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  Table of Contents  
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 255-257

Research snippets

Department of Microbiology, Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, Raisen Bypass Road, Karond, Bhopal - 462 038, Madhya Pradesh, India

Date of Submission02-Apr-2012
Date of Acceptance10-Apr-2012
Date of Web Publication28-May-2012

Correspondence Address:
P Desikan
Department of Microbiology, Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, Raisen Bypass Road, Karond, Bhopal - 462 038, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Desikan P. Research snippets. Indian J Med Microbiol 2012;30:255-7

How to cite this URL:
Desikan P. Research snippets. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 May 29];30:255-7. Available from:

Food poisoning due to Campylobacter spp is in focus following the detection of Campylobacter spp in raw cream, in California ( Raw milk, raw non-fat milk, and raw cream produced by the Claravale Farm of San Benito County have subsequently been subjected to a statewide recall and a quarantine order announced on 23 March, 2012. Although no illnesses have been definitively attributed to the products, the California Department of Public Health is conducting an epidemiological investigation of the reported clusters of campylobacteriosis-like illness, where consumption of raw milk products mayhave occurred. Having said that, it may not always be possible to determine the source of an outbreak. Hence, there is an attempt to develop a vaccine against Campylobacter jejuni, by applying proteomics to design a vaccine against the cytolethal distending toxin of Campylobacter jejuni Scientific Name Search  (Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2012 Mar 20. Epub ahead of print).

An outbreak of  Salmonellosis More Details affecting 46 children in Ottawa, in March this year, has been linked to food served by a lunch caterer who primarily serves schools. Samples of frozen ground beef and raw chicken taken from the caterer's kitchen tested positive for the same strain of  Salmonella More Details detected in the children and four adults, who had been sick enough to seek medical attention ( Salmonellosis is one of the most common foodborne human diseases. A study found that the risk of infection could be reduced by communication campaigns. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the efficacy of a food safety message that underlined that eating well-cooked meat is an effective strategy for preventing salmonellosis. The target audience was young adults (university students). They were presented with one of the two messages, a prevention message or a control message. The prevention message proved to be very effective. First, it changed the attitude toward raw or rare meat, which after having read the prevention message was evaluated less positively and more negatively. Second, intentions to eat raw or rare meat were weaker in those who read the prevention message compared with those who read the control message. Third, after the message, the participants in the experimental condition, but not in the control condition, associated the self-image more with well-done meat than with raw or rare meat (J Food Prot. 2012 Feb;75(2):394-9).

The U.K. Health Protection Agency recently announced that there were 85 confirmed measles cases and another 44 probable cases being investigated in the county of Merseyside. A majority of them were children who had not been administered the MMR vaccine, or were infants too young to receive it ( In any population, the herd immunity necessary to block the transmission of an infectious agent in the population is established when the prevalence of protected individuals is higher than a critical value, called the herd immunity threshold. The establishment of the herd immunity in the population can be determined using either vaccination coverage or seroepidemiological surveys. The vaccination coverage associated with herd immunity (Vc) can be determined from the herd immunity threshold and vaccine effectiveness. This method requires vaccine-specific effectiveness evaluation, and it can be used only for the herd immunity assessment of vaccinated communities, in which the infectious agent is not circulating. However, prevalence of the positive serological results associated with the herd immunity can be determined from the herd immunity threshold, in terms of prevalence of antibodies (pc) and serological test performance. The herd immunity is established when the prevalence of antibodies is higher than the pc. This method can be used to assess the establishment of herd immunity in different population groups, both, when the infectious agent is circulating and when it is not possible to assess vaccine effectiveness. The herd immunity assessment can then be used to establish the amount of additional vaccine coverage required to establish herd immunity in that population. Using this method, the herd immunity assessment in Catalonia, Spain, showed that the additional vaccination coverage required to establish herd immunity was 3 - 6% for measles, mumps, and varicella, 11% for polio virus type III in schoolchildren, 17 - 59% for diphtheria in youth and adults, and 25 - 46% for persussis in schoolchildren, youth, and adults (Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2012 Feb 1;8(2). Epub ahead of print).

In October 2011, a cluster of four tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) cases was identified in Hungary. Initial investigations revealed a possible link with consumption of unpasteurised cow milk sold by a farmer without authorisation. A cohort study including all regular customers of the farmer identified 11 confirmed cases, and four suspected cases. Customers who had consumed unpasteurised cow milk had more than a two-fold increased risk for being a TBE case. (

Laboratory diagnosis of TBE depends on the detection of specific IgM antibodies, which can be impeded by long-time persistence of IgM antibodies after infection, vaccine-induced IgM antibodies, and cross-reactive IgM antibodies from other flavivirus infections. However, most of the potential problems of TBE serodiagnosis can be resolved by the quantification of IgM antibodies in a single serum sample taken on hospitalisation. In a recent study, high IgM values (> 500AU) have been found to be indicative of a recent infection. Lower IgM values, however, may require the analysis of a follow-up sample and / or a specific neutralisation assay, to exclude the possibilities of IgM persistence, vaccine-induced IgM antibodies or heterologous flavivirus infections (J Clin Virol. 2012 Mar 13. Epub ahead of print).

Although various solutions have been recommended for cleansing wounds, normal saline is favoured as it is an isotonic solution and does not interfere with the normal healing process. Tap water is commonly used in the community for cleansing wounds, because it is easily accessible, efficient, and cost-effective; however, there is an unresolved debate about its use, related to the possibility of tap water itself causing infections. A systematic review carried out with the intent of resolving this debate, has concluded that there is no evidence that using tap water to cleanse acute wounds in adults increases infection, but there is some evidence that it reduces it. In the absence of potable tap water, boiled and cooled water, as well as distilled water, can be used as wound cleansing agents (Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2012 Feb 15;2:CD003861).

Timely diagnosis of influenza can help clinical management; hence, the importance of rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs). A meta-analysis to examine the accuracy of RIDTs in adults and children with influenza-like illness found that influenza can be ruled in, but not ruled out, through the use of RIDTs. Sensitivity varies across populations, but it is higher in children than in adults, and also higher for influenza A than for influenza B (Ann Intern Med. 2012 Feb 27. PMID: 22371850).

Immunotherapies that induce durable immune control of chronic HIV infection may eliminate the need for a life-long dependence on drugs. A study has investigated a DNA vaccine formulated with a novel genetic adjuvant that stimulates immune responses in the blood and gut for the ability to improve therapy in rhesus macaques chronically infected with Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Using the SIV-macaque model for AIDS, the study shows that epidermal co-delivery of plasmids expressing SIV Gag, RT, Nef, and Env, and the mucosal adjuvant, heat-labile E. coli enterotoxin (LT), during antiretroviral therapy (ART) induces a substantial 2-4 log-fold reduction in the mean virus burden, in both the gut and blood, when compared to unvaccinated controls and provides durable protection from viral rebound and disease progression after the drug is discontinued. The study concludes that immunisation with vaccines that induce immune responses in the mucosal gut tissue can reduce the residual viral reservoirs during drug therapy and improve long-term treatment of HIV infection in humans (PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33715. Epub 2012 Mar 19).

Bacterial drug resistance is one of the most significant challenges to human health today. In particular, effective antibacterial agents against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus Scientific Name Search  (MRSA) are urgently needed. Enzymes that degrade bacterial cell walls show promise as antibacterial agents. Bacteriophage-encoded bacterial cell wall-degrading enzymes exhibit intrinsic bactericidal activity. P128 is a chimeric protein that combines the lethal activity of the phage tail-associated muralytic enzyme of Phage K and the staphylococcal cell wall targeting-domain (SH3b) of lysostaphin. A study has found that the protein is active against globally prevalent antibiotic-resistant clinical isolates and other clinically significant staphylococcal species, including S. epidermidis. The P128 hydrogel formulation is bactericidal against Staphylococci, including S. aureus recovered from the nares of 31 healthy people, demonstrating its in-situ efficacy (BMC Microbiol. 2012 Mar 22;12(1):41. Epub ahead of print).

The HIV pandemic has altered the way we look at tuberculosis (TB). TB is responsible for more than 85% of the cases of pericardial effusion in HIV-infected cohorts. In the absence of HIV, the morbidity of TB pericarditis is primarily related to the ferocity of the immune response to TB antigens within the pericardium. However, in patients with HIV, as TB pericarditis occurs as part of a disseminated process, pericarditis is a more aggressive disease with a greater degree of myocardial involvement. HIV also alters the natural history and outcome of TB pericarditis. Immunocompromised participants appear less likely to develop constrictive pericarditis and have a significantly higher mortality compared to their immunocompetent counterparts. The result is that co-infection with HIV has resulted in a number of areas of uncertainty. The mechanisms of myocardial dysfunction are unclear, new methods of improving the yield of TB culture and establishing a rapid bacterial diagnosis remain a major challenge, the optimal duration of anti-TB therapy has yet to be established, and the role of corticosteroids has yet to be resolved (Heart Fail Rev. 2012 Mar 18. [Epub ahead of print]).

At least six children have reportedly died due to an outbreak of a mysterious disease in a remote village of the border district of Poonch. The disease has spread in the Phaglla village of Surankote, infecting more than two dozen children within three days. There is no road connectivity to the village. although officials confirmed the death of only four children, the locals claimed that six of them have lost their lives so far, while the condition of some others is critical. The Sarpanch claimed that over 100 children in the village and its adjoining areas have been infected and are suffering from severe fever and skin irritation. A preliminary diagnosis of measles has been made. ( Given the geographical sensitivity of the border area, is there a need to rule out the possibility of bioterror? A literature search undertaken to identify and evaluate the main risks for reintroduction of measles transmission in the absence of universal measles immunisation found that if the immunisation levels decrease, measles will become a credible agent for bioterrorism, through intentional release (J Infect Dis. 2011 Jul;204 Suppl 1:S71-7.). On that note of caution, I sign off.


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