The Handoff: Your Week in Infectious Disease News – 6/2/17

As infectious diseases evolve, it can be challenging to stay current with the latest research. The Handoff is a weekly roundup of the most important news and updates covering the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. Keep your finger on the pulse of infectious diseases with The Handoff.

— A modification to the antibiotic, vancomycin, to make it more potent, could eliminate the threat of antibiotic resistant infections. Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute are working on a third modification that interferes with the bacteria’s cell wall, giving vancomycin a 1,000-fold increase in activity.

— An estimated cost of $14 million will be used to treat 250 of the most seriously ill inmates with hepatitis C at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. A press release states that the total cost to treat 47,400 inmates with hepatitis C reaches $39 million.

— Researchers at the University of Buffalo discovered that a combination of 3 antibiotics is capable of eradicating 2 of the 6 ESKAPE pathogens, a group of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Combining polymyxin B, meropenem, and ampicillin-sulbactam was able to combat Acinetobacter baumannii. Klebsiella pneumonia was treated with polymyxin B, meropenem, and rifampin.

— A year-long study at the University of Chicago Medicine, the Center for Care and Discovery, successfully mapped the bacterial diversity and flow of microbes between patients, staff, and surfaces at the new hospital. Bacterial organisms, abundant during construction and pre-opening preparations, such as Acinetobacter and Pseudomonas were replaced by human skin associated microbes such as Corynebacterium, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus, according to the study.

–The Ebola virus binds directly to white blood cells to hamper the body’s natural defenses, speeding the rate of infection, according to a new study published in PLOS Pathogens. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that when the virus binds to lymphocytes, TLR4 pathways activate cells and contribute to the death of lymphocytes, leaving the person more vulnerable to viral invasion.

Mothers who outright refuse to vaccinate their children are viewed more negatively than mothers who delay vaccines because of safety concerns or those who aren’t up to date due to time constraints, according to a survey conducted by The University of British Columbia.

— Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute of Patient Safety and Quality led a study in several ICUs aiming to lower complications from mechanical ventilation or ventilator-associated events. During the study period, the total number of ventilator-associated events decreased from 7.34 cases per 1,000 patient ventilator days to 4.58 cases after 24 months.

— Scientists found that a mechanical shear is what activates bacteria to produce biofilm on medical equipment. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports that the shear is a sensor for the bacteria to let it know that it’s no longer free-floating.

— The risk of intussusception, a condition where the intestine folds into another part, has been associated with the rotavirus vaccination. The Standing Committee on Vaccination in Germany recommended the rotavirus vaccination in all infants in 2013, noting that the risk of intussusception is lower if the vaccination is carried out when the child is between 6 and 12 weeks old.