Infectious Disease

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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.
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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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.
Ung L, Jonas JB, Lietman TM, Chodosh J. COVID-19 and the Unfinished Agenda of VISION 2020. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;224:30-35.Abstract
PURPOSE: To critically evaluate the potential impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on global ophthalmology and VISION 2020. DESIGN: Perspective supplemented with epidemiologic insights from available online databases. METHODS: We extracted data from the Global Vision Database (2017) and Global Burden of Disease Study (2017) to highlight temporal trends in global blindness since 1990, and provide a narrative overview of how COVID-19 may derail progress toward the goals of VISION 2020. RESULTS: Over 2 decades of VISION 2020 advocacy and program implementation have culminated in a universal reduction of combined age-standardized prevalence of moderate-to-severe vision impairment (MSVI) across all world regions since 1990. Between 1990 and 2017, low-income countries observed large reductions in the age-standardized prevalence per 100,000 persons of vitamin A deficiency (25,155 to 19,187), undercorrected refractive disorders (2,286 to 2,040), cataract (1,846 to 1,690), onchocerciasis (5,577 to 2,871), trachoma (506 to 159), and leprosy (36 to 26). Despite these reductions, crude projections suggest that more than 700 million persons will experience MSVI or blindness by 2050, principally owing to our growing and ageing global population. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the many resounding successes of VISION 2020, the burden of global blindness and vision impairment is set to reach historic levels in the coming years. The impact of COVID-19, while yet to be fully determined, now threatens the hard-fought gains of global ophthalmology. The postpandemic years will require renewed effort and focus on vision advocacy and expanding eye care services worldwide.
Ung L, Bispo PJM, Shanbhag SS, Gilmore MS, Chodosh J. The Persistent Dilemma of Microbial Keratitis: Global Burden, Diagnosis, and Antimicrobial Resistance. Surv Ophthalmol 2018;Abstract
Microbial keratitis (MK) is a potentially blinding condition which must be treated emergently to preserve vision. Although long recognized as a significant cause of corneal blindness, our understanding of its true global scale, associated burden of disease, and etiological patterns remains somewhat limited. Current epidemiological data suggests that MK may be epidemic in parts of the world--particularly within South, South-East and East Asia--and may exceed two million cases per year world-wide. Etiological patterns vary between economically developed and developing countries, with bacterial predominance in the former and fungal predominance in the latter. The key to effective management lies in timely diagnosis; however, the current gold standard of stain and culture remains time consuming and often yields no clinically useful results. For this reason, there are attempts to develop highly sensitive and accurate molecular diagnostic tools to provide rapid diagnosis, inform treatment decision making, and minimize the threat of antimicrobial resistance. We provide an overview of these key areas and of avenues for further research toward the goal of more effectively addressing the problem of MK on both an individual and public health level.
Ung L, Wang Y, Vangel M, Davies EC, Gardiner M, Bispo PJM, Gilmore MS, Chodosh J. Validation of a Comprehensive Clinical Algorithm for the Assessment and Treatment of Microbial Keratitis. Am J Ophthalmol 2020;214:97-109.Abstract
PURPOSE: To validate a comprehensive clinical algorithm for the assessment and treatment of microbial keratitis (MK). DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. METHODS: The "1, 2, 3 Rule" for the initial management of MK was conceived by Vital and associates in 2007 to inform the decision as to when to perform corneal cultures. The rule is invoked when any 1 of 3 clinical parameters is met: ≥1+ anterior chamber cells, ≥2 mm infiltrate, or infiltrate ≤3 mm distance from the corneal center. When the rule is met, we added the mandatory use of fortified topical antibiotics after cultures are obtained. We compared outcomes of cases presenting to Massachusetts Eye and Ear 2 years before (Group I, n = 665) and after (Group II, n = 767) algorithm implementation. The primary composite outcome was a vision-threatening complication, such as corneal perforation. RESULTS: At a median follow-up of 67.0 and 60.0 days, respectively, 172 patients experienced a vision-threatening complication (Group I, 12.9% vs Group II, 11.2%, P = .51). While the algorithm codified conventional management practice at either end of disease severity, the effect of algorithm-augmented care was best appreciated in patients with lesions satisfying only 1 criterion. In this group, there was an increase in the proportion of patients undergoing culture at presentation (54.6% vs 67.7%, P = .006), fortified antibiotic prescription (29.7% vs 53.9%, P < .001), and reduction in vision-threatening complications (9.7% vs 1.8%, P = .001). The proportion of patients who were not cultured at presentation but later required culturing decreased (13.4% vs 5.1%, P = .001), as did patients who did not meet any criteria but were nonetheless cultured (23.9% vs 8.5%, P < .001). Multiple logistic regression showed that all algorithm parameters were independently associated with outcome: ≥1+ anterior chamber cells (odds ratio [OR] 1.66, 95% confidence interval 1.09-2.52); ≥2 mm infiltrate (OR 4.74, 2.68-8.40); and ≤3 mm from corneal center (OR 2.82, 1.85-4.31), confirmed with comparison to a bootstrapped sample (n = 10,000). CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of this algorithm reduced vision-threatening complications for patients with lesions satisfying only 1 criterion, arguably the most difficult patients in whom to judge disease severity. Implementation also led to a decrease in patients receiving unnecessary care.
Ung L, Bispo PJM, Bryan NC, Andre C, Chodosh J, Gilmore MS. The Best of All Worlds: Conjunctivitis through the Lens of Community Ecology and Microbial Biogeography. Microorganisms 2019;8(1)Abstract
The study of the forces which govern the geographical distributions of life is known as biogeography, a subject which has fascinated zoologists, botanists and ecologists for centuries. Advances in our understanding of community ecology and biogeography-supported by rapid improvements in next generation sequencing technology-have now made it possible to identify and explain where and why life exists as it does, including within the microbial world. In this review, we highlight how a unified model of microbial biogeography, one which incorporates the classic ecological principles of selection, diversification, dispersion and ecological drift, can be used to explain community dynamics in the settings of both health and disease. These concepts operate on a multiplicity of temporal and spatial scales, and together form a powerful lens through which to study microbial population structures even at the finest anatomical resolutions. When applied specifically to curious strains of conjunctivitis-causing, nonencapsulated , we show how this conceptual framework can be used to explain the possible evolutionary and disease-causing mechanisms which allowed these lineages to colonize and invade a separate biogeography. An intimate knowledge of this radical bifurcation in phylogeny, still the only known niche subspecialization for to date, is critical to understanding the pathogenesis of ocular surface infections, nature of host-pathogen interactions, and developing strategies to curb disease transmission.
Ursea R, De Castro D, Bowen TJ, Chan C-C. The role of conjunctival biopsy in the diagnosis of granulomatosis with polyangiitis. J Ophthalmic Inflamm Infect 2015;5(1):1.Abstract

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study is to describe a patient who was diagnosed with granulomatosis with polyangiitis based on conjunctival biopsy. This study is a case report and review of the literature. FINDINGS: A 48-year-old Caucasian woman presented with a 2-week history of a left eye peripheral corneal ulcer with adjacent conjunctivitis and a 4-month history of a non-resolving productive cough. Given her elevated serum perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (P-ANCA) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) levels as well as a chest computed topography (CT) that showed bilateral patchy infiltrates, suspicion of limited granulomatosis with polyangiitis with lung and ocular involvement was high. Because bronchoalveolar lavage was nondiagnostic for granulomatous disease, conjunctival biopsy was initially attempted in order to avoid a more invasive lung biopsy. The conjunctival biopsy revealed mixed subacute inflammatory mediators and vasculitis consistent with granulomatosis with polyangiitis. CONCLUSIONS: Conjunctival biopsy may be a valuable, minimally invasive method for diagnosing systemic granulomatosis with polyangiitis.

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