % of patients were found to have clinically relevant levels of Campylobacter concisus, a significant number of which also had high levels of one of the virulence determinants. Of these patients, 78 % were found to have no other gastrointestinal pathogen identified in the stool, which strongly suggests a role for Campylobacter concisus in the aetiology of gastroenteritis in these patients. These results emphasize the need for diagnostic laboratories to employ identification protocols for emerging Campylobacter species. Clinical follow-up in patients presenting with high levels of Campylobacter concisus in the intestinal tract is needed, given that it has been associated with more chronic sequelae.
A quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) followed by high resolution melting (HRM) analysis was developed for the differentiation of Mycobacterium species. Rapid differentiation of Mycobacterium species is necessary for the effective diagnosis and management of tuberculosis. In this study, the 16S rRNA gene was tested as the target since this has been identified as a suitable target for the identification of mycobacteria species. During the temperature gradient and primer optimization process, the melting peak (Tm) analysis was determined at a concentration of 50 ng DNA template and 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5 µM primer. The qPCR assay for the detection of other mycobacterial species was done at the Tm and primer concentration of 62 °C and 0.4 µM, respectively. The HRM analysis generated cluster patterns that were specific and sensitive to distinguished small sequence differences of the Mycobacterium species. This study suggests that the 16S rRNA-based real-time PCR followed by HRM analysis produced unique cluster patterns for species of Mycobacterium and could differentiate the closely related mycobacteria species.
Antimicrobial resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii is a growing public health concern and an important pathogen in nosocomial infections. We investigated the genes involved in resistance to carbapenems and cephalosporins in clinical A. baumannii isolates from a tertiary medical centre in Malaysia. A. baumannii was isolated from 167 clinical specimens and identified by sequencing of the 16S rRNA and rpoB genes. The MIC for imipenem, meropenem, ceftazidime and cefepime were determined by the E-test method. The presence of carbapenemase and cephalosporinase genes was investigated by PCR. The isolates were predominantly nonsusceptible to carbapenems and cephalosporins (>70 %) with high MIC values. ISAba1 was detected in all carbapenem-nonsusceptible A. baumannii harbouring the blaOXA-23-like gene. The presence of blaOXA-51-like and ISAba1 upstream of blaOXA-51 was not associated with nonsusceptibility to carbapenems. A. baumannii isolates harbouring ISAba1-blaADC (85.8 %) were significantly associated with nonsusceptibility to cephalosporins (P<0.0001). However, ISAba1-blaADC was not detected in a minority (<10 %) of the isolates which were nonsusceptible to cephalosporins. The acquired OXA-23 enzymes were responsible for nonsusceptibility to carbapenems in our clinical A. baumannii isolates and warrant continuous surveillance to prevent further dissemination of this antibiotic resistance gene. The presence of ISAba1 upstream of the blaADC was a determinant for cephalosporin resistance. However, the absence of this ISAba1-blaADC in some of the isolates may suggest other resistance mechanisms and need further investigation.
Genetic and environmental factors can affect the intestinal microbiome and microbial metabolome. Among these environmental factors, the consumption of antibiotics can significantly change the intestinal microbiome of individuals and consequently affect the corresponding metagenome. The term 'probiotics' is related to preventive medicine rather than therapeutic procedures and is, thus, considered the opposite of antibiotics. This review discusses the challenges between these opposing treatments in terms of the following points: (i) antibiotic resistance, the relationship between antibiotic consumption and microbiome diversity reduction, antibiotic effect on the metagenome, and disease associated with antibiotics; and (ii) probiotics as living drugs, probiotic effect on epigenetic alterations, and gut microbiome relevance to hygiene indulgence. The intestinal microbiome is more specific for individuals and may be affected by environmental alterations and the occurrence of diseases.
This study investigated 147 multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from hospitalized patients in Malaysia. Class 1 integrons were the most dominant class identified (45.6%). Three isolates were shown to contain class 2 integrons (2.0%), whilst one isolate harboured both class 1 and 2 integrons. No class 3 integrons were detected in this study. In addition, the sul1 gene was amplified in 35% of isolates and was significantly associated with the presence of integrase genes in an integron structure. RFLP and DNA sequencing analyses revealed the presence of 19 different cassette arrays among the detected integrons. The most common gene cassettes were those encoding resistance towards aminoglycosides (aad) and trimethoprim (dfr). As far as is known, this study is the first to identify integron-carrying cassette arrays such as aadA2-linF, aacC3-cmlA5 and aacA4-catB8-aadA1 in the Malaysian population. Patients' age was demonstrated as a significant risk factor for the acquisition of integrons (P=0.028). Epidemiological typing using PFGE also demonstrated a clonal relationship among isolates carrying identical gene cassettes in Klebsiella pneumoniae and P. aeruginosa but not in Escherichia coli isolates.
The incidence of candidaemia among immunocompromised patients in Malaysia is increasing at an alarming rate. Isolation of clinical strains that are resistant to fluconazole has also risen markedly. We report here the repeated isolation of Candida tropicalis from the blood of a neonatal patient with Hirschsprung's disease. In vitro fluconazole susceptibility tests of the eight isolates obtained at different time points showed that seven of the isolates were resistant and one isolate was scored as susceptible dose-dependent. Random amplification of polymorphic DNA fingerprinting of the isolates using three primers and subsequent phylogenetic analysis revealed that these isolates were highly similar strains having minor genetic divergence, with a mean pairwise similarity coefficient of 0.893+/-0.041. The source of the infectious agent was thought to be the central venous catheter, as culture of its tip produced fluconazole-resistant C. tropicalis. This study demonstrates the utility of applying molecular epidemiology techniques to complement traditional mycological culture and drug susceptibility tests for accurate and appropriate management of recurrent candidaemia and highlights the need for newer antifungals that can combat the emergence of fluconazole-resistant C. tropicalis strains.
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are formidable organisms renowned for their ability to cause infections with limited treatment options and their potential for transferring resistance genes to other Gram-positive bacteria. Usually associated with nosocomial infections, VRE are rarely reported as a cause of community-acquired infection. Presented here is a case of community-acquired infection due to vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium. The patient had been applying herbal leaves topically to his cheek to treat a buccal space abscess, resulting in a burn of the overlying skin. From pus aspirated via the skin a pure culture of E. faecium was grown that was resistant to vancomycin with a MIC of >256 microg ml-1 by the E test and resistant to teicoplanin by disc diffusion, consistent with the VanA phenotype. The organism was suspected of contaminating the leaf and infecting the patient via the burnt skin. This case highlights the need for further studies on the community prevalence of VRE among humans and animals to define unrecognized silent reservoirs for VRE, which may pose a threat to public health.
Cellulitis of the orbit is a common cause of proptosis in children, and also frequently arises in the elderly and the immunocompromised. The condition is characterized by infection and swelling of the soft tissues lining the eye socket, pushing the eye ball outwards and causing severe pain, redness, discharge of pus and some degree of blurred vision. There is a small risk of infection spreading to the meninges of the brain and causing meningitis. This paper reports the case of an adult in whom polymicrobial bilateral orbital cellulitis had developed due to Staphylococcus aureus and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection. N. gonorrhoeae infections are acquired by sexual contact. Although the infection may disseminate to a variety of tissues, it usually affects the mucous membranes of the urethra in males and the endocervix and urethra in females. To the authors' knowledge this is the first report of polymicrobial bilateral orbital cellulitis due to S. aureus and N. gonorrhoeae in medical literature.
Streptococcus agalactiae or group B streptococci (GBS) often colonize the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts of women, who may transmit these organisms to their offspring during the birth process. Using PFGE analysis, the genetic diversity of GBS was studied for strains isolated from pregnant women and their newborn infants in a teaching hospital. A total of 48 different PFGE profiles were obtained from 123 strains, with one profile (S1) appearing to be predominant among both groups studied. There was good overall correlation between the profiles obtained for strains from mother-infant pairs and for strains isolated from different body sites in the same individual. Occasional discrepancies seen in related body sites and among mother-infant pairs suggest concurrent carriage of different strains in the same individual as well as the possibility of an environmental source of organism for the neonate. The overall results demonstrated that many variants of GBS strains occur in Malaysia.
The aims of this study were to compare the genetic relatedness of: (i) sequential and single isolates of Candida strains from women with recurrent vaginal candidiasis (RVC); and (ii) Candida strains from women who had only one episode of infection within a 1-year period. In total, 87 isolates from 71 patients were cultured, speciated and genotyped by random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis. Patients were categorized into three groups, namely those with: (i) a history of RVC from whom two or more yeast isolates were obtained (group A); (ii) a history of RVC from whom only a single isolate was obtained (group B); and (iii) a single episode of vaginal candidiasis within a 1-year period (group C). Six yeast species were detected: Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, Candida lusitaniae, Candida famata, Candida krusei and Candida parapsilosis. Interestingly, the prevalence of non-albicans species was higher in group A patients (50 %) than in patients in groups B (36 %) or C (18.9 %). Eighty RAPD profiles were observed, with a total of 61 polymorphic PCR fragments of distinct sizes. Clustering analysis showed that, overall, the majority of patients in group A had recurrent infections caused by highly similar, but not identical, sequential strains [mean pairwise similarity coefficient (S(AB)) = 0.721 +/- 0.308]. The range of mean S(AB) values for intergroup comparisons for C. albicans isolates alone was 0.50-0.56, suggesting that there was no significant relatedness between strains from different groups. Genetic similarity of C. albicans isolates from patients in group A was lower than that of C. albicans isolates from patients in group C (mean S(AB) = 0.532 +/- 0.249 and 0.636 +/- 0.206, respectively); this difference was statistically significant (P = 0.036). These results demonstrate that the cause of recurrent infections varies among individuals and ranges between strain maintenance, strain microevolution and strain replacement; the major scenario is strain maintenance with microevolution. They also show that C. albicans strains that cause recurrent infections are less similar to each other than strains that cause one-off infections, suggesting that the former may represent more virulent subtypes.
The emergence and spread of multiresistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains, especially those resistant to fusidic acid and rifampicin, in Malaysian hospitals is of concern. In this study DNA fingerprinting by PFGE was performed on fusidic acid- and rifampicin-resistant isolates from Malaysian hospitals to determine the genetic relatedness of these isolates and their relationship with the endemic MRSA strains. In all, 32 of 640 MRSA isolates from 9 Malaysian hospitals were resistant to fusidic acid and rifampicin. Seven PFGE types (A, ZC, ZI, ZJ, ZK, ZL and ZM) were observed. The commonest type was type ZC, seen in 72% of isolates followed by type A, seen in 13%. Each of the other types (ZI, ZJ, ZK, ZL and ZM) was observed in a single isolate. Each type, even the commonest, was found in only one hospital. This suggests that the resistant strains had arisen from individual MRSA strains in each hospital and not as a result of the transmission of a common clone.
The aim of this study was to determine the role of macrophages in the Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans-induced murine immune response. BALB/c mice were given carrageenan solution by intraperitoneal injection before immunisation with heat-killed A. actinomycetemcomitans. Mice immunised with antigens and phosphate-buffered saline served as positive and negative controls, respectively. One week after the last immunisation, the delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response was assessed by measurement of footpad swelling. Serum IgG and IgM anti-A. actinomycetemcomitans antibody levels and culture supernate levels of interferon (IFN)-gamma were determined by ELISA. The diameter of abscess formation was determined every 5 days. Sham-immunised spleen cells were transferred to carrageenan-untreated recipients (groups A and B) and to carrageenan-treated recipients (group D). Antigen-immunised spleen cells were transferred to carrageenan-untreated (group C) and carrageenan-treated (group E) recipients. The carrageenan-treated recipients in groups F and G received macrophages from antigen- and sham-immunised mice respectively. All mice except those in group A were immunised with antigen 24 h after cell transfer. After 1 week, a partial suppression of DTH response, reduced levels of IFN-gamma, serum IgG and IgM anti-A. actinomycetemcomitans antibodies and delayed healing were seen in carrageenan-treated mice when compared with the positive control. The immune response to A. actinomycetemcomitans in groups A, B and D was lower than that in groups C and E. Healing of the lesion in the former groups was also delayed when compared with the latter groups. The immune response and the healing of the lesion could be partially restored in carrageenan-treated mice that received antigen-pulsed macrophages (group F) but not in those that received naive macrophages (group G). These results suggest that macrophages play a partial role in the induction of the murine immune response to A. actinomycetemcomitans.
The suitability of a PCR procedure using a pair of primers targeting the hilA gene was evaluated as a means of detecting Salmonella species. A total of 33 Salmonella strains from 27 serovars and 15 non-Salmonella strains from eight different genera were included. PCR with all the Salmonella strains produced a 784 bp DNA fragment that was absent from all the non-Salmonella strains tested. The detection limit of the PCR was 100 pg with genomic DNA and 3 x 10(4) c.f.u. ml(-1) with serial dilutions of bacterial culture. An enrichment-PCR method was further developed to test the sensitivity of the hilA primers for the detection of Salmonella in faecal samples spiked with different concentrations of Salmonella choleraesuis subsp. choleraesuis serovar Typhimurium. The method described allowed the detection of Salmonella Typhimurium in faecal samples at a concentration of 3 x 10(2) c.f.u. ml(-1). In conclusion, the hilA primers are specific for Salmonella species and the PCR method presented may be suitable for the detection of Salmonella in faeces.
Entamoeba histolytica is the only Entamoeba species that causes amoebiasis in humans. Approximately 50 million people are infected, with 100, 000 deaths annually in endemic countries. Molecular diagnosis of Entamoeba histolytica is important to differentiate it from the morphologically identical Entamoeba dispar to avoid unnecessary medication. Conventional molecular diagnostic tests require trained personnel, cold-chain transportation and/or are storage-dependent, which make them user-unfriendly. The aim of this study was to develop a thermostabilized, one-step, nested, tetraplex PCR assay for the detection of Entamoeba histolytica, Entamoeba dispar and Entamoeba species in cold-chain-free and ready-to-use form. The PCR test was designed based on the Entamoeba small subunit rRNA (SSU-rRNA) gene, which detects the presence of any Entamoeba species, and simultaneously can be used to differentiate Entamoeba histolytica from Entamoeba dispar. In addition, a pair of primers was designed to serve as an internal amplification control to help identify inhibitors in the samples. All PCR reagents together with the designed primers were thermostabilized by lyophilization and were stable at 24 °C for at least 6 months. The limit of detection of the tetraplex PCR was found to be 39 pg DNA or 1000 cells for Entamoeba histolytica and 78 pg DNA or 1000 cells for Entamoeba dispar, and the specificity was 100 %. In conclusion, this cold-chain-free, thermostabilized, one-step, nested, multiplex PCR assay was found to be efficacious in differentiating Entamoeba histolytica from other non-pathogenic Entamoeba species.
The in vitro antifungal susceptibilities of 159 clinical isolates of Candida species from patients with invasive candidiasis in Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Malaysia, were determined against amphotericin B, fluconazole, voriconazole, itraconazole and caspofungin. The most common species were Candida albicans (71 isolates), Candida parapsilosis (42 isolates), Candida tropicalis (27 isolates) and Candida glabrata (12 isolates). The susceptibility tests were carried out using an E-test. The MIC breakpoints were based on Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute criteria. Amphotericin B and voriconazole showed the best activities against all the isolates tested, with MIC(90) values of ≤1 µg ml(-1) for all major species. Only one Candida lusitaniae isolate was resistant to amphotericin B, and all the isolates were susceptible to voriconazole. In total, six isolates were resistant to fluconazole, comprising two isolates of C. albicans, two of C. parapsilosis, one C. tropicalis and one C. glabrata, and all of these isolates showed cross-resistance to itraconazole. The MIC(90) of itraconazole was highest for C. glabrata and C. parapsilosis. Caspofungin was active against most of the isolates except for five isolates of C. parapsilosis. The MIC(90) of caspofungin against C. parapsilosis was 3 µg ml(-1). In conclusion, amphotericin B remains the most active antifungal agent against most Candida species except for C. lusitaniae. Voriconazole is the best alternative for fluconazole- or itraconizole-resistant isolates. Although five of the C. parapsilosis isolates showed in vitro resistance to caspofungin, more clinical correlation studies need to be carried out to confirm the significance of these findings. Currently, despite the increase in usage of antifungals in our hospitals, especially in the management of febrile neutropenia patients, the antifungal-resistance problem among clinically important Candida isolates in Kuala Lumpur Hospital is not yet worrying. However, continued antifungal-susceptibility surveillance needs to be conducted to monitor the antifungal-susceptibility trends of Candida species and other opportunistic fungal pathogens.
In this study, 90 non-replicate imipenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (IRPA) Malaysian isolates collected between October 2005 and March 2008 were subjected to a screening test for detection of the integron and the gene cassette. Class 1 integrons were detected in 54 IRPA clinical isolates, whilst three isolates contained class 2 integrons. Analysis of the gene cassettes associated with the class 1 integrons showed the detection of accC1 in isolates carrying bla(IMP-7) and aacA7 in isolates carrying bla(VIM-2). aadA6 was detected in two isolates carrying bla(IMP-4). Using random amplification of polymorphic DNA analysis, 14 PCR fingerprint patterns were generated from the 32 isolates carrying metallo-β-lactamase (MBL) genes (35.5 %), whilst 20 patterns were generated from the 58 non-MBL gene isolates (64.4 %). Based on the differences in the fingerprinting patterns, two clusters (A and B) were identified among the MBL-producing isolates. Cluster A comprised 18 isolates (56 %) carrying the bla(VIM) gene, whereas cluster B comprised 14 (44 %) isolates carrying the bla(IMP) gene. The non-MBL isolates were divided into clusters C and D. Cluster C comprised 22 non-MBL isolates harbouring class 1 integrons, whilst cluster D consisted of three isolates carrying class 2 integrons. These findings suggest that the class 1 integron is widespread among P. aeruginosa isolated in Malaysia and that characterization of cassette arrays of integrons will be a useful epidemiological tool to study the evolution of multidrug resistance and the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes.
In this study, six clinical isolates (two from blood, two from urine and one each from a bronchoalveolar lavage and a vaginal swab) were identified as Candida rugosa based on carbohydrate assimilation profiles using API 20C AUX and ID32 C kits (bioMérieux). Sequence analysis of the D1/D2 domain of the yeasts differentiated the isolates into two subgroups, A and B (three isolates per subgroup), which were closely related (99.1-99.6 % nucleotide similarity) to C. rugosa strain ATCC 10571. Compared with the C. rugosa type strain, the intergenic transcribed spacer (ITS) nucleotide similarity for subgroup A was only 89.2 % (29 mismatches and one deletion) and for subgroup B was 93.7 % (20 mismatches). All isolates grew green colonies on Oxoid Chromogenic Candida Agar, with darker pigmentation observed for subgroup A. All isolates were able to grow at 25-42 °C but not at 45 °C. The isolates had identical enzymic profiles, as determined by API ZYM (bioMérieux) analysis, and produced proteinase. High amphotericin MICs (≥1 µg ml(-1)) were noted for two isolates from each subgroup. Dose-dependent susceptibility to fluconazole (MIC 32 µg ml(-1)) was noted in a blood isolate. The biofilms of the isolates demonstrated increased resistance to amphotericin and fluconazole. The greater ITS sequence variability of subgroup A isolates is in support of this yeast being recognized as a distinct species; however, further verification using more sophisticated molecular approaches is required. A sequence comparison study suggested the association of subgroup A with environmental sources and subgroup B with clinical sources. Accurate identification and antifungal susceptibility testing of C. rugosa are important in view of its decreased susceptibility to amphotericin and fluconazole. The ITS region has been shown to be a valuable region for differentiation of closely related subgroups of C. rugosa.