PURPOSE: To study corneal reinnervation and sensation recovery in Herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO). METHODS: Two patients with HZO were studied over time with serial corneal esthesiometry and laser in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM). A Boston keratoprosthesis type 1 was implanted, and the explanted corneal tissues were examined by immunofluorescence histochemistry for βIII-tubulin to stain for corneal nerves. RESULTS: The initial central corneal IVCM performed in each patient showed a complete lack of the subbasal nerve plexus, which was in accordance with severe loss of sensation (0 of 6 cm) measured by esthesiometry. When IVCM was repeated 2 years later before undergoing surgery, case 1 showed a persistent lack of central subbasal nerves and sensation (0 of 6). In contrast, case 2 showed regeneration of the central subbasal nerves (4786 μm/mm) with partial recovery of corneal sensation (2.5 of 6 cm). Immunostaining of the explanted corneal button in case 1 showed no corneal nerves, whereas case 2 showed central and peripheral corneal nerves. Eight months after surgery, IVCM was again repeated in the donor tissue around the Boston keratoprosthesis in both patients to study innervation of the corneal transplant. Case 1 showed no nerves, whereas case 2 showed new nerves growing from the periphery into the corneal graft. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that regaining corneal innervation and corneal function are possible in patients with HZO as shown by corneal sensation, IVCM, and ex vivo immunostaining, indicating zoster neural damage is not always permanent and it may recover over an extended period of time.
Enterococcus faecalis are a major cause of nosocomial infection worldwide, and the spread of vancomycin resistant strains (VRE) limits treatment options. Tigecycline-resistant VRE began to be isolated from inpatients at a Brazilian hospital within months following the addition of tigecycline to the hospital formulary. This was found to be the result of a spread of an ST103 E. faecalis clone. Our objective was to identify the basis for tigecycline resistance in this lineage. The genomes of two closely related tigecycline-susceptible (MIC = 0.06 mg/L), and three representative tigecycline-resistant (MIC = 1 mg/L) ST103 isolates were sequenced and compared. Further, efforts were undertaken to recapitulate the emergence of resistant strains in vitro. The specific mutations identified in clinical isolates in several cases were within the same genes identified in laboratory-evolved strains. The contribution of various polymorphisms to the resistance phenotype was assessed by trans-complementation of the wild type or mutant alleles, by testing for differences in mRNA abundance, and/or by examining the phenotype of transposon insertion mutants. Among tigecycline-resistant clinical isolates, five genes contained non-synonymous mutations, including two genes known to be related to enterococcal tigecycline resistance (tetM and rpsJ). Finally, within the in vitro-selected resistant variants, mutation in the gene for a MarR-family response regulator was associated with tigecycline resistance. This study shows that E. faecalis mutates to attain tigecycline resistance through the complex interplay of multiple mechanisms, along multiple evolutionary trajectories.
A tigecycline-susceptible (TGC-S) Sequence Type (ST) 5 clinical methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strain was cultured in escalating levels of tigecycline, yielding mutants eightfold more resistant. Their genomes were sequenced to identify genetic alterations, resulting in resistance. Alterations in rpsJ, commonly related to tigecycline resistance, were also investigated. Tigecycline resistance was mediated by loss-of-function mutations in the transcriptional repressor mepR, resulting in derepression of the efflux pump mepA. Increased levels of resistance were obtained by successive mutations in mepA itself. No alterations in RpsJ were observed in selected strains, but we observed a K57M substitution, previously correlated with resistance, among TGC-S clinical strains. Thus, the pathway to tigecycline resistance in CC5 MRSA in vitro appears to be derepression of mep operon as the result of mepR loss-of-function mutation, followed by alterations in MepA efflux pump. This shows that other evolutionary pathways, besides mutation of rpsJ, are available for evolving tigecycline resistance in CC5 MRSA.
Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of both nosocomial and community-acquired infection. Biofilm formation at the site of infection reduces antimicrobial susceptibility and can lead to chronic infection. During biofilm formation, a subset of cells liberate cytoplasmic proteins and DNA, which are repurposed to form the extracellular matrix that binds the remaining cells together in large clusters. Using a strain that forms robust biofilms in vitro during growth under glucose supplementation, we carried out a genome-wide screen for genes involved in the release of extracellular DNA (eDNA). A high-density transposon insertion library was grown under biofilm-inducing conditions, and the relative frequency of insertions was compared between genomic DNA (gDNA) collected from cells in the biofilm and eDNA from the matrix. Transposon insertions into genes encoding functions necessary for eDNA release were identified by reduced representation in the eDNA. On direct testing, mutants of some of these genes exhibited markedly reduced levels of eDNA and a concomitant reduction in cell clustering. Among the genes with robust mutant phenotypes were gdpP, which encodes a phosphodiesterase that degrades the second messenger cyclic-di-AMP, and xdrA, the gene for a transcription factor that, as revealed by RNA-sequencing analysis, influences the expression of multiple genes, including many involved in cell wall homeostasis. Finally, we report that growth in biofilm-inducing medium lowers cyclic-di-AMP levels and does so in a manner that depends on the gdpP phosphodiesterase gene.
Genomics analysis of a historically intriguing and predicted emergent human adenovirus (HAdV) pathogen, which caused pneumonia and death, provides insight into a novel molecular evolution pathway involving "ping-pong" zoonosis and anthroponosis. The genome of this promiscuous pathogen is embedded with evidence of unprecedented multiple, multidirectional, stable, and reciprocal cross-species infections of hosts from three species (human, chimpanzee, and bonobo). This recombinant genome, typed as HAdV-B76, is identical to two recently reported simian AdV (SAdV) genomes isolated from chimpanzees and bonobos. Additionally, the presence of a critical adenoviral replication element found in HAdV genomes, in addition to genes that are highly similar to counterparts in other HAdVs, reinforces its potential as a human pathogen. Reservoirs in nonhuman hosts may explain periods of apparent absence and then reemergence of human adenoviral pathogens, as well as present pathways for the genesis of those thought to be newly emergent. The nature of the HAdV-D76 genome has implications for the use of SAdVs as gene delivery vectors in human gene therapy and vaccines, selected to avoid preexisting and potentially fatal host immune responses to HAdV. An emergent adenoviral human pathogen, HAdV-B76, associated with a fatality in 1965, shows a remarkable degree of genome identity with two recently isolated simian adenoviruses that contain cross-species genome recombination events from three hosts: human, chimpanzee, and bonobo. Zoonosis (nonhuman-to-human transmission) and anthroponosis (human to nonhuman transmission) may play significant roles in the emergence of human adenoviral pathogens.
IMPORTANCE: Internet-based search engine and social media data may provide a novel complementary source for better understanding the epidemiologic factors of infectious eye diseases, which could better inform eye health care and disease prevention. OBJECTIVE: To assess whether data from internet-based social media and search engines are associated with objective clinic-based diagnoses of conjunctivitis. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Data from encounters of 4143 patients diagnosed with conjunctivitis from June 3, 2012, to April 26, 2014, at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center, were analyzed using Spearman rank correlation of each weekly observation to compare demographics and seasonality of nonallergic conjunctivitis with allergic conjunctivitis. Data for patient encounters with diagnoses for glaucoma and influenza were also obtained for the same period and compared with conjunctivitis. Temporal patterns of Twitter and Google web search data, geolocated to the United States and associated with these clinical diagnoses, were compared with the clinical encounters. The a priori hypothesis was that weekly internet-based searches and social media posts about conjunctivitis may reflect the true weekly clinical occurrence of conjunctivitis. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Weekly total clinical diagnoses at UCSF of nonallergic conjunctivitis, allergic conjunctivitis, glaucoma, and influenza were compared using Spearman rank correlation with equivalent weekly data on Tweets related to disease or disease-related keyword searches obtained from Google Trends. RESULTS: Seasonality of clinical diagnoses of nonallergic conjunctivitis among the 4143 patients (2364 females [57.1%] and 1776 males [42.9%]) with 5816 conjunctivitis encounters at UCSF correlated strongly with results of Google searches in the United States for the term pink eye (ρ, 0.68 [95% CI, 0.52 to 0.78]; P < .001) and correlated moderately with Twitter results about pink eye (ρ, 0.38 [95% CI, 0.16 to 0.56]; P < .001) and with clinical diagnosis of influenza (ρ, 0.33 [95% CI, 0.12 to 0.49]; P < .001), but did not significantly correlate with seasonality of clinical diagnoses of allergic conjunctivitis diagnosis at UCSF (ρ, 0.21 [95% CI, -0.02 to 0.42]; P = .06) or with results of Google searches in the United States for the term eye allergy (ρ, 0.13 [95% CI, -0.06 to 0.32]; P = .19). Seasonality of clinical diagnoses of allergic conjunctivitis at UCSF correlated strongly with results of Google searches in the United States for the term eye allergy (ρ, 0.44 [95% CI, 0.24 to 0.60]; P < .001) and eye drops (ρ, 0.47 [95% CI, 0.27 to 0.62]; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Internet-based search engine and social media data may reflect the occurrence of clinically diagnosed conjunctivitis, suggesting that these data sources can be leveraged to better understand the epidemiologic factors of conjunctivitis.
Purpose: We sought to determine whether big data from social media might reveal seasonal trends of conjunctivitis, most forms of which are nonreportable. Methods: Social media posts (from Twitter, and from online forums and blogs) were classified by age and by conjunctivitis type (allergic or infectious) using Boolean and machine learning methods. Based on spline smoothing, we estimated the circular mean occurrence time (a measure of central tendency for occurrence) and the circular variance (a measure of uniformity of occurrence throughout the year, providing an index of seasonality). Clinical records from a large tertiary care provider were analyzed in a similar way for comparison. Results: Social media posts machine-coded as being related to infectious conjunctivitis showed similar times of occurrence and degree of seasonality to clinical infectious cases, and likewise for machine-coded allergic conjunctivitis posts compared to clinical allergic cases. Allergic conjunctivitis showed a distinctively different seasonal pattern than infectious conjunctivitis, with a mean occurrence time later in the spring. Infectious conjunctivitis for children showed markedly greater seasonality than for adults, though the occurrence times were similar; no such difference for allergic conjunctivitis was seen. Conclusions: Social media posts broadly track the seasonal occurrence of allergic and infectious conjunctivitis, and may be a useful supplement for epidemiologic monitoring.
PURPOSE: Epidemic and seasonal infectious conjunctivitis outbreaks can impact education, workforce, and economy adversely. Yet conjunctivitis typically is not a reportable disease, potentially delaying mitigating intervention. Our study objective was to determine if conjunctivitis epidemics could be identified using Google Trends search data. DESIGN: Search data for conjunctivitis-related and control search terms from 5 years and countries worldwide were obtained. Country and term were masked. Temporal scan statistics were applied to identify candidate epidemics. Candidates then were assessed for geotemporal concordance with an a priori defined collection of known reported conjunctivitis outbreaks, as a measure of sensitivity. PARTICIPANTS: Populations by country that searched Google's search engine using our study terms. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Percent of known conjunctivitis outbreaks also found in the same country and period by our candidate epidemics, identified from conjunctivitis-related searches. RESULTS: We identified 135 candidate conjunctivitis epidemic periods from 77 countries. Compared with our a priori defined collection of known reported outbreaks, candidate conjunctivitis epidemics identified 18 of 26 (69% sensitivity) of the reported country-wide or island nationwide outbreaks, or both; 9 of 20 (45% sensitivity) of the reported region or district-wide outbreaks, or both; but far fewer nosocomial and reported smaller outbreaks. Similar overall and individual sensitivity, as well as specificity, were found on a country-level basis. We also found that 83% of our candidate epidemics had start dates before (of those, 20% were more than 12 weeks before) their concurrent reported outbreak's report issuance date. Permutation tests provided evidence that on average, conjunctivitis candidate epidemics occurred geotemporally closer to outbreak reports than chance alone suggests (P < 0.001) unlike control term candidates (P = 0.40). CONCLUSIONS: Conjunctivitis outbreaks can be detected using temporal scan analysis of Google search data alone, with more than 80% detected before an outbreak report's issuance date, some as early as the reported outbreak's start date. Future approaches using data from smaller regions, social media, and more search terms may improve sensitivity further and cross-validate detected candidates, allowing identification of candidate conjunctivitis epidemics from Internet search data potentially to complementarily benefit traditional reporting and detection systems to improve epidemic awareness.
The novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in China in the city of Wuhan in December of 2019 and since then more than 5,000,000 people have been infected, with approximately 338,000 deaths worldwide. The virus causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is characterized by fever, myalgia and cough, with severe acute respiratory syndrome being the most fearsome complication. Nevertheless, the vast majority of cases present mild symptoms or none. Central nervous system and cardiovascular manifestations have been reported. The range of ocular manifestations, either as a result of the infection or as a result of the treatment, has not yet been discussed. In this study, a systematic review of current literature relevant to COVID-19 was performed with focus on modes of transmission, ocular manifestations related to infection and medications, as well as the control of infection in ophthalmic practice.
The brain has a tightly regulated environment that protects neurons and limits inflammation, designated "immune privilege." However, there is not an absolute lack of an immune response. We tested the ability of the brain to initiate an innate immune response to a virus, which was directly injected into the brain parenchyma, and to determine whether this response could limit viral spread. We injected vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a transsynaptic tracer, or naturally occurring VSV-derived defective interfering particles (DIPs), into the caudate-putamen (CP) and scored for an innate immune response and inhibition of virus spread. We found that the brain parenchyma has a functional type I interferon (IFN) response that can limit VSV spread at both the inoculation site and among synaptically connected neurons. Furthermore, we characterized the response of microglia to VSV infection and found that infected microglia produced type I IFN and uninfected microglia induced an innate immune response following virus injection.
Objective: Otologic methicillin-resistant (MRSA) infection has historically been rare, but given the rise in community-acquired MRSA carriage and infection at other body sites, prevalence rates may be changing. The goal of this study was to determine the prevalence of MRSA in recent otologic cultures from patients with acute otitis externa (AOE). Study design: Retrospective review of an institutional microbiologic database. Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on serial culture isolates taken from the ear at a quaternary care hospital from January 2014 to April 2016. The causative pathogen and antibiotic sensitivity was determined by culture isolation and end point mean inhibitory concentration (MIC) testing. Medical records were reviewed to document patient characteristics, chronicity of infection, symptomatology, and previous treatments. Results: Over the study period, 173 patients were diagnosed with AOE and underwent otologic cultures of the ear. Fifty-three (30.6%) of cultures grew (SA). Of SA infections, 15 (28.3%) were identified as MRSA. MRSA patients were typically older than patients with methicillin-sensitive SA (MSSA) (mean age 46.7 ± 17.9 29 ± 19.4, = 0.003) and had more medical comorbidities (4 1.7, = 0.001). Compared to patients with MSSA, patients with MRSA were significantly more likely to have had prior ototopical antibiotic exposure (37% 73%, = 0.019). Conclusion: Contemporary ear culture isolates at quaternary care center show higher rates of MRSA compared to historical reports in the literature. Clinicians should consider ear cultures to identify MRSA AOE. Level of Evidence: IV.
Endophthalmitis is a severe eye infection that may result in permanent loss of useful vision in the affected eye. Most cases are exogenous and occur as a complication of cataract surgery, an intravitreal injection, or penetrating ocular trauma. Endogenous endophthalmitis results from hematogenous seeding of the eye by bacteria or fungi, but bacteremia or fungemia may be transient and patients may present without symptoms of systemic infection. Nearly all endophthalmitis patients present with decreased vision, and some also have eye pain. Eye examination usually reveals a hypopyon and intraocular inflammation. Diagnosis is clinical, supported by cultures of the vitreous and/or aqueous or by blood cultures in some endogenous cases. Molecular diagnostic techniques have been used in research laboratories for pathogen identification in endophthalmitis and offer the possibility of rapid diagnosis, including in culture-negative cases. Intravitreal injection of antibiotics is the most important component of treatment; some cases also benefit from surgical debridement of the vitreous by a vitrectomy. The visual outcome depends partly on the pathogen: coagulase-negative staphylococcal endophthalmitis has a better prognosis than does streptococcal endophthalmitis, for example. Endophthalmitis is a medical emergency, and prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential for saving vision.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the presence of atopy in patients with ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (OCP).
METHOD: Patient encounters between August 2005 and November 2016 at the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institute (MERSI) were searched to identify those with biopsy-proven OCP who had concurrent evidence of atopy.
RESULTS: There were 230 patients with biopsy-proven OCP. Thirty-three of them were found to have clinical symptoms of atopy (asthma, hay fever, and eczema) and of these, 23 had evidence of atopy in their conjunctival biopsy specimens. All patients were administered immunomodulatory therapy for treatment of their OCP with 20 patients requiring additional antiallergy treatment to control residual atopic ocular symptoms. Among patients who used antiallergy medications, 80% showed improvement in residual symptoms. Rituximab and/or intravenous immunoglobulin is a preferred OCP medication for patients with OCP with some evidence of atopy.
CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians should consider the coexistence of atopy in patients with OCP, especially in those with persistent symptoms after initiation of immunomodulatory therapy.
Humans and other mammalian hosts have evolved mechanisms to control the bacteria colonizing their mucosal barriers to prevent invasion. While the breach of barriers by bacteria typically leads to overt infection, increasing evidence supports a role for translocation of commensal bacteria across an impaired gut barrier to extraintestinal sites in the pathogenesis of autoimmune and other chronic, non-infectious diseases. Whether gut commensal translocation is a cause or consequence of the disease is incompletely defined. Here we discuss factors that lead to translocation of live bacteria across the gut barrier. We expand upon our recently published demonstration that translocation of the gut pathobiont can induce autoimmunity in susceptible hosts and postulate on the role of species as instigators of chronic, non-infectious diseases.