Publications by authors named "Johannes Liese"

70 Publications

Effect of Prehospital Antibiotic Therapy on Clinical Outcome and Pathogen Detection in Children With Parapneumonic Pleural Effusion/Pleural Empyema.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2020 Dec 28;Publish Ahead of Print. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

University of Wuerzburg, Institute of Hygiene and Microbiology, Wuerzburg, Germany Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany Klinikum Stuttgart, Olgahospital- Pediatric Pulmonology, Stuttgart, Germany.

Background: Parapneumonic pleural effusion and pleural empyema (PPE/PE) are complications of community-acquired pneumonia. The objective of this study was to analyze prehospital antibiotic therapy (PH-ABT) of children with PPE/PE and investigate its effects on clinical outcome and pathogen detection.

Methods: Prospective nationwide active surveillance in Germany between October 2010 and June 2018. Children and adolescents <18 years of age with pneumonia-associated PE or PPE requiring drainage or with persistence of PPE/PE >7 days were included.

Results: A total of 1724 children with PPE/PE were reported, of whom 556 children (32.3% of 1719 with available data) received PH-ABT. Children with PH-ABT had a shorter median hospital length of stay (15 vs. 18 days, P < 0.001), a longer time from onset of symptoms until hospital discharge (25 vs. 23 days, P = 0.002), a lower rate of intensive care unit admission (58.3% vs. 64.4%, P = 0.015) and fewer infectious complications (5.9% vs. 10.0%; P = 0.005). Bacterial pathogens in blood or pleural fluid culture were detected in 597 (34.5%) of 1513 children. Positive culture results were less frequent in children with than without PH-ABT (81/466 [17.4%] vs. 299/1005 [29.8%]; P < 0.001), whereas detection rates in pleural fluid samples by polymerase chain reaction were similar (91/181 [50.3%] vs. 220/398 [55.3%]; P = 0.263).

Conclusions: In children with PPE/PE, PH-ABT significantly reduced the overall rate of bacterial pathogen detection by culture, but not by polymerase chain reaction. PH-ABT was associated with a lower rate of infectious complications but did not affect the overall duration of disease. We therefore speculate that the duration of PPE/PE is mainly a consequence of an infection-induced inflammatory process, which can only partially be influenced by antibiotic treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000003036DOI Listing
December 2020

Treatment and management of primary antibody deficiency: German interdisciplinary evidence-based consensus guideline.

Eur J Immunol 2020 10 9;50(10):1432-1446. Epub 2020 Sep 9.

Department of Immunology, Labor Berlin Charité - Vivantes GmbH, Berlin, Germany.

This evidence-based clinical guideline provides consensus-recommendations for the treatment and care of patients with primary antibody deficiencies (PADs). The guideline group comprised 20 clinical and scientific expert associations of the German, Swiss, and Austrian healthcare system and representatives of patients. Recommendations were based on results of a systematic literature search, data extraction, and evaluation of methodology and study quality in combination with the clinical expertise of the respective representatives. Consensus-based recommendations were determined via nominal group technique. PADs are the largest clinically relevant group of primary immunodeficiencies. Most patients with PADs present with increased susceptibility to infections, however immune dysregulation, autoimmunity, and cancer affect a significant number of patients and may precede infections. This guideline therefore covers interdisciplinary clinical and therapeutic aspects of infectious (e.g., antibiotic prophylaxis, management of bronchiectasis) and non-infectious manifestations (e.g., management of granulomatous disease, immune cytopenia). PADs are grouped into disease entities with definitive, probable, possible, or unlikely benefit of IgG-replacement therapy. Summary and consensus-recommendations are provided for treatment indication, dosing, routes of administration, and adverse events of IgG-replacement therapy. Special aspects of concomitant impaired T-cell function are highlighted as well as clinical data on selected monogenetic inborn errors of immunity formerly classified into PADs (APDS, CTLA-4-, and LRBA-deficiency).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eji.202048713DOI Listing
October 2020

Risk Factors for Complicated Lymphadenitis Caused by Nontuberculous Mycobacteria in Children.

Emerg Infect Dis 2020 03;26(3):579-586

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are an emerging cause of infections, including chronic lymphadenitis in children. To identify risk factors for NTM lymphadenitis, particularly complicated disease, we collected epidemiologic, clinical, and microbiological data on 138 cases of NTM lymphadenitis in children across 13 centers in Germany and Austria. We assessed lifestyle factors but did not identify specific risk behaviors. We noted that more cases of NTM lymphadenitis occurred during cold months than during warm months. Moreover, we noted female sex and age <5.5 years as potential risk factors. Complete extirpation of the affected lymph node appeared to be the best therapeutic measure. We integrated the study data to develop a simple risk score to predict unfavorable clinical outcomes for NTM lymphadenitis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2603.191388DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7045849PMC
March 2020

Specific Varicella-Related Complications and Their Decrease in Hospitalized Children after the Introduction of General Varicella Vaccination: Results from a Multicenter Pediatric Hospital Surveillance Study in Bavaria (Germany).

Infect Dis Ther 2019 Dec 31;8(4):597-611. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital of Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str. 2, 97080, Würzburg, Germany.

Background: Universal varicella vaccination (UVV) for children introduced in Germany in 2004 resulted in a significant overall decline of varicella-related hospitalizations (VRHs). We investigated the incidence of specific types of varicella-related complications (VRCs) in hospitalized children and the impact of UVV on VRCs during the first 7 years of UVV.

Methods: Children < 17 years of age hospitalized with an ICD-10-based (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision) discharge diagnosis of varicella were identified as VRH in pediatric hospitals in Bavaria by annual standardized data queries of the hospital databases (2005-2011). For each VRH, the hospitals reported basic demographic data, duration of hospital stay, all diagnostic and procedural codes, and outcome. VRCs were reported overall, per year, and by immune status. Complication rates were calculated as mean number per complication category per hospital and per year; VRC trends over time were assessed by linear regression.

Results: Between 78% (2005) and 61% (2011) of Bavarian hospitals participated and reported a total of 1263 VRHs. Specific VRCs were reported in 954 (76%) children. Complication rates per hospital and year decreased from 6.7 [95% confidence interval (CI): 5.1-8.3] in 2005 to 1.5 (95% CI: 0.8-2.3) in 2011, with the strongest reduction of 90% in children < 5 years of age from 5.3 (95% CI: 4.0-6.6) in 2005 to 0.5 (95% CI: 0.1-0.9) in 2011. Significant decreases were observed for children with upper respiratory tract (URT, by 97%), lower respiratory tract (LRT, by 90%), skin (by 81%), gastrointestinal (by 78%), and neurologic (by 65%) VRCs. Forty-eight children with VRCs were immunocompromised; their annual rate decreased by 87%.

Discussion: Corresponding to increasing varicella vaccination coverage in the population, the incidence of VRC decreased by 77% from 2005 to 2011, with the most substantial decrease in the target group for UVV.

Conclusion: Within 7 years, UVV in Germany led to a decrease of about 77% of all types of VRCs, with the highest reductions observed for VRCs of the respiratory tract.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40121-019-00273-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6856245PMC
December 2019

The German National Registry of Primary Immunodeficiencies (2012-2017).

Authors:
Sabine M El-Helou Anika-Kerstin Biegner Sebastian Bode Stephan R Ehl Maximilian Heeg Maria E Maccari Henrike Ritterbusch Carsten Speckmann Stephan Rusch Raphael Scheible Klaus Warnatz Faranaz Atschekzei Renata Beider Diana Ernst Stev Gerschmann Alexandra Jablonka Gudrun Mielke Reinhold E Schmidt Gesine Schürmann Georgios Sogkas Ulrich H Baumann Christian Klemann Dorothee Viemann Horst von Bernuth Renate Krüger Leif G Hanitsch Carmen M Scheibenbogen Kirsten Wittke Michael H Albert Anna Eichinger Fabian Hauck Christoph Klein Anita Rack-Hoch Franz M Sollinger Anne Avila Michael Borte Stephan Borte Maria Fasshauer Anja Hauenherm Nils Kellner Anna H Müller Anett Ülzen Peter Bader Shahrzad Bakhtiar Jae-Yun Lee Ursula Heß Ralf Schubert Sandra Wölke Stefan Zielen Sujal Ghosh Hans-Juergen Laws Jennifer Neubert Prasad T Oommen Manfred Hönig Ansgar Schulz Sandra Steinmann Klaus Schwarz Gregor Dückers Beate Lamers Vanessa Langemeyer Tim Niehues Sonu Shai Dagmar Graf Carmen Müglich Marc T Schmalzing Eva C Schwaneck Hans-Peter Tony Johannes Dirks Gabriele Haase Johannes G Liese Henner Morbach Dirk Foell Antje Hellige Helmut Wittkowski Katja Masjosthusmann Michael Mohr Linda Geberzahn Christian M Hedrich Christiane Müller Angela Rösen-Wolff Joachim Roesler Antje Zimmermann Uta Behrends Nikolaus Rieber Uwe Schauer Rupert Handgretinger Ursula Holzer Jörg Henes Lothar Kanz Christoph Boesecke Jürgen K Rockstroh Carolynne Schwarze-Zander Jan-Christian Wasmuth Dagmar Dilloo Brigitte Hülsmann Stefan Schönberger Stefan Schreiber Rainald Zeuner Tobias Ankermann Philipp von Bismarck Hans-Iko Huppertz Petra Kaiser-Labusch Johann Greil Donate Jakoby Andreas E Kulozik Markus Metzler Nora Naumann-Bartsch Bettina Sobik Norbert Graf Sabine Heine Robin Kobbe Kai Lehmberg Ingo Müller Friedrich Herrmann Gerd Horneff Ariane Klein Joachim Peitz Nadine Schmidt Stefan Bielack Ute Groß-Wieltsch Carl F Classen Jessica Klasen Peter Deutz Dirk Kamitz Lisa Lassay Klaus Tenbrock Norbert Wagner Benedikt Bernbeck Bastian Brummel Eusebia Lara-Villacanas Esther Münstermann Dominik T Schneider Nadine Tietsch Marco Westkemper Michael Weiß Christof Kramm Ingrid Kühnle Silke Kullmann Hermann Girschick Christof Specker Elisabeth Vinnemeier-Laubenthal Henriette Haenicke Claudia Schulz Lothar Schweigerer Thomas G Müller Martina Stiefel Bernd H Belohradsky Veronika Soetedjo Gerhard Kindle Bodo Grimbacher

Front Immunol 2019 19;10:1272. Epub 2019 Jul 19.

Institute for Immunodeficiency, Center for Chronic Immunodeficiency (CCI), Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.

The German PID-NET registry was founded in 2009, serving as the first national registry of patients with primary immunodeficiencies (PID) in Germany. It is part of the European Society for Immunodeficiencies (ESID) registry. The primary purpose of the registry is to gather data on the epidemiology, diagnostic delay, diagnosis, and treatment of PIDs. Clinical and laboratory data was collected from 2,453 patients from 36 German PID centres in an online registry. Data was analysed with the software Stata® and Excel. The minimum prevalence of PID in Germany is 2.72 per 100,000 inhabitants. Among patients aged 1-25, there was a clear predominance of males. The median age of living patients ranged between 7 and 40 years, depending on the respective PID. Predominantly antibody disorders were the most prevalent group with 57% of all 2,453 PID patients (including 728 CVID patients). A gene defect was identified in 36% of patients. Familial cases were observed in 21% of patients. The age of onset for presenting symptoms ranged from birth to late adulthood (range 0-88 years). Presenting symptoms comprised infections (74%) and immune dysregulation (22%). Ninety-three patients were diagnosed without prior clinical symptoms. Regarding the general and clinical diagnostic delay, no PID had undergone a slight decrease within the last decade. However, both, SCID and hyper IgE- syndrome showed a substantial improvement in shortening the time between onset of symptoms and genetic diagnosis. Regarding treatment, 49% of all patients received immunoglobulin G (IgG) substitution (70%-subcutaneous; 29%-intravenous; 1%-unknown). Three-hundred patients underwent at least one hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Five patients had gene therapy. The German PID-NET registry is a precious tool for physicians, researchers, the pharmaceutical industry, politicians, and ultimately the patients, for whom the outcomes will eventually lead to a more timely diagnosis and better treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.01272DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6659583PMC
October 2020

Spread and clinical severity of respiratory syncytial virus A genotype ON1 in Germany, 2011-2017.

BMC Infect Dis 2019 Jul 12;19(1):613. Epub 2019 Jul 12.

Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital of Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str. 2, D-97080, Würzburg, Germany.

Background: The Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) A genotype ON1, which was first detected in Ontario (Canada) in 2010/11, appeared in Germany in 2011/12. Preliminary observations suggested a higher clinical severity in children infected with this new genotype. We investigated spread and disease severity of RSV-A ON1 in pediatric in- and outpatient settings.

Methods: During 2010/11 to 2016/17, clinical characteristics and respiratory samples from children with acute respiratory tract infections (RTI) were obtained from ongoing surveillance studies in 33 pediatric practices (PP), one pediatric hospital ward (PW) and 23 pediatric intensive care units (PICU) in Germany. RSV was detected in the respiratory samples by PCR; genotypes were identified by sequencing. Within each setting, clinical severity markers were compared between RSV-A ON1 and RSV-A non-ON1 genotypes.

Results: A total of 603 children with RSV-RTI were included (132 children in PP, 288 in PW, and 183 in PICU). Of these children, 341 (56.6%) were infected with RSV-A, 235 (39.0%) with RSV-B, and one child (0.2%) with both RSV-A and RSV-B; in 26 (4.3%) children, the subtype could not be identified. In the 341 RSV-A positive samples, genotype ON1 was detected in 247 (72.4%), NA1 in 92 (26.9%), and GA5 in 2 children (0.6%). RSV-A ON1, rarely observed in 2011/12, was the predominant RSV-A genotype in all settings by 2012/13 and remained predominant until 2016/17. Children in PP or PW infected with RSV-A ON1 did not show a more severe clinical course of disease compared with RSV-A non-ON1 infections. In the PICU group, hospital stay was one day longer (median 8 days, inter-quartile range (IQR) 7-12 vs. 7 days, IQR 5-9; p = 0.02) and duration of oxygen treatment two days longer (median 6 days, IQR 4-9 vs. 4 days, IQR 2-6; p = 0.03) for children infected with RSV-A ON1.

Conclusions: In children, RSV-A ON1 largely replaced RSV-A non-ON1 genotypes within two seasons and remained the predominant RSV-A genotype in Germany during subsequent seasons. A higher clinical severity of RSV-A ON1 was observed within the group of children receiving PICU treatment, whereas in other settings clinical severity of RSV-A ON1 and non-ON1 genotypes was largely similar.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-019-4266-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6624929PMC
July 2019

Natural History of Perinatal and Infantile Hypophosphatasia: A Retrospective Study.

J Pediatr 2019 06 9;209:116-124.e4. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

University Children's Hospital, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.

Objective: To report clinical characteristics and medical history data obtained retrospectively for a large cohort of pediatric patients with perinatal and infantile hypophosphatasia.

Study Design: Medical records from academic medical centers known to diagnose and/or treat hypophosphatasia were reviewed. Patients born between 1970 and 2011 with hypophosphatasia and any of the following signs/symptoms at age <6 months were eligible: vitamin B6-dependent seizures, respiratory compromise, or rachitic chest deformity (NCT01419028). Patient demographics and characteristics, respiratory support requirements, invasive ventilator-free survival, and further complications of hypophosphatasia were followed for up to the first 5 years of life.

Results: Forty-eight patients represented 12 study sites in 7 countries; 13 patients were alive, and 35 were dead (including 1 stillborn). Chest deformity, respiratory distress, respiratory failure (as conditioned by the eligibility criteria), failure to thrive, and elevated calcium levels were present in >70% of patients between birth and age 5 years. Vitamin B6-dependent seizures and respiratory distress and failure were associated significantly (P < .05) with the risk of early death. Serum alkaline phosphatase activity in all 41 patients tested (mean [SD]: 18.1 [15.4] U/L) was below the mean lower limit of normal of the reference ranges of the various laboratories (88.2 U/L). Among the 45 patients with relevant data, 29 had received respiratory support, of whom 26 had died at the time of data collection. The likelihood of invasive ventilator-free survival for this cohort decreased to 63% at 3 months, 54% at 6 months, 31% at 12 months, and 25% at 5 years.

Conclusions: Patients with perinatal or infantile hypophosphatasia and vitamin B6-dependent seizures, with or without significant respiratory distress or chest deformities, have high morbidity and mortality in the first 5 years of life.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01419028.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2019.01.049DOI Listing
June 2019

Efficacy and Safety of Asfotase Alfa in Infants and Young Children With Hypophosphatasia: A Phase 2 Open-Label Study.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2019 07;104(7):2735-2747

Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Context: Long-term data on enzyme replacement treatment of hypophosphatasia (HPP) are limited.

Objective: To evaluate efficacy and safety of asfotase alfa in patients aged ≤5 years with HPP followed for up to 6 years.

Design: Phase 2 open-label study (July 2010 to September 2016).

Setting: Twenty-two sites; 12 countries.

Participants: Sixty-nine patients [median (range) age: 16.0 (0.02 to 72) months] with severe HPP and sign/symptom onset before age 6 months.

Intervention: Asfotase alfa 2 mg/kg three times/week or 1 mg/kg six times/week subcutaneously.

Main Outcome Measures: Primary efficacy measure: Radiographic Global Impression of Change (RGI-C) score [-3 (severe worsening) to +3 (complete/near-complete healing)]. Additional outcome measures: respiratory status, growth, and safety. Post hoc analysis: characteristics of radiographic responders vs nonresponders at Year 1 (RGI-C: ≥+2 vs <+2).

Results: During median (minimum, maximum) 2.3 (0.02, 5.8) years of treatment, RGI-C scores improved significantly at Month 6 [+2.0 (-1.7, +3.0)], Year 1 [+2.0 (-2.3, +3.0)], and Last Assessment [+2.3 (-2.7, +3.0); P < 0.0001 all]. Of 24 patients requiring respiratory support at Baseline, 11 (46%) no longer needed support. Height/weight z scores generally increased. Nine patients died (13%). All patients experienced at least one adverse event; pyrexia was most common. Compared with responders [n = 50 (72%)], nonresponders [n = 19 (28%)] had more severe disease at Baseline and a higher rate of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) at Last Assessment.

Conclusions: Most infants/young children given asfotase alfa showed early radiographic and clinical improvement sustained up to 6 years; radiographic nonresponders had more severe disease and more frequent NAbs at Last Assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jc.2018-02335DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6530655PMC
July 2019

Implementing Universal Varicella Vaccination in Europe: The Path Forward.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2019 02;38(2):181-188

University of Tampere Medical School, Tampere, Finland.

Varicella is a common vaccine-preventable disease that usually presents as a mild disorder but can lead to severe complications. Before the implementation of universal varicella vaccination (UVV) in some European countries, the burden of varicella disease was broadly similar across the region. Despite this, countries adopted heterogeneous varicella vaccination strategies. UVV is currently recommended in 12 European countries. Known barriers to UVV implementation in Europe include (1) a perceived low disease burden and low public health priority; (2) cost-effectiveness and funding availability; (3) concerns related to a shift in varicella disease and incidence of herpes zoster and (4) safety concerns related to measles, mumps, rubella and varicella-associated febrile seizures after the first dose. Countries that implemented UVV experienced decreases in varicella incidence, hospitalizations and complications, showing overall beneficial impact. Alternative strategies targeting susceptible individuals at higher risk of complications have been less effective. This article discusses ways to overcome the barriers to move varicella forward as a truly vaccine preventable disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000002233DOI Listing
February 2019

Subtype-specific Clinical Presentation, Medical Treatment and Family Impact of Influenza in Children 1-5 Years of Age Treated in Outpatient Practices in Germany During Three Postpandemic Years, 2013-2015.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2018 09;37(9):861-867

From the Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.

Background: Limited data on the influenza burden in pediatric outpatients are available, especially regarding direct comparison of the cocirculating (sub)types A(H1N1)pdm09, A(H3N2) and B.

Methods: Children 1-5 years of age, unvaccinated against influenza and presenting with febrile acute respiratory infections (ARIs), were enrolled in 33 pediatric practices in Germany from 2013 to 2015 (January-May). Influenza was confirmed by multiplex polymerase chain reaction from pharyngeal swabs and (sub)typed.

Results: In 805 children with ARI, influenza was the most frequently detected respiratory virus (n = 305; 37.9%). Of 217 influenza patients included, 122 (56.2%) were infected with A(H3N2), 56 (25.8%) with A(H1N1)pdm09 and 39 (18.0%) with B. Median age was 3.7 years [interquartile range (IQR), 2.1-4.8]; 11% had underlying conditions. Median fever duration was 4 days (IQR, 3-5), and the disease duration was 9 days (IQR, 7-12). Most frequent diagnoses were pharyngitis (26%), bronchitis (18%) and acute otitis media (10%). Children received mainly antipyretics (86%) and adrenergic nasal drops/spray (53%); 9% received antibiotics and 3% oseltamivir. Thirty-six percent required at least 1 additional practice visit; 1% was hospitalized. Median absences from childcare were 5 days (IQR, 3-7); parents lost 4 workdays (IQR, 2-6). Symptoms, severity and impact on the family were largely unrelated to (sub)type. However, patients with A(H1N1)pdm09 had fewer underlying conditions (P = 0.017), whereas patients with B more often had pharyngitis (P = 0.022), acute otitis media (P = 0.012) and stenosing laryngotracheitis (P = 0.007).

Conclusions: Influenza was the most frequently detected viral pathogen in outpatient children with febrile, mostly uncomplicated ARI. In this setting, clinical manifestations and severity were similar across the (sub)types prevalent during the postpandemic seasons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000001935DOI Listing
September 2018

Immunization of preterm infants with GSK's hexavalent combined diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis-hepatitis B-inactivated poliovirus-Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine: A review of safety and immunogenicity.

Vaccine 2018 02 12;36(7):986-996. Epub 2018 Jan 12.

HELIOS Dr. Horst Schmidt Kliniken, Children's Hospital, Ludwig-Erhard-Str. 100, 65199 Wiesbaden, Germany. Electronic address:

Background: Infants with history of prematurity (<37 weeks gestation) and low birth weight (LBW, <2500 g) are at high risk of infection due to functional immaturity of normal physical and immunological defense mechanisms. Despite current recommendations that infants with history of prematurity/LBW should receive routine immunization according to the same schedule and chronological age as full-term infants, immunization is often delayed.

Methods: Here we summarize 10 clinical studies and 15 years of post-marketing safety surveillance of GSK's hexavalent vaccine (DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib), a combined diphtheria-tetanus-acellular-pertussis-hepatitis-B-inactivated-poliovirus-Haemophilus influenzae-type-b (Hib) conjugate vaccine, when administered alone, or co-administered with pneumococcal conjugate, rotavirus, and meningococcal vaccines and respiratory syncytial virus IgG to infants with history of prematurity/LBW in clinical trials.

Results: At least 92.5% of infants with history of prematurity/LBW as young as 24 weeks gestation in clinical studies were seropositive to all vaccine antigens after 3-dose primary vaccination with GSK's hexavalent DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib vaccine, with robust immune responses to booster vaccination. Seropositivity rates and antibody concentrations to hepatitis B and Hib appeared lower in infants with history of prematurity/LBW than term infants. Between 13-30% of medically stable infants with history of prematurity developed apnea after vaccination with GSK's hexavalent DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib vaccine; usually after dose 1. The occurrence of post-immunization cardiorespiratory events appears to be influenced by the severity of any underlying neonatal condition. Most cardiorespiratory events resolve spontaneously or require minimal intervention. GSK's hexavalent DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib vaccine was well tolerated in co-administration regimens.

Conclusion: GSK's hexavalent DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib vaccine alone or co-administered with other pediatric vaccines has a clinically acceptable safety and immunogenicity profile when used in infants with history of prematurity/LBW for primary and booster vaccination. Additional studies are needed in very premature and very LBW infants. However, currently available data support using GSK's hexavalent DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib vaccine to immunize infants with history of prematurity/LBW according to chronological age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.01.005DOI Listing
February 2018

Heterogeneity in coverage for measles and varicella vaccination in toddlers - analysis of factors influencing parental acceptance.

BMC Public Health 2017 09 19;17(1):724. Epub 2017 Sep 19.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str. 2, 97080, Würzburg, Germany.

Background: In 2004, routine varicella vaccination was introduced in Germany for children aged 11-14 months. Routine measles vaccination had already been introduced in 1973 for the same age group, but coverage is still too low (<95%) in some areas to eliminate measles. The present study assessed varicella and measles vaccination coverage and determinants of parental acceptance in two study regions, situated in Northern and Southern Bavaria (Germany).

Methods: From 2009 to 2011, annual cross-sectional parent surveys were performed on random samples of 600 children aged 18-36 months in the Bavarian regions of both Munich and Würzburg. Logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with varicella and measles vaccination.

Results: In 2009, 2010 and 2011, vaccination coverage was lower in Munich than in Würzburg, for both varicella (Munich 53%, 67%, 69% vs. Würzburg 72%, 81%, 83%) and for measles (Munich 88%, 89%, 91% vs. Würzburg 92%, 93%, 95%). Recommendation by the physician was the main independent factor associated with varicella vaccination in both regions (adjusted odd ratios (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI): Munich OR 19.7, CI 13.6-28.6; Würzburg OR 34.7, CI 22.6-53.2). Attendance at a childcare unit was positively associated with a higher acceptance of varicella vaccination in Munich (OR 1.5, CI 1.1-2.2). Regarding measles vaccination, attendance at a childcare unit was positively associated in both regions (Munich OR 2.0; CI 1.3-3.0; Würzburg OR 1.8; CI 1.1-3.1), and a higher level of parental school education was negatively associated in Würzburg (OR 0.5, CI 0.3-0.9).

Conclusions: Vaccination rates differed between regions, with rates constantly higher in Würzburg. Within each region, vaccination rates were lower for varicella than for measles. Measles vaccination status was mainly dependent upon socio-demographic factors (attendance at a childcare unit, parental school education), whereas for the more recently introduced varicella vaccination recommendation by the physician had the strongest impact. Hence, different strategies are needed to further improve vaccination rates for both diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4725-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5606112PMC
September 2017

Secondary haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis triggered by postnatally acquired cytomegalovirus infection in a late preterm infant.

Infection 2017 Jun 16;45(3):355-359. Epub 2017 Jan 16.

Children's Hospital, University Hospital Wuerzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str. 2, 97080, Würzburg, Germany.

Haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a hyperinflammatory condition with impairment of cytotoxic T-cells and natural killer cells. Causes in infants are mostly hereditary immune defects as well as various infectious triggering factors, amongst these cytomegalovirus (CMV). Vertical CMV transmission may occur in utero, during birth, and by breast feeding. Usually, a CMV infection transmitted via breast milk is symptomatic only in very immature preterm infants. We report on a late preterm infant born after 35 + 5 weeks of gestation with a birth weight of 1840 g, being admitted to our intensive care unit at the age of 9 weeks with acute enteritis and severe dehydration. After a prolonged recovery, the infant developed a sepsis-like condition with hyperpyrexia, hepatosplenomegaly, and pancytopenia. Combination with high ferritin levels (2809 μg/l), hypertriglyceridaemia (481 mg/dl), elevated soluble IL-2 receptor (sCD25, 9120 U/ml), and reduced perforin expression allowed diagnosis of HLH, caused by an acute CMV infection. Since connatal CMV infection had been ruled out earlier, we report the rare case of secondary HLH triggered by a postnatally acquired symptomatic CMV infection in an immunocompetent infant, most likely transmitted via breast milk. The infant was successfully treated with ganciclovir without need for immunosuppressive therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s15010-016-0970-3DOI Listing
June 2017

Varicella in pediatric oncology patients in the post-vaccine era-Analysis of routine hospital data from Bavaria (Germany), 2005-2011.

Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2016 Oct - Nov;33(7-8):468-479

a Department of Paediatrics , University of Würzburg , Würzburg , Germany.

Varicella in oncology patients can result in serious complications. We analyzed trends in hospitalization rates and characteristics of pediatric oncology and non-oncology patients hospitalized with varicella during the first 7 years after introduction of routine varicella vaccination. Our data included children <17 years of age with an International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10) main or secondary discharge diagnosis of varicella identified by annual database queries in 22-29 pediatric hospitals in Bavaria (Germany) in 2005-2011. Of a total of 1,245 varicella-associated hospitalizations, 42 children (median age 4 years, interquartile range 3-5) had an underlying malignancy (67% with acute lymphoblastic leukemia). Overall, additional diagnoses potentially associated with varicella were reported less often in oncology than in non-oncology varicella patients (62% vs. 77%, p = 0.041), suggesting earlier hospitalization of high-risk patients. Acute hematological diagnoses (29% vs. 3%, p < 0.001) and coinfections (invasive 12% vs. 2%, p = 0.001; noninvasive 19% vs. 8%, p = 0.019) were more frequent, whereas neurological (5% vs. 19%, p = 0.023) and upper respiratory tract diagnoses (2% vs. 16%, p = 0.014) were less frequent in oncology compared to non-oncology varicella patients. Oncology varicella patients showed a longer hospital stay (median 5 vs. 3 days, p < 0.001). Hospitalization rates in non-oncology varicella patients declined constantly since 2006, from 114.8 (2006) to 30.5 (2011) per 1,000 pediatric beds. The rates of varicella-associated hospitalizations in oncology patients indicated an overall decreasing trend (3.8, 1.9, 4.6, 3.5, 0.4, 2.1 and 0.6 cases per 1,000 pediatric beds in 2005-2011). Thus, pediatric oncology patients potentially profit from herd protection effects, resulting from increasing vaccine coverage in the general population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08880018.2016.1245805DOI Listing
January 2018

Decline of Neurologic Varicella Complications in Children During the First Seven Years After Introduction of Universal Varicella Vaccination in Germany, 2005-2011.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2017 01;36(1):79-86

From the *Department of Pediatrics, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany; and †Dr. von Haunersches Children's Hospital, University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Background: Universal varicella vaccination for 1-year-old children was introduced in Germany in 2004. We investigated changes in the incidence and type of varicella-associated neurologic complications in children during the first 7 years after universal vaccination recommendation.

Methods: A surveillance study was conducted based on patients <17 years of age with an International Classification of Diseases (10th Revision) discharge diagnosis of varicella, annually reported by 22-29 pediatric hospitals in Bavaria, Germany, 2005 to 2011. Annual incidences were estimated and linear trend across years was assessed by Poisson regression models.

Results: Of a total of 1263 varicella-associated pediatric hospitalizations, 228 children (18.1%) had neurologic complications (median age 4 years, interquartile range 2-7; 56% male). The most frequent neurologic complications were febrile convulsion (32.0% of 228 children, median age 3.0 years), varicella encephalitis or meningitis (28.9%; median age 4.5 years), syncope (13.2%; median age 7.0 years) and cerebral convulsion (11.0%; median age 4.0 years). Other complications included ataxia (3.1%), facial nerve palsy (2.6%) and cerebral vasculitis/infarction (1.8%). Neurologic complications showed a continuous decrease between 2005 and 2011, from an incidence of 2.8 (95% confidence interval: 2.1-3.6) per 100,000 children <17 years of age to 1.2 (95% confidence interval: 0.7-2.1; P < 0.001). In particular, a marked decline was observed among children up to 7 years of age, mainly because of a decrease in the number of febrile convulsions and encephalitis or meningitis.

Conclusion: The incidence of varicella-associated neurologic complications in children decreased approximately by 60% during the first 7 years following the recommendation for universal vaccination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000001356DOI Listing
January 2017

Therapy of 645 children with parapneumonic effusion and empyema-A German nationwide surveillance study.

Pediatr Pulmonol 2017 04 20;52(4):540-547. Epub 2016 Sep 20.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.

Objective: To evaluate the initial management of pediatric parapneumonic effusion or pleural empyema (PPE/PE) with regard to length of hospital stay (LOS).

Methods: Collection of pediatric PPE/PE cases using a nationwide surveillance system (ESPED) from 10/2010 to 06/2013, in all German pediatric hospitals. Inclusion of PPE/PE patients <18 years of age requiring drainage or with a PPE/PE persistence >7 days. Staging of PPE/PE based on reported pleural sonographic imaging. Comparison of LOS after diagnosis between children treated with different forms of initial invasive procedures performed ≤3 days after PPE/PE diagnosis: pleural puncture, draining catheter, intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy, surgical procedures.

Results: Inclusion of 645 children (median age 5 years); median total LOS 17 days. Initial therapy was non-invasive in 282 (45%) cases and invasive in 347 (55%) cases (pleural puncture: 62 [10%], draining catheter: 153 [24%], intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy: 89 [14%], surgical procedures: 43 [7%]). LOS after diagnosis did not differ between children initially treated with different invasive procedures. Results remained unchanged when controlling for sonographic stage, preexisting diseases, and other potential confounders. Repeated use of invasive procedures was observed more often after initial non-invasive treatment or pleural puncture alone than after initial pleural drainage, intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy or surgery.

Conclusions: Initial treatment with intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy or surgical procedures did not result in shorter LOS than initial pleural puncture alone. Larger prospective studies are required to investigate which children benefit significantly from more intensive forms of initial invasive treatment. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2017;52:540-547. © 2016 The Authors. Pediatric Pulmonology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ppul.23562DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5396379PMC
April 2017

The influence of birth weight amongst 33-35 weeks gestational age (wGA) infants on the risk of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) hospitalisation: a pooled analysis.

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2017 Jan 6;30(2):134-140. Epub 2016 Apr 6.

g Department of Paediatric Infectiology and Immunology , University Children's Hospital, University of Würzburg , Würzburg , Germany.

Objective: To investigate the association between birth weight and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) hospitalisation during the first year of life in 33°-35 weeks' gestational age (wGA) infants.

Study Design: Pooled analysis of data (n = 1218) from Spain, Germany, France and Italy.

Result: RSV hospitalised infants overall had a significantly higher birth weight than non-hospitalised infants (2.24 versus 2.14 kg; p < 0.001) for both males (2.25 versus 2.18 kg; p = 0.049) and females (2.22 versus 2.11 kg, p = 0.007). The effect was significant only in 34 wGA infants (33 wGA: hospitalised 1.95 kg versus non-hospitalised 1.95 kg, p = 0.976; 34 wGA: 2.26 versus 2.14 kg, p = 0.007; 35 wGA: 2.37 versus 2.29 kg, p = 0.070), particularly female 34 wGA infants (female: 2.24 versus 2.08 kg, p = 0.019; male: 2.27 versus 2.20, p = 0.191). Birth weight was shown to be an independent risk factor for RSV hospitalisation.

Conclusions: In 33-35 wGA infants, a higher birth weight appeared independently associated with an increased risk of RSV hospitalisation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/14767058.2016.1165199DOI Listing
January 2017

Significant IFNγ responses of CD8+ T cells in CMV-seropositive individuals with autoimmune arthritis.

J Clin Virol 2016 Apr 18;77:77-84. Epub 2016 Feb 18.

Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.

Background: Latent Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection accelerates immunosenescence in elderly with reactivations reported in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and abnormal responses towards CMV in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA).

Objectives: Considering the signs of premature T-cell immunosenescence in arthritis patients, the known effect of CMV latency on speeding up many of these signs in an age-dependent manner and the role of CMV on IFNγ-mediated inflammation in healthy elderly and RA, we hypothesized that latent CMV infection accelerates TCR repertoire restriction, loss of CD28, peripheral T-cell proliferation and aberrant IFNγ responses in arthritis patients.

Study Design: Unspecific and CMVpp65-specific IFNγ responses were investigated in peripheral CD8+ T-cells in RA or JIA patients and healthy, age-matched controls.

Results: Despite higher prevalence and concentrations of IgG-anti-CMV, arthritis patients showed lower unspecific IFNγ production, lower CD69-mediated activation and lower CD8+ T-cell proliferation. CMV-seropositive RA patients showed higher intracellular IFNγ production and increased proportions of CD28-CD8+ T-cells after specific CMVpp65 long-term stimulation which was not altered by in vitro blockade of TNFα or IL-6. A skewed TCR repertoire towards oligoclonality and less polyclonality was found in JIA.

Discussion: CMVpp65-specific IFNγ production with expansion of CD28-CD8+ T-cells suggests an efficient control of latent CMV regardless of immunosuppressive therapy or in vitro blockade of TNFα or IL-6 in CMV-seropositive arthritis patients. Increased IgG-anti-CMV antibody concentrations and increased proportions of intracellular IFNγ-producing CMVpp65-specific CD8+ T-cells in long-term cultures propose a possibly role of endogenous CMV reactivations boosting antibody levels and a higher possibly CMV-driven IFNγ-mediated inflammatory potential of CD8+ T-cells in arthritis patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcv.2016.02.010DOI Listing
April 2016

Continued high incidence of children with severe influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 admitted to paediatric intensive care units in Germany during the first three post-pandemic influenza seasons, 2010/11-2012/13.

BMC Infect Dis 2015 Dec 18;15:573. Epub 2015 Dec 18.

Department of Paediatrics, University of Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str. 2, 97080, Würzburg, Germany.

Background: Previous influenza surveillance at paediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in Germany indicated increased incidence of PICU admissions for the pandemic influenza subtype A(H1N1)pdm09. We investigated incidence and clinical characteristics of influenza in children admitted to PICUs during the first three post-pandemic influenza seasons, using active screening.

Methods: We conducted a prospective surveillance study in 24 PICUs in Bavaria (Germany) from October 2010 to September 2013. Influenza cases among children between 1 month and 16 years of age admitted to these PICUs with acute respiratory infection were confirmed by PCR analysis of respiratory secretions.

Results: A total of 24/7/20 influenza-associated PICU admissions were recorded in the post-pandemic seasons 1/2/3; incidence estimates per 100,000 children were 1.72/0.76/1.80, respectively. Of all 51 patients, 80% had influenza A, including 65% with A(H1N1)pdm09. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was almost absent in season 2 (incidence 0.11), but dominated PICU admissions in seasons 1 (incidence 1.35) and 3 (incidence 1.17). Clinical data was available for 47 influenza patients; median age was 4.8 years (IQR 1.6-11.0). The most frequent diagnoses were influenza-associated pneumonia (62%), bronchitis/bronchiolitis (32%), secondary bacterial pneumonia (26 %), and ARDS (21%). Thirty-six patients (77 %) had underlying medical conditions. Median duration of PICU stay was 3 days (IQR 1-11). Forty-seven per cent of patients received mechanical ventilation, and one patient (2%) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; 19% were treated with oseltamivir. Five children (11%) had pulmonary sequelae. Five children (11%) died; all had underlying chronic conditions and were infected with A(H1N1)pdm09. In season 3, patients with A(H1N1)pdm09 were younger than in season 1 (p = 0.020), were diagnosed more often with bronchitis/bronchiolitis (p = 0.004), and were admitted to a PICU later after the onset of influenza symptoms (p = 0.041).

Conclusions: Active screening showed a continued high incidence of A(H1N1)pdm09-associated PICU admissions in the post-pandemic seasons 1 and 3, and indicated possible underestimation of incidence in previous German studies. The age shift of severe A(H1N1)pdm09 towards younger children may be explained by increasing immunity in the older paediatric population. The high proportion of patients with underlying chronic conditions indicates the importance of consistent implementation of the current influenza vaccination recommendations for risk groups in Germany.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-015-1293-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4683816PMC
December 2015

The Impact of Childhood Acute Otitis Media on Parental Quality of Life in a Prospective Observational Cohort Study.

Clin Drug Investig 2015 Oct;35(10):613-24

Kinderklinik und Poliklinik, Universitätsklinikum Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.

Background And Objectives: Acute otitis media (AOM) not only affects childhood quality of life (QoL), but can also affect parental QoL. We adapted a previously published questionnaire on the effect of childhood recurrent ear, nose and throat infections on parental QoL for use with AOM and used it in an observational, multicentre, prospective study of children with AOM.

Methods: The AOM-specific parental QoL questionnaire grouped 15 items into emotional, daily disturbance, total and overall parental QoL impact scores. The questionnaire was assessed using item-convergent and item-discriminant validity criteria and internal consistency reliability; and then used with parents of children aged <6 years diagnosed with AOM at 73 practices in Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Bivariate analyses explored the differences in mean parental QoL impact scores by various characteristics.

Results: The questionnaire demonstrated good to excellent internal consistency reliability for the various components (Cronbach's α 0.82-0.97). There were 1419 AOM episodes among 5882 healthy children over 1 year, of which 1063 episodes (74.9%) among 852 children had a questionnaire. Parents reported interrupted sleep (68.4%), worry (51.0%), altered daily schedule (44.6%) and less leisure time (41.5%) with a score ≥ 3 (1 = least to 5 = most impact). Factors that adversely affected parental QoL included: increased parental perception of AOM severity, younger child age and multiple AOM episodes.

Conclusions: The AOM-specific parental QoL questionnaire demonstrated good performance across five European countries. Parental QoL was affected by childhood AOM proportionally to severity, number of episodes and younger child age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40261-015-0319-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4579255PMC
October 2015

Recombinant Enzyme Replacement Therapy in Hypophosphatasia.

Subcell Biochem 2015 ;76:323-41

Children's Hospital, University of Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str. 2, 97090, Würzburg, Germany,

Hypophosphatasia (HPP) is a rare monogenetic and multisystemic disease with involvement of different organs, including bone, muscle, kidney, lung, gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system. The exact metabolic mechanisms of the effects of TNAP deficiency in different tissues are not understood in detail. There is no approved specific treatment for HPP; therefore symptomatic treatment in order to improve the clinical features is of major interest. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is a relatively new type of treatment based on the principle of administering a medical treatment replacing a defective or absent enzyme. Recently ERT with a bone targeted recombinant human TNAP molecule has been reported to be efficient in ten severely affected patients and improved survival of life threatening forms. These results are very promising especially with regard to the skeletal phenotype but it is unclear whether ERT also has beneficial effects for craniosynostosis and in other affected tissues in HPP such as brain and kidney. Long-term data are not yet available and further systematic clinical trials are needed. It is also necessary to establish therapeutic approaches to help patients who are affected by less severe forms of HPP but also suffer from a significant reduction in quality of life. Further basic research on TNAP function and role in different tissues and on its physiological substrates is critical to gain a better insight in the pathogenesis in HPP. This and further experiences in new therapeutic strategies may improve the prognosis and quality of life of patients with all forms of HPP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-7197-9_15DOI Listing
January 2016

Chronic Candida albicans Meningitis in a 4-Year-Old Girl with a Homozygous Mutation in the CARD9 Gene (Q295X).

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2015 Sep;34(9):999-1002

From the *Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology, University of Wuerzburg, Germany; †Department of Blood Cell Research, Sanquin Research and Landsteiner Laboratory, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; ‡Department of Pediatrics, Hospital Aschaffenburg, Germany; §University Children's Hospital at Dr. von Haunersches Kinderspital, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany; ¶Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, University Children's Hospital, Muenster, Germany; ‖Center for Chronic Immunodeficiency, University of Freiburg, Germany; and **Department of Pediatric Hematology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

A 4-year-old Turkish girl of consanguineous parents was hospitalized for the evaluation of headaches and recurrent febrile episodes of unknown origin. Her medical history was unremarkable except for a few episodes of uncomplicated oral thrush. Meningitis was diagnosed, and Candida albicans was the only pathogen identified by polymerase chain reaction and culture. Despite systemic antifungal multidrug therapy, a prolonged course of 16 months of therapy was necessary to clear C. albicans from the cerebrospinal fluid. Molecular genetic analysis revealed a homozygous caspase recruitment domain 9 (CARD9) mutation (Q295X), which was reported to predispose to chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis. Immunologic workup excluded predisposing B-cell and T-cell defects. In addition, T cells producing interleukin-17 were repeatedly measured within the normal range. Analyses of neutrophils demonstrated normal nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase activity in response to various stimuli including Staphylococcus aureus and C. albicans. Additional neutrophilic functional testing, however, showed a decreased cytotoxicity to nonopsonized C. albicans, indicating an impaired killing mechanism against Candida spp. independent from the production of reactive oxygen species by the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase system. Because this defect was only demonstrated in the absence of opsonins, it might especially predispose to chronic C. albicans infections in the central nervous system where opsonin concentrations are usually low. We, therefore, suggest that due to an additional neutrophil dependent defect CARD9 deficiency predisposes not only to chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis, but also to invasive chronic Candida infections, especially of the central nervous system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000000736DOI Listing
September 2015

Pathogenic fungi regulate immunity by inducing neutrophilic myeloid-derived suppressor cells.

Cell Host Microbe 2015 Apr 12;17(4):507-14. Epub 2015 Mar 12.

Department of Pediatrics I, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany. Electronic address:

Despite continuous contact with fungi, immunocompetent individuals rarely develop pro-inflammatory antifungal immune responses. The underlying tolerogenic mechanisms are incompletely understood. Using both mouse models and human patients, we show that infection with the human pathogenic fungi Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans induces a distinct subset of neutrophilic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), which functionally suppress T and NK cell responses. Mechanistically, pathogenic fungi induce neutrophilic MDSCs through the pattern recognition receptor Dectin-1 and its downstream adaptor protein CARD9. Fungal MDSC induction is further dependent on pathways downstream of Dectin-1 signaling, notably reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation as well as caspase-8 activity and interleukin-1 (IL-1) production. Additionally, exogenous IL-1β induces MDSCs to comparable levels observed during C. albicans infection. Adoptive transfer and survival experiments show that MDSCs are protective during invasive C. albicans infection, but not A. fumigatus infection. These studies define an innate immune mechanism by which pathogenic fungi regulate host defense.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2015.02.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4400268PMC
April 2015

Two independent killing mechanisms of Candida albicans by human neutrophils: evidence from innate immunity defects.

Blood 2014 Jul 19;124(4):590-7. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

Sanquin Research, and Landsteiner Laboratory, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Invasive fungal infections, accompanied by high rates of mortality, represent an increasing problem in medicine. Neutrophils are the major effector immune cells in fungal killing. Based on studies with neutrophils from patients with defined genetic defects, we provide evidence that human neutrophils use 2 distinct and independent phagolysosomal mechanisms to kill Candida albicans. The first mechanism for the killing of unopsonized C albicans was found to be dependent on complement receptor 3 (CR3) and the signaling proteins phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase and caspase recruitment domain-containing protein 9 (CARD9), but was independent of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase activity. The second mechanism for the killing of opsonized C albicans was strictly dependent on Fcγ receptors, protein kinase C (PKC), and reactive oxygen species production by the NADPH oxidase system. Each of the 2 pathways of Candida killing required Syk tyrosine kinase activity, but dectin-1 was dispensable for both of them. These data provide an explanation for the variable clinical presentation of fungal infection in patients suffering from different immune defects, including dectin-1 deficiency, CARD9 deficiency, or chronic granulomatous disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2014-01-551473DOI Listing
July 2014

Public health impact and cost-effectiveness of intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccination of children in Germany.

Eur J Health Econ 2015 Jun 25;16(5):471-88. Epub 2014 May 25.

Department of Health Economics and Health Care Management, Bielefeld School of Public Health, Bielefeld University, Universitätsstraße 25, 33615, Bielefeld, Germany,

In 2011, intranasally administered live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) was approved in the EU for prophylaxis of seasonal influenza in 2-17-year-old children. Our objective was to estimate the potential epidemiological impact and cost-effectiveness of an LAIV-based extension of the influenza vaccination programme to healthy children in Germany. An age-structured dynamic model of influenza transmission was developed and combined with a decision-tree to evaluate different vaccination strategies in the German health care system. Model inputs were based on published literature or were derived by expert consulting using the Delphi technique. Unit costs were drawn from German sources. Under base-case assumptions, annual routine vaccination of children aged 2-17 years with LAIV assuming an uptake of 50% would prevent, across all ages, 16 million cases of symptomatic influenza, over 600,000 cases of acute otitis media, nearly 130,000 cases of community-acquired pneumonia, nearly 1.7 million prescriptions of antibiotics and over 165,000 hospitalisations over 10 years. The discounted incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was 1,228 per quality-adjusted life year gained from a broad third-party payer perspective (including reimbursed direct costs and specific transfer payments), when compared with the current strategy of vaccinating primarily risk groups with the conventional trivalent inactivated vaccine. Inclusion of patient co-payments and indirect costs in terms of productivity losses resulted in discounted 10-year cost savings of 3.4 billion. In conclusion, adopting universal influenza immunisation of healthy children and adolescents would lead to a substantial reduction in influenza-associated disease at a reasonable cost to the German statutory health insurance system. On the basis of the epidemiological and health economic simulation results, a recommendation of introducing annual routine influenza vaccination of children 2-17 years of age might be taken into consideration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10198-014-0586-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4435640PMC
June 2015

The epidemiological impact of childhood influenza vaccination using live-attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) in Germany: predictions of a simulation study.

BMC Infect Dis 2014 Jan 22;14:40. Epub 2014 Jan 22.

Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Applied Biometry, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

Background: Routine annual influenza vaccination is primarily recommended for all persons aged 60 and above and for people with underlying chronic conditions in Germany. Other countries have already adopted additional childhood influenza immunisation programmes. The objective of this study is to determine the potential epidemiological impact of implementing paediatric influenza vaccination using intranasally administered live-attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) in Germany.

Methods: A deterministic age-structured model is used to simulate the population-level impact of different vaccination strategies on the transmission dynamics of seasonal influenza in Germany. In our base-case analysis, we estimate the effects of adding a LAIV-based immunisation programme targeting children 2 to 17 years of age to the existing influenza vaccination policy. The data used in the model is based on published evidence complemented by expert opinion.

Results: In our model, additional vaccination of children 2 to 17 years of age with LAIV leads to the prevention of 23.9 million influenza infections and nearly 16 million symptomatic influenza cases within 10 years. This reduction in burden of disease is not restricted to children. About one third of all adult cases can indirectly be prevented by LAIV immunisation of children.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that vaccinating children 2-17 years of age is likely associated with a significant reduction in the burden of paediatric influenza. Furthermore, annual routine childhood vaccination against seasonal influenza is expected to decrease the incidence of influenza among adults and older people due to indirect effects of herd protection. In summary, our model provides data supporting the introduction of a paediatric influenza immunisation programme in Germany.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2334-14-40DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905925PMC
January 2014