The Handoff: Your Week in Infectious Disease News – 6/9/17

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.

— The WHO released new recommendations to reduce the use of certain “last resort” antibiotics. The new recommendation puts antibiotics into 3 categories – watch, access, and reserve – describing which antibiotics can be used liberally vs which should be used in more serious cases. Ultimately, the WHO is suggesting using penicillins in more cases while reducing the use of newer, more expensive antibiotics.

— The ultra-sensitive Clostridium difficile toxin A/B assay in development by Singulex, Inc. for use on the Sgx Clarity™ system has high sensitivity and may be a vital tool for improving the diagnosis of C difficile

— States with the most permissible expedited partner therapy laws, a law permitting that a patient who tests positive for a sexually transmitted infections (STI) can get a prescription for themselves and their sexual partner, may have the most success in treating and preventing STIs, according to researchers at the University of Michigan.

— A 10-year study on the Lassa virus has identified details of a key surface protein that could advance Lassa virus vaccine development or antibody-based therapeutics. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute have re-engineered the Lassa glycoprotein precursor complex to use it to study antibodies from human survivors.

— A certain strain of influenza virus was found to predispose mice to develop pathologies that are seen in Parkinson disease. The research, published in npj Parkinson’s Disease suggests evidence that environmental factors, including influenza, may be involved in Parkinson disease.

— The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recalled more than 22,000 pounds of ground beef due to possible Escherichia coli contamination.  The recalled products were shipped to stores in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.

— Rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infections dropped by 54% in 404 nursing homes that took part in a national patient safety effort. Researchers at the University of Michigan designed a toolkit of training materials to help the nursing home staff use infection-prevention practices. 

— The CDC has linked a Salmonella outbreak to contact with live poultry. Currently 372 Salmonella cases across 47 states have been reported. Outbreaks linked to contact with live poultry have increased in recent years as more people keep backyard flocks.

— Scientists have found that the human protein valosin containing protein (VCP) is essential for the replication of human cytomegalovirus (CMV).  Research published in PLOS Pathogens shows that reducing the expression of VCP in human CMV-infected cells reduced its viral replication.

— In a preclinical study, researchers discovered gut microbiota that act as a line of defense against severe Listeria monocytogenes infections. The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that the bacteria in the form of probiotics could protect against Listeria in infants, pregnant women, and immunocompromised cancer patients.