Clinical Microbiology Issues Update - September 2014

PSAB ACTIVITIES

  •  ASM Comments on NIGMS Strategic Plan
  • ASM Sends Letter to HHS Secretary on Resources in Response to the Ebola Virus Outbreak
  • ASM Letter to the UN Concerning Scientific Resources in Response to the Ebola Virus Outbreak
  • ASM Compiles DURC Policy Documents
  • ASM Statement on National Strategy to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria
  • ASM Attends CPT Pathology Coding Caucus Meeting
  • ASM Staff Attend House Committee Hearing on LDTs
  • ASM Informs Members about US Government Communication on Lab Biosafety
  • Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter

ASM NEWS, JOURNAL ARTICLES AND UPDATES

  • Photo Quizzes
  • ASM Conferences
  • ASM Journal Articles of Interest
  • ASM Press
  • Articles of Interest

FEDERAL AGENCY UPDATES

  • November Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee (CLIAC) Meeting
  • CDC’s Laboratory Response Network Ready for Ebola Threat
  • CDC Posts Enterovirus D68 Outbreaks Page
  • CDC Warns Ebola Epidemic in West Africa is Outpacing Current Response
  • FDA Allows Marketing of the First Test to Identify Five Yeast Pathogens Directly from a Blood Sample
  • FDA Releases Updated Proposals to Improve Food Safety and Help Prevent Foodborne Illness in Response to Public Comments
  • NIH Study Supports Camels as Primary Source of MERS-CoV Transmission
  • Rapid and Durable Protection against Ebola Virus with New Vaccine Regimens
  • MMWR Articles of Interest

OTHER INFORMATION AND UPDATES

  • ASCP 2014 Annual Meeting
  • Webinar: MALDI-TOF for Beginners
  • International Pathology Day
  • Webinar: Using CPOE, Test Formulary and Algorithm to Control Utilization
  • Articles of Interest

PSAB ACTIVITIES

ASM Comments on NIGMS Strategic Plan
On September 26, ASM submitted comments to Director Jon Lorsch of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) on its 2015 Strategic Planning Framework. To read ASM’s comments, and to see a link to the strategic plan, please go to http://www.asm.org/index.php/public-policy-2/137-policy/documents/statements-and-testimony/93180-nigms-sp-9-14

ASM Sends Letter to HHS Secretary on Resources in Response to the Ebola Virus Outbreak
The ASM sent a letter to Sylvia Burwell, Secretary US Department of Health & Human Services with recommendations concerning scientific resources that are needed in response to the Ebola virus outbreak. 

ASM Letter to the UN Concerning Scientific Resources in Response to the Ebola Virus Outbreak
The ASM sent a letter to David Nabarro, Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola Virus Disease with recommendations concerning scientific resources that are needed in response to the Ebola virus outbreak. 

ASM Compiles DURC Policy Documents
The ASM is making its members aware that the United States Government issued the final US Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) on September 24. To see the compiled resources on DURC policies, please go to https://www.asm.org/index.php/public-policy/98-policy/issues/93178-durc-9-14.

ASM Statement on National Strategy to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria
The ASM sent a statement on the National Strategy to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, which was announced by President Obama on September 18, 2014 to ASM members, Congress and representatives of various federal agencies.   http://www.asm.org/index.php/public-policy-2/137-policy/documents/statements-and-testimony/93168-ar-2014.

ASM Attends CPT Pathology Coding Caucus Meeting

PSAB Professional Affairs Committee Chair Robert Jerris attended the September 12 meeting of the Pathology Coding Caucus (PCC). The PCC makes coding recommendations on new clinical laboratory tests to the American Medical Association (AMA), which is responsible for official Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) coding, the most widely accepted medical nomenclature used to report medical procedures and services under private and public health insurance programs, including Medicare. ASM is a rotating member of the PCC.

 

ASM Staff Attend House Committee Hearing on LDTs

On September 9, The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs), which ASM staff attended. The hearing was intended to provide the Subcommittee with a better understanding of how LDTs are performed. It also provided an opportunity to hear from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a variety of stakeholders about the Agency’s recently proposed regulatory framework for review and oversight of LDTs. To watch the archived hearing, go to http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/21st-century-cures-examining-regulation-laboratory-developed-tests.

 

ASM Informs Members about US Government Communication on Lab Biosafety

The ASM sent an e-mail to ASM members regarding US Government communications about ensuring biosafety in US laboratories. Both the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National institutes of Health released notices in August addressing laboratory biosafety. To see the message, complete with links to statements, please click http://www.asm.org/index.php/component/content/article/98-policy/issues/93097-usg-bio-9-14.

Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter
The September issue of the Minority Microbiology Newsletter has been published by the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities (CMIIM). You can read the newsletter by going to this link: http://www.asm.org/index.php/public-policy/135-policy/documents/newsletters/minority-microbiology-mentor-newsletter/93129-mmm-9-14.

ASM NEWS, JOURNAL ARTICLES AND UPDATES

Photo Quizzes
To see this popular feature of The Journal of Clinical Microbiology on the Clinical Microbiology Portal and to test your knowledge, go to https://clinmicro.asm.org/index.php/bench-work-resources/guidelines/22-identifying-organisms/399-photo-quizzes.

ASM Conferences

5th ASM Conference on Cell-Cell Communication in Bacteria
October 18-21, 2014
San Antonio, TX

3rd ASM Conference on Viral Manipulation of Nuclear Processes
October 30 - November 2, 2014
Washington, DC

1st ASM Conference on Polymicrobial Infections
November 13 – 16, 2014
Washington, DC

For a complete list of upcoming ASM conferences, please see http://conferences.asm.org/.

ASM Journal Articles of Interest

Influenza Infection Enhances S. pneumonia Virulence
A new study from Wake Forest University shows that mice infected with either influenza, S. pneumoniae, or both, show different rates of otitis media. This is thought to be due to influenza’s ability to affect the streptococcal switch that shifts the organism from colonizer to otopathogen.

MRSA Produces an Enzyme that Inhibits Its Growth
A study from the University of Western Ontario has shown that a common strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in produces an enzyme, SAL2, which degrades skin triglycerides into a compound toxic to the bacteria. 

Evaluation of Two Multiplex Panels for Detection of GI Pathogens by Use of Stool Specimens
A study from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota compares two commercial available multiplex panels for the detection of pathogens in routine stool cultures against routine methods. The surprising results can be found by clicking the link http://jcm.asm.org/content/52/10/3667.abstract.  

Comparison of Two Real-Time PCR Assays for Detection of Dengue Virus in Patient Serum
A new study comparing two commercial real time PCR assays for the detection of Dengue virus has just been published from Thammasat University in Thailand. The study used nested reverse transcription (RT)-PCR as the reference method. To read it, go to http://jcm.asm.org/content/52/10/3781.abstract.  

ASM Press

Cases in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Fourth Edition
Authors: Peter Gilligan, Daniel Shapiro, and Melissa Miller
Paperback, 590 pages, four-color illustrations throughout, glossary, index
(9781555818685) for more information, please visit the e-store at:
http://www.asmscience.org/content/book/10.1128/9781555818678;jsessionid=4kuoq12jq1c7l.x-asm-books-live-01.

Medical Biotechnology
Authors: Bernard R. Glick, Terry L. Delovitch, and Cheryl L. Patten
Textbook, 700 pages, glossary, index
(9781555817053) for more information, please visit the e-store at
http://www.asmscience.org/content/book/10.1128/9781555818890.  

Journal Articles

Nested-RT-PCR and Multiplex RT-PCR for Diagnosis of Rhinovirus Infection in Clinical Samples
Identification of the specific strain in Human rhinoviruses (HRV) disease has been difficult because the traditional serological method is insensitive, labor intensive, and cumbersome. In the article, researchers described the specific steps of methods for identification of HRV from clinical samples, such as sample preparation, isolation of total RNA, nested-RT-PCR for HRV, detection method, gel electrophoresis, how to use capillary electrophoresis system, and results interpretation. This article is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25261303.

A Widely Used In Vitro Biofilm Assay Has Questionable Clinical Significance for Enterococcal Endocarditis
Biofilm formation may play an important role in the pathogenesis of infections caused by Enterococcus faecalis. Most biofilm studies use a polystyrene dish assay to quantify biofilm biomass. However, recent studies of E. faecalis strains in tissue and animal models suggest that polystyrene dish results need to be interpreted with caution. See this article at http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0107282.

Marburgvirus Resurgence in Kitaka Mine Bat Population after Extermination Attempts
Marburg virus (MARV) and Ravn virus (RAVV), collectively called marburgviruses, cause Marburg hemorrhagic fever (MHF) in humans. In July 2007, 4 cases of MHF (1 fatal) occurred in miners at Kitaka Mine in southern Uganda. Later, MHF occurred in 2 tourists who visited Python Cave. The cave and the mine each contained 40,000-100,000 Egyptian fruit bats. Investigations of the outbreaks at both locations were initiated by the Viral Special Pathogens Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, Atlanta, GA, USA, and Entebbe, Uganda) in collaboration with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI). During these studies, genetically diverse MARVs and RAVVs were isolated directly from bat tissues, and infection levels of the 2 viruses were found to increase in juvenile bats on a predictable bi-annual basis. To see the study, please click http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/20/10/14-0696_article.  

FEDERAL AGENCY UPDATES

November Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee (CLIAC) Meeting
CLIAC is charged with providing scientific and technical advice and guidance to the Secretary of Health and Human Services; the Assistant Secretary for Health; the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration; and the Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The advice and guidance pertain to general issues related to improvement in clinical laboratory quality and laboratory medicine practice and specific questions related to possible revision of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) standards. The Committee will meet November 5-6, 2014 on the CDC campus in Atlanta, GA. For information on how to view the webcast, click http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-23/pdf/2014-22532.pdf.

CDC’s Laboratory Response Network Ready for Ebola Threat
In response to the current Ebolavirus outbreak, CDC collaborated with the Department of Defense (DOD) to equip select Laboratory Response Network (LRN) laboratories around the US with the ability to quickly and accurately test specimens for the outbreak strain of Ebola virus. CDC provided the DOD assay to 13 LRN public health laboratories (PHL), chosen based on geography and the number of travelers arriving from West Africa. To follow the developments, please go to http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html.

CDC Posts Enterovirus D68 Outbreaks Page
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have updated their Non-Polio Enterovirus webpage to include Enterovirus D68 in the United States, 2014, a facts sheet on the current outbreak. To see it, go to http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/outbreaks/EV-D68-outbreaks.html?s_cid=cdc_homepage_whatsnew_001.

CDC Warns Ebola Epidemic in West Africa is Outpacing Current Response
CDC Director Tom Frieden reported on his visits to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and called for immediate steps across nations to accelerate response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Dr. Frieden described a daunting situation and called for speed, flexibility and work on the front lines to take precedence. To read more about the plans, please see http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0902-ebola-epidemic.html.

FDA Allows Marketing of the First Test to Identify Five Yeast Pathogens Directly from a Blood Sample
On Sept 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed marketing in the U.S. of the first direct blood test for detection of five yeast pathogens that cause bloodstream infections: Candida albicans and/or Candida tropicalis, Candida parapsilosis, Candida glabrata and/or Candida krusei. To learn more, please click
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm415728.htm.

FDA Releases Updated Proposals to Improve Food Safety and Help Prevent Foodborne Illness in Response to Public Comments
Based on extensive outreach and public comment, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed revisions to four proposed rules designed to help prevent food-borne illness. When finalized, the proposed rules will implement portions of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which aims to strengthen food safety by shifting the focus to preventing food safety problems rather than responding to problems after the fact. For more information and instructions on how to submit comments, please go to http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm414867.htm.

NIH Study Supports Camels as Primary Source of MERS-CoV Transmission
National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Colorado State University (CSU) scientists have provided experimental evidence supporting dromedary camels as the primary reservoir, or carrier, of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The study, designed by scientists from CSU and NIH’s NIAID, involved three healthy camels exposed through the eyes, nose and throat to MERS-CoV isolated from a patient. Each camel developed a mild upper respiratory tract infection consistent with what scientists have observed throughout the Middle East. Read more of this small study at http://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2014/Pages/CamelsMERS-CoV.aspx.

Rapid and Durable Protection against Ebola Virus with New Vaccine Regimens
One shot of an experimental vaccine made from two Ebola virus gene segments incorporated into a chimpanzee cold virus vector (called chimp adenovirus type 3 or ChAd3) protected all four macaque monkeys exposed to high levels of Ebola virus 5 weeks after inoculation, report National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and their collaborators. To read more, please go to
http://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2014/Pages/EbolaProtection.aspx.

MMWR Articles of Interest

World Rabies Day Observed
September 28 was the 8th annual World Rabies Day. Rabies, a fatal acute encephalitis is caused by lyssaviruses. The number of human rabies deaths worldwide is estimated to exceed 55,000 each year  with 90% of human deaths resulting from dog bites. 

Severe Respiratory Illness Associated with Enterovirus D68 MO and IL, 2014
Between August 19 and August 23, CDC was notified by Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri and by the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital in Illinois of an increase in admissions for severe respiratory illness. To characterize these two geographically distinct observations, nasopharyngeal specimens from most of the patients with recent onset of severe symptoms from both facilities were sequenced by the CDC Picornavirus Laboratory. Enterovirus D68* (EV-D68) was identified in 19 of 22 specimens from Kansas City and in 11 of 14 specimens from Chicago.

Fatal Meningococcal Disease in a Laboratory Worker
On the evening April 27, 2012, a microbiologist aged 25 years had onset of headache, fever, neck pain, and stiffness. The following morning, he was transported by automobile to the emergency department at hospital A, where he was employed in laboratory A as a researcher. Upon arrival, the patient was noted to have a petechial rash, was suspected of having meningococcal disease, and was treated unsuccessfully with ceftriaxone. 

OTHER INFORMATION AND UPDATES

ASCP 2014 Annual Meeting

The American Society of Clinical Pathology Annual Meeting will be held in Tampa, FL October 8-10, 2014. Discounted registration is now available by going to http://www.ascp.org/2014-Annual-Meeting/index.html.    

Webinar: MALDI-TOF for Beginners
October 9, 2014 1:00-2:00 PM ET
Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer (MALDI-TOF) has demonstrated operational cost effectiveness, accuracy of identification and reductions in result times.  This program will describe the technology, the workflow and results as published in the literature. The deadline to register for this webinar is October 7 at
http://www.aphl.org/courses/Documents/2014/015-624-14_flyer.pdf.

International Pathology Day
The first annual International Pathology Day will take place on November 5, 2014. International Pathology Day is an opportunity to celebrate the vital work of pathologists and to demonstrate to the wider public the important role of pathology in their daily lives.

Webinar: Using CPOE, Test Formulary and Algorithm to Control Utilization
Monday, November 17, 2014 2:00-3:00 PM
Reducing inappropriate or unnecessary testing is a common cost-cutting initiative for labs today. Join AACC for this 60-minute webinar and hear how a team at Broward Health System cut costs by more than $800,000 in FY2013 using quality management methods. Registration information can be found at
http://www.aacc.org/events/meetings/Pages/9084.aspx#.

Articles of Interest

Paralysis, Muscle Weakness Strike 9 Colorado Kids, CDC Issues Warning
The Denver Post
September 26, 2014
Nine Colorado children have been stricken with muscle weakness or paralysis since Aug. 8, and Colorado health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating a link to concurrent viral outbreaks. CDC has issued a national alert for doctors in other states to watch for similar symptoms.

Ebola Crisis: Obama Says World Falling Short in Response
The Wall Street Journal
September 25, 2014
President Barack Obama criticized the international response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa as falling short of what is needed to combat a crisis "spreading at alarming speed."

Ebola Death Toll Is More than 2,900, WHO Says
The New York Times
September 25, 2014
The number of people killed by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has reached at least 2,917, driven by the continuing rapid spread of the disease in Liberia and Sierra Leone, though in Guinea the number of new cases appears to have stabilized, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Anti-Vaccination Epidemic
The Wall Street Journal
September 24, 2014
Whooping cough, mumps and measles are making an alarming comeback, thanks to seriously misguided parents.

Georgetown Offering Preventive Antibiotics to Close Friends of Meningitis Victim
The Washington Post
September 19, 2014
Georgetown University offered antibiotics to students who came in close contact with Andrea Jaime, a sophomore who died of meningitis, to prevent others from developing the illness.

U.S. Makes First Arrest Linked to 2012 Meningitis OutbreakThe Wall Street Journal
September 4, 2014
A supervising pharmacist linked to a 2012 outbreak of fungal meningitis was arrested, the first person to be charged in connection with the incident that claimed 64 lives. Federal agents arrested Glenn Chin at Boston's Logan International Airport before he could board a flight to Hong Kong.

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