Although rabies still kills many people, the global eradication of human rabies is considered to be feasible. Progress towards eradication may differ among regions with differing socio-economic statuses; therefore, states that successfully eradicate this disease must be vigilant for rabies re-emergence. Here, we discuss challenges that remain concerning current rabies prevention measures and risk assessment results concerning possible rabies introduction and spread in rabies-free Japan. We summarize the preventative measures undertaken by representative rabies-free countries and regions. Our risk assessment results show that the risk of rabies reintroduction under current circumstances is very low, and that subsequent spread of the disease would be minimal because of quite low value of basic reproduction number. Similar assessments conducted in other rabies-free areas also showed limited risks of introduction. The majority of rabies-free countries maintain their rabies-free status through strict import quarantine of carnivorous animals, efficient surveillance of animal rabies including wildlife, quick emergency responses, and raising public awareness of the disease. To maintain the current rabies-free status in Japan, we strongly recommend maintaining the current quarantine system and reinforcing stakeholder compliance for those involved in international movement of dogs. Moreover, sustainable surveillance systems targeting wildlife are indispensable.
We introduced a microplate method for virus isolation in the Department of Microbiology, Yamagata Prefectural Institute of Public Health (YPIPH) in 1999 in Yamagata, Japan. We have since carried out longitudinal epidemiological studies on viral infectious diseases, particularly respiratory viruses, combining traditional technologies such as virus isolation and serological techniques and newly developed molecular methods. Here, we provide an overview of our activities at YPIPH between 1999 and 2018. During the study period, we observed emerging and re-merging diseases such as those caused by echovirus type 13, enterovirus D68, parechovirus-A3 (PeV-A3), and Saffold virus. With regard to PeV-A3, we proposed a new disease concept, “PeV-A3-associated myalgia/myositis.” We also revealed the longitudinal epidemiologies of several viruses such as enterovirus A71 and coxsackievirus A16. To perform longitudinal epidemiological studies at any time in Yamagata, we established a system for stocking clinical specimens, viral isolates, complementary DNAs, and serum specimens. We have also pursued collaboration works with virology laboratories across Japan. We hope our experiences, findings, and research materials will further contribute to the development of countermeasures against viral infectious diseases and improvement in public health strategies in Yamagata, Japan, Asia, and around the world.
The aims of this study were to develop modified sequential multiplex PCR (SM-PCR) primer sets and to evaluate their ability and efficiency for serotype determination. We selected target serotypes for SM-PCR testing according to serotype prevalence as reported in Asian publications. The modified SM-PCR consisted of 6 groups of PCR reactions, and each reaction was performed using 5 primer pairs. We evaluated the efficiency and performance of this modified multiplex PCR using 378 pneumococcal strains by comparing the findings with the results of the Quellung reaction. A total of 30 primer pairs were used in a consecutive set of 6 reactions. All results were concordant with those of the Quellung reaction and there was no cross-reactivity to unintended serotypes. We could identify the final serotypes of 370 isolates (97.9%). The coverage rates of modified SM-PCR were 42.6%, 65.9%, and 79.4% in reactions1, 2, and 3, respectively. The modified SM-PCR showed acceptable performance for detecting pneumococcal serotypes and can serve as useful alternative to the Quellung reaction.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most common nosocomial pathogens, causing mild to severe infections. This study aimed to determine the genotypic and phenotypic characteristics of clinical MRSA isolates collected from a teaching hospital from 2014 - 2015. These isolates were genotyped by multilocus sequence typing, staphylococcal cassette chromosomal mec (SCCmec) typing, virulence genes detection, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis; they were phenotyped based on their antibiotics susceptibility profiles. The most prevalent sequence type was ST22. ST3547 was identified from a blood isolate from 2015. Three SCCmec types (III in 26.26%, IV in 70.71%, and V in 3.03% isolates) were detected. Agr type I, II, and III were also detected among the isolates. The most prevalent virulence genes found were hemolysin (100%) and intracellular adhesion (91.9%). At least one staphylococcal enterotoxin was detected in 83 (83.8%) isolates. All the isolates were susceptible to vancomycin (minimum inhibitory concentration ≤ 2 μg/mL). Statistical analysis revealed a significant increase in hypertension (p = 0.035), dyslipidemia and obesity (p = 0.046), and previous exposure to any quinolone (p = 0.010) cases over the two-year period. The emergence and circulation of community-associated MRSA variants were observed in our hospital.
Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are the leading causes of acute respiratory tract infection in children, and clinical manifestations of these virus infections are considered similar. To investigate the differences in clinical characteristics between HMPV and RSV infections in young children, we prospectively enrolled children ＜ 3 years old who required hospitalization with acute respiratory tract infection due to HMPV or RSV at 10 hospitals in Japan. We enrolled 48 children with HMPV infection and 141 with RSV infection. Patients with HMPV infection were older than those with RSV infection. High-grade fever was more frequently observed in patients with HMPV infection, whereas no significant differences in respiratory symptoms were apparent. Abnormal serum lactate dehydrogenase values and consolidation shadows on chest X-ray were more frequently observed in patients with HMPV infection. During hospitalization, nasal mucus suction was more frequently required in patients with RSV infection. On the other hand, β2-adrenergic agonists, corticosteroids, and leukotriene receptor antagonists were more frequently used in patients with HMPV infection. These findings suggest that HMPV and RSV infections show similar respiratory symptoms, but HMPV infection is more likely to lead to the development of pneumonia, at least among hospitalized young children.
A case-control study was conducted in Shandong from January to December 2017 to explore the relationship between sleep quality and the risk of active pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). Seventy-nine patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus coincident with newly diagnosed pulmonary tuberculosis (DM-PTB) and 169 age, sex, and DM course frequency-matched controls (DM alone) were enrolled. Univariate and multivariable unconditional logistic regression analyses were conducted. We further conducted subgroup analyses to explore the relationship between sleep quality and PTB risk, including DM course (≤5 and ＞5 years), age, sex, and the presence of overweight or obesity (body mass index (BMI) ＞ 24 kg/m2). Multivariate logistic regression demonstrated that poor sleep quality had a borderline negative association with the odds of PTB (P ＝ 0.065). Subgroup multivariate analyses showed that poor sleep quality increased the risk of PTB to more than 3 times among patients with a DM course ＞ 5 years (odds ratio 3.31, 95% confidence interval: 1.08–10.13; P ＝ 0.036) after adjusting for potential confounding factors including residential area, educational level, BMI, history of contact with tuberculosis patients, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical exercise, immune status, and frequency of blood glucose monitoring. In conclusion, poor sleep quality is an independent risk factor of PTB among DM patients with a course of ＞ 5 years, which indicates significant epidemiological implications for PTB control.
In the 2012–2013 rubella epidemic in Japan, most transmissions in Tokyo occurred at workplaces, especially among men aged 20–49 years. This tendency was likely related to previous rubella immunization policies that prioritized female adolescents. Since 2015, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has been promoting a project to prevent rubella and other infectious diseases in workplaces. Companies participate by choosing one or more of three options: (i) acquire fundamental understanding of infectious diseases, (ii) develop a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for infectious diseases in the workplace, and (iii) increase rubella antibody prevalence in employees.
Criteria for accomplishment are (i) at least 80% of employees complete the infectious disease training modules or (ii) produce a BCP and (iii) at least 90% of employees demonstrate the presence of antibodies at levels sufficient for preventing rubella. As of July 2018, 39.8% (n ＝ 90) of the 226 companies that began participating in 2015–2017 had met at least one accomplishment criteria (Option I, 42.7% of 192 companies; Option II, 19.3% of 140; and Option III, 17.0% of 53). The main project challenges were recruiting companies and following participating companies. Although early in its implementation, this project has made considerable contributions toward rubella elimination in Japan.
The emergence of unusual DS-1-like intergenogroup reassortant rotaviruses with a bovine-like G8 genotype (DS-1-like G8P strains) has been reported in several Asian countries. During the rotavirus surveillance program in Japan in 2017, a DS-1-like G8P strain (RVA/Human-wt/JPN/SO1162/2017/G8P) was identified in 43 rotavirus-positive stool samples. Strain SO1162 was shown to have a unique genotype constellation, including genes from both genogroup 1 and 2: G8-P-I2-R2-C2-M2-A2-N2-T2-E2-H2. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the VP1 gene of strain SO1162 appeared to have originated from DS-1-like G1P strains from Thailand and Vietnam, while the remaining 10 genes were closely related to those of previously reported DS-1-like G8P strains. Thus, SO1162 was suggested to be a reassortant strain that acquired the VP1 gene from Southeast Asian DS-1-like G1P strains on the genetic background of co-circulating DS-1-like G8P strains. Our findings provide important insights into the evolutionary dynamics of emerging DS-1-like G8P strains.
We determined the whole-genome sequence (WGS) of Streptococcus canis strain TA4 harboring the M-like protein gene (scm); the strain was isolated from a human patient presenting with bacteremia. The potential of type II-A clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) array–based typing was evaluated, and the genetic relation was elucidated between spacer genogroups and scm prevalence and/or polymorphisms among the isolates from 19 diseased companion animals and the human patient. CRISPRFinder and CRISPRCasFinder detected the type II-A locus with the same repeat sequences in strain TA4 and another WGS of S. canis strain, isolated from a cow with mastitis. An optimized PCR-based amplification method was used to sequence the region covering the locus around the leader and terminal repeat sequences. Among the 20 isolates sequenced, 16 strains (including TA4) were identified with the CRISPR array. We conducted comparative analysis of the homologous spacer sequences and performed grouping based on the successive common ancestral spacer types. These 16 isolates were assigned to five genogroups (A to E) with scm being absent in genogroup A. We found a relationship between genogroups C and E and allele type 1 of the deduced M-like protein. These preliminary findings suggest the feasibility of CRISPR array–based typing and a genetic relation between the spacer genogroups and scm prevalence and/or polymorphisms in the isolates.
There is an alarming increase in the prevalence of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) present mainly in Enterobacteriaceae and other nonfermenting gram-negative bacteria, such as Alcaligenes faecalis, which is the only species in that genus that is clinically relevant. We investigated Alcaligenes species from 7 cases (6 inpatients and one outpatient) at our tertiary-care hospital. Four patients had urinary tract infections, and one each had systemic lupus erythematosus, pulmonary stenosis, and diabetic ulcer. All 7 isolates were identified as Alcaligenes spp. based on their 16S rRNA gene sequences, and antibiotic susceptibility was determined using a Vitek 2 system with AST-GN87 cards. All the strains were resistant to cefazolin; 6 were resistant to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole; 5 manifested resistance to ampicillin/sulbactam, cefepime, tobramycin, ciprofloxacin, and nitrofurantoin; whereas 5 had multidrug resistance profiles. All the strains (7/7) expressed ESBL activity; PCR screening and sequencing showed evidence of genes blaTEM-116 (7/7) and blaOXA-10 (4/7), and we believe that this is the first report on the presence of TEM-116 and OXA-10 in an Alcaligenes spp. A combination of the 2 genes was present in 4 strains. All 7 strains were found to harbor at least one ESBL gene probably contributing to the drug resistance.
Subsequent to the increasing use of immunosuppressant therapy, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PcP) has emerged as a life-threatening condition in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative patients. We investigated changes in epidemiological and clinical characteristics among PcP cases with and without HIV infections. Data of 424 patients diagnosed with PcP in a 2,700-bed Korean tertiary care hospital between February 2003 and April 2017 were retrospectively analyzed. The study included patients with compatible clinical findings in whom PcP was confirmed via direct immunofluorescence assay. The annual average number of cases increased from 12.2 (initial 5-year period) to 42.2 (recent 5-year period). In HIV-negative patients, hematologic malignancy (34.8%) and solid organ transplantation (32.9%) were the most frequent major underlying conditions, and immunosuppressive therapies including corticosteroids (342/362, 94.5%) and chemotherapy (122/362, 33.7%) were significantly associated with PcP infection (p ＜ 0.001 for both). The incidence of PcP has continued to increase among non-HIV-infected immunocompromised patients in recent years.
The genus Acinetobacter comprises many species that can cause infectious diseases. Despite their importance as nosocomial pathogens, the clinical distributions of individual species or clones are not well understood. In this study, we aimed to characterize 13 Acinetobacter strains isolated from blood cultures from Osaka City University Hospital. We conducted whole-genome sequencing to reveal their genetic background. We also performed PCR-based open reading frame typing (POT) and compared the results with those of multilocus sequence typing (MLST) to confirm its reliability as a genotyping method. Although biochemical analysis suggested that most isolates were A. baumannii, genomic analysis revealed that the collection of Acinetobacter isolates comprised six different species, with non-baumannii Acinetobacter species representing the majority. All strains possessed an inherent ADC-type β-lactamase gene, whereas the distribution of OXA-type enzymes was limited to A. baumannii, A. pittii, and A. colistiniresistens. While MLST properly discriminated four A. baumannii strains as different clones, POT failed to distinguish three of the four A. baumannii strains from each other, highlighting a potential pitfall that may be encountered when applying POT to non-epidemiological A. baumannii strains.