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- Influenza A (H1N1) 2009: Impact on Frankfurt in due consideration of health care and public health (2010)
- Background: In April 2009 a novel influenza A H1N1/2009 virus was identified in Mexico and in the United States which quickly spread around the world. Most of the countries established infection surveillance systems in order to track the number of (laboratory-confirmed) H1N1 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Methods: The impact of the emergence of the novel pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus on Frankfurt was statistically evaluated by the Health Protection Authority, City of Frankfurt am Main. Vaccination rates of the health care workers (HCWs) of the University Hospital Frankfurt were measured by the Occupational Health Service. Results: Although the virulence of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 seems to be comparable with seasonal influenza, a major patient load and wave of hospital admissions occurred in the summer of 2009. Even though the 2009 vaccination rate of the University Hospital Frankfurt (seasonal influenza [40.5%], swine flu [36.3%]) is better than the average annual uptake of influenza vaccine in the German health care system (approximately 22% for seasonal and 15% for swine flu), vaccination levels remain insufficient. However, physicians were significantly (p < 0.001) more likely to have been vaccinated against swine flu and seasonal influenza than nurses. Conclusions: The outbreak of the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in April 2009 provided a major challenge to health services around the world. Nosocomial transmission of H1N1/2009 has been documented. Present experience should be used to improve pandemic preparedness plans and vaccination programs ought to target as many HCWs as possible.
- Can vaccinia virus be replaced by MVA virus for testing virucidal activity of chemical disinfectants? (2010)
- Background: Vaccinia virus strain Lister Elstree (VACV) is a test virus in the DVV/RKI guidelines as representative of the stable enveloped viruses. Since the potential risk of laboratory-acquired infections with VACV persists and since the adverse effects of vaccination with VACV are described, the replacement of VACV by the modified vaccinia Ankara strain (MVA) was studied by testing the activity of different chemical biocides in three German laboratories. Methods: The inactivating properties of different chemical biocides (peracetic acid, aldehydes and alcohols) were tested in a quantitative suspension test according to the DVV/RKI guideline. All tests were performed with a protein load of 10% fetal calf serum with both viruses in parallel using different concentrations and contact times. Residual virus was determined by endpoint dilution method. Results: The chemical biocides exhibited similar virucidal activity against VACV and MVA. In three cases intra-laboratory differences were determined between VACV and MVA - 40% (v/v) ethanol and 30% (v/v) isopropanol are more active against MVA, whereas MVA seems more stable than VACV when testing with 0.05% glutardialdehyde. Test accuracy across the three participating laboratories was high. Remarkably inter-laboratory differences in the reduction factor were only observed in two cases. Conclusions: Our data provide valuable information for the replacement of VACV by MVA for testing chemical biocides and disinfectants. Because MVA does not replicate in humans this would eliminate the potential risk of inadvertent inoculation with vaccinia virus and disease in non-vaccinated laboratory workers.
- Deficiency of immunity to poliovirus type 3: a lurking danger? (2012)
- Background: Europe was certified to be polio-free in 2002 by the WHO. However, wild polioviruses remain endemic in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, occasionally causing polio outbreaks, as in Tajikistan in 2010. Therefore, effective surveillance measures and vaccination campaigns remain important. To determine the poliovirus immune status of a German study population, we retrospectively evaluated the seroprevalence of neutralizing antibodies (NA) to the poliovirus types 1, 2 and 3 (PV1, 2, 3) in serum samples collected from 1,632 patients admitted the University Hospital of Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in 2001, 2005 and 2010. Methods: Testing was done by using a standardized microneutralization assay. Results: Level of immunity to PV1 ranged between 84.2% (95%CI: 80.3-87.5), 90.4% (88.3-92.3) and 87.5% (85.4-88.8) in 2001, 2005 and 2010. For PV2, we found 90.8% (87.5-90.6), 91.3% (89.3-93.1) and 89.8% (88.7-90.9), in the same period. Seroprevalence to PV3 was 76.6% (72.2-80.6), 69.8% (66.6-72.8) and 72.9% (67.8-77.5) in 2001 and 2005 and 2010, respectively. In 2005 and 2010 significant lower levels of immunity to PV3 in comparison to PV1 and 2 were observed. Since 2001, immunity to PV3 is gradually, but not significantly decreasing. Conclusion: Immunity to PV3 is insufficient in our cohort. Due to increasing globalization and worldwide tourism, the danger of polio-outbreaks is not averted - even not in developed countries, such as Germany. Therefore, vaccination remains necessary.
- Does limited virucidal activity of biocides include duck hepatitis B virucidal action? (2012)
- BACKGROUND: There is agreement that the infectivity assay with the duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) is a suitable surrogate test to validate disinfectants for hepatitis B virucidal activity. However, since this test is not widely used, information is necessary whether disinfectants with limited virucidal activity also inactivate DHBV. In general, disinfectants with limited virucidal activity are used for skin and sensitive surfaces while agents with full activity are more aggressive. The present study compares the activity of five different biocides against DHBV and the classical test virus for limited virucidal activity, the vaccinia virus strain Lister Elstree (VACV) or the modified vaccinia Ankara strain (MVA). METHODS: Virucidal assay was performed as suspension test according to the German DVV/RKI guideline. Duck hepatitis B virus obtained from congenitally infected Peking ducks was propagated in primary duck embryonic hepatocytes and was detected by indirect immunofluorescent antigen staining. RESULTS: The DHBV was inactivated by the use of 40% ethanol within 1-min and 30% isopropanol within 2-min exposure. In comparison, 40% ethanol within 2-min and 40% isopropanol within 1-min exposure were effective against VACV/MVA. These alcohols only have limited virucidal activity, while the following agents have full activity. 0.01% peracetic acid inactivated DHBV within 2 min and a concentration of 0.005% had virucidal efficacy against VACV/MVA within 1 min. After 2-min exposure, 0.05% glutardialdehyde showed a comparable activity against DHBV and VACV/MVA. This is also the case for 0.7% formaldehyde after a contact time of 30 min. CONCLUSIONS: Duck hepatitis B virus is at least as sensitive to limited virucidal activity as VACV/MVA. Peracetic acid is less effective against DHBV, while the alcohols are less effective against VACV/MVA. It can be expected that in absence of more direct tests the results may be extrapolated to HBV.
- Suitability of vaccinia virus and bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) for determining activities of three commonly-used alcohol-based hand rubs against enveloped viruses (2007)
- Background A procedure for including activity against enveloped viruses in the post-contamination treatment of hands has been recommended, but so far no European standard is available to implement it. In 2004, the German Robert Koch-Institute (RKI) and the German Association for the Control of Virus Disease (DVV) suggested that vaccinia virus and bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) should be used as test viruses in a quantitative suspension test to determine the activity of a disinfectant against all enveloped viruses. Methods We have studied the activities of three commonly-used alcohol-based hand rubs (hand rub A, based on 45% propan-2-ol, 30% propan-1-ol and 0.2% mecetronium etilsulfate; hand rub B, based on 80% ethanol; hand rub C, based on 95% ethanol) against vaccinia virus and BVDV, and in addition against four other clinically relevant enveloped viruses: herpes simplex virus (HSV) types 1 and 2, and human and avian influenza A virus. The hand rubs were challenged with different organic loads at exposure time of 15, 30 and 60 s. According to the guidelines of both BGA/RKI and DVV, and EN 14476:2005, the reduction of infectivity of each test virus was measured on appropriate cell lines using a quantitative suspension test. Results All three alcohol-based hand rubs reduced the infectivity of vaccinia virus and BVDV by >= 4 log10-steps within 15 s, irrespective of the type of organic load. Similar reductions of infectivity were seen against the other four enveloped viruses within 15 s in the presence of different types of organic load. Conclusions Commonly used alcohol-based hand rubs with a total alcohol concentration >= 75% can be assumed to be active against clinically relevant enveloped viruses if they effectively reduce the infectivities of vaccinia virus and BVDV in a quantitative suspension test.
- Reliability of medical students' vaccination histories for immunisable diseases (2008)
- Background Medical students come into contact with infectious diseases early on their career. Immunity against vaccine-preventable diseases is therefore vital for both medical students and the patients with whom they come into contact. Methods The purpose of this study was to compare the medical history and serological status of selected vaccine-preventable diseases of medical students in Germany. Results The overall correlation between medical history statements and serological findings among the 150 students studied was 86.7 %, 66.7 %, 78 % and 93.3 % for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella, conditional on sufficient immunity being achieved after one vaccination. Conclusions Although 81.2 % of the students medical history data correlated with serological findings, significant gaps in immunity were found. Our findings indicate that medical history alone is not a reliable screening tool for immunity against the vaccine-preventable diseases studied.