• Bloodstream infections, antibiotic resistance and the practice of blood culture sampling in Germany: study design of a Thuringia-wide prospective population-based study (AlertsNet).

      Karch, André; Schmitz, Roland P; Rißner, Florian; Castell, Stefanie; Töpel, Sandra; Jakob, Matthias; Brunkhorst, Frank M; Mikolajczyk, Rafael; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Bloodstream infections are a major cause of death worldwide; blood culture (BC) sampling remains the most important tool for their diagnosis. Current data suggest that BC rates in German hospitals are considerably lower than recommended; this points to shortfalls in the application of microbiological analyses. Since early and appropriate BC diagnostics are associated with reduced case fatality rates and a shorter duration of antimicrobial therapy, a multicomponent study for the improvement of BC diagnostics was developed.
    • Carbapenem-Resistant spp. as an Emerging Concern in the Hospital-Setting: Results From a Genome-Based Regional Surveillance Study.

      Yao, Yancheng; Falgenhauer, Linda; Falgenhauer, Jane; Hauri, Anja M; Heinmüller, Petra; Domann, Eugen; Chakraborty, Trinad; Imirzalioglu, Can; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2021-11-11)
      The rise of Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) represents an increasing threat to patient safety and healthcare systems worldwide. Citrobacter spp., long considered not to be a classical nosocomial pathogen, in contrast to Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli, is fast gaining importance as a clinical multidrug-resistant pathogen. We analyzed the genomes of 512 isolates of 21 CRE species obtained from 61 hospitals within a three-year-period and found that Citrobacter spp. (C. freundii, C. portucalensis, C. europaeus, C. koseri and C. braakii) were increasingly detected (n=56) within the study period. The carbapenemase-groups detected in Citrobacter spp. were KPC, OXA-48/-like and MBL (VIM, NDM) accounting for 42%, 31% and 27% respectively, which is comparable to those of K. pneumoniae in the same study. They accounted for 10%, 17% and 14% of all carbapenemase-producing CRE detected in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. The carbapenemase genes were almost exclusively located on plasmids. The high genomic diversity of C. freundii is represented by 22 ST-types. KPC-2 was the predominantly detected carbapenemase (n=19) and was located in 95% of cases on a highly-conserved multiple-drug-resistance-gene-carrying pMLST15 IncN plasmid. KPC-3 was rarely detected and was confined to a clonal outbreak of C. freundii ST18. OXA-48 carbapenemases were located on plasmids of the IncL/M (pOXA-48) type. About 50% of VIM-1 was located on different IncN plasmids (pMLST7, pMLST5). These results underline the increasing importance of the Citrobacter species as emerging carriers of carbapenemases and therefore as potential disseminators of Carbapenem- and multidrug-resistance in the hospital setting.
    • Care for MRSA carriers in the outpatient sector: a survey among MRSA carriers and physicians in two regions in Germany.

      Raupach-Rosin, Heike; Rübsamen, Nicole; Szkopek, Sebastian; Schmalz, Oliver; Karch, André; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Castell, Stefanie; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Little is known about the management of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriers in the German outpatient sector and about the impact of MRSA on their daily life. Reimbursement for MRSA related costs in the German outpatient sector is available since 2012, but its impact has not been studied yet. The aim of the study was to analyze the outpatient management of MRSA carriers from both, physicians' and MRSA carriers' perspective.
    • Cellular and humoral immunogenicity of a SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine in patients on haemodialysis.

      Strengert, Monika; Becker, Matthias; Ramos, Gema Morillas; Dulovic, Alex; Gruber, Jens; Juengling, Jennifer; Lürken, Karsten; Beigel, Andrea; Wrenger, Eike; Lonnemann, Gerhard; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-08-12)
      Background: Patients with chronic renal insufficiency on maintenance haemodialysis face an increased risk of COVID-19 induced mortality and impaired vaccine responses. To date, only a few studies have addressed SARS-CoV-2 vaccine elicited immunity in this immunocompromised population. Methods: We assessed immunogenicity of the mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 in at-risk dialysis patients and characterised systemic cellular and humoral immune responses in serum and saliva using interferon γ release assay and multiplex-based cytokine and immunoglobulin measurements. We further compared binding capacity and neutralization efficacy of vaccination-induced immunoglobulins against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants Alpha, Beta, Epsilon and Cluster 5 by ACE2-RBD competition assay. Findings: Patients on maintenance haemodialysis exhibit detectable but variable cellular and humoral immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 and variants of concern after a two-dose regimen of BNT162b2. Although vaccination-induced immunoglobulins were detectable in saliva and plasma, both anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and neutralization efficacy was reduced compared to a vaccinated non-dialysed control population. Similarly, T-cell mediated interferon γ release after stimulation with SARS-CoV-2 spike peptides was significantly diminished. Interpretation: Quantifiable humoral and cellular immune responses after BNT162b2 vaccination in individuals on maintenance haemodialysis are encouraging, but urge for longitudinal follow-up to assess longevity of immunity. Diminished virus neutralization and interferon γ responses in the face of emerging variants of concern may favour this at-risk population for re-vaccination using modified vaccines at the earliest opportunity. Funding: Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg for Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism.
    • Cerebrospinal fluid neurofilament light levels in neurodegenerative dementia: Evaluation of diagnostic accuracy in the differential diagnosis of prion diseases.

      Zerr, Inga; Schmitz, Matthias; Karch, André; Villar-Piqué, Anna; Kanata, Eirini; Golanska, Ewa; Díaz-Lucena, Daniela; Karsanidou, Aikaterini; Hermann, Peter; Knipper, Tobias; et al. (2018-02-03)
      Neurofilament light (NFL) levels in the cerebrospinal fluid are increased in several neurodegenerative dementias. However, their diagnostic accuracy in the differential diagnostic context is unknown.
    • Cerebrospinal fluid tau levels are a marker for molecular subtype in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

      Karch, André; Hermann, Peter; Ponto, Claudia; Schmitz, Matthias; Arora, Amandeep; Zafar, Saima; Llorens, Franc; Müller-Heine, Annika; Zerr, Inga; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-05)
      The molecular subtype of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) is an important prognostic marker for patient survival. However, subtype determination is not possible during lifetime. Because the rate of disease progression is associated with the molecular subtype, this study aimed at investigating if total tau, a marker of neuronal death, allows premortem diagnosis of molecular subtype when codon 129 genotype is known. Two hundred ninety-six sCJD patients were tested for their cerebrospinal fluid total tau level at the time of diagnosis and were investigated for their sCJD subtype postmortem. There was a significant association between tau levels and the prion protein type in patients with codon 129 MM (p < 0.001), MV (p = 0.004), and VV (p = 0.001) genotype. Receiver operating characteristic analyses showed values of area under the curve of 0.76-0.80 for the different genotypes indicating a good diagnostic validity of the test. Total tau can be used as a diagnostic test for the assessment of prion protein type when codon 129 genotype is known. It provides valuable information for physicians and next of kin about the further course of disease.
    • Cerebrospinal Fluid Total Prion Protein in the Spectrum of Prion Diseases.

      Villar-Piqué, Anna; Schmitz, Matthias; Lachmann, Ingolf; Karch, André; Calero, Olga; Stehmann, Christiane; Sarros, Shannon; Ladogana, Anna; Poleggi, Anna; Santana, Isabel; et al. (2018-07-30)
      Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) total prion protein (t-PrP) is decreased in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD). However, data on the comparative signatures of t-PrP across the spectrum of prion diseases, longitudinal changes during disease progression, and levels in pre-clinical cases are scarce. T-PrP was quantified in neurological diseases (ND, n = 147) and in prion diseases from different aetiologies including sporadic (sCJD, n = 193), iatrogenic (iCJD, n = 12) and genetic (n = 209) forms. T-PrP was also measured in serial lumbar punctures obtained from sCJD cases at different symptomatic disease stages, and in asymptomatic prion protein gene (PRNP) mutation carriers. Compared to ND, t-PrP concentrations were significantly decreased in sCJD, iCJD and in genetic prion diseases associated with the three most common mutations E200K, V210I (associated with genetic CJD) and D178N-129M (associated with fatal familial insomnia). In contrast, t-PrP concentrations in P102L mutants (associated with the Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome) remained unaltered. In serial lumbar punctures obtained at different disease stages of sCJD patients, t-PrP concentrations inversely correlated with disease progression. Decreased mean t-PrP values were detected in asymptomatic D178-129M mutant carriers, but not in E200K and P102L carriers. The presence of low CSF t-PrP is common to all types of prion diseases regardless of their aetiology albeit with mutation-specific exceptions in a minority of genetic cases. In some genetic prion disease, decreased levels are already detected at pre-clinical stages and diminish in parallel with disease progression. Our data indicate that CSF t-PrP concentrations may have a role as a pre-clinical or early symptomatic diagnostic biomarker in prion diseases as well as in the evaluation of therapeutic interventions.
    • Changes in incidence of anogenital warts diagnoses after the introduction of human papillomavirus vaccination in Germany-an ecologic study.

      Mikolajczyk, Rafael; Kraut, Angela A; Horn, Johannes; Schulze-Rath, Renate; Garbe, Edeltraut; BIPS-Institute for Epidemiology and Prevention Research, Bremen, Germany. miko@bips.uni-bremen.de (2013-01)
      In a large health insurance database in Germany, incidence of anogenital warts among 15- to 19-year-old females decreased from 316/100,000 person-years in 2007 to 242 in 2008 (23% reduction, P = 0.0001). The decrease started between the first and second quarter of 2007 (human papillomavirus vaccination was introduced in March 2007).
    • Clustering of developmental delays in Bavarian preschool children - a repeated cross-sectional survey over a period of 12 years.

      Stich, Heribert L; Krämer, Alexander; Mikolajczyk, Rafael (2014)
      While most children display a normal development, some children experience developmental delays compared to age specific development milestones assessed during school entry examination. Data exist on prevalence of delays in single areas, but there is lack of knowledge regarding the clustering patterns of developmental delays and their determinants.
    • Cohort Profile: The LoewenKIDS Study - life-course perspective on infections, the microbiome and the development of the immune system in early childhood.

      Gottschick, Cornelia; Raupach-Rosin, Heike; Langer, Susan; Hassan, Lamiaa; Horn, Johannes; Dorendorf, Evelyn; Caputo, Mahrrouz; Bittner, Martina; Beier, Lea; Rübsamen, Nicole; et al. (Oxford Academic, 2019-02-27)
      [Noabstract available]
    • Colonic Butyrate-Producing Communities in Humans: an Overview Using Omics Data.

      Vital, Marius; Karch, André; Pieper, Dietmar H.; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-18)
      Given the key role of butyrate for host health, understanding the ecology of intestinal butyrate-producing communities is a top priority for gut microbiota research. To this end, we performed a pooled analysis on 2,387 metagenomic/transcriptomic samples from 15 publicly available data sets that originated from three continents and encompassed eight diseases as well as specific interventions. For analyses, a gene catalogue was constructed from gene-targeted assemblies of all genes from butyrate synthesis pathways of all samples and from an updated reference database derived from genome screenings. We demonstrate that butyrate producers establish themselves within the first year of life and display high abundances (>20% of total bacterial community) in adults regardless of origin. Various bacteria form this functional group, exhibiting a biochemical diversity including different pathways and terminal enzymes, where one carbohydrate-fueled pathway was dominant with butyryl coenzyme A (CoA):acetate CoA transferase as the main terminal enzyme. Subjects displayed a high richness of butyrate producers, and 17 taxa, primarily members of the Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae along with some Bacteroidetes, were detected in >70% of individuals, encompassing ~85% of the total butyrate-producing potential. Most of these key taxa were also found to express genes for butyrate formation, indicating that butyrate producers occupy various niches in the gut ecosystem, concurrently synthesizing that compound. Furthermore, results from longitudinal analyses propose that diversity supports functional stability during ordinary life disturbances and during interventions such as antibiotic treatment. A reduction of the butyrate-producing potential along with community alterations was detected in various diseases, where patients suffering from cardiometabolic disorders were particularly affected. IMPORTANCE Studies focusing on taxonomic compositions of the gut microbiota are plentiful, whereas its functional capabilities are still poorly understood. Specific key functions deserve detailed investigations, as they regulate microbiota-host interactions and promote host health and disease. The production of butyrate is among the top targets since depletion of this microbe-derived metabolite is linked to several emerging noncommunicable diseases and was shown to facilitate establishment of enteric pathogens by disrupting colonization resistance. In this study, we established a workflow to investigate in detail the composition of the polyphyletic butyrate-producing community from omics data extracting its biochemical and taxonomic diversity. By combining information from various publicly available data sets, we identified universal ecological key features of this functional group and shed light on its role in health and disease. Our results will assist the development of precision medicine to combat functional dysbiosis.
    • Comorbidities in ADHD children treated with methylphenidate: a database study.

      Kraut, Angela A; Langner, Ingo; Lindemann, Christina; Banaschewski, Tobias; Petermann, Ulrike; Petermann, Franz; Mikolajczyk, Rafael; Garbe, Edeltraut; Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology - BIPS, Bremen, Germany. (2013)
      Methylphenidate (MPH) is the most common drug treatment of attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Treatment with MPH is contraindicated in the presence of certain psychiatric, cerebro- and cardiovascular conditions. We assessed MPH treatment prevalence and incidence and the frequency of comorbid conditions related to these contraindications in new MPH users compared to a control group without ADHD and ADHD medication.
    • Comparison of response patterns in different survey designs: a longitudinal panel with mixed-mode and online-only design.

      Rübsamen, Nicole; Akmatov, Manas K; Castell, Stefanie; Karch, André; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Increasing availability of the Internet allows using only online data collection for more epidemiological studies. We compare response patterns in a population-based health survey using two survey designs: mixed-mode (choice between paper-and-pencil and online questionnaires) and online-only design (without choice).
    • Contact diaries versus wearable proximity sensors in measuring contact patterns at a conference: method comparison and participants' attitudes.

      Smieszek, Timo; Castell, Stefanie; Barrat, Alain; Cattuto, Ciro; White, Peter J; Krause, Gerard; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Studies measuring contact networks have helped to improve our understanding of infectious disease transmission. However, several methodological issues are still unresolved, such as which method of contact measurement is the most valid. Further, complete network analysis requires data from most, ideally all, members of a network and, to achieve this, acceptance of the measurement method. We aimed at investigating measurement error by comparing two methods of contact measurement - paper diaries vs. wearable proximity sensors - that were applied concurrently to the same population, and we measured acceptability.
    • Cost-effectiveness of human papillomavirus vaccination in Germany.

      Damm, Oliver; Horn, Johannes; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Kretzschmar, Mirjam E E; Kaufmann, Andreas M; Deleré, Yvonne; Ultsch, Bernhard; Wichmann, Ole; Krämer, Alexander; Greiner, Wolfgang; et al. (2017)
      The aim of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in addition to the current cervical cancer screening programme in Germany using a dynamic transmission model.
    • CSF neurogranin as a neuronal damage marker in CJD: a comparative study with AD.

      Blennow, Kaj; Diaz-Lucena, Daniela; Zetterberg, Henrik; Villar-Pique, Anna; Karch, Andre; Vidal, Enric; Hermann, Peter; Schmitz, Matthias; Ferrer Abizanda, Isidro; Zerr, Inga; et al. (BMJ Publishing Group, 2019-05-16)
      Objective: To investigate whether cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) neurogranin concentrations are altered in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), comparatively with Alzheimer's disease (AD), and associated with neuronal degeneration in brain tissue. Methods: CSF neurogranin, total tau, neurofilament light (NFL) and 14-3-3 protein were measured in neurological controls (NCs, n=64), AD (n=46) and CJD (n=81). The accuracy of neurogranin discriminating the three diagnostic groups was evaluated. Correlations between neurogranin and neurodegeneration biomarkers, demographic, genetic and clinical data were assessed. Additionally, neurogranin expression in postmortem brain tissue was studied. Results: Compared with NC, CSF neurogranin concentrations were increased in CJD (4.75 times of NC; p<0.001, area under curve (AUC), 0.96 (95% CI 0.93 to 0.99) and AD (1.94 times of NC; p<0.01, AUC 0.73, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.82), and were able to differentiate CJD from AD (p<0.001, AUC 0.85, 95% CI 0.78 to 0.92). CSF tau was increased in CJD (41 times of NC) and in AD (3.1 times of NC), both at p<0.001. In CJD, neurogranin positively correlated with tau (r=0.55, p<0.001) and was higher in 14-3-3-positivity (p<0.05), but showed no association with NFL (r=0.08, p=0.46). CJD-MM1/MV1 cases displayed higher neurogranin levels than VV2 cases. Neurogranin was increased at early CJD disease stages and was a good prognostic marker of survival time in CJD. In brain tissue, neurogranin was detected in the cytoplasm, membrane and postsynaptic density fractions of neurons, with reduced levels in AD, and more significantly in CJD, where they correlated with synaptic and axonal markers. Conclusions: Neurogranin is a new biomarker of prion pathogenesis with diagnostic and prognostic abilities, which reflects the degree of neuronal damage in brain tissue in a CJD subtype manner. Keywords: alzheimer’s disease; cerebrospinal fluid; creutzfeldt-jakob disease; neurodegenerative dementias; neurofilament light; neurogranin; tau.
    • Current and future effects of varicella and herpes zoster vaccination in Germany - Insights from a mathematical model in a country with universal varicella vaccination.

      Horn, Johannes; Karch, André; Damm, Oliver; Kretzschmar, Mirjam E; Siedler, Anette; Ultsch, Bernhard; Weidemann, Felix; Wichmann, Ole; Hengel, Hartmut; Greiner, Wolfgang; et al. (2016-07-02)
      Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is primarily known for causing varicella in childhood, but can reactivate again as herpes zoster (HZ) after a period of latency, mainly in persons older than 50 years. Universal varicella vaccination was introduced in Germany in 2004, while HZ vaccination has not been recommended yet. We aimed to quantify the potential long-term effects of universal childhood varicella vaccination and HZ vaccination of the elderly on varicella and HZ incidence in Germany over a time horizon of 100 years, using a transmission model calibrated to pre-vaccination data and validated against early post-vaccination data. Using current vaccination coverage rates of 87% (64%) with one (two) varicella vaccine dose(s), the model predicts a decrease in varicella cases by 89% for the year 2015. In the long run, the incidence reduction will stabilize at about 70%. Under the assumption of the boosting hypothesis of improved HZ protection caused by exposure to VZV, the model predicts a temporary increase in HZ incidence of up to 20% for around 50 years. HZ vaccination of the elderly with an assumed coverage of 20% has only limited effects in counteracting this temporary increase in HZ incidence. However, HZ incidence is shown to decrease in the long-term by 58% as vaccinated individuals get older and finally reach age-classes with originally high HZ incidence. Despite substantial uncertainties around several key variables, the model's results provide valuable insights that support decision-making regarding national VZV vaccination strategies.
    • Das gemeinsame Interesse von Gesundheit und Wirtschaft: Eine Szenarienrechnung zur Eindämmung der Corona Pandemie

      Dorn, Florian; et al.; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany.; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (ifo Institut, 2020-05-12)
      [No Abstract available]
    • Deciding on the mode of birth after a previous caesarean section - An online survey investigating women's preferences in Western Switzerland.

      Bonzon, Magali; Gross, Mechthild M; Karch, André; Grylka-Baeschlin, Susanne; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-04-21)
      promoting vaginal births after caesarean section (VBAC) for eligible women and increasing rates of successful VBACs are the best strategies to reduce the number of repeat caesarean sections (CS). Knowledge of factors that are associated with women's decision-making around mode of birth after CS is important when developing strategies to promote VBAC. This study assessed which factors are associated with women's preferences for VBAC versus elective repeat caesarean section (ERCS) in a new pregnancy after one previous caesarean in Switzerland.
    • Deficits in knowledge, attitude, and practice towards blood culture sampling: results of a nationwide mixed-methods study among inpatient care physicians in Germany.

      Raupach-Rosin, Heike; Duddeck, Arne; Gehrlich, Maike; Helmke, Charlotte; Huebner, Johannes; Pletz, Mathias W; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Karch, André; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-02-15)
      Blood culture (BC) sampling rates in Germany are considerably lower than recommended. Aim of our study was to assess knowledge, attitudes, and practice of physicians in Germany regarding BC diagnostics.