Infectious Disease

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Santa Maria JP, Sadaka A, Moussa SH, Brown S, Zhang YJ, Rubin EJ, Gilmore MS, Walker S. Compound-gene interaction mapping reveals distinct roles for Staphylococcus aureus teichoic acids. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014;111(34):12510-5.Abstract
Staphylococcus aureus contains two distinct teichoic acid (TA) polymers, lipoteichoic acid (LTA) and wall teichoic acid (WTA), which are proposed to play redundant roles in regulating cell division. To gain insight into the underlying biology of S. aureus TAs, we used a small molecule inhibitor to screen a highly saturated transposon library for cellular factors that become essential when WTA is depleted. We constructed an interaction network connecting WTAs with genes involved in LTA synthesis, peptidoglycan synthesis, surface protein display, and D-alanine cell envelope modifications. Although LTAs and WTAs are synthetically lethal, we report that they do not have the same synthetic interactions with other cell envelope genes. For example, D-alanylation, a tailoring modification of both WTAs and LTAs, becomes essential when the former, but not the latter, are removed. Therefore, D-alanine-tailored LTAs are required for survival when WTAs are absent. Examination of terminal phenotoypes led to the unexpected discovery that cells lacking both LTAs and WTAs lose their ability to form Z rings and can no longer divide. We have concluded that the presence of either LTAs or WTAs on the cell surface is required for initiation of S. aureus cell division, but these polymers act as part of distinct cellular networks.
Sassoubre LM, Ramsey MM, Gilmore MS, Boehm AB. Transcriptional response of Enterococcus faecalis to sunlight. J Photochem Photobiol B 2014;130:349-56.Abstract
Microarrays were used to investigate the transcriptional response of Enterococcus faecalis to photostress. E. faecalis are Gram-positive bacteria used as indicators of water quality and have been shown to vary diurnally in response to sunlight. E. faecalis in filtered seawater microcosms were exposed to artificial sunlight for 12h and then placed in the dark for 12h. Transcript abundance was measured at 0, 2, 6, 12, and 24h in the sunlit microcosm and a dark control using microarrays. Culturable E. faecalis concentrations decreased 6-7 orders of magnitude within the first 6h of light exposure. After 12h in the dark, no evidence of dark-repair was observed. Expression data collected after 12h of sunlight exposure revealed a difference in transcript abundance in the light relative to dark microcosms for 35 unique ORFs, 33 ORFs showed increased transcript abundance and 2 ORFs showed reduced transcript abundance. A majority (51%) of the ORFs with increased transcript abundance in the sunlit relative to dark microcosms encoded hypothetical proteins; others were associated with protein synthesis, oxidative stress and DNA repair. Results suggest that E. faecalis exposed to sunlight actively transcribe RNA in response to photostress.
Selleck EM, Gilmore MS. Oxygen as a Virulence Determinant in Polymicrobial Infections. MBio 2016;7(4)Abstract

Infections caused by multiple organisms, or polymicrobial infections, are likely more common than is broadly appreciated. Interaction among microbial communities (and with their host) can change the infection landscape by subverting immunity, providing nutrients and inhibiting competing microbes. Stacy et al. (A. Stacy, D. Fleming, R. J. Lamont, K. P. Rumbaugh, and M. Whiteley, mBio 7:e00782-16, 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00782-16) described a novel mechanism that results in synergistic growth of oral microbes Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and Streptococcus gordonii The authors used whole-genome fitness profiling by transposon sequencing (Tn-seq) to identify genes differentially required for growth in vitro versus in a mono- or coinfection in a thigh abscess model. They found that coinfection with S. gordonii allowed A. actinomycetemcomitans to shift from an anaerobic to an aerobic mode of growth. This shift involved the production of a terminal electron acceptor H2O2 by S. gordonii and increased A. actinomycetemcomitans persistence-an interaction termed "cross-respiration."

Shainheit MG, Valentino MD, Gilmore MS, Camilli A. Mutations in Pneumococcal cpsE Generated via In Vitro Serial Passaging Reveal a Potential Mechanism of Reduced Encapsulation Utilized by a Conjunctival Isolate. J Bacteriol 2015;197(10):1781-91.Abstract
UNLABELLED: The polysaccharide capsule of Streptococcus pneumoniae is required for nasopharyngeal colonization and for invasive disease in the lungs, blood, and meninges. In contrast, the vast majority of conjunctival isolates are acapsular. The first serotype-specific gene in the capsule operon, cpsE, encodes the initiating glycosyltransferase and is one of the few serotype-specific genes that can tolerate null mutations. This report characterizes a spontaneously arising TIGR4 mutant exhibiting a reduced capsule, caused by a 6-nucleotide duplication in cpsE which results in duplication of Ala and Ile at positions 45 and 46. This strain (AI45dup) possessed more exposed phosphorylcholine and was hypersusceptible to C3 complement deposition compared to the wild type. Accordingly, the mutant was significantly better at forming abiotic biofilms and binding epithelial cells in vitro but was avirulent in a sepsis model. In vitro serial passaging of the wild-type strain failed to reproduce the AI45dup mutation but instead led to a variety of mutants with reduced capsule harboring single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in cpsE. A single passage in the sepsis model after high-dose inoculation readily yielded revertants of AI45dup with restored wild-type capsule level, but the majority of SNP alleles of cpsE could not revert, suppress, or bypass. Analysis of cpsE in conjunctival isolates revealed a strain with a single missense mutation at amino acid position 377, which was responsible for reduced encapsulation. This study supports the hypothesis that spontaneous, nonreverting mutations in cpsE serve as a form of adaptive mutation by providing a selective advantage to S. pneumoniae in niches where expression of capsule is detrimental. IMPORTANCE: While the capsule of Streptococcus pneumoniae is required for colonization and invasive disease, most conjunctival isolates are acapsular by virtue of deletion of the entire capsular operon. We show that spontaneous acapsular mutants isolated in vitro harbor mostly nonrevertible single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) null mutations in cpsE, encoding the initiating glycosyltransferase. From a small collection of acapsular conjunctival isolates, we identified one strain with a complete capsular operon but containing a SNP in cpsE that we show is responsible for the acapsular phenotype. We propose that acapsular conjunctival isolates may arise initially from such nonreverting SNP null mutations in cpsE, which can be followed later by deletion of portions or all of the cps operon.
Sié A, Diarra A, Millogo O, Zongo A, Lebas E, Bärnighausen T, Chodosh J, Porco TC, Deiner MS, Lietman TM, Keenan JD, Oldenburg CE. Seasonal and Temporal Trends in Childhood Conjunctivitis in Burkina Faso. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2018;Abstract
Acute conjunctivitis follows a seasonal pattern. Although its clinical course is typically self-limited, conjunctivitis epidemics incur a substantial economic burden because of missed school and work days. This study investigated seasonal and temporal trends of childhood conjunctivitis in the entire country of Burkina Faso from 2013 to 2016, using routine monthly surveillance from 2,444 government health facilities. A total of 783,314 cases were reported over the 4-year period. Conjunctivitis followed a seasonal pattern throughout the country, with a peak in April. A nationwide conjunctivitis outbreak with a peak in September 2016 was noted ( < 0.001), with an excess number of cases first detected in June 2016. Nationwide passive surveillance was able to detect an epidemic 3 months before its peak, which may aide in allocation of resources for containment and mitigation of transmission in future outbreaks.
Singh RB, Liu L, Yung A, Anchouche S, Mittal SK, Blanco T, Dohlman TH, Yin J, Dana R. Ocular redness - II: Progress in development of therapeutics for the management of conjunctival hyperemia. Ocul Surf 2021;21:66-77.Abstract
Conjunctival hyperemia is one of the most common causes for visits to primary care physicians, optometrists, ophthalmologists, and emergency rooms. Despite its high incidence, the treatment options for patients with conjunctival hyperemia are restricted to over-the-counter drugs that provide symptomatic relief due to short duration of action, tachyphylaxis and rebound redness. As our understanding of the immunopathological pathways causing conjunctival hyperemia expands, newer therapeutic targets are being discovered. These insights have also contributed to the development of animal models for mimicking the pathogenic changes in microvasculature causing hyperemia. Furthermore, this progress has catalyzed the development of novel therapeutics that provide efficacious, long-term relief from conjunctival hyperemia with minimal adverse effects.
Singh G, Ismail AM, Lee JY, Ramke M, Lee JS, Dyer DW, Seto D, Rajaiya J, Chodosh J. Divergent Evolution of E1A CR3 in Human Adenovirus Species D. Viruses 2019;11(2)Abstract
Adenovirus E1A is the first viral protein expressed during infection. E1A controls critical aspects of downstream viral gene expression and cell cycle deregulation, and its function is thought to be highly conserved among adenoviruses. Various bioinformatics analyses of E1A from 38 human adenoviruses of species D (HAdV-D), including likelihood clade model partitioning, provided highly significant evidence of divergence of HAdV-Ds into two distinct groups for the conserved region 3 (CR3), present only in the E1A 13S isoform. This variance within E1A 13S of HAdV-Ds was not found in any other human adenovirus (HAdV) species. By protein sequence and structural analysis, the zinc finger motif of E1A CR3, previously shown as critical for transcriptional activation, showed the greatest differences. Subsequent codon usage bias analysis revealed substantial divergence in E1A 13S between the two groups of HAdV-Ds, suggesting that these two sub-groups of HAdV-D evolved under different cellular conditions. Hence, HAdV-D E1A embodies a previously unappreciated evolutionary divergence among HAdVs.
Sobrin L, Yu Y, Han S, Susarla G, Kempen JH, Hubbard RA, VanderBeek BL. Decreased risk of non-infectious anterior uveitis with statin therapy in a large healthcare claims database. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to determine if statin therapy decreases the incidence of non-infectious uveitis (NIU) using a retrospective cohort study. METHODS: Patients enrolled in a national insurance plan who initiated statin (n = 711,734, statin cohort) or other lipid-lowering therapy (n = 148,044, non-statin cohort) were observed for NIU development. Incident NIU in the primary analysis was defined as a new diagnosis code for NIU followed by a second instance of a NIU code within 120 days. For the secondary outcome definition, a corticosteroid prescription or code for an ocular corticosteroid injection within 120 days of the NIU diagnosis code was used instead of the second NIU diagnosis code. Estimation of NIU incidence used multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression. The proportional hazards assumption was satisfied by creating two time periods of analysis, ≤ 150 and > 150 days. Subanalyses were performed by anatomic subtype. RESULTS: Overall, the primary outcome occurred 541 times over 690,465 person-years in the statin cohort and 103 times over 104,301 person-years in the non-statin cohort. No associations were seen in the ≤ 150-day analyses (p > 0.20 for all comparisons). However, after 150 days, the statin cohort was less likely to develop any uveitis [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.51-0.97, P = 0.03] in the primary outcome analysis, but did not meet significance for the secondary outcome (HR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.63-1.15, P = 0.30). Similarly, in the anatomic subtype analysis, after 150 days, the statin cohort was less likely to develop anterior uveitis (HR = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.47-0.97, P = 0.03) in the primary analysis, but the association did not reach significance for the secondary outcome (HR = 0.82, 95% CI: 0.56-1.20, P = 0.31). CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that statin therapy for > 150 days decreases the incidence of NIU.
Song A, Deshmukh R, Lin H, Ang M, Mehta JS, Chodosh J, Said DG, Dua HS, Ting DSJ. Post-keratoplasty Infectious Keratitis: Epidemiology, Risk Factors, Management, and Outcomes. Front Med (Lausanne) 2021;8:707242.Abstract
Post-keratoplasty infectious keratitis (PKIK) represents a unique clinical entity that often poses significant diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. It carries a high risk of serious complications such as graft rejection and failure, and less commonly endophthalmitis. Topical corticosteroids are often required to reduce the risk of graft rejection but their use in PKIK may act as a double-edged sword, particularly in fungal infection. The increased uptake in lamellar keratoplasty in the recent years has also led to complications such as graft-host interface infectious keratitis (IIK), which is particularly difficult to manage. The reported incidence of PKIK differs considerably across different countries, with a higher incidence observed in developing countries (9.2-11.9%) than developed countries (0.02-7.9%). Common risk factors for PKIK include the use of topical corticosteroids, suture-related problems, ocular surface diseases and previous corneal infection. PKIK after penetrating keratoplasty or (deep) anterior lamellar keratoplasty is most commonly caused by ocular surface commensals, particularly Gramme-positive bacteria, whereas PKIK after endothelial keratoplasty is usually caused by Candida spp. Empirical broad-spectrum antimicrobial treatment is the mainstay of treatment for both PKIK, though surgical interventions are required in medically refractory cases (during the acute phase) and those affected by visually significant scarring (during the late phase). In this paper, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview on PKIK, encompassing the epidemiology, risk factors, causes, management and outcomes, and to propose a treatment algorithm for systematically managing this challenging condition.
Storey PP, Tauqeer Z, Yonekawa Y, Todorich B, Wolfe JD, Shah SP, Shah AR, Koto T, Abbey AM, Morizane Y, Sharma P, Wood EH, Morizane-Hosokawa M, Pendri P, Pancholy M, Harkey S, Jeng-Miller KW, Obeid A, Borkar DS, Chen E, Williams P, Okada AA, Inoue M, Shiraga F, Hirakata A, Shah CP, Prenner J, Garg S, Garg S. The Impact of Prefilled Syringes on Endophthalmitis Following Intravitreal Injection of Ranibizumab. Am J Ophthalmol 2019;199:200-208.Abstract
PURPOSE: To compare the rates of infectious endophthalmitis following intravitreal injection of ranibizumab using prefilled syringes vs conventional preparation. DESIGN: Multicenter retrospective cohort study. METHODS: All eyes receiving intravitreal injection of 0.5 mg ranibizumab for retinal vascular diseases at 10 retina practices across the United States (2016 to 2017) and Japan (2009 to 2017) were included. The total numbers of eyes and injections were determined from billing codes. Endophthalmitis cases were determined from billing records and evaluated with chart review. Primary outcome was the rate of postinjection acute endophthalmitis. Secondary outcomes were visual acuity and microbial spectrum. RESULTS: A total of 243 754 intravitreal 0.5 mg ranibizumab injections (165 347 conventional and 78 407 prefilled) were administered to 43 132 unique patients during the study period. In the conventional ranibizumab group, a total of 43 cases of suspected endophthalmitis occurred (0.026%; 1 in 3845 injections) and 22 cases of culture-positive endophthalmitis occurred (0.013%; 1 in 7516 injections). In the prefilled ranibizumab group, 12 cases of suspected endophthalmitis occurred (0.015%; 1 in 6534 injections) and 2 cases of culture-positive endophthalmitis occurred (0.0026%; 1 in 39 204 injections). Prefilled syringes were associated with a trend toward decreased risk of suspected endophthalmitis (odds ratio 0.59; 95% confidence interval 0.31-1.12; P = .10) and a statistically significant decreased risk of culture-positive endophthalmitis (odds ratio 0.19; 95% confidence interval 0.045-0.82; P = .025). Average logMAR vision loss at final follow-up was significantly worse for eyes that developed endophthalmitis from the conventional ranibizumab preparation compared to the prefilled syringe group (4.45 lines lost from baseline acuity vs 0.38 lines lost; P = .0062). Oral-associated flora was found in 27.3% (6/22) of conventional ranibizumab culture-positive endophthalmitis cases (3 cases of Streptococcus viridans, 3 cases of Enterococcus faecalis) compared to 0 cases in the prefilled ranibizumab group. CONCLUSION: In a large, multicenter, retrospective study the use of prefilled syringes during intravitreal injection of ranibizumab was associated with a reduced rate of culture-positive endophthalmitis, including from oral flora, as well as with improved visual acuity outcomes.
Succar T, Beaver HA, Lee AG. Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Ophthalmology Medical Student Teaching: Educational Innovations, Challenges, and Future Directions. Surv Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
Graduate medical education (GME) in ophthalmology has faced and overcome many challenges over the past years and 2020 has been a game-changing year. Although the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) pandemic disrupted medical education globally, ophthalmic educators rapidly transformed their curricula to novel and effective virtual learning formats. Thus, while the COVID-19 outbreak has been one of the most significant challenges faced in the history of medical education, it has also provided an impetus to develop innovative teaching practices, bringing with it unprecedented success in allowing medical students to continue their education in ophthalmology despite these challenges. We review and appraise novel educational interventions implemented by various institutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting their effectiveness, challenges and proposing future directions beyond the pandemic. Many of these innovations will persist even after the end of the pandemic because they have proven that face-to-face learning is not required for all aspects of the ophthalmic GME curriculum. As ophthalmic educators harness the power of educational technology it is critical that their novel educational initiatives are incorporated into competency-based curricula with assessments mapped to the competencies. Future research should focus on evaluating the impact of this transformation to virtual learning environments on student performances as well as implementing longitudinal assessment strategies for clinical competence in workplace-based practice.
Sugi N, Whiston EA, Ksander BR, Gregory MS. Increased resistance to Staphylococcus aureus endophthalmitis in BALB/c mice: Fas ligand is required for resolution of inflammation but not for bacterial clearance. Infect Immun 2013;81(6):2217-25.Abstract
FasL was recently shown be required for bacterial clearance in C57BL/6 mice that express the FasL.1 allotype. The FasL.2 allotype is expressed in BALB/c mice and exhibits increased binding affinity to and increased cytotoxic activity against Fas(+) target cells. Therefore, we hypothesized that BALB/c mice would be more resistant to Staphylococcus aureus-induced endophthalmitis. To test this hypothesis, C57BL/6, BALB/c, and BALB(gld) mice received intravitreal injections of 2,500 CFU of S. aureus (RN6390). Clinical examinations, electroretinography (ERG), histology, and bacterial quantification were performed at 24, 48, 72, and 96 h postinjection. The myeloperoxidase (MPO) assay was used to quantitate neutrophil infiltration. At 96 h postinfection, 86% of C57BL/6 mice presented with complete destruction of the eye, compared to only 29% of BALB/c mice with complete destruction. To our surprise, in the absence of Fas ligand, BALB(gld) mice showed no difference in bacterial clearance compared to BALB/c mice. However, histology and ERG analysis revealed increased retinal damage and significant loss of retinal function. MPO analysis revealed equal numbers of neutrophils in BALB(gld) and BALB/c mice at 24 h postinfection. However, at 48 h, the neutrophil numbers remained significantly elevated in BALB(gld) mice, correlating with the increased retinal damage observed in BALB(gld) mice. We conclude that the increased resistance to S. aureus induced endophthalmitis in BALB/c mice is not dependent upon the FasL. However, in contrast to C57BL/6 mice, FasL is required for resolution of inflammation and protecting host tissue from nonspecific damage in BALB/c mice.
Suzuki T, Campbell J, Kim Y, Swoboda JG, Mylonakis E, Walker S, Gilmore MS. Wall teichoic acid protects Staphylococcus aureus from inhibition by Congo red and other dyes. J Antimicrob Chemother 2012;67(9):2143-51.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: Polyanionic polymers, including lipoteichoic acid and wall teichoic acid, are important determinants of the charged character of the staphylococcal cell wall. This study was designed to investigate the extent to which teichoic acid contributes to protection from anionic azo dyes and to identify barriers to drug penetration for development of new antibiotics for multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection. METHODS: We studied antimicrobial activity of azo dyes against S. aureus strains with or without inhibition of teichoic acid in vitro and in vivo. RESULTS: We observed that inhibition of wall teichoic acid expression resulted in an ∼1000-fold increase in susceptibility to azo dyes such as Congo red, reducing its MIC from >1024 to <4 mg/L. Sensitization occurred when the first step in the wall teichoic acid pathway, catalysed by TarO, was inhibited either by mutation or by chemical inhibition. In contrast, genetic blockade of lipoteichoic acid biosynthesis did not confer Congo red susceptibility. Based on this finding, combination therapy was tested using the highly synergistic combination of Congo red plus tunicamycin at sub-MIC concentrations (to inhibit wall teichoic acid biosynthesis). The combination rescued Caenorhabditis elegans from a lethal challenge of S. aureus. CONCLUSIONS: Our studies show that wall teichoic acid confers protection to S. aureus from anionic azo dyes and related compounds, and its inhibition raises the prospect of development of new combination therapies based on this inhibition.
Szczotka-Flynn LB, Shovlin JP, Schnider CM, Caffery BE, Alfonso EC, Carnt NA, Chalmers RL, Collier S, Jacobs DS, Joslin CE, Kroken AR, Lakkis C, Pearlman E, Schein OD, Stapleton F, Tu E, Willcox MDP. American Academy of Optometry Microbial Keratitis Think Tank. Optom Vis Sci 2021;98(3):182-198.Abstract
SIGNIFICANCE: Think Tank 2019 affirmed that the rate of infection associated with contact lenses has not changed in several decades. Also, there is a trend toward more serious infections associated with Acanthamoeba and fungi. The growing use of contact lenses in children demands our attention with surveillance and case-control studies. PURPOSE: The American Academy of Optometry (AAO) gathered researchers and key opinion leaders from around the world to discuss contact lens-associated microbial keratitis at the 2019 AAO Annual Meeting. METHODS: Experts presented within four sessions. Session 1 covered the epidemiology of microbial keratitis, pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and the role of lens care systems and storage cases in corneal disease. Session 2 covered nonbacterial forms of keratitis in contact lens wearers. Session 3 covered future needs, challenges, and research questions in relation to microbial keratitis in youth and myopia control, microbiome, antimicrobial surfaces, and genetic susceptibility. Session 4 covered compliance and communication imperatives. RESULTS: The absolute rate of microbial keratitis has remained very consistent for three decades despite new technologies, and extended wear significantly increases the risk. Improved oxygen delivery afforded by silicone hydrogel lenses has not impacted the rates, and although the introduction of daily disposable lenses has minimized the risk of severe disease, there is no consistent evidence that they have altered the overall rate of microbial keratitis. Overnight orthokeratology lenses may increase the risk of microbial keratitis, especially secondary to Acanthamoeba, in children. Compliance remains a concern and a significant risk factor for disease. New insights into host microbiome and genetic susceptibility may uncover new theories. More studies such as case-control designs suited for rare diseases and registries are needed. CONCLUSIONS: The first annual AAO Think Tank acknowledged that the risk of microbial keratitis has not decreased over decades, despite innovation. Important questions and research directions remain.
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Than T, Morettin CE, Harthan JS, Hartwick ATE, Huecker JB, Johnson SD, Migneco MK, Shorter E, Whiteside M, Margolis MS, Olson CK, Alferez CS, van Zyl T, Rodic-Polic B, Storch GA, Gordon MO. Efficacy of a Single Administration of 5% Povidone-Iodine in the Treatment of Adenoviral Conjunctivitis. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of a single, in-office administration of 5% povidone-iodine (PVP-I) compared to artificial tears (AT) for adenoviral conjunctivitis (Ad-Cs). DESIGN: Double-masked pilot randomized trial METHODS: Patients presenting with presumed adenoviral conjunctivitis were screened at 9 U.S. clinics. INCLUSION CRITERIA: ≥ 18 years of age, symptoms ≤ 4 days and a positive AdenoPlus® test. EXCLUSION CRITERIA: thyroid disease, iodine allergy, recent ocular surgery, and ocular findings inconsistent with early-stage Ad-Cs. Randomization was to a single administration of 5% PVP-I or AT in one eye and examinations on days 1-2, 4, 7, 14 and 21 with conjunctival swabs taken each visit for quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Primary outcome was percent reduction from peak viral load. Secondary outcomes were improvement in clinical signs and symptoms. RESULTS: Of 56 patients randomized, 28 had detectable viral titers at baseline. Day 4 post-treatment, viral titers in the 5% PVP-I and AT groups were 2.5% ± 2.7% and 14.4% ± 10.5% of peak respectively (p=0.020). Severity of participant-reported tearing, lid swelling and redness as well as clinician-graded mucoid discharge, bulbar redness and bulbar edema were lower in the 5% PVP-I group than AT group on Day 4 (p< 0.05). After Day 4, viral titers, severity of signs and symptoms decreased markedly in both groups and no differences between groups were detected. CONCLUSIONS: Pilot data suggest a single, in-office administration of 5% PVP-I could reduce viral load and hasten improvement of clinical signs and symptoms in patients with Ad-Cs.
Thng ZX, De Smet MD, Lee CS, Gupta V, Smith JR, McCluskey PJ, Thorne JE, Kempen JH, Zierhut M, Nguyen QD, Pavesio C, Agrawal R. COVID-19 and immunosuppression: a review of current clinical experiences and implications for ophthalmology patients taking immunosuppressive drugs. Br J Ophthalmol 2021;105(3):306-310.Abstract
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in December 2019 in Wuhan city, Hubei province, China. This is the third and largest coronavirus outbreak since the new millennium after SARS in 2002 and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012. Over 3 million people have been infected and the COVID-19 has caused more than 217 000 deaths. A concern exists regarding the vulnerability of patients who have been treated with immunosuppressive drugs prior or during this pandemic. Would they be more susceptible to infection by the SARS-CoV-2 and how would their clinical course be altered by their immunosuppressed state? This is a question the wider medical fraternity-including ophthalmologists, rheumatologists, gastroenterologist and transplant physicians among others-must answer. The evidence from the SARS and MERS outbreak offer some degree of confidence that immunosuppression is largely safe in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Preliminary clinical experiences based on case reports, small series and observational studies show the morbidity and mortality rates in immunosuppressed patients may not differ largely from the general population. Overwhelmingly, current best practice guidelines worldwide recommended the continuation of immunosuppression treatment in patients who require them except for perhaps high-dose corticosteroid therapy and in patients with associated risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease.
Thulasi P, Saeed HN, Rapuano CJ, Hou JH, Appenheimer AB, Chodosh J, Kang JJ, Morrill AM, Vyas N, Zegans ME, Zuckerman R, Tu EY. Oral Miltefosine as Salvage Therapy for Refractory Acanthamoeba Keratitis. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;223:75-82.Abstract
PURPOSE: To report a case series of patients with treatment-resistant Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) using oral miltefosine, often as salvage therapy. DESIGN: Descriptive, retrospective multicenter case series. METHODS: We reviewed 15 patients with AK unresponsive to therapy who were subsequently given adjuvant systemic miltefosine between 2011 and 2017. The main outcome measures were resolution of infection, final visual acuity, tolerance of miltefosine, and clinical course of disease. RESULTS: All patients were treated with biguanides and/or diamidines or azoles without resolution of disease before starting miltefosine. Eleven of 15 patients retained count fingers or better vision, and all were considered disease free at last follow-up. Eleven of 15 patients had worsening inflammation with miltefosine, with 10 of them improving with steroids. Six patients received multiple courses of miltefosine. Most tolerated oral miltefosine well, with mild gastrointestinal symptoms as the most common systemic side effect. CONCLUSIONS: Oral miltefosine is a generally well-tolerated treatment adjuvant in patients with refractory AK. The clinician should be prepared for a steroid-responsive inflammatory response frequently encountered during the treatment course.
Torkildsen G, Abelson MB, Gomes PJ, McLaurin E, Potts SL, Mah FS. Vehicle-Controlled, Phase 2 Clinical Trial of a Sustained-Release Dexamethasone Intracanalicular Insert in a Chronic Allergen Challenge Model. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther 2017;33(2):79-90.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of a sustained-release dexamethasone intracanalicular insert (Dextenza™) in a model of allergic conjunctivitis. METHODS: This was a randomized, double-masked, vehicle-controlled, Phase 2 study. Subjects had to have a positive conjunctival allergen challenge (CAC) reaction to allergen (bilateral +2 itching and redness on 5-point, 0-4 scales) at Visit 1, and for 2 of 3 time points on subsequent visits. Subjects who met entry criteria were randomized to receive Dextenza or PV (vehicle insert). Challenges occurred over 42 days, with efficacy assessed at 14 (primary endpoint visit), 28, and 40 days postinsertion. Outcome measures included the evaluation of ocular itching, redness, tearing, chemosis, eyelid swelling, rhinorrhea, and congestion. RESULTS: Twenty-eight subjects completed the study in the Dextenza group and 31 in the vehicle group. At 14 days postinsertion, Dextenza was statistically superior to PV, with least square mean differences for ocular itching of -0.76, -0.97, and -0.87 at 3, 5, and 7 min post-CAC, and for conjunctival redness of -0.46, -0.66, and -0.68 at 7, 15, and 20 min post-CAC. Clinical significance, defined as a 1-U decrease from PV, was not met for primary efficacy. Secondary endpoints, including number of subjects reporting itching and conjunctival redness, indicated superior performance of Dextenza compared with vehicle. Eleven Dextenza-treated (35.5%) and 10 vehicle-treated (30.3%) subjects each experienced a single adverse event. CONCLUSION: This Phase 2 study demonstrated preliminary efficacy and safety data of Dextenza for treatment of allergic conjunctivitis.

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Uchiyama E, Faez S, Nasir H, Unizony SH, Plenge R, Papaliodis GN, Sobrin L. Accuracy of the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) as a research tool for identification of patients with uveitis and scleritis. Ophthalmic Epidemiol 2015;22(2):139-41.Abstract

PURPOSE: To report on the accuracy of the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes for identifying patients with polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and concurrent noninfectious inflammatory ocular conditions in a large healthcare organization database. METHODS: Queries for patients with PMR and uveitis or scleritis were executed in two general teaching hospitals' databases. Patients with ocular infections or other rheumatologic conditions were excluded. Patients with PMR and ocular inflammation were identified, and medical records were reviewed to confirm accuracy. RESULTS: The query identified 10,697 patients with the ICD-9-CM code for PMR and 4154 patients with the codes for noninfectious inflammatory ocular conditions. The number of patients with both PMR and noninfectious uveitis or scleritis by ICD-9-CM codes was 66. On detailed review of the charts of these 66 patients, 31 (47%) had a clinical diagnosis of PMR, 43 (65%) had noninfectious uveitis or scleritis, and only 20 (30%) had PMR with concurrent noninfectious uveitis or scleritis confirmed based on clinical notes. CONCLUSIONS: While the use of ICD-9-CM codes has been validated for medical research of common diseases, our results suggest that ICD-9-CM codes may be of limited value for epidemiological investigations of diseases which can be more difficult to diagnose. The ICD-9-CM codes for rarer diseases (PMR, uveitis and scleritis) did not reflect the true clinical problem in a large proportion of our patients. This is particularly true when coding is performed by physicians outside the area of specialty of the diagnosis.

Ung L, Acharya NR, Agarwal T, Alfonso EC, Bagga B, Bispo PJM, Burton MJ, Dart JK, Doan T, Fleiszig SM, Garg P, Gilmore MS, Gritz DC, Hazlett LD, Iovieno A, Jhanji V, Kempen JH, Lee CS, Lietman TM, Margolis TP, McLeod SD, Mehta JS, Miller D, Pearlman E, Prajna L, Prajna VN, Seitzman GD, Shanbhag SS, Sharma N, Sharma S, Srinivasan M, Stapleton F, Tan DT, Tandon R, Taylor HR, Tu EY, Tuli SS, Vajpayee RB, Van Gelder RN, Watson SL, Zegans ME, Chodosh J. Infectious corneal ulceration: a proposal for neglected tropical disease status. Bull World Health Organ 2019;97(12):854-856.

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