Publications by authors named "Najwa Khuri-Bulos"

46 Publications

Clinical features of parainfluenza infections among young children hospitalized for acute respiratory illness in Amman, Jordan.

BMC Infect Dis 2021 Apr 7;21(1):323. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 1161 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN, 37232, USA.

Background: Parainfluenza virus (PIV) is a leading cause of acute respiratory illness (ARI) in children. However, few studies have characterized the clinical features and outcomes associated with PIV infections among young children in the Middle East.

Methods: We conducted hospital-based surveillance for ARI among children < 2 years of age in a large referral hospital in Amman, Jordan. We systematically collected clinical data and respiratory specimens for pathogen detection using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. We compared clinical features of PIV-associated ARI among individual serotypes 1, 2, 3, and 4 and among PIV infections compared with other viral ARI and ARI with no virus detected. We also compared the odds of supplemental oxygen use using logistic regression.

Results: PIV was detected in 221/3168 (7.0%) children hospitalized with ARI. PIV-3 was the most commonly detected serotype (125/221; 57%). Individual clinical features of PIV infections varied little by individual serotype, although admission diagnosis of 'croup' was only associated with PIV-1 and PIV-2. Children with PIV-associated ARI had lower frequency of cough (71% vs 83%; p < 0.001) and wheezing (53% vs 60% p < 0.001) than children with ARI associated with other viruses. We did not find a significant difference in supplemental oxygen use between children with PIV-associated infections (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.12, 95% CI 0.66-1.89, p = 0.68) and infections in which no virus was detected.

Conclusions: PIV is frequently associated with ARI requiring hospitalization in young Jordanian children. Substantial overlap in clinical features may preclude distinguishing PIV infections from other viral infections at presentation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-021-06001-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8024934PMC
April 2021

Respiratory Viruses Associated With Acute Wheezing in Hospitalized Young Children in Jordan.

J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc 2020 Dec 19. Epub 2020 Dec 19.

Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee USA.

A cross-sectional viral surveillance study of hospitalized children less than 2 years of old in Amman, Jordan, noted that respiratory syncytial virus and human metapneumovirus, but not human rhinovirus, were associated with higher odds of acute wheezing. Future longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate the association between early childhood viral acute respiratory infections and recurrent wheezing later in childhood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jpids/piaa143DOI Listing
December 2020

Global burden of acute lower respiratory infection associated with human metapneumovirus in children under 5 years in 2018: a systematic review and modelling study.

Lancet Glob Health 2021 01 26;9(1):e33-e43. Epub 2020 Nov 26.

Centre for Global Health, Usher Institute, Edinburgh Medical School, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK. Electronic address:

Background: Human metapneumovirus is a common virus associated with acute lower respiratory infections (ALRIs) in children. No global burden estimates are available for ALRIs associated with human metapneumovirus in children, and no licensed vaccines or drugs exist for human metapneumovirus infections. We aimed to estimate the age-stratified human metapneumovirus-associated ALRI global incidence, hospital admissions, and mortality burden in children younger than 5 years.

Methods: We estimated the global burden of human metapneumovirus-associated ALRIs in children younger than 5 years from a systematic review of 119 studies published between Jan 1, 2001, and Dec 31, 2019, and a further 40 high quality unpublished studies. We assessed risk of bias using a modified Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. We estimated incidence, hospital admission rates, and in-hospital case-fatality ratios (hCFRs) of human metapneumovirus-associated ALRI using a generalised linear mixed model. We applied incidence and hospital admission rates of human metapneumovirus-associated ALRI to population estimates to yield the morbidity burden estimates by age bands and World Bank income levels. We also estimated human metapneumovirus-associated ALRI in-hospital deaths and overall human metapneumovirus-associated ALRI deaths (both in-hospital and non-hospital deaths). Additionally, we estimated human metapneumovirus-attributable ALRI cases, hospital admissions, and deaths by combining human metapneumovirus-associated burden estimates and attributable fractions of human metapneumovirus in laboratory-confirmed human metapneumovirus cases and deaths.

Findings: In 2018, among children younger than 5 years globally, there were an estimated 14·2 million human metapneumovirus-associated ALRI cases (uncertainty range [UR] 10·2 million to 20·1 million), 643 000 human metapneumovirus-associated hospital admissions (UR 425 000 to 977 000), 7700 human metapneumovirus-associated in-hospital deaths (2600 to 48 800), and 16 100 overall (hospital and community) human metapneumovirus-associated ALRI deaths (5700 to 88 000). An estimated 11·1 million ALRI cases (UR 8·0 million to 15·7 million), 502 000 ALRI hospital admissions (UR 332 000 to 762 000), and 11 300 ALRI deaths (4000 to 61 600) could be causally attributed to human metapneumovirus in 2018. Around 58% of the hospital admissions were in infants under 12 months, and 64% of in-hospital deaths occurred in infants younger than 6 months, of which 79% occurred in low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

Interpretation: Infants younger than 1 year have disproportionately high risks of severe human metapneumovirus infections across all World Bank income regions and all child mortality settings, similar to respiratory syncytial virus and influenza virus. Infants younger than 6 months in low-income and lower-middle-income countries are at greater risk of death from human metapneumovirus-associated ALRI than older children and those in upper-middle-income and high-income countries. Our mortality estimates demonstrate the importance of intervention strategies for infants across all settings, and warrant continued efforts to improve the outcome of human metapneumovirus-associated ALRI among young infants in low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30393-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7783516PMC
January 2021

Assessing the epidemiology and seasonality of influenza among children under two hospitalized in Amman, Jordan, 2010-2013.

Influenza Other Respir Viruses 2021 Mar 11;15(2):284-292. Epub 2020 Nov 11.

Departments of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: The disease burden of influenza-associated hospitalizations among children in Jordan is not well established. We aimed to characterize hospitalizations attributed to influenza in a pediatric population.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study from our viral surveillance cohort in children under 2 years hospitalized with acute respiratory symptoms and/or fever from March 2010 to March 2013. We collected demographic and clinical characteristics, and calculated the frequency of children who met the severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) criteria. Nasal specimens were tested using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to detect influenza A, B, or C. Further subtyping for influenza A-positive isolates was conducted.

Results: Of the 3168 children enrolled in our study, 119 (4%) were influenza-positive. Influenza types and subtypes varied by season but were predominantly detected between December and February. Codetection of multiple respiratory pathogens was identified in 58% of children with the majority occurring among those <6 months. Bronchopneumonia and rule-out sepsis were the most common admission diagnoses, with influenza A accounting for over 2/3 of children with a rule-out sepsis admission status. One-third of children under 6 months compared to 3/4 of children 6-23 months met the SARI criteria.

Conclusions: Influenza was an important cause of acute respiratory illness in children under 2 years. Children <6 months had the highest burden of influenza-associated hospitalizations and were less likely to meet the SARI global surveillance case definition. Additional surveillance is needed in the Middle East to determine the true influenza burden on a global scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/irv.12813DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7902256PMC
March 2021

Coronavirus Surveillance in a Pediatric Population in Jordan From 2010 to 2013: A Prospective Viral Surveillance Study.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2021 01;40(1):e12-e17

Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.

Background: Human coronaviruses (HCoVs) are a significant cause of acute respiratory illness (ARI) in children; however, the role of HCoVs in ARI among hospitalized children in the Middle East is not well defined.

Methods: Children under 2 years admitted with fever and/or respiratory symptoms were enrolled from 2010 to 2013 in Amman, Jordan. Nasal/throat swabs were collected and stored for testing. Demographic and clinical characteristics were collected through parent/guardian interviews and medical chart abstractions. Prior stored specimens were tested for HCoVs (HKU1, OC43, 229E and NL63) by qRT-PCR.

Results: Of the 3168 children enrolled, 6.7% were HCoVs-positive. Among HCoV-positive children, the median age was 3.8 (1.9-8.4) months, 59% were male, 14% were premature, 11% had underlying medical conditions and 76% had viral-codetection. The most common presenting symptoms were cough, fever, wheezing and shortness of breath. HCoVs were detected year-round, peaking in winter-spring months. Overall, 56%, 22%, 13% and 6% were OC43, NL63, HKU1 and 229E, respectively. There was no difference in disease severity between the species, except higher intensive care unit admission frequency in NL63-positive subjects.

Conclusions: HCoVs were detected in around 7% of children enrolled in our study. Despite HCoV detection in children with ARI with highest peaks in respiratory seasons, the actual burden and pathogenic role of HCoVs in ARI merits further evaluation given the high frequency of viral codetection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000002965DOI Listing
January 2021

Brighton Collaboration Viral Vector Vaccines Safety Working Group (V3SWG) standardized template for collection of key information for benefit-risk assessment of live-attenuated viral vaccines.

Vaccine 2020 11 16;38(49):7702-7707. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Global Healthcare Consulting, New Delhi, India; University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

Several live-attenuated viral vaccine candidates are among the COVID-19 vaccines in development. The Brighton Collaboration Viral Vector Vaccines Safety Working Group (V3SWG) has prepared a standardized template to describe the key considerations for the benefit-risk assessment of live-attenuated viral vaccines. This will help key stakeholders assess potential safety issues and understand the benefit-risk of such vaccines. The standardized and structured assessment provided by the template would also help to contribute to improved communication and support public acceptance of licensed live-attenuated viral vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.09.042DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7563577PMC
November 2020

Utility of RSV rapid diagnostic assays in hospitalized children in Amman, Jordan.

J Med Virol 2020 Sep 23. Epub 2020 Sep 23.

Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of acute respiratory infections in children worldwide and a frequent cause of hospitalization. Rapid diagnostic assays (RDAs) are available for RSV and they help guide management; however, they are underutilized in developing countries. We compared molecular diagnostics to RSV RDA in hospitalized children in Amman, Jordan.

Materials And Methods: Children under 2 years of age, admitted with fever and/or respiratory symptoms were enrolled prospectively from March 2010 to 2012. Demographic and clinical data were collected through parent/guardian interviews and medical chart abstraction. RSV RDAs were performed, and nasal/throat swabs were tested for RSV using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR).

Results: RSV RDA and PCR were performed on specimens from 1271 subjects. RSV RDA had a sensitivity of 26% and a specificity of 99%, with positive and negative predictive values of 98.6% and 43%, respectively. RDA-positive patients had fewer days of symptoms at presentation and were more likely to have a history of prematurity, lower birth weight, require supplemental oxygen, and a longer hospitalization as compared with subjects with negative RDA. Multivariate analysis showed only lower birth weight, lack of cyanosis on examination, and lower cycle threshold to be independently associated with positive RDA (p ≤ .001).

Conclusion: RSV RDAs had high specificity, but low sensitivity as compared with qRT-PCR. Positive RDA was associated with patients with a more severe disease, as indicated by oxygen use, longer length of stay, and higher viral load. Implementation of RDAs in developing countries could be an inexpensive and expedient method for predicting RSV disease severity and guiding management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmv.26546DOI Listing
September 2020

The role of National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAG) in strengthening health system governance: Lessons from three middle-income countries-Argentina, Jordan, and South Africa (2017-2018).

Vaccine 2020 10 16;38(45):7118-7128. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Medical Research Council, Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Introduction: Toward the Global Vaccine Action Plan 2020 goal, almost 90% of countries have established a National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG). However, little is known about NITAG's contributions to governance.

Methods: In 2017-2018, a two-step, qualitative retrospective study was conducted. Jordan (JO), Argentina (AR), and South Africa (SA) were selected owing to government-financed NITAGs from middle-income countries (MICs), geographic diversity, and a vaccine introduction with NITAG support. Country case studies were developed, collecting data through desk review and face-to-face key informant interviews (KIIs) from Ministry of Health (MoH) and NITAG. Case studies were analyzed together, to assess governance applying the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies framework focusing on transparency, accountability, participation, integrity, and policy capacity (TAPIC).

Results: Document review and 53 KII (22 AR, 20 SA, 11 JO) showed NITAGs played a pivotal role as advisors promoting a culture of evidence-informed policies. NITAGs strengthened governance, although practices varied among countries. Meetings were conducted behind-closed-doors, participation restricted to members, only in one country agendas, and recommendations were public (AR). To increase participation, policy capacity, and transparency, countries considered adding experts in communications, advocacy, and economics. AR and SA contemplated including community members. NITAGs functioned autonomously from the government, with no established internal or external monitoring or supervision. NITAG meeting minutes allowed the review of integrity, adherence to terms of reference, standard operating procedures, and conflict of interest (CoI). For the most part, NITAGs abided by their mandates. Significant issues were related to the level of MoH support and oversight of CoI declaration and documentation.

Conclusions: Systematically implementing governance approaches could improve processes, better tailor policies, and implementation. The long-term survival and resilience of NITAGs in these countries showed they play a significant role in strengthening governance. Lessons learned could be useful to those promoting country-driven evidence-informed decision-making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.08.069DOI Listing
October 2020

The Brighton Collaboration standardized template for collection of key information for benefit-risk assessment of inactivated viral vaccines.

Vaccine 2020 09 31;38(39):6184-6189. Epub 2020 Jul 31.

Brighton Collaboration, A Program of the Task Force for Global Health, Decatur, GA, USA.

Inactivated viral vaccines have long been used in humans for diseases of global health threat and are now among the vaccines for COVID-19 under development. The Brighton Collaboration Viral Vector Vaccines Safety Working Group (V3SWG) has prepared a standardized template to describe the key considerations for the benefit-risk assessment of inactivated viral vaccines. This will help key stakeholders to assess potential safety issues and understand the benefit-risk of the vaccine platform. The standardized and structured assessment provided by the template would also help to contribute to improved communication and support public acceptance of licensed inactivated viral vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.07.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7834840PMC
September 2020

The Brighton Collaboration standardized template for collection of key information for benefit-risk assessment of protein vaccines.

Vaccine 2020 07 9;38(35):5734-5739. Epub 2020 Jul 9.

Brighton Collaboration, a Program of the Task Force for Global Health, Decatur, GA, USA.

Several protein vaccine candidates are among the COVID-19 vaccines in development. The Brighton Collaboration Viral Vector Vaccines Safety Working Group (V3SWG) has prepared a standardized template to describe the key considerations for the benefit-risk assessment of protein vaccines. This will help key stakeholders to assess potential safety issues and understand the benefit-risk of such a vaccine platform. The structured and standardized assessment provided by the template would also help contribute to improved public acceptance and communication of licensed protein vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.06.044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7343648PMC
July 2020

Evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of the WHO Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) criteria in Middle Eastern children under two years over three respiratory seasons.

PLoS One 2020 30;15(4):e0232188. Epub 2020 Apr 30.

Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.

Objective: The World Health Organization created the Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) criteria in 2011 to monitor influenza (flu)-related hospitalization. Many studies have since used the SARI case definition as inclusion criteria for surveillance studies. We sought to determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of the SARI criteria for detecting ten different respiratory viruses in a Middle Eastern pediatric cohort.

Materials And Methods: The data for this study comes from a prospective acute respiratory surveillance study of hospitalized children <2 years in Amman, Jordan from March 16, 2010 to March 31, 2013. Participants were recruited if they had a fever and/or respiratory symptoms. Nasal and throat swabs were obtained and tested by real-time RT-PCR for eleven viruses. Subjects meeting SARI criteria were determined post-hoc. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of the SARI case definition for detecting ten different viruses were calculated and results were stratified by age.

Results: Of the 3,175 patients enrolled, 3,164 were eligible for this study, with a median age of 3.5 months, 60.4% male, and 82% virus-positive (44% RSV and 3.8% flu). The sensitivity and specificity of the SARI criteria for detecting virus-positive patients were 44% and 77.9%, respectively. Sensitivity of SARI criteria for any virus was lowest in children <3 months at 22.4%. Removing fever as a criterion improved the sensitivity by 65.3% for detecting RSV in children <3 months; whereas when cough was removed, the sensitivity improved by 45.5% for detecting flu in same age group.

Conclusions: The SARI criteria have poor sensitivity for detecting RSV, flu, and other respiratory viruses-particularly in children <3 months. Researchers and policy makers should use caution if using the criteria to estimate burden of disease in children.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0232188PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7192447PMC
July 2020

Global burden of respiratory infections associated with seasonal influenza in children under 5 years in 2018: a systematic review and modelling study.

Lancet Glob Health 2020 04 20;8(4):e497-e510. Epub 2020 Feb 20.

Centre for Global Health, Usher Institute, Edinburgh Medical School, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK. Electronic address:

Background: Seasonal influenza virus is a common cause of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) in young children. In 2008, we estimated that 20 million influenza-virus-associated ALRI and 1 million influenza-virus-associated severe ALRI occurred in children under 5 years globally. Despite this substantial burden, only a few low-income and middle-income countries have adopted routine influenza vaccination policies for children and, where present, these have achieved only low or unknown levels of vaccine uptake. Moreover, the influenza burden might have changed due to the emergence and circulation of influenza A/H1N1pdm09. We aimed to incorporate new data to update estimates of the global number of cases, hospital admissions, and mortality from influenza-virus-associated respiratory infections in children under 5 years in 2018.

Methods: We estimated the regional and global burden of influenza-associated respiratory infections in children under 5 years from a systematic review of 100 studies published between Jan 1, 1995, and Dec 31, 2018, and a further 57 high-quality unpublished studies. We adapted the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale to assess the risk of bias. We estimated incidence and hospitalisation rates of influenza-virus-associated respiratory infections by severity, case ascertainment, region, and age. We estimated in-hospital deaths from influenza virus ALRI by combining hospital admissions and in-hospital case-fatality ratios of influenza virus ALRI. We estimated the upper bound of influenza virus-associated ALRI deaths based on the number of in-hospital deaths, US paediatric influenza-associated death data, and population-based childhood all-cause pneumonia mortality data in six sites in low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

Findings: In 2018, among children under 5 years globally, there were an estimated 109·5 million influenza virus episodes (uncertainty range [UR] 63·1-190·6), 10·1 million influenza-virus-associated ALRI cases (6·8-15·1); 870 000 influenza-virus-associated ALRI hospital admissions (543 000-1 415 000), 15 300 in-hospital deaths (5800-43 800), and up to 34 800 (13 200-97 200) overall influenza-virus-associated ALRI deaths. Influenza virus accounted for 7% of ALRI cases, 5% of ALRI hospital admissions, and 4% of ALRI deaths in children under 5 years. About 23% of the hospital admissions and 36% of the in-hospital deaths were in infants under 6 months. About 82% of the in-hospital deaths occurred in low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

Interpretation: A large proportion of the influenza-associated burden occurs among young infants and in low-income and lower middle-income countries. Our findings provide new and important evidence for maternal and paediatric influenza immunisation, and should inform future immunisation policy particularly in low-income and middle-income countries.

Funding: WHO; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30545-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7083228PMC
April 2020

Estimating population immunity to poliovirus in Jordan's high-risk areas.

Hum Vaccin Immunother 2020 03 5;16(3):548-553. Epub 2019 Nov 5.

Communicable Disease Directorate, Ministry of Health, Amman, Jordan.

A community-based serosurvey was conducted among children ages 6-59 to assess population immunity in Jordan's high-risk areas following the Middle East polio outbreak response. The survey was a two-stage cluster-quota sample with high risk areas as the primary sampling units. High-risk areas included border and hard-to-reach areas, and areas with a high proportion of refugees, mobile communities and/or low coverage during previous immunization campaigns. Population immunity to poliovirus was high overall. In high-risk areas, Type 1 seroprevalence = 98% (95% CI = 96, 99), Type 2 = 98% (95% CI = 96, 99) and Type 3 = 96% (95% CI = 94, 98). Seroprevalence was higher in the refugee camps: Type 1 seroprevalence = 99.6% (95% CI = 97.9, 100); Type 2: 99.6% (95% CI = 97.9, 99.9), and Type 3: 100% (95% CI = 100,100). The vigilance that the Jordan Ministry of Health has placed on locating and vaccinating high-risk populations has been successful in maintaining high population immunity and averting polio outbreaks despite the influx of refugees from Syria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21645515.2019.1667727DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7227716PMC
March 2020

Molecular characterization of respiratory syncytial viruses circulating in a paediatric cohort in Amman, Jordan.

Microb Genom 2019 Sep 18. Epub 2019 Sep 18.

Infectious Disease Group, J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, MD, USA.

Respiratory syncytial viruses (RSVs) are an important cause of mortality worldwide and a major cause of respiratory tract infections in children, driving development of vaccine candidates. However, there are large gaps in our knowledge of the local evolutionary and transmission dynamics of RSVs, particularly in understudied regions such as the Middle East. To address this gap, we sequenced the complete genomes of 58 RSVA and 27 RSVB samples collected in a paediatric cohort in Amman, Jordan, between 2010 and 2013. RSVA and RSVB co-circulated during each winter epidemic of RSV in Amman, and each epidemic comprised multiple independent viral introductions of RSVA and RSVB. However, RSVA and RSVB alternated in dominance across years, potential evidence of immunological interactions. Children infected with RSVA tended to be older than RSVB-infected children [30 months versus 22.4 months, respectively ( value = 0.02)], and tended to developed bronchopneumonia less frequently than those with RSVB, although the difference was not statistically significant ( value = 0.06). Differences in spatial patterns were investigated, and RSVA lineages were often identified in multiple regions in Amman, whereas RSVB introductions did not spread beyond a single region of the city, although these findings were based on small sample sizes. Multiple RSVA genotypes were identified in Amman, including GA2 viruses as well as three viruses from the ON1 sub-genotype that emerged in 2009 and are now the dominant genotype circulating worldwide. As vaccine development advances, further sequencing of RSV is needed to understand viral ecology and transmission, particularly in under-studied locations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/mgen.0.000292DOI Listing
September 2019

High prevalence of Group B Streptococcus colonization among pregnant women in Amman, Jordan.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2019 May 20;19(1):177. Epub 2019 May 20.

Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: Little is known of the burden of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) colonization among pregnant women in Jordan. We conducted a pilot study to determine the prevalence of GBS among pregnant women in Amman, Jordan, where GBS testing is not routine. We also explored GBS serotypes and the performance of a rapid GBS antigen diagnostic test.

Methods: We collected vaginal-rectal swabs from women who presented for labor and delivery at Al-Bashir Hospital. Three methods were used to identify GBS: Strep B Rapid Test (Creative Diagnostics), blood agar media (Remel) with confirmed with BBL Streptocard acid latex test (Becton Dickinson), and CHROMagar StrepB (Remel). Results were read by a senior microbiologist. We defined our gold standard for GBS-positive as a positive blood agar culture confirmed by latex agglutination and positive CHROMagar. PCR testing determined serotype information. Demographic and clinical data were also collected.

Results: In April and May 2015, 200 women were enrolled with a median age of 27 years (IQR: 23-32); 89.0% were Jordanian nationals and 71.9% completed secondary school. Median gestational age was 38 weeks (IQR: 37-40); most women reported prenatal care (median 9 visits; IQR: 8-12). Median parity was 2 births (IQR: 1-3). Pre-pregnancy median BMI was 24.1 (IQR: 21.5-28.0) and 14.5% reported an underlying medical condition. Obstetric complications included gestational hypertension (9.5%), gestational diabetes (6.0%), and UTI (53.5%), of which 84.5% reported treatment. Overall, 39 (19.5%) of women were GBS-positive on blood agar media and CHROMagar, while 67 (33.5%) were positive by rapid test (36% sensitivity, 67% specificity). Serotype information was available for 25 (64%) isolates: III (48%), Ia (24%), II (20%), and V (8%). No demographic or clinical differences were noted between GBS+ and GBS-negative women.

Conclusions: Nearly one in five women presenting for labor in Jordan was colonized with GBS, with serotype group III as the most common. The rapid GBS antigen diagnostic had low sensitivity and specificity. These results support expanded research in the region, including defining GBS resistance patterns, serotyping information, and risk factors. It also emphasizes the need for routine GBS testing and improved rapid GBS diagnostics for developing world settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-019-2317-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6528311PMC
May 2019

Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis in a toddler: A diagnostic challenge.

Int J Pediatr Adolesc Med 2018 Jun 30;5(2):75-77. Epub 2018 Apr 30.

Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Infectious Disease, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.

Anti N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis is an autoimmune disorder and is considered to be one of the most common causes of encephalitis in children. Despite the fact that around half of all reported cases are of children, the number of studies that report infants and toddlers is very small. Furthermore, reports on children from the Middle East particularly are extremely rare. We report a 21-month-old Jordanian female toddler with NMDAR encephalitis, who initially presented with behavioral changes and some autistic features. She presented a diagnostic challenge due to a concurrent urinary tract infection and gastroenteritis. Multiple investigations were conducted and she was treated with methylprednisolone and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) empirically as well as plasma exchange and rituximab once the diagnosis was confirmed. Her condition improved gradually. We discuss her clinical picture and the diagnostic challenges within this age group; we also review the current related literature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpam.2018.03.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6363247PMC
June 2018

Defining the interval for monitoring potential adverse events following immunization (AEFIs) after receipt of live viral vectored vaccines.

Vaccine 2019 09 26;37(38):5796-5802. Epub 2018 Nov 26.

Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP), USA; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA, USA. Electronic address:

Live viral vectors that express heterologous antigens of the target pathogen are being investigated in the development of novel vaccines against serious infectious agents like HIV and Ebola. As some live recombinant vectored vaccines may be replication-competent, a key challenge is defining the length of time for monitoring potential adverse events following immunization (AEFI) in clinical trials and epidemiologic studies. This time period must be chosen with care and based on considerations of pre-clinical and clinical trials data, biological plausibility and practical feasibility. The available options include: (1) adapting from the current relevant regulatory guidelines; (2) convening a panel of experts to review the evidence from a systematic literature search to narrow down a list of likely potential or known AEFI and establish the optimal risk window(s); and (3) conducting "near real-time" prospective monitoring for unknown clustering's of AEFI in validated large linked vaccine safety databases using Rapid Cycle Analysis for pre-specified adverse events of special interest (AESI) and Treescan to identify previously unsuspected outcomes. The risk window established by any of these options could be used along with (4) establishing a registry of clinically validated pre-specified AESI to include in case-control studies. Depending on the infrastructure, human resources and databases available in different countries, the appropriate option or combination of options can be determined by regulatory agencies and investigators.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.08.085DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6535369PMC
September 2019

Severe outcomes associated with respiratory viruses in newborns and infants: a prospective viral surveillance study in Jordan.

BMJ Open 2018 05 20;8(5):e021898. Epub 2018 May 20.

Department of Pediatrics, Institute for Global Health, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Objective: To assess virus-specific hospitalisation rates, risk factors for illness severity and seasonal trends in children hospitalised with acute respiratory infections (ARI).

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: A government hospital serving low-income and middle-income population in Amman, Jordan.

Participants: Children under 2 years of age hospitalised with fever and/or respiratory symptoms (n=3168) from 16 March 2010 to 31 March 2013. Children with chemotherapy-associated neutropenia and newborns who had never been discharged after birth were excluded from the study.

Outcome Measures: Hospitalisation rates and markers of illness severity: admission to intensive care unit (ICU), mechanical ventilation (MV), oxygen therapy, length of stay (LOS) and death.

Results: Of the 3168 subjects, 2581 (82%) had at least one respiratory virus detected, with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) being the most predominant pathogen isolated. During admission, 1013 (32%) received oxygen therapy, 284 (9%) were admitted to ICU, 111 (4%) were placed on MV and 31 (1%) children died. Oxygen therapy was higher in RSV-only subjects compared with human rhinovirus-only (42%vs29%, p<0.001), adenovirus-only (42%vs21%, p<0.001) and human parainfluenza virus-only (42%vs23%, p<0.001) subjects. The presence of an underlying medical condition was associated with oxygen therapy (adjusted OR (aOR) 1.95, 95% CI 1.49 to 2.56), ICU admission (aOR 2.51, 95% CI 1.71 to 3.68), MV (aOR 1.91, 95% CI 1.11 to 3.28) and longer LOS (aOR1.71, 95% CI 1.37 to 2.13). Similarly, younger age was associated with oxygen therapy (0.23, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.31), ICU admission (aOR 0.47, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.74), MV (0.28, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.53) and longer LOS (aOR 0.47, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.59). Pneumonia was strongly associated with longer LOS (aOR 2.07, 95% CI 1.65 to 2.60), oxygen therapy (aOR 2.94, 95% CI 2.22 to 3.89), ICU admission (aOR 3.12, 95% CI 2.16 to 4.50) and MV (aOR 3.33, 95% CI 1.85 to 6.00). Virus-specific hospitalisation rates ranged from 0.5 to 10.5 per 1000 children.

Conclusion: Respiratory viruses are associated with severe illness in Jordanian children hospitalised with ARI. Prevention strategies such as extended breast feeding, increased access to palivizumab and RSV vaccine development could help decrease hospitalisation rates and illness severity, particularly in young children with underlying medical conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-021898DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5961648PMC
May 2018

Recurrent meningitis in children: etiologies, outcome, and lessons to learn.

Childs Nerv Syst 2018 08 4;34(8):1541-1547. Epub 2018 May 4.

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.

Purpose: Recurrent meningitis in children is a rare condition. However, its early recognition is important in order to prevent serious complications. This study aims to review cases of recurrent meningitis in children.

Methods: This is a retrospective study that included children diagnosed with recurrent meningitis and who were followed at child neurology clinic at the Jordan University Hospital from January 2001 to June 2017.

Results: Thirteen patients were included (nine males and four females). Age of first episode of meningitis ranged from 2 months to 9.5 years. The delay in diagnosis of the underlying cause after the first episode ranged from 6 months to 2.5 years. Underlying causes included inner ear malformation in one patient, skull fractures in two, and dermal sinuses (thoracic spinal and occipital dermal sinus) in two patients. No identifiable cause was found in eight patients. Streptococcus pneumoniae was identified in four (31%) patients, Staphylococcus aureus in two (15%), and no organism was isolated in seven (54%). Three patients (23.1%) developed neurological sequel including developmental delay, limb spasticity, and epilepsy. Two patients had sensorineural hearing loss related to meningitis, and two patients had sensorineural hearing loss mostly related to their original disease.

Conclusion: A detailed history, examination, and thorough investigations are necessary to determine the underlying cause of recurrent meningitis. In addition, in patients with positive CSF bacterial culture, finding the underlying etiology is very likely.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00381-018-3815-9DOI Listing
August 2018

Global respiratory syncytial virus-associated mortality in young children (RSV GOLD): a retrospective case series.

Lancet Glob Health 2017 10;5(10):e984-e991

Department of Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands; ReSViNET Respiratory Syncytial Virus Network, Utrecht, Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is an important cause of pneumonia mortality in young children. However, clinical data for fatal RSV infection are scarce. We aimed to identify clinical and socioeconomic characteristics of children aged younger than 5 years with RSV-related mortality using individual patient data.

Methods: In this retrospective case series, we developed an online questionnaire to obtain individual patient data for clinical and socioeconomic characteristics of children aged younger than 5 years who died with community-acquired RSV infection between Jan 1, 1995, and Oct 31, 2015, through leading research groups for child pneumonia identified through a comprehensive literature search and existing research networks. For the literature search, we searched PubMed for articles published up to Feb 3, 2015, using the key terms "RSV", "respiratory syncytial virus", or "respiratory syncytial viral" combined with "mortality", "fatality", "death", "died", "deaths", or "CFR" for articles published in English. We invited researchers and clinicians identified to participate between Nov 1, 2014, and Oct 31, 2015. We calculated descriptive statistics for all variables.

Findings: We studied 358 children with RSV-related in-hospital death from 23 countries across the world, with data contributed from 31 research groups. 117 (33%) children were from low-income or lower middle-income countries, 77 (22%) were from upper middle-income countries, and 164 (46%) were from high-income countries. 190 (53%) were male. Data for comorbidities were missing for some children in low-income and middle-income countries. Available data showed that comorbidities were present in at least 33 (28%) children from low-income or lower middle-income countries, 36 (47%) from upper middle-income countries, and 114 (70%) from high-income countries. Median age for RSV-related deaths was 5·0 months (IQR 2·3-11·0) in low-income or lower middle-income countries, 4·0 years (2·0-10·0) in upper middle-income countries, and 7·0 years (3·6-16·8) in high-income countries.

Interpretation: This study is the first large case series of children who died with community-acquired RSV infection. A substantial proportion of children with RSV-related death had comorbidities. Our results show that perinatal immunisation strategies for children aged younger than 6 months could have a substantial impact on RSV-related child mortality in low-income and middle-income countries.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(17)30344-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5599304PMC
October 2017

Global, regional, and national disease burden estimates of acute lower respiratory infections due to respiratory syncytial virus in young children in 2015: a systematic review and modelling study.

Authors:
Ting Shi David A McAllister Katherine L O'Brien Eric A F Simoes Shabir A Madhi Bradford D Gessner Fernando P Polack Evelyn Balsells Sozinho Acacio Claudia Aguayo Issifou Alassani Asad Ali Martin Antonio Shally Awasthi Juliet O Awori Eduardo Azziz-Baumgartner Henry C Baggett Vicky L Baillie Angel Balmaseda Alfredo Barahona Sudha Basnet Quique Bassat Wilma Basualdo Godfrey Bigogo Louis Bont Robert F Breiman W Abdullah Brooks Shobha Broor Nigel Bruce Dana Bruden Philippe Buchy Stuart Campbell Phyllis Carosone-Link Mandeep Chadha James Chipeta Monidarin Chou Wilfrido Clara Cheryl Cohen Elizabeth de Cuellar Duc-Anh Dang Budragchaagiin Dash-Yandag Maria Deloria-Knoll Mukesh Dherani Tekchheng Eap Bernard E Ebruke Marcela Echavarria Carla Cecília de Freitas Lázaro Emediato Rodrigo A Fasce Daniel R Feikin Luzhao Feng Angela Gentile Aubree Gordon Doli Goswami Sophie Goyet Michelle Groome Natasha Halasa Siddhivinayak Hirve Nusrat Homaira Stephen R C Howie Jorge Jara Imane Jroundi Cissy B Kartasasmita Najwa Khuri-Bulos Karen L Kotloff Anand Krishnan Romina Libster Olga Lopez Marilla G Lucero Florencia Lucion Socorro P Lupisan Debora N Marcone John P McCracken Mario Mejia Jennifer C Moisi Joel M Montgomery David P Moore Cinta Moraleda Jocelyn Moyes Patrick Munywoki Kuswandewi Mutyara Mark P Nicol D James Nokes Pagbajabyn Nymadawa Maria Tereza da Costa Oliveira Histoshi Oshitani Nitin Pandey Gláucia Paranhos-Baccalà Lia N Phillips Valentina Sanchez Picot Mustafizur Rahman Mala Rakoto-Andrianarivelo Zeba A Rasmussen Barbara A Rath Annick Robinson Candice Romero Graciela Russomando Vahid Salimi Pongpun Sawatwong Nienke Scheltema Brunhilde Schweiger J Anthony G Scott Phil Seidenberg Kunling Shen Rosalyn Singleton Viviana Sotomayor Tor A Strand Agustinus Sutanto Mariam Sylla Milagritos D Tapia Somsak Thamthitiwat Elizabeth D Thomas Rafal Tokarz Claudia Turner Marietjie Venter Sunthareeya Waicharoen Jianwei Wang Wanitda Watthanaworawit Lay-Myint Yoshida Hongjie Yu Heather J Zar Harry Campbell Harish Nair

Lancet 2017 Sep 7;390(10098):946-958. Epub 2017 Jul 7.

Centre for Global Health Research, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK; Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi, India. Electronic address:

Background: We have previously estimated that respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was associated with 22% of all episodes of (severe) acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) resulting in 55 000 to 199 000 deaths in children younger than 5 years in 2005. In the past 5 years, major research activity on RSV has yielded substantial new data from developing countries. With a considerably expanded dataset from a large international collaboration, we aimed to estimate the global incidence, hospital admission rate, and mortality from RSV-ALRI episodes in young children in 2015.

Methods: We estimated the incidence and hospital admission rate of RSV-associated ALRI (RSV-ALRI) in children younger than 5 years stratified by age and World Bank income regions from a systematic review of studies published between Jan 1, 1995, and Dec 31, 2016, and unpublished data from 76 high quality population-based studies. We estimated the RSV-ALRI incidence for 132 developing countries using a risk factor-based model and 2015 population estimates. We estimated the in-hospital RSV-ALRI mortality by combining in-hospital case fatality ratios with hospital admission estimates from hospital-based (published and unpublished) studies. We also estimated overall RSV-ALRI mortality by identifying studies reporting monthly data for ALRI mortality in the community and RSV activity.

Findings: We estimated that globally in 2015, 33·1 million (uncertainty range [UR] 21·6-50·3) episodes of RSV-ALRI, resulted in about 3·2 million (2·7-3·8) hospital admissions, and 59 600 (48 000-74 500) in-hospital deaths in children younger than 5 years. In children younger than 6 months, 1·4 million (UR 1·2-1·7) hospital admissions, and 27 300 (UR 20 700-36 200) in-hospital deaths were due to RSV-ALRI. We also estimated that the overall RSV-ALRI mortality could be as high as 118 200 (UR 94 600-149 400). Incidence and mortality varied substantially from year to year in any given population.

Interpretation: Globally, RSV is a common cause of childhood ALRI and a major cause of hospital admissions in young children, resulting in a substantial burden on health-care services. About 45% of hospital admissions and in-hospital deaths due to RSV-ALRI occur in children younger than 6 months. An effective maternal RSV vaccine or monoclonal antibody could have a substantial effect on disease burden in this age group.

Funding: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30938-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5592248PMC
September 2017

Guideline for collection, analysis and presentation of safety data in clinical trials of vaccines in pregnant women.

Vaccine 2016 12 29;34(49):5998-6006. Epub 2016 Jul 29.

Paediatric Infectious Diseases Research Group, Institute for Infection and Immunity, St George's, University of London, UK. Electronic address:

Vaccination during pregnancy is increasingly being used as an effective approach for protecting both young infants and their mothers from serious infections. Drawing conclusions from published studies in this area can be difficult because of the inability to compare vaccine trial results across different studies and settings due to the heterogeneity in the definitions of terms used to assess the safety of vaccines in pregnancy and the data collected in such studies. The guidelines proposed in this document have been developed to harmonize safety data collection in all phases of clinical trials of vaccines in pregnant women and apply to data from the mother, fetus and infant. Guidelines on the prioritization of the data to be collected is also provided to allow applicability in various geographic, cultural and resource settings, including high, middle and low-income countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.07.032DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5572188PMC
December 2016

Human Metapneumovirus Infection in Jordanian Children: Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Severe Disease.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2015 Dec;34(12):1335-41

From the *Department of Pediatrics, Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri; †Department of Pediatrics, Jordan University, Amman, Jordan; ‡Department of Pediatrics, Al Bashir Hospital, Amman, Jordan; §Department of Pediatrics, ¶Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee; and ‖Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Background: Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a leading cause of acute respiratory tract infection in young children. Our objectives were to define HMPV epidemiology and circulating strains and determine markers of severe disease in Jordanian children.

Methods: We conducted a prospective study from March 16, 2010 to March 31, 2013 using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction to determine the frequency of HMPV infection among children <2 years old admitted with fever and/or acute respiratory illness to a major government hospital in Amman, Jordan.

Results: HMPV was present in 273 of 3168 (8.6%) of children presenting with acute respiratory tract infection. HMPV A2, B1 and B2, but not A1, were detected during the 3-year period. HMPV-infected children were older and more likely to be diagnosed with bronchopneumonia than HMPV-negative children. HMPV-infected children with lower respiratory tract infection had higher rates of cough and shortness of breath than children with lower respiratory tract infection infected with other or no identifiable viruses. Symptoms and severity were not different between children with HMPV only compared with HMPV coinfection. Children with HMPV subgroup A infection were more likely to require supplemental oxygen. In a multivariate analysis, HMPV subgroup A and age <6 months were independently associated with supplemental oxygen requirement.

Conclusions: HMPV is a leading cause of acute respiratory tract disease in Jordanian children <2 years old. HMPV A and young age were associated with severe disease. Ninety percent of HMPV-infected hospitalized children were full term and otherwise healthy, in contrast to high-income nations; thus, factors contributing to disease severity likely vary depending on geographic and resource differences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000000892DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4875771PMC
December 2015

Natural history and epidemiology of respiratory syncytial virus infection in the Middle East: Hospital surveillance for children under age two in Jordan.

Vaccine 2015 Nov 24;33(47):6479-87. Epub 2015 Aug 24.

Department of Pathology-Microbiology at University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan. Electronic address:

Unlabelled: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of bronchiolitis and viral pneumonia in infants and young children worldwide. In the Middle East and Arab countries, the burden of RSV-associated hospitalizations is not well characterized. We sought to determine the burden and clinical/epidemiological characteristics of RSV hospitalization in young children in Amman, Jordan. We investigated risk factors for severity including vitamin D levels.

Methods: We conducted viral surveillance with clinical and demographic data in children <2 years admitted with respiratory symptoms and/or fever at the Al-Bashir Government Hospital from March16, 2010 to March 31, 2013. Nasal/throat swabs were obtained and placed into lysis buffer, and frozen at -80°C until testing by real-time RT-PCR for 11 respiratory viruses. Heel stick blood or sera samples for 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels were obtained and sent to a central laboratory for mass spectrometry.

Results: Of the 3168 children, >80% testing positive for one virus, with RSV the most common virus detected (44%). The RSV-associated hospitalization rate was highest in children <6 months with an annual range of 21.1-25.9 per 1000, compared to 6.0-8.0 in 6-11-month-olds and 1.6-2.5 in 12-23-month-olds. RSV-positive children compared with RSV-negative were more likely to be previously healthy without underlying medical conditions, less likely to be born prematurely, had a higher frequency of supplemental oxygen use, and had lower median vitamin D levels. Risk factors for oxygen use in RSV-positive children included underlying medical conditions, lack of breastfeeding, younger age, and higher viral load.

Conclusion: RSV is a major cause of illness in hospitalized Jordanian children and is associated with increased severity compared to other respiratory viruses. Children with RSV in the Middle East would benefit from future RSV vaccines and antiviral therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.08.048DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7115487PMC
November 2015

Neonatal outcomes of infants admitted to a large government hospital in Amman, Jordan.

Glob J Health Sci 2015 Jan 14;7(4):217-34. Epub 2015 Jan 14.

Vanderbilt University.

Objective: To describe characteristics and outcomes of Jordanian newborns admitted to a large governmental neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Methods: Newborns born at the government hospital, Al Bashir, in Amman, Jordan were prospectively enrolled. The study focused on newborns admitted to the NICU and a retrospective chart review was performed. Abstraction included in-hospital mortality, antibiotic days, ventilation, oxygen use, and CRP levels. Rank sum and chi-squared tests were used to compare across outcomes. Logistic regression of hypothesized risk factors with death adjusted for gestational age.

Results: Of the 5,466 neonates enrolled from 2/10-2/11, medical records were available for 321/378(84.9%) infants admitted to the NICU. The median gestational age was 36 weeks, median birth weight was 2.3 kg, and 28(8.7%) infants died. The two most common reasons for admission and mortality were respiratory distress syndrome and prematurity. Low Apgar scores and positive CRP were predictors of mortality. Risk factors associated with increased use of antibiotics, oxygen hood, and mechanical ventilation included lower gestational age and prematurity.

Conclusion: Infants admitted to the Jordanian NICU have significantly higher median gestational age and birth weights than in developed countries and were associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Continuations of global efforts to prevent prematurity are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/gjhs.v7n4p217DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4802098PMC
January 2015

The Brighton Collaboration Viral Vector Vaccines Safety Working Group (V3SWG).

Vaccine 2015 Jan 8;33(1):73-5. Epub 2014 Oct 8.

Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town and National Health Laboratory Service, Cape Town, South Africa.

Recombinant viral vectors provide an effective means for heterologous antigen expression in vivo and thus represent promising platforms for developing novel vaccines against human pathogens from Ebola to tuberculosis. An increasing number of candidate viral vector vaccines are entering human clinical trials. The Brighton Collaboration Viral Vector Vaccines Safety Working Group (V3SWG) was formed to improve our ability to anticipate potential safety issues and meaningfully assess or interpret safety data, thereby facilitating greater public acceptance when licensed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.09.035DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4568939PMC
January 2015

Vitamin D deficiency among newborns in Amman, Jordan.

Glob J Health Sci 2013 Nov 6;6(1):162-71. Epub 2013 Nov 6.

.

Objective: Vitamin D deficiency is well recognized in selected Middle Eastern countries, but neonatal vitamin D status is not well studied in Jordan and other nearby countries. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Jordanian newborns and risk factors associated with low levels.

Methods: This is a prospective cohort study of newborn infants who were delivered at the Al Bashir Government Hospital in Amman, Jordan, from January 31, 2010, to January 27, 2011. Heel stick blood samples for 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels were obtained within 96 hours of birth. Maternal dress pattern, vitamin supplementation, smoke exposure during pregnancy, mode of delivery, gestational age, and birth weight were documented.

Results: Samples were obtained from 3,731 newborns. Median gestational age was 39 weeks, median birth weight was 3.1 kilograms, median maternal age was 27 years, and median newborn 25(OH)D level was 8.6nmol/L. A total of 3,512 newborns (94.1%) in this study were vitamin D deficient (< 50 nmol/L). Lower gestational age, maternal smoke exposure, and birth during winter months were associated with lower infant vitamin D levels, while vitamin D supplementation and time spent outside during pregnancy were associated with higher vitamin D levels.

Conclusions: The prevalence of severely low vitamin D levels in newborn infants in Amman, Jordan, is substantial, even in newborns born during the spring and summer months. Vitamin D supplementation is needed in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/gjhs.v6n1p162DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4825452PMC
November 2013

Kawasaki disease in Jordan: demographics, presentation, and outcome.

Cardiol Young 2012 Aug 9;22(4):390-5. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Jordan, Jordan University Hospital, Amman, Jordan.

Kawasaki disease is the leading cause of acquired coronary artery disease in young children. There is a lack of data on Kawasaki disease and its effect on coronary arteries in Jordan and other developing countries. We report clinical and demographic data of Kawasaki disease in Jordan from a single institution, with emphasis on cardiac involvement and short to intermediate follow-up. Review of the medical records of 34 patients with Kawasaki disease from 1997 to 2010 was done for clinical and demographic variables. Echocardiographic and angiographic images were reviewed for patients at presentation and follow-up. The median age at presentation was 19 months, ranging from 2 months to 8 years, with a male to female ratio of 3.9:1. In all, 12 patients (35%) had incomplete Kawasaki disease. There was a high incidence of coronary artery involvement (41%), where 20.5% had aneurysms and 20.5% had ectasia without aneurysm. Most coronary aneurysms were present at the time of diagnosis. The only independent variable for prediction of coronary involvement was age, with an odds ratio of 0.63 per year (95% confidence interval 0.41-0.95).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1047951111001818DOI Listing
August 2012

The remaining challenge of pneumonia: the leading killer of children.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2011 Jan;30(1):1-2

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit, Soroka University Medical Center and the Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0b013e3182005389DOI Listing
January 2011

Marking November 12, 2010 - World Pneumonia Day: where are we, where are vaccines?

Hum Vaccin 2010 Nov 1;6(11):922-5. Epub 2010 Nov 1.

Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit, Soroka University Medical Center and the Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/hv.6.11.13599DOI Listing
November 2010