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Concept: Bacterial diseases


Yersinia pestis causes the fatal respiratory disease pneumonic plague. Y. pestis recently evolved from the gastrointestinal pathogen Y. pseudotuberculosis; however, it is not known at what point Y. pestis gained the ability to induce a fulminant pneumonia. Here we show that the acquisition of a single gene encoding the protease Pla was sufficient for the most ancestral, deeply rooted strains of Y. pestis to cause pneumonic plague, indicating that Y. pestis was primed to infect the lungs at a very early stage in its evolution. As Y. pestis further evolved, modern strains acquired a single amino-acid modification within Pla that optimizes protease activity. While this modification is unnecessary to cause pneumonic plague, the substitution is instead needed to efficiently induce the invasive infection associated with bubonic plague. These findings indicate that Y. pestis was capable of causing pneumonic plague before it evolved to optimally cause invasive infections in mammals.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Yersinia pestis, Bubonic plague, Black Death, Plague, Pneumonic plague, Bacterial diseases


For decades, the incidence of pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) has been reported to be increasing, yet formal epidemiological evaluation of this notion has been lacking until recently. Defining the epidemiology of NTM has been more challenging than with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). Unlike MTB, NTM are soil and water organisms, and infection is thought to be acquired from the environment rather than transmitted from person-to-person, with very rare exceptions. Due to their nearly ubiquitous presence in municipal water supplies, exposure to NTM is common. Further, NTM can colonize the respiratory tract without causing disease. NTM disease is not reportable to public health authorities; therefore, epidemiological and surveillance data are not readily available. Nonetheless, the prevalence of pulmonary NTM disease has increased dramatically in the United States and globally over the past 3 decades. Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) accounts for the majority of NTM infections worldwide, but there is significant regional variability of various species. Additionally, novel species have been implicated in several countries in NTM pulmonary disease.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Infectious disease, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium avium complex, Nontuberculous mycobacteria, Bacterial diseases


In clinical trials, diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis vaccines have been shown to be less reactogenic than whole-cell combination vaccines.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Vaccine,, Tetanus, Bacterial diseases, Pertussis, DPT vaccine, Diphtheria


No efficient vaccine against plague is currently available. We previously showed that a genetically attenuated Yersinia pseudotuberculosis producing the Yersinia pestis F1 antigen was an efficient live oral vaccine against pneumonic plague. This candidate vaccine however failed to confer full protection against bubonic plague and did not produce F1 stably.

Concepts: Vaccination, Yersinia pestis, Bubonic plague, Black Death, Plague, Pneumonic plague, Bacterial diseases, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis


Certain Bartonella species are known to cause afebrile bacteremia in humans and other mammals, including B. quintana, the agent of trench fever, and B. henselae, the agent of cat scratch disease. Reports have indicated that animal-associated Bartonella species may cause paucisymptomatic bacteremia and endocarditis in humans. We identified potentially zoonotic strains from 6 Bartonella species in samples from patients who had chronic, subjective symptoms and who reported tick bites. Three strains were B. henselae and 3 were from other animal-associated Bartonella spp. (B. doshiae, B. schoenbuchensis, and B. tribocorum). Genomic analysis of the isolated strains revealed differences from previously sequenced Bartonella strains. Our investigation identifed 3 novel Bartonella spp. strains with human pathogenic potential and showed that Bartonella spp. may be the cause of undifferentiated chronic illness in humans who have been bitten by ticks.

Concepts: Human, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Mammal, Tick, Bacterial diseases, Bartonella, Bartonella henselae


Owing toGiven the high costs of drugs to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), the Green Light Committee (GLC) initiative enables TB programs to procure quality-assured drugs at reduced prices. Despite price reductions, internationally quality assured (IQA) drugs can be more expensive than locally procured drugs. There is little evidence to inform decision-makers about whether IQA drugs are more effective than local drugs. This is the first study to compare outcomes between MDR-TB patients treated using IQA, and locally procured drugs in the same hospitals during the same time period.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Tuberculosis, Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, Cost, Price, Bacterial diseases, 2007 tuberculosis scare, Periodization


 To identify and characterise non-specific immunological effects after routine childhood vaccines against BCG, measles, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus.

Concepts: Vaccine, Tetanus, Bacterial diseases, Pertussis, Diphtheria


During a pneumonic plague outbreak in Moramanga, Madagascar, we identified 4 confirmed, 1 presumptive, and 9 suspected plague case-patients. Human-to-human transmission among close contacts was high (reproductive number 1.44) and the case fatality rate was 71%. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the Yersinia pestis isolates belonged to group q3, different from the previous outbreak.

Concepts: Computational phylogenetics, Yersinia pestis, Bubonic plague, Black Death, Plague, Pneumonic plague, Bacterial diseases, Yersinia


Therapeutic options for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis infection are limited. In this post-hoc analysis, a new drug, delamanid, shows some activity in the treatment of XDR-TB.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Pulmonology, Tuberculosis, Clinical research, Bacterial diseases, Tuberculosis treatment, Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis


The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved ciprofloxacin for treatment of plague (Yersina pestis infection) based on animal studies. Published evidence of efficacy in humans is sparse. We report 5 cases of culture-confirmed human plague treated successfully with oral ciprofloxacin, including 1 case of pneumonic plague.

Concepts: Yersinia pestis, Bubonic plague, Black Death, Plague, Pneumonic plague, Bacterial diseases, Third Pandemic, Pasteur Institute