News & Media

ESCMID Panorama

News

Here you will find the latest news from the Society, its network and partners.

The Trainee Association of ESCMID is pleased to present four candidates for the new members on the TAE Steering Committee. All young scientist members are eligible to cast their votes on the four candidates proposed for two positions on the board of the Trainee Association of ESCMID (TAE). The election is open until 23 October 2017, 12:00 noon CET. The four candidates are: Aleksandra Barac (Belgrade, RS), Muge Cevik (Edinburgh, UK), Cristina Soeiro (Porto, PT), and Balint Gergely Szabo (Budapest, HU).

Short-term adjunctive treatment with aminoglycosides in critically ill patients is advocated in guidelines for the empirical treatment of sepsis, despite a lack of evidence from randomized trials. A large observational study recently reported more nephrotoxicity and a trend towards worse patient outcome in critically ill patients receiving aminoglycosides added to beta-lactam antibiotics. In this commentary published in CMI researchers from the Netherlands and the U.K. discuss if a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to obtain a more definite answer is justified and how it could be performed. The authors call for a large, pragmatic, multi-centre RCT with a careful design that ensures optimal treatment during the trial and a pro-active Data Safety Monitoring Board that monitors harm and benefit and can recommend trial termination for safety reasons. “For too long our specialty has sat on its hands over this and similar questions, thereby failing to embrace evidence-based medicine and the need for RCTs to address our common clinical questions,” the authors conclude.

Abstracts may be submitted until 30 November 2017 at 23.59 CET. The abstract topics and the abstract guidelines may be found on the website. You will also find a tutorial video to guide you through the process if you have never submitted an abstract to ECCMID.

Come and join more than 10,000 colleagues at the largest, most comprehensive and most influential meeting in the fields of clinical microbiology, infectious disease and infection control. Present and discuss your research from 21 – 24 April 2018 at ECCMID 2018 in Madrid, Spain. Registration is open with favourable early-bird registration fees.

The registration for ECCMID which takes place from 21 – 24 April 2018 in Madrid, Spain, is now open. An early-bird registration fee is available until 25 January 2018, by which date you will also know, if the abstracts you have submitted have been accepted. We currently have more than 200 confirmed speakers, and the ECCMID Programme Committee is working on the schedule of the invited programme, which once again promises to feature top-notch keynote lectures, sessions and symposia complementing the abstract presentations.

The usefulness of screening for carriage of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-E) with active surveillance cultures (ASC) remains equivocal in low-endemicity ICUs. Researchers from France aimed to assess the impact of ceasing ASC on the incidence of ICU-acquired ESBL-E infections in an ICU with universal contact precautions (CP). The results showed that in a low-endemicity ICU with universal CP, the withdrawal of routine screening for ESBL-E carriage had no significant effect on the incidence of ICU-acquired ESBL-E infections and patient outcomes, the researchers concluded. Patient outcomes and carbapenem consumption were also investigated. They found that carbapenem consumption decreased in patients without ESBL-E infection.

ESCMID’s Parity Commission needs your help to collect information on how mobility involves clinical microbiologists and infectious diseases specialists and to identify possible inequality mechanisms expatriate professionals are exposed to. The commission would like to interview specialists who have in the past been or are currently working in another European country. Thousands of physicians leave their home country to work abroad each year, and around 150,000 foreign trained doctors are presently working in Europe. In some countries, the share of foreign health professionals within the health workforce is currently up to 37%. “Despite university 'welcome centres' and a common European cultural background, mobility across countries to advance one's career is an often underestimated challenge. Proactive measures are needed to counterbalance potentially discriminating and isolating peer behaviours”, a specialist has said.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology has developed rapidly during the last years. Innovative bench-top NGS platforms broaden application opportunities, especially for diagnostic use, epidemiological inference, and surveillance. The programme highlights opportunities and challenges posed by this technology. The workshop has been designed to boost practical knowledge exchange (with respect to both “wet-lab” and “e-lab”) as well as ample discussions with colleagues from all over Europe.

ESCMID’s long-time supporter and current member of the Scientific Affairs Subcommittee, Dr Souha Kanj has been presented with the prestigious Abdul Hameed Shoman Award for Arab Researchers.

The annual award, which is now in its 35th year, recognises outstanding Arab men and women conducting scientific research in order to encourage young researchers. Dr Kanj was chosen as the winner from 150 excellent nominees in the medial and health sciences category.

ESCMID are very proud to have Dr Kanj as a prominent member of our society and we hope you will join us in congratulating her on achieving this prestigious award and wishing her continued success in her career.

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and ESCMID organized a multidisciplinary meeting to address the challenges, opportunities and current requirements for antimicrobial drug development to tackle antimicrobial drug resistance. The presentations from the conference are available in ESCMID’s eLibrary now.

Abstracts may be submitted until 30 November 2017 at 23.59 CET. The abstract topics and the abstract guidelines can be found on the website. You will also find a tutorial video to guide you through the process, if you have never submitted an abstract to ECCMID before.

Come and join more than 10,000 colleagues at the largest, most comprehensive and most influential meeting in the fields of clinical microbiology, infectious disease and infection control. Present and discuss your research from 21 – 24 April 2018 at ECCMID 2018 in Madrid, Spain. Registration is open now.

Nominations are accepted until 11 October 2017 at 12:00 noon CET for the Award for Excellence in recognition of an outstanding lifetime contribution to science, education or professional affairs in the field of infection as well as for the Young Investigator Award, which rewards outstanding research and stimulates further studies at the highest scientific level.  The TAE Award for Training Achievements, with the same nomination deadline, recognizes and rewards outstanding trainees in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases.

Researchers from Spain propose using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) as a tool for identifying microorganisms directly from liquid cultures to obtain a rapid microbiological diagnosis and an adequate administration of the antibiotic therapy in a clinical setting. They found that MALDI-TOF-MS plus the sonication-based extraction method enabled direct and accurate identification of microorganisms in liquid culture media in 15 minutes. This compares with the 24 hours required for subcultures in conventional identification.

ESCMID’s study group for antimicrobial stewardship, ESGAP, together with the Turkish Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, KLIMIK, presents a postgraduate course on antimicrobial policies. Intersectoral residents and specialists interested in antimicrobial stewardship will get an overview of antimicrobial resistance, consumption surveillance as well as the implementation and integration of antimicrobial stewardship strategies and programmes.

The registration for ECCMID from 21 – 24 April 2018 in Madrid, Spain, is open now. An early-bird registration fee is available until 25 January 2018, by which date you will also know if the abstracts you have submitted have been accepted. We currently have more than 200 confirmed faculty, and the ECCMID Programme Committee is currently working on the schedule of the invited programme, which once again promises to feature top-notch keynote lectures, sessions and symposia complementing the abstract presentations.

Unemo et al investigated the increasing resistance of Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) to current first- and second-line treatment (azithromycin and moxifloxacin resp.) and estimated the prevalence of MG, Chlamydia trachomatis (CT), Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) in 5,269 patients located in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. First, they compared the sensitivity and specificity of the new Aptima CE/IVD AMG test, with that of the MG Alt TMA-1 test and mgpB qPCR for pathogen detection. Sensitivity ranged between 99.13-100%, 99.13-100% and 73.24-82.60% respectively; the specificity ranged between 99.57-99.96%, 100% and 99.69-100% respectively. Second, they found the prevalence of MG infection was 7.2% (382/5269); that of azithromycin and moxifloxacin resistance-associated gene mutations was 41.4% (120/290; 17.7%-56.6%) and 6.6% (18/274; 4.1-10.2%) resp. The prevalence of CT and NG over the entire patient group was not given. The authors emphasized the importance of using validated and quality-assured molecular tests for MG detection, routine testing of MG-positive samples as well as surveillance of antimicrobial resistance.

The large majority of the presentations from the successful 4th ESCMID Conference on Vaccines from 8 – 10 September 2017 in Dubrovnik, Croatia, are now available on the ESCMID eLibrary. More than 100 participants from over 33 different countries attended the congress. The scientific programme for the conference was developed in cooperation with the European section of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). About 40 internationally renowned experts presented and discussed topics such as the in the management of viral diseases, including Zika or Ebola, as well as new vaccines and efforts to eradicate older diseases including polio.

We have already more than 200 faculty confirmed for ECCMID from 21 – 24 April 2018 in Madrid, Spain. In the programme at a glance you will see that we have arranged the schedule to make it more flexible. We will have at least 13 slots and the main scientific programme will already start in the morning on Saturday, 21 April 2018, in parallel with the educational workshops. Thanks to the new schedule the programme committee can make sure that fewer keynote lectures clash next year, allowing participants to get even more out of the congress.

Researchers in the U.S. compared newer glycopeptide antibiotics active against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) – telavancin, dalbavancin and oritavancin – to each other and standard care for the treatment of complicated skin and soft tissue infections (cSSTIs). Head-to-head comparisons showed no difference in clinical response between oritavancin, dalbavancin and telavancin. Telavancin had a higher incidence of overall adverse events compared to standard care, and compared to dalbavancin and oritavancin. Cost analyses demonstrated that dalbavancin and oritavancin were less costly compared to standard care. The use of dalbavancin could save third-party payers $1,442 to $4,803 per cSSTI, while oritavancin could save $3,571 to $6,932 per cSSTI. The researchers concluded that dalbavancin and oritavancin demonstrate efficacy and safety comparable to standard care and result in cost savings when standard care is treatment that covers MRSA.

The ESCMID Study Group for Biofilms (ESGB) is organizing Eurobiofilm 2017, the 5th European Congress on Microbial Biofilms, from 19 – 22 September in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The multidisciplinary programme will cover a mix of basic, clinical and environmental biofilm-related topics. Leading scientist in the field will contribute to the programme as keynote speakers and/or chairpersons. Oral presentations, mostly from young scientists, will be presented during various plenary sessions, integrated and regular symposia.

Some other upcoming events you may be interested in are the 11th International Symposium on the Biology of Acinetobacter from 20 – 22 September 2017 in Seville, Spain; and Shaping the Future of Paediatrics from 20 – 22 September 2017 in Rome, Italy.

Abstracts may be submitted until 30 November 2017 at 23.59 CET. The abstract topics and the abstract guidelines may be found on the website. You will also find a tutorial video to guide you through the process if you have never submitted an abstract to ECCMID.

Come and join more than 10,000 colleagues at the largest, most comprehensive and most influential meeting in the fields of clinical microbiology, infectious disease and infection control. Present and discuss your research from 21 – 24 April 2018 at ECCMID 2018 in Madrid, Spain. Registration will open on 25 September 2017.

Researchers systematically reviewed publicly available information on the scientific impact of the Ebola epidemic. They conclude that the Ebola outbreak had a significant scientific impact and resulted in high impact factor numbers. The main impact could be measured in the Americas and Europe, and was directly related to funding. African researchers were only marginally involved in the scientific processing (86.6% of all researchers were not African), perhaps due to the fact that major research centres are located in America and Europe. This emphasizes the importance of promoting closer cooperation between regions.

12 September 2017
Join the TAE Steering Committee before the deadline of 18 September

The Steering Committee of the Trainee Association of ESCMID (TAE) is looking for two new members to help it continue its mission to facilitate better trans-European collaboration and effective use of resources across its ever-expanding network of young CM and ID professionals.  Among its many successes in 2017, the TAE published a paper on personal life and working conditions of trainees and young specialists in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases in Europe, held a successful TAE Day at ECCMID 2017 (picture), and launched a survey on supervision, mentorship and management.  
 
You have just one more week to nominate yourself to play a key role in the activities of TAE in the coming years. Don’t miss this rare opportunity – act before 18 September! 

The ESCMID group for Lyme borreliosis, ESGBOR, published a position paper on the diagnosis of the tick-borne infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. The most frequent clinical manifestations Lyme borreliosis (LB) are erythema migrans and Lyme neuroborreliosis. Currently, a large volume of diagnostic testing for Lyme borreliosis is reported, whereas the incidence of clinically relevant disease manifestations is low. This indicates overuse of diagnostic testing for LB with implications for patient care and cost effective health management. The recommendations provided in this review are intended to support both the clinical diagnosis and initiatives for a more rational use of laboratory testing in patients with clinically suspected Lyme borreliosis.

The main recommendations according to current European case definitions for Lyme borreliosis are as follows: Typical erythema migrans should be diagnosed clinically and does not require laboratory testing, the diagnosis of Lyme neuroborreliosis requires laboratory investigation of the spinal fluid including intrathecal antibody production for, and the remaining disease manifestations require testing for antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi. Testing individuals with non-specific subjective symptoms is not recommended because of a low positive predictive value.

The 4th ESCMID Conference on Vaccines takes place from 8 – 10 September 2017 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The European section of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) helped develop a scientific programme for the conference, where about 40 internationally renowned experts present and discuss the latest evidence. Highlights include presentations on the progress that has been made in the management of viral diseases, including Zika or Ebola viruses, which have caused recent difficult-to-contain outbreaks. Experts will also review the current status of some new vaccines of utmost importance and discuss new vaccines as well as efforts to eradicate older diseases including polio.

Antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR) is an urgent global health problem. New antimicrobial drug development is increasingly viewed as a priority by national and international bodies. There are relatively few agents in developmental pipelines and a paucity of identified microbiological targets that can be exploited for drug development. Co-sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and ESCMID, this multidisciplinary meeting will address the challenges, opportunities and current requirements for antimicrobial drug development for AMR.

Researchers in France characterized prophage sequences in 14 isolates, representative of the major lineages, from a collection of 275 human group B Streptococcus isolates. PCR-based detection of prophages revealed the presence of at least one prophage in 72.4% of the 275 isolates and a significant association between neonatal infecting isolates and prophages C, and between adult infecting isolates and prophages A. The results suggest that prophages (possibly animal-associated) have conditioned bacterial adaptation and ability to cause infections in neonates and adults, and support a role of lysogeny with the emergence of GBS as a pathogen in human, the researchers concluded.

ESCMID’s study group for antimicrobial stewardship, ESGAP, together with the Turkish Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, KLIMIK, organizes a postgraduate course on antimicrobial policies. Intersectoral residents and specialists interested in antimicrobial stewardship will get an overview of antimicrobial resistance and stewardship strategies. The registration deadline is 8 September 2017.

Together with the Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital at the Tongji University School of Medicine, the Shanghai Medical Association and the Youth Committee of Chinese Association of Chest Physicians, ESCMID and publisher Elsevier are organizing a workshop on clinical research and article writing in the fields of infectious diseases and clinical microbiology. The workshop will take place in Shanghai, China on 20 – 21 October.

Despite the increase in software solutions for metagenomics, integration of metagenomics in clinical care, which requires method standardization and validation, is lacking. Motro and Moran-Gilad developed a novel computer module, microbial metagenomics mock scenario-based sample simulation (M3S3). The module was tested by generating virtual shotgun metagenomic samples for ten challenging infectious disease scenarios. For all scenarios, the 80 generated samples showed sequence compositions as predicted from user input. Spiked pathogen sequences were identified with most of the replicates and exhibited acceptable abundance, with slight differences between software tools. The authors conclude that the M3S3 tool can support the development and validation of standardized metagenomics applications in diagnostic workflows of clinical microbiology laboratories.

At the end of 2017, elections will be held among our members to fill three (out of eight) positions on the ESCMID Executive Committee, two representing infectious diseases and one clinical microbiology. You may propose candidates until 31 August 2017.

The European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME) has accredited the ESCMID vaccines conference from 8 – 10 September 2017 in Dubrovnik, Croatia, for a maximum of 15 European CME credits. You may read more about some of the scientific highlights in the invitation, the programme and on the conference website.

In a multi-centre observational cohort study (US and Canada), 1,832 hospitalized patients with Gram-negative bloodstream infections were evaluated to assess the utility of using prior microbiologic results to guide empiric treatment. The study found that 28% (504/1,832) of the patients had a documented prior Gram-negative organism from a non-screening culture within the previous 12 months. Antibiotic resistance of that organism was strongly predictive of the current organism’s resistance to the same antibiotic. The test attained an overall specificity of 0.92 (95% CI; 0.91-0.93; range 0.77 to 0.98) and a positive predictive value of 0.66 (95% CI;0.61-0.70; range 0.43 to 0.78) for predicting antibiotic resistance.
The authors conclude that in patients with a Gram-negative bloodstream infection, the most-recent prior Gram-negative organism resistant to a drug of interest (within the last 12 months) is highly specific for resistance and should preclude use of that antibiotic.

The society’s publications are now published on a regular basis. Please let Publications and Guidelines Manager Nancy Gerits know when one of your publications has been accepted.

29 August 2017
Call for new members of the TAE Steering Committee

ESCMID is looking for trainees in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases to reinforce its Trainee Association of ESCMID (TAE). This goal of the TAE is to increase and support the scientific and medical contribution of young clinical microbiologists and infectious disease specialists. To nominate yourself for the election, please submit your online application below before 18 September 2017, 12.00 noon CET.

Due to the lack of clarity, EUCAST proposes to change the definition and usefulness of the susceptibility category “intermediate”. The proposed 2017 definition is formulated as follows: A microorganism is categorized as intermediate when there is a high likelihood of therapeutic success because exposure is enhanced (1) by adjusting the dosing regimen or (2) because the antimicrobial agent is concentrated at the site of infection. The proposal for the new definition is open for feedback from the public. Using this form, comments (with supporting data or references) can be sent to John Turnidge until 15 September 2017. For further information, please refer to the EUCAST website.

Members of EPI-NET, COMBACTE-NET and the EUCIC group for SUSPIRE published a systematic review, which evaluated healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) indicators of 56 surveillance systems in 20 countries across Europe. Of these surveillance systems, 33 (58.9%) targeted HAIs, 45 (80.3%) AMR and 22 targeted both. The most frequent indicator of AMR was the proportion of resistant isolates (27/34 providing information; 79.42%); incidence rates were included in 18 (52.9%) systems. For HAIs in ICUs, 22 (100%) systems included data on central line-associated bloodstream infections, 19 (86.3%) included information on ventilator-associated pneumonia and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Incidence density was the most frequent indicator in these types of infections. Regarding surgical site infections, the most frequent procedures included were hip prosthesis, colon surgery and caesarean section (21/22 systems; 95.5% of the systems). The authors conclude that publicly available information about the methods and indicators of surveillance systems is still frequently lacking and that there is a wide heterogeneity in procedures and indicators reported.

The course Omics of Host and Pathogens During Infections offers high-quality interdisciplinary training on the technological and bioinformatic skills necessary for the use of state-of-the-art omic technology tools to rapidly translate disease research into improved clinical healthcare. The course objective is to provide PhD students, postdocs and early stage clinicians who are involved in laboratory and clinical work with an up-to-date overview of the available technologies and approaches. It will address research topics, diagnostic development, and most importantly will cover the essential steps in standardizing and benchmarking next-generation genomic technologies for diagnostic applications.

Bartoletti et al. investigated the epidemiology of bloodstream infections (BSI), predictors of 30-day mortality and risk factors for antibiotic resistance (multi-drug resistant organisms, [MDRO]) in patients with liver cirrhosis. BSI were caused by Gram-negative bacteria (53%), Gram-positive bacteria (47%) and Candida spp. (7%). Cox-regression analysis revealed that the 30-day mortality rate (25%) associated independently with delayed antibiotic treatment, inadequate empirical therapy and the CLIF-SOAF score. Independent risk factors (31% of BSIs) included previous antimicrobial exposure and previous invasive procedures. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis as BSI source was associated with lower odds of MDRO infections. The authors urge to improve prevention and treatment strategies for MDRO in liver cirrhosis patients, as such infections account for nearly one third of all BSI in these patients and often result in delayed or inadequate empirical antimicrobial therapy and increased mortality rates.

The first Singapore International Infectious Disease Conference from 24 to 26 August 2017 in Singapore will focus on emerging infections and outbreaks in addition to general infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, antimicrobial resistance, fungal infections, dengue, Zika, MERS/SARS/pneumonia.

The DRIVE-AB Final Conference, “Revitalizing the Antibiotic Pipeline” from 5 – 6 September 2017 in Brussels, Belgium, will bring together high-level policy makers, regulatory and public health experts, economists and representatives of pharmaceutical companies, the medical community and civil society to discuss DRIVE-AB results and recommendations and to suggest solutions for their implementation around the globe.

The 2nd HIV Cure and Reservoir Symposium from 11 - 12 September 2017 in Ghent, Belgium, will comprehensively summarize the state of the art in HIV cure strategies and diagnostic tools to monitor therapeutic interventions.

Nominations are accepted until 11 October 2017 at 12:00 noon CET for the Award for Excellence in recognition of an outstanding lifetime contribution to science, education or professional affairs in the field of infection as well as for the Young Investigator Award, which rewards outstanding research and stimulates further studies at the highest scientific level.  The TAE Award for Training Achievements, with the same nomination deadline, recognizes and rewards outstanding trainees in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases. 

A recent review by Morel et al assessed the potential contribution of a health economic analysis to a sustainable use of antibiotics. The authors found incomplete and short-term economic considerations, underpinning current antibiotic strategies, which contribute to suboptimal use. In addition, the study stresses that current incentives driving antibiotic sales and inappropriate prescribing practices should be disentangled to make way for sustainable use policies. Payment structures can be used to re-align incentives and promote optimal prescribing and sustainable use in general. Specifically, eliminating or altering reimbursement differentials will help to steer clinical practice more deliberately towards the minimization of selection pressure and corresponding levels of antibiotic resistance. Overall, this work highlights the need for appropriately designed cost-effectiveness analyses, incentives analyses and novel remuneration systems to underpin sustainable use policies both within and beyond the health sector.

The full-time research position is based in Bradford, the United Kingdom. The lecturer would contribute to microbiology teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, conduct individual and/or collaborative research in the field of microbiology and participate in and develop, internal and external networks to build a research group in microbiology (including PGR students) and successfully generate substantial grant income for the research.

ASM and ESCMID partner again in 2017 for the ASM/ESCMID Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance. This conference showcases and explores a variety of topics treating antimicrobial resistance, from drug development to regulation practices. Join us and hear from your peers from around the globe in Boston, Massachusetts, 6 – 8 September at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. When you register for ASM/ESCMID 2017 it includes access to the complimentary Pre-Conference Workshop: Antibiotic Development Bootcamp on 5 September. A special hotel rate is available until today!

The registration deadline for the above course held in Herzliya, Israel, from 30 October – 1 November 2017, is approaching! ESCMID also provides attendance grants for young scientist members – please apply online by 16 August 2017 at the latest. 

The workshop is intended to introduce the emerging role of next-generation sequencing in clinical and public health microbiology and to support the building of national and regional capacity in this area and will interest microbiologists, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists and bioinformaticians from hospital and public health settings from Middle Eastern, European, Balkan and African countries. 

More information can be found on the course website.

Pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) is used to induce a sustained off-treatment response and clear hepatitis B surface antigens (HBsAg) in patients with hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative chronic hepatitis B (CHB). Chuaypen et al. investigated the role of serum hepatitis B core-related antigen (HBcrAg) kinetics in predicting the outcome of PEG-IFN based therapy in HBeAg-negative CHB patients. Persistent virological remission (PVR) and HBsAg clearance at 3-year post-treatment was 29% (35/121) and 9% (11/121) respectively. Baseline HBcrAg correlated with HBV DNA and cccDNA, but not with HBsAg. Baseline HBsAg, and a decline in HBsAg and HBcrAg were associated with PVR, while a decline in HBsAg was predictive of HBsAg clearance. High baseline antigen levels (HBsAg ≥3.4 log10 IU/mL plus HBcrAg ≥3.7 log10 IU/mL) yielded high negative predictive values (NPV) of PVR (45/50; 90%) and HBsAg clearance (50/50, 100%). At week 12, declines of HBsAg, HBcrAg and combined both antigen levels <0.5 log10 yielded NPVs for PVR of 90% (71/79), 82% (61/74) and 96 (48/50), respectively. These results suggest that HBcrAg levels are associated with cccDNA and that HBcrAg and that the amounts of HBs Ag, could help identify patients with low probability of PVR and HBsAg clearance during long-term follow-up.

Preoperative screening and treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria in periprosthetic joint infection after primary knee or hip replacement seems not required as a retrospective study by the Tampere University Hospital shows. Meeri Honkanen et al. identified patients who had undergone a primary hip or knee replacement between September 2002 and December 2013 from the hospital database (23 171 joint replacements, 10 200 hips, and 12 971 knees). Patients with subsequent PJI or superficial wound infection in a one-year follow-up period were identified based on prospective infection surveillance. The association between bacteriuria and PJI was examined using a multivariable logistic regression model. The incidence of PJI was 0.68% (n=158). Preoperative bacteriuria was not associated with an increased risk of PJI either in the univariate (0.51% vs. 0.71%, OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.34 – 1.54) or in the multivariable (OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.38 – 1.77) analysis. There were no cases where PJI was caused by a pathogen identified in the preoperative urine culture. During the study, the influence of possible confounding factors, especially chronic diseases, was taken into account extensively.

Submit your abstract and share and discuss your research with colleagues from around the world at the Vaccines Conference in Dubrovnik!


An ESGAP expert commentary in Clinical Microbiology and Infection discussed the urgent need to plan and fund teams of specialist health workers to promote appropriate antibiotics use. Ideally, such teams should consist of ID specialists, microbiologists, nurses and pharmacists. Together, their collaborative effort can improve diagnosis and treatment of infections as well as prevent the rise of drug-resistant bacteria. 

Link to the full press release  and the expert opinion piece

From 1-8 July another edition of our yearly Summer School was held in Borstel, Germany. A record-breaking 80 participants from 26 countries enjoyed the excellent lectures by renowned experts in the field and have taken the opportunity to network with their peers in a relaxed setting.

Please find all presentations here. Also, take a glimpse at the picture gallery here

The Summer School next year will take place in Paris in July 2018. We will let you know once more information is available. 

Khanafer et al aimed to describe publication patterns relating to C. difficile susceptibilities and estimate minimum inhibitor concentrations (MIC) for antibiotic classes described in the scientific literature between January 1970 and June 2014. They found that aminoglycosides (IC50: 120mg/L, 95%CI: 62-250), 3rd (MIC50: 75mg/L, 95%CI: 39-130) and 2nd generation (IC50: 64mg/L, 95%CI: 27-140) cephalosporins had the least C. difficile activity, while rifamycins (IC50 : 0.034mg/L, 95%CI: 0.012-0.099) and tetracyclines (MIC50: 0.29mg/L, 95%CI: 0.054-1.7) had the highest, resulting in a 3500-fold variation between the least and most active agents. Furthermore, time-trends in MIC50 were increasing for carbapenems (70% per 10 years) while they were decreasing for tetracyclines (51% per 10 years). Future research initiatives will address how these in vitro measures can help to reliably estimate the risk for C. difficile infection and guide antimicrobial stewardship decisions.

Antibiotics prescription behaviour in Europe was assessed in a cross-sectional study aimed at making an inventory of indicators linked to specific targets and incentives at the national level. The study found that of all responding countries, only Croatia and Turkey used computerized systems routinely linking antibiotic prescriptions to clinical diagnosis. In six of the remaining 21 countries, national indicators with clear targets and incentives were in place. Similar targets and incentives were reported at the regional level in e.g. Spain and England. Of the total number of indicators (n=21), 16 concerned inpatients and 8 outpatients (some used in both settings). Incentives included financing mechanisms, hospital accreditation and public reporting. In order to continue to assess antibiotic prescription behaviour and share experience between countries, the authors suggest to set up a European database.

ASM and ESCMID partner again in 2017 for the ASM/ESCMID Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance. This conference showcases and explores a variety of topics treating antimicrobial resistance, from drug development to regulation practices. Join us and hear from your peers from around the globe in Boston, Massachusetts, 6 - 8 September at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. When you register for ASM/ESCMID 2017 it includes access to the complimentary Pre-Conference Workshop: Antibiotic Development Bootcamp on 5 September. 

The field of infectious diseases is confronted with problems including antimicrobial resistance, (re-)emerging diseases related to migration, refugees and travels, new challenges concerning HIV infection and sexually transmitted diseases, and an increase in immunocompromised patients related to transplantation, to name just a few. The large majority of European countries recognize Infectious Diseases as a specialty as is recommended by the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS). ESCMID recently published a letter to support BVIKM - SBIMC’s efforts.

ESCMID is looking to fill the position of a Medical Guidelines Director who will oversee ESCMID’s medical guidelines portfolio, including the development and update of medical guidelines, and will report to ESCMID’s Executive Committee. A full description of the responsibilities, qualifications and requirements can be found here.

In 2012, the pneumococcal conjugated vaccine 10 was introduced into the national immunization schedule in Fiji. As part of an annual cross-sectional S. pneumoniae carriage survey, researchers in Australia and the UK detected 106 samples serotyped as ‘11F-like’ by microarray. Genomic DNA extraction and subsequent sequencing of these samples revealed a phylogenetic divergence in the wcwC and wcrL genes of the 11F-like cps locus and single nucleotide insertions within a homopolymeric region of the gct gene. These changes affected the antigenic properties of the capsule such that 11F-like isolates were serotyped as 11A by Quellung and latex agglutination. The authors propose that these isolates are a novel genetic variant of the S. pneumonia serotype 11A. Their findings have implications for invasive pneumococcal disease surveillance and studies investigating vaccine impact.

Together with the Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital at the Tongji University School of Medicine, the Shanghai Medical Association and the Youth Committee of Chinese Association of Chest Physicians, ESCMID and Elsevier (CMI) are organizing a workshop on clinical research and article writing in the fields of infectious diseases and clinical microbiology. The workshop will take place in Shanghai, China on October 20-21. Interested participants can find more information on and register at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/

A cholera epidemic in Yemen, which has infected more than 332,000 people, could spread during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in September, although Saudi authorities are well prepared, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

New papers, which will be included in an ESCMID VACCINE supplement entitled Progress in Vaccines have now been published online. The special issue, managed by the guest editors Mario Poljak, Susanna Esposito and Litjen Tan, includes papers on presentations at ECCMID 2016 in Amsterdam as well as manuscripts that complement the topic.

Norovirus vaccines under development

New perspectives for hexavalent vaccines

Zika virus (ZIKV) transmission through semen donation has never been reported but the risk is supported by the detection of ZIKV in semen and the demonstration of sexual transmission. Researchers of the Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study (REDS-III) ZIKV Study Group tested longitudinally collected semen samples provided by asymptomatic blood donors who tested positive for ZIKV RNA in plasma during ZIKV outbreaks in Puerto Rico and Florida in 2016. They concluded that a high percentage of detection of ZIKV RNA in the semen of asymptomatic men confirm that ZIKV is a new threat for reproductive medicine and should have important implications for assisted reproductive technology. They recommend that semen donations from men at risk for ZIKV infection should be tested for ZIKV RNA, regardless of symptoms of ZIKV infection.

The abstract submission for the 4th Conference on Vaccines: new and old Diseases in adults and children – unmet needs is still open until 23 July 2017. The conference from 8 – 10 September 2017 in Dubrovnik,Croatia, is set to bring together leading experts who will present and debate the most recent data to develop strategies that will help protect generations to come from vaccine-preventable diseases. The target audience are specialists or physicians in training in infectious diseases, clinical microbiology, hygiene, public health, vaccinology and other disciplines dealing with all aspects of vaccination. 

The early-bird registration deadline for the ASM/ESCMID Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is 26 July 2017. Co-sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and ESCMID, this leading conference will provide a unique forum for you to explore the challenges, opportunities and current requirements for antimicrobial drug development to tackle AMR.

Ursula Theuretzbacher urges the scientific community to use the term ‘innovation’ in a narrower sense in the context of research and development into novel antibiotics. The term is traditionally used in a broader sense to describe any novel class of drugs, target or mode of action. Regarding antimicrobials, however, she proposes to restrict the term to drugs that possess the potential to tackle resistance, i.e. compounds that are unlikely to be impacted by cross-resistance with existing therapies and that have a low potential for high-frequency high-level single-step resistance. An independent international expert panel should agree on the most predictive tests and detailed scientific criteria to define all biological aspects of ‘innovation’.

The abstract submission for the 4th Conference on Vaccines: new and old Diseases in adults and children – unmet needs is still open until 23 July 2017. The conference from 8 – 10 September 2017 in Dubrovnik, Croatia, is set to bring together leading experts who will present and debate the most recent data to develop strategies that will help protect generations to come from vaccine-preventable diseases. The target audience are specialists or physicians in training in infectious diseases, clinical microbiology, hygiene, public health, vaccinology and other disciplines dealing with all aspects of vaccination.

The French company specialized in in vitro diagnostics has an opening for a Medical and Scientific Advisor in Marcy-l'Étoile, not far from Lyon. The ideal candidate is a medical doctor, and/or PhD with relevant experience in the clinical field and with a good knowledge of hospital/ medical environment, particularly in infectious diseases and microbiology. Experience and knowledge of in vitro diagnostics and clinical trials is a must.

ESCMID has transferred ownership of its open access online journal New Microbes and New Infections (NMNI) to Elsevier effective 30 June 2017. NMNI is therefore no longer an official publication of ESCMID. Michel Drancourt will continue as Editor-in-Chief. ESCMID members are entitled to a 10% discount on the open access publication fee for all submissions to the journal.

Researchers investigated the origin and the molecular basis for the success of ST235, the most prevalent Pseudomonas aeruginosa clone, which is frequently associated with epidemics where multidrug resistance complicates treatment. The results of the study suggest that P. aeruginosa ST235 has become prevalent across the globe potentially due to the selective pressure of fluoroquinolones. The researchers also found that the ST235 clone readily became resistant to aminoglycosides, beta-lactams, and carbapenems through mutation and acquisition of resistance elements among local populations.

ESCMID’s research grants help young outstanding investigators pursue ground-breaking research in the fields of clinical microbiology and infectious diseases. The application period for 2018 is open now and will close on 11 October 2017 at 12:00 noon CET. Please only submit projects dealing with bacterial infections & diseases (incl. diagnostics, pathogenesis, antibacterial susceptibility & resistance, antibacterial stewardship, vaccines). Full application information is available on the website.

The ESCMID Study Group for Infections in Compromised Hosts (ESGICH) contributed to a multinational study assessing the risk factors for the development of late-onset invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) after kidney transplantation (KT). The researchers showed that more than half of IPA cases after KT occur beyond the sixth month, with some of them presenting very late. Late IPA entails a poor prognosis. They identified some risk factors (post-transplant immunosuppression-related events such as serious/opportunistic infection or de novo malignancy) that could help the clinician to delimit the subgroup of KT recipients at the highest risk for late IPA.

Critically ill patients with severe infections are at high risk of suboptimal antimicrobial dosing. ESCMID's Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics Study Group (EPASG) and its Critically Ill Patients Study Group (ESGCIP) together with the Infection Section for the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine and the International Society of Anti-Infective Pharmacology investigated the role of infection models and pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) modelling for optimizing care of critically ill patients with severe infections. The researchers conclude that therapeutic drug monitoring is likely to be of particular importance for infected critically ill patients where profound PK changes are present and prompt, appropriate antibiotic therapy is crucial. In the light of the continued high mortality rates in critically ill patients with severe infections, a paradigm shift to refined dosing strategies for antimicrobials is warranted to enhance the probability of achieving drug concentrations that increase the likelihood of clinical success.

The European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) is looking for 200 scientists/ experts in food safety to become members of its Scientific Panels and Scientific Committee for a three-year term, starting in July 2018. This call could be of high interest for the members of EFWISG, the ESCMID study group dedicated to food infections and those working in related fields. The deadline for application is 8 September 2017.

The ideal candidate is an energetic entrepreneurial individual excited about the opportunity to contribute to the growth of the company. The individual would lead, manage and support the development and execution of market specific objectives, strategies and tactics to drive the sales of instruments and consumables into hospital microbiology and molecular laboratories as well as support/drive distributors to do the same.

The first papers, which will be included in an ESCMID VACCINE supplement entitled Progress in Vaccines have been published online now. The special issue, managed by the guest editors Mario Poljak, Susanna Esposito and Litjen Tan, includes papers on presentations at ECCMID 2016 in Amsterdam as well as manuscripts that complement the topic.

Vancomycin is currently the primary option treatment for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). However, an increasing number of MRSA isolates with high minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) within the susceptible range (vancomycin MIC creep), are being reported worldwide. The researchers at the University of Aveiro in Portugal conducted a meta-analysis to assess the evidence of vancomycin MIC creep, but they could not find any evidence of the MIC creep phenomenon.

The Institute of Infectious Diseases (IFIK) at the University of Bern has a PhD research position in viral genomics. The PhD student would investigate the epidemiology and evolution of viruses of clinical importance (enteroviruses, adenoviruses). The student must be enthusiastic about multidisciplinary research in clinical virology and next-generation sequencing technologies, including the application and development of bioinformatics/biostatistics approaches.

The Sant Joan de Déu Hospital de Llobregat in Barcelona is seeking an innovative scientist in human microbiome research. The research position requires expertise in molecular microbiology (“wet lab”) and computational (“dry lab”) work. The successful candidate will work in the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Reacher Group, which focuses on molecular epidemiology of vaccine-preventable paediatric diseases and host-pathogen interaction in the development of invasive diseases caused by pathobionts such as S. pneumoniae. The position would also study the human respiratory microbiota as potential biomarkers for health and disease.

ESCMID members who are interested to purchase the three-volume set of Kucers' The Use of Antibiotics: A Clinical Review of Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiparasitic, and Antiviral Drugs (7th Edition) benefit from a 20% reduction on the regular price of GBP449. Please send an email to the membership manager to receive the promotion code.

The Journal Citation Reports® 2016, published by Clarivate Analytics, has published an increase in the impact factor for CMI from 4.575 in 2015 to 5.292 in 2016. CMI is now ranked at 8/84 in the Clarivate Analytics “Infectious Diseases” category (up from 10/83) and 18/124 in the Clarivate Analytics “Microbiology” category (up from 20/123). 

The Emerging Infections Task Force shared the WHO report of two separate circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2s (cVDPV2s) strains that are currently circulating in the DRC. The first strain was isolated from two acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases in Haut-Lomani province. The second from two AFP cases and one healthy contact in Maniema province. WHO recommends to strengthen surveillance for AFP cases to rapidly detect new virus importation and facilitate immediate response as well as to maintain high routine immunization coverage at the district level to minimize consequences of any new virus introduction. It is recommended that travellers to polio-affected areas be fully vaccinated against polio.

Routine testing for pyrazinamide (PZA) resistance in tuberculosis cases is currently not performed due to drug stability and test-related handling issues and is further complicated by (highly diverse) mutations scattered along the length of the pncA gene, not all equally associated with PZA resistance. The performance of a new line probe assay (LPA), targeting a 700 bp fragment covering the entire pncA gene and part of its promoter region, was compared to a composite reference standard using a panel of 97 Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from various sources. For survey isolates, the test reached an overall agreement with the composite reference standard of 97.6% (80/82) excluding or 94.3% (82/87) including heteroresistant isolates. The test failed on 8.5% (5/9) of the clinical samples, but among valid results, 100% (14/14) sensitivity and 100% (7/7) specificity was attained compared to pncA Sanger sequencing. The authors conclude that the new test offers a valid molecular alternative for rapid and indirect PZA susceptibility testing, but requires further evaluation to assess the clinical risk of missing heteroresistance and falsely detecting lineage-specific, silent and non-associated mutations.

The field of infectious diseases is confronted with problems including antimicrobial resistance, (re-)emerging diseases related to migration, refugees and travels, new challenges concerning HIV infection and sexually transmitted diseases, and an increase in immunocompromised patients related to transplantation, to name just a few. The SEIMC is working towards having Infectious Diseases recognized as a medical specialty in Spain and recently issued guidelines called “Ten reasons why Spain needs the specialty of Infectious Diseases”. The large majority of European countries recognize Infectious Diseases as a specialty as is recommended by the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS). ESCMID recently published a letter to support SEIMC’s efforts. We wish them success in their upcoming meeting on 21 June to discuss the next steps with involved parties.

The European Committee for Infection Control is calling upon institutes active in infection prevention and control (IPC) to participate in the EUCIC Infection Prevention and Control Initiative. You may apply to be among one of the training or excellence centers providing modules for students participating in the programme. Interested institutes are requested to submit full course details and schedules before Friday, 14 July 2017. For more information, please refer to EUCIC training programme website, where you can find the flyer and details about the current training programme.

Two recent reports investigating human cases of psittacosis in Australia have uncovered a new role for Chlamydia psittaci, in equine reproductive disease and zoonoses. C. psittaci is traditionally an avian pathogen and cause of atypical pneumonia in humans associated with direct contact with infected birds. A cohort study of a cluster of human cases revealed that contact with the foetal membranes of a mare was the main risk factor. Subsequent molecular investigation revealed that the equine tissue was infected with a highly pathogenic avian strain of C. psittaci associated with infections in parrots throughout the world and serious zoonoses. Like other wildlife-borne diseases in Australia such as Hendra, this study reveals that chlamydial pathogen spill-over to horses is possible and that human contact with infected horses is a public health threat that needs to be considered by veterinarians and human physicians alike. [For access to the article you need to be a member/subscriber.]

This 10-minute anonymous survey has been developed by the members of the Trainee Association of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (TAE) steering committee, and is intended for trainees and young specialists in clinical microbiology (CM) and infectious diseases (ID). To participate please follow this link.

The University of Antwerp’s Laboratory of Medical Microbiology (LMM) at the Vaccine & Infectious Diseases Institute in Antwerp, Belgium, has an open PhD position in medical and molecular microbiology. The doctoral scholarship lasts for four years. The PhD student would primarily investigate medically relevant biofilms using state-of-the-art molecular techniques.

ESCMID’s Emerging Infections Task Force (EITaF) commented on a cholera outbreak in Yemen. Since April 2017, the number of acute watery diarrhea or reported suspected cholera cases increased to more than 42,207, including 420 deaths, and the infection rate is rising quickly. The task force also commented on a recent outbreak of colistin-resistant Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae in a Chinese pediatric oncology unit. The outbreak included six patients of which five had K. pneumoniae and one E. coli, all colistin-resistant isolates were sensitive to carbapenems.

Researchers working for the Infection Control Programme at the Geneva university hospitals assessed the quality of evidence provided by studies investigating antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) interventions. The authors conclude that future studies assessing the impact of new AMS strategies should produce compelling evidence by opting for cluster randomized clinical trials or controlled interrupted time series including a control arm. Furthermore, a holistic view of intended and unintended consequences should be reported, and a detailed process evaluation should be provided to adequately inform implementation of successful AMS strategies to battle the rising burden of antimicrobial resistance.

Médecins Sans Frontières is looking for a stewardship doctor in microbiology based in Jordan and Yemen. The medical doctor or clinical pharmacist who is training as infectious disease physician or pharmacist would be responsible for leading the stewardship programmes in the Amman reconstructive surgical programme and in the Aden trauma centre. Experience with antibiotic stewardship programmes in surgery would be an asset.

The workshop from 30 October – 1 November 2017 is intended to introduce the emerging role of next-generation sequencing (NGS) in clinical and public health microbiology and support the building of national and regional capacity in this area. Special focus will be placed on available sequencing technologies, their implementation in the microbiology laboratory settings, the use of various bioinformatics tools for analysing NGS outputs and clinical interpretation. Capacity building will take place using relevant exemplars such as surveillance of infection, outbreak investigation and control, antimicrobial resistance and food and water microbiology. Moreover, the course aims to create new networks between microbiologists, infectious disease specialists, bioinformaticians and other allied professions in the region to facilitate the application of NGS in the European neighbourhood.

The abstract submission is open from 7 June – 23 July 2017. The conference takes place from 8 – 10 September in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The objective of the conference is to improve the scientific basis for vaccines and optimize their use in the healthcare setting. This conference is set to bring together leading experts who will present and debate the most recent data to develop strategies that will help protect generations to come from vaccine-preventable diseases.

A group of 10 ESCMID members are offered a three-day programme at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Division of Communicable Diseases, Health Security and Environment (DCE) in Copenhagen, Denmark. On ESCMID’s website you find more information on the objectives and election criteria for the WHO DCE observership from 24 to 26 October 2017. The deadline for applications is 6 June at 12:00 noon CET.

Currently there are no European and/or international recommendations regarding the legislative aspects of Faecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) products to treat recurrent Clostridium difficile infections (CDI). Researchers in the Netherlands published a review describing how they established the Netherlands Donor Feces Bank (NDFB) for standardised FMT products. They describe NDFB protocols for donor recruitment, donor selection, donor screening, as well as production, preparation, storage, distribution and transfers of the faecal suspension between various countries and institutions.

The ESCMID Executive Committee recently established an Emerging Infections Task Force (EITaF) to provide its members with up-to-date information on outbreaks with epidemic or pandemic potential. The group of infectious disease and clinical microbiology experts, chaired by Nicola Petrosillo and Eskild Petersen, evaluates emerging infection threats. EITaF has the necessary knowledge and state-of-the-art laboratories to analyse and identify any unknown pathogens. EITaF published a first comment on the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Early- to mid-career scientists with ten or less years of full-time employment (not including training) may apply until 30 May 2017, 12.00 noon CET.

Researchers in China assessed the current working conditions and problems faced by ID professionals in their country. Almost all hospitals had ID wards and 9 out of 10 provided outpatient consultations. Specialised training was available 4 out of 5, and ID research was performed in about 70% of departments. The ratio of patient beds to doctors was 5:1, and of patient beds to nurses 5:1.85. The main service provided by ID physicians was the management of legally notifiable communicable diseases. Most of the physicians surveyed earned less than $15,000. Four out of five felt high or very high pressure in their work, and less than half were satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs. The limited medical service provided by ID physicians is poorly aligned with current healthcare demands, the authors concluded. Moreover, the heavy workloads, high stress, poor compensation, and limited career prospects for ID physicians in China impede the continued development of specialists and put them into a career dilemma. ID physicians should work to develop and diversify the field and to enhance their capacities by learning new technologies and collaborating with other disciplines.

The ID specialist will oversee the general consultations in infectious diseases for patients in medicine and surgery (large activity in orthopaedic surgery). He or she would contribute to the hospital’s activities in infection prevention and control, and the antimicrobial stewardship programmes. The position requires work experience as an ID physician, the capability of working autonomously, with a sense of anticipation and initiative, and a rigorous and methodological scientific approach.

The Nancy University Hospital and Nancy Medical School (Université de Lorraine) in Nancy have two new openings: one for a full professor of infectious diseases and one for a Senior Registrar in Infectious Diseases. The professor would lecture at the Medical Faculty of the University of Nancy and practice at the Infectious and Tropical Diseases Service. Candidates require experience in the clinic, in research and as a teacher and have proven academic leadership qualities. The registrar position would suit an infectious disease specialist with an academic profile. He or she would start as senior registrar in infectious diseases and make the first step towards an associate professorship.

ESCMID’s study group on antibiotic policies ESGAP published a paper on the access to older antibiotics in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection. The study showed that antibiotics used to treat a variety of common bacterial infections are becoming more difficult to access, mostly because the drugs are less profitable for manufacturers to produce and market. ESGAP conducted the study with researchers from Action on Antibiotic Resistance (ReAct), the International Society of Chemotherapy, the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) and the French Infectious Diseases society (SPILF). Have a look at the paper and the press release.

Researchers in Australia examined if men who have sex with men (MSM) without urethritis symptoms should be screened for urethral gonorrhoea. They used sensitive nucleic acid amplification testing to assess the rate of asymptomatic urethral gonorrhoea in MSM attending a sexual health centre for sexually transmitted infection screening. The study showed that about one in ten of those with positive urine tests reported no symptoms. The findings support guidelines that recommend screening asymptomatic MSM for urethral gonorrhoea.

To support the future development of our non-profit society ESCMID is currently seeking applications from qualified candidates for the position of a Professional Affairs Manager (80%) in Basel, Switzerland. The new person will replace Dianne White, who will be leaving the ESCMID office in the summer. We thank Dianne for 15 years of dedicated work for the society.

On ESCMID’s website you find more information on the objectives and election criteria for the one-week observership at the World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Europe, Division of Communicable Diseases, Health Security and Environment (DCE). The deadline for applications is 6 June at 12:00 noon CET.

The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) has published its 2016 annual report. EMA recommended a marketing authorisation for 81 medicines for human use, including 27 new active substances. On the veterinary side, 11 medicines were approved, including six new active substances. One in three of these prevent viral or bacterial infections in food-producing animals. EMA’s report also highlights three main topics in 2016 including vaccine hesitancy and surveillance of antimicrobial consumption.

After the winners of this year’s TAE awards received their prizes the Young Investigator Awardees shared some of their career experiences. The special round-table session organized by the Trainees Association of ESCMID in Vienna was a great success. New initiatives such as longer times with moderators and free participation by local medical students combined with our usual format contributed to the session's success. Read an experience report and have a look at the gallery!

Researchers from Japan compared the effectiveness and safety of empiric antipseudomonal beta-lactam monotherapy for febrile neutropenia. The meta-analysis of 50 studies with 10,872 patients showed that imipenem/cilastatin showed the highest odds of treatment success without modification and that ceftazidime in comparison was related to lower treatment success rate. Imipenem/cilastatin showed the lowest odds of all-cause death, while patients treated with cefepime in comparison had a higher risk for all-cause death. The authors concluded that imipenem/cilastatin, piperacillin/tazobactam, and meropenem are reasonable first-choice medications for empiric therapy of febrile neutropenia.

ESCMID is concerned that a lack of evidence-based information among healthcare providers and the lay public may undermine the efficacy of future vaccination campaigns. As part of its multidisciplinary approach to fight infections, ESCMID is committed to improve the scientific basis for vaccines and optimize their use in the healthcare setting. This conference is set to bring together leading experts who will present and debate the most recent data to develop strategies that will help protect generations to come from vaccine-preventable diseases.

The ECDC published the EULabCap report, which compares levels of laboratory capabilities and capacities of EU/EEA member states in 2015. The report underpins public health surveillance and assesses risks posed by infectious diseases. Furthermore, it gives an indication on the progression towards practice standards and public health targets. Experts at the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) are driving progress in the use of harmonised methods for antimicrobial drug susceptibility testing. Other advances are seen in laboratory collaboration with national and EU surveillance networks as well as participation in outbreak response.

 

You may order copies of the manual published by ESCMID and the French Microbiology Society (SFM) at the ESCMID Executive Office.

A record number of 12,494 participants from 126 countries participated in ECCMID from 22 – 25 April 2017 in Vienna. The top 10 countries of provenance were the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Belgium respectively. Abstracts, presentations and webcasts from this year’s ECCMID are freely available on ECCMID Live until the end of August. ECCMID material is currently being curated to be included in the ESCMID eLibrary, which also hosts material from other ESCMID events. Find some video clips from the congress on our youtube channel, including the impressions from Day 4 with some testimonials from participants.

Researchers evaluated if experts followed international guidelines in the antibiotic treatment of infective endocarditis (IE). They found that global compliance with guidelines concerning antibiotic therapy was 58%, revealing the differences between theoretical ‘consensus’, local recommendations and actual practice. The adherence to guidelines was 100% when the protocol was simple, and decreased with the seriousness of the situation or in blood-culture-negative endocarditis that requires adaptation to clinical and epidemiological data. The authors conclude that experts in IE management do not follow international consensus guidelines regarding antibiotic use, although most of them were involved in the development of the guidelines.

The European Committee on Infection Control (EUCIC) supports the 5 May campaign of the World Health Organization, which calls for a renewed focus on hand hygiene improvement and sustainability in health care. Healthcare providers are asked to sign up to the WHO 5 May SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands Campaign.

The objective of the campaign is to stress that hand hygiene is at the core of effective infection prevention and control (IPC) programmes to combat antibiotic resistance. This year the campaign materials are co-branded with Antibiotics, handle with care to demonstrate unity between antimicrobial resistance and IPC efforts.

In the main hall close to the ESCMID booth you will find the Affiliated Societies Corner where affiliated societies present their activities as well as the Networking Corner where study groups, networks and teams present their research projects.

ECCMID will also feature a Pipeline Corner, where small innovative companies will present recent advances in their early-stage programmes to a wider audience. This year, we will have 13 companies participating in the pipeline talks, which are scheduled to take place on Sunday, 23 April from 12:30 – 14:00 in Foyer E.

Researchers in France assessed the occurrence of infections related to implantable left ventricular assist device (LVAD), which are used in patients with end-stage heart failure. As the use of LVAD is expanding, infectious complications are emerging with limited data available to guide management. According to the study more than one in five patients had at least one infectious complication. The main bacteria isolated were Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci, Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Corynebacterium sp. LVAD could be retained in all patients with the use of prolonged antibacterial treatment. The authors concluded that LVAD-related infections are common after implantation, and that they can be controlled with antibiotics.

The ESCMID Study Group for Clinical Parasitology (ESGCP) newsletter contains information on upcoming parasitology conferences, latest papers in parasitology, ongoing research projects and publications as well as sessions co-organized at ECCMID 2017 in Vienna. ESGCP is also conducting a short survey on the diagnosis and the management of visceral leishmaniasis in European countries.

ESCMID is a co-organizer of a joint session on infections in cancer patients, with the European Organisation for Research and Treatments of Cancer (EORTC) and the International Immunocompromised Host Society (ICHS). The session will be held on Saturday, 22 April 2017 from 16:30 - 18:30 at ECCMID. The objective is to focus on effective strategies for the treatment of infections in patients with cancer and recipients of stem cell transplants as well as other severely immunocompromised hosts. We will explore innovative approaches and new therapeutic and preventive measures.

Members of ESCMID Study Group for Infections in Critically Ill Patients (ESGCIP) have reviewed the current evidence around the use of aerosolized antibiotics to treat pneumonia in mechanically ventilated patients. Their efforts resulted in four technical requirements that should be followed to minimize treatment failure and adverse events in these patients.

The ESCMID Study Group for PK/PD of Anti-Infectives together with the International Society of Anti-Infective Pharmacology are organizing the EPASG/ISAP conference on anti-infective pharmacogenetics and pharmacodynamics on 21 April 2017 in Vienna. The conference, which takes place right before ECCMID 2017, will bring together researchers and clinicians from various parts of the world to discuss pro and cons of current PK/PD strategies. Check out the programme.

Have a look at some ECCMID 2017 highlights presented by ESCMID President-elect Jesús Rodríguez Baño who is also a member of the Management Board of COMBACTE-CARE. He talks about what makes ECCMID a crucial event in tackling AMR, and why is it important for COMBACTE to be there. You may download a pdf version of the ECCMID 2017 Programme Book where you find all the details on the scientific programme and you can plan your schedule on ECCMIDlive.

Using next-generation sequencing (NGS), researchers in Australia identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes known to be linked to multi-antifungal drug resistance, in 12 clinical samples of Candida glabrata. While SNPs in FKS1, FKS2, CgCDR1, CgPDR1, FCY2, ERG9 and CgFLR1 genes increased the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) to echinocandins, azole and/or 5-cytosine compounds, SNPs in EPA6, PWP2, PWP5 were not associated with higher drug MICs. The results of the study suggest that using NGS to identify mutational patterns in resistance genes of C. glabrata is feasible. 

The course aims to provide an updated overview of all aspects of sepsis, from pathophysiology to management to infectious disease specialists, clinical microbiologists, intensive care physicians, emergency department physicians and paediatricians. Participants will have the opportunity to have new insights and scientific exchanges on sepsis diagnosis and treatment as well as discussions with the leaders in the field including this year’s ESCMID Excellence Award winner Thierry Calandra or ECCMID Programme Director Winfried Kern. The registration is open until 1 May. Find out more about the event, the programme and the faculty on the leaflet or the event website.

The ESCMID Study Group on Biofilms (ESGB) organizes its bi-annual scientific conference, the 5th European Congress on Microbial Biofilms, in Amsterdam. You are invited to share your biofilm-related science with approximately 300 other scientists from 19 – 22 September 2017. Abstract submission and early registration are now open on the conference website.

The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) organizes the European Congress on Diagnostics and Vaccines in AMR 2017 on 8 – 9 June in London. Experts will discuss the current landscape but also future innovations that may start to answer some of the AMR questions. The congress is open to all healthcare professionals who have an interest in developing solutions to the AMR dilemma and preferential rates are offered for nursing staff, students and groups. You will get a 10% discount on the registration fee with the code ECCMID20.

You can now download a pdf version of the ECCMID 2017 Programme Book. To make it easier to plan your schedule in Vienna we have added descriptions in ECCMIDlive so you better know what to expect at symposia, educational workshops and the keynote lectures. We have also scheduled three sessions for late-breaking abstracts: recent clinical trials on Saturday, vaccines on Sunday and diagnostics on Monday. We hope to see you all in Vienna!

Researchers in the U.K. collected interviews and observational data from notes of six surgical teams at a teaching hospital to investigate antibiotic decision making during surgical ward rounds. The data indicated that surgeons’ antibiotic decisions come secondary to the surgical management of patients. Due to unclear responsibilities, lack of continuity and disjointed information, such decisions are often delegated, leading to sub-optimal antimicrobial management. In the face of increasing antibiotic resistance, the authors propose a position for a clinician who is specifically responsible for perioperative antibiotic management. (The paper is open access.)

The draft version of the medical guideline on the diagnosis and treatment of Aspergillus disease is now open for public consultation. The guideline is a result of the concerted efforts of ESCMID’s fungal infections study group (EFISG), the European Confederation of Medical Mycology (ECMM) and the European Respiratory Society (ERS).

If you want to comment on the manuscript you may write to the ESCMID Publications and Medical Guidelines Manager to request the (confidential) draft of the manuscript along with the comments form for listing feedback. We are happy to receive your feedback and comments by 9 May 2017. Please note that your comments and the authors’ responses to the comments will be published online with the guideline.

The newsletter includes an update on the study group’s participation in the European Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) surveillance, its proposal for the IMI-9 call, as well as guidance on infection prevention and control and faecal microbiota transplantation.

You may reserve your spot at the table of your choice to discuss your career in an informal setting. Twenty expert tables are offered, and places will be filled on a first-come first-served basis.

Researchers in Spain assessed how levofloxacin, azithromycin or clarithromycin treatment affected the outcomes of patients with Legionella pneumonia (LP) requiring hospitalization. The primary endpoint of the study was 30-day mortality. Secondary endpoints included time to defervescence, time to achieve clinical stability, length of intravenous (IV) therapy, length of hospital stay, and early mortality (i.e. death from any cause within 48 hours of hospitalization). Overall, no significant differences between levofloxacin and azithromycin treatment were found for most outcomes. Compared to levofloxacin, patients treated with clarithromycin received longer IV antibiotic treatment and had a longer hospital stay.

In the newsletter, the study group for antibiotic policies gives an update on its most recent publications and research projects as well as an overview of its educational and scientific activities, which include sessions at the upcoming ECCMID as well as other educational events.

HIV expert Françoise Barré-Sinoussi will hold a keynote speech at ECCMID 2017 in Vienna. The virologist performed some of the fundamental work in the identification of the HIV as the cause of AIDS. In 2008, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, together with her former mentor, Luc Montagnier, for their discovery of HIV. Check out the interview where she gives an outlook on her lecture.

Researchers in the United Kingdom evaluated clinical decision support systems (CDSS) for antimicrobial management. They included 58 original articles describing 38 independent CDSS. Most systems are platforms integrated with electronic medical records, which target antimicrobial prescribing and have rules based infrastructure providing decision support. CDSS studies fail to report consideration of the non-expert, end-user workflow, and tend to focus on antimicrobial selection. The authors recommend to include factors that drive non-expert decision making when designing CDSS interventions. They conclude that future work must aim to expand the systems beyond simply selecting appropriate antimicrobials, with clear and systematic reporting frameworks for interventions developed to address current gaps identified in the reporting of evidence.

More than 100 public health, infectious disease and clinical microbiology specialists attended the conference, jointly organized by ESCMID, The LANCET Infectious Diseases, Fondation Mérieux, ESA (Ecole Supérieure des Affaires) and AUF (Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie). The conference brought together local scientists and international experts to address the main public health concerns in the Middle East and North Africa. The MENA region is a hotbed for many well-known and emerging infectious diseases. Participants elaborated on the important challenges the region is facing in infectious diseases and clinical microbiology due to political instability and migratory flows.

As many as 169 were submitted in the general category, while 45 each were submitted for the special tracks One Health and rapid diagnostics. They will now be reviewed, and submitters will be informed by the end of March if their abstract(s) has been accepted.

The late breakers as well as the regular abstracts will be published online on eccmidlive.org on 12 April, 10 days before ECCMID starts on 22 April. Abstracts included in the media programme are not published in advance but are embargoed until the day of the presentation.

We thank all 125 reviewers who contributed to the ESCMID Research Grant programme 2017. They are listed on the Research Grant Reviewer Acknowledgement website and will be thanked in our yearbook. We appreciate their commitment. They dedicated much time and effort to help evaluate the 97 research grant applications submitted for viral, fungal and parasitic infection projects. With their help 14 outstanding applications have been selected for a Research Grant 2017. The grantees have been published on our website. The grantees will also be announced in the latest edition of the ESCMID Yearbook, which will be distributed at ECCMID 2017 in Vienna.

The EUCIC Implementation Working Group is launching an online survey aimed at providing an overview on major limitations of the implementation of extensive infection prevention and control measures (IPCM) against the spread of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative (MDR-GN) bacteria among patients in European hospitals. This project dubbed STOP-negative also grants national societies a chance to bring specific local drivers of non-compliance with guideline indications on the table for political discussion. The results of the survey will help to define major structural, educational, and other limitations in implementing available guidelines in controlling MDR-GN in European hospitals, as well as define resource needs. Regular updates on the survey can be found here.

The questionnaire requires only about 15 minutes. In case you have local definitions for MDR-GN or local infection control guidelines or guidance documents, you are encouraged to upload the documents even if they are not available in English.

Check out our comprehensive scientific programme, which is online now.

Don’t forget that the deadline for the submission of late-breaking abstracts is 1 March at 23:59 CET.

If you want to join colleagues from around the world in Vienna from 22 – 25 April, you can still benefit from the regular registration fee until 2 March 2017.

The congress registration includes public transport in the city of Vienna from 21 – 25 April. We encourage you to use public transport as the city will also host the Vienna Marathon on the same weekend.

The Trainee Association of ESCMID (TAE) published a paper on a survey on work-life balance in the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases. It showed that about one in five physicians working in medical microbiology and infectious diseases is suffering from burnout, bullying and poor work-life balance (press release).

The TAE is organizing its traditional TAE Trainees Day 2017 on Saturday, 22 April at ECCMID in Vienna. First, the winners of this year's TAE Awards for Training Achievements, Aleksandra Barac from the University of Belgrade and Paola Tatarelli from the University of Genoa, will be honoured. 

The TAE Awards ceremony is followed by the interactive round-table format, which offers younger professionals the chance to talk to experts in an informal setting. Check out the TAE’s clip on Facebook to see if you would like to participate.

The university hospital and Lorraine University in Nancy, France, have two job openings. The hospital is looking for a full professor of infectious diseases, who would head the medical activities, fulfill academic and teaching functions and advance research. The second position is for a less senior infectious diseases specialist with an academic profile who would start as senior registrar in infectious diseases, and make the first step towards an associate professorship.

The ESCMID Study Group for PK/PD of Anti-Infectives together with the International Society of Anti-Infective Pharmacology are organizing the EPASG/ISAP conference on anti-infective pharmacogenetics and pharmacodynamics on 21 April 2017 in Vienna. The conference, which takes place right before ECCMID 2017, will bring together researchers and clinicians from various parts of the world to discuss pro and cons of current PK/PD strategies. Check out the programme.

Candida auris is a new species of Candida that is currently causing outbreaks in healthcare settings worldwide. The first outbreak in Europe was described in England in 2015, but there were already cases in Spain. C. auris is difficult to identify with classical methods and can be misidentified with different species (Rhodotorula glutinis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida haemulonii, Candida sake, or other species of Candida non-albicans), depending on the identification method used. Correct identification can be done by sequencing the ITS or D1-D2 regions or with MALDI-TOF (the species has been included in the last update of Bruker´s library).

C. auris is resistant to fluconazole, and strains resistant to amphotericin B and echinocandins have also been described. From the experience acquired so far, it is known that it is important to detect it as soon as possible to take control measures, due to its high transmission capacity and resistance pattern. Due to the difficulty of the correct identification of C. auris, if proper identification methods are not available, we recommend the referral of suspected invasive isolates to a reference mycology laboratory.

Useful links:
•    Risk Assessment of the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC, direct link)
•    Guidance for the laboratory investigation, management and infection prevention and control from cases of Candida auris elaborated by Public Health England (PHE, direct link)
•    CDC Candida auris website with links to Interim Recommendations, as well as links to papers on a global WGS analysis and investigation of the first seven US cases

Researchers will present new data on this new pathogen at ECCMID 2017. Check the scientific programme, which will be published on the congress website in the course of February.

Researchers from the United States wanted to give an overview of universal influenza virus vaccines and therapeutic antibodies in pre-clinical and clinical development. They identified universal influenza virus vaccines that target conserved regions of the influenza virus including the hemagglutinin stalk domain, the ectodomain of the M2 ion channel or the internal matrix and nucleoproteins that are in late pre-clinical and clinical development. These vaccines could confer broad protection against all influenza A and B viruses including drift variants and thereby abolish the need for annual re-formulation and re-administration of influenza virus vaccines, they stated. In addition, these novel vaccines would enhance our preparedness against emerging influenza virus pandemics. Finally, novel therapeutic antibodies against the same conserved targets are in clinical development and could become valuable tools in the fight against influenza virus infection. The authors conclude that both universal influenza virus vaccines and therapeutic antibodies are potential future options for the control of human influenza infections.

The University of Technology Sydney is looking for a Head/Chair of Inflammation to establish a globally recognised programme of inflammation research. He/she will create an interdisciplinary research centre; seeking research funding from national, international government and industry sources, supervising higher degree students, and disseminating research results through high quality peer-reviewed publications.

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is seeking a Lead in Clinical Microbiology to lead and participate in the development, direction, teaching, facilitation and examining of the undergraduate Medical teaching programmes of Perdana University in Clinical Microbiology in Malaysia.

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) in Geneva, Switzerland is seeking a GARDP Scientific Director to develop the overall R&D strategy as well as the specific drug development projects which will form the initial activities.

U.S. diagnostics company T2 Biosystems is looking for a Medical Science Liaison for its European operations based anywhere in Europe.

This postgraduate education course from 28 – 31 March targets 20 to 60 microbiologists and infectious disease specialists who want updated knowledge on the theoretical and practical aspects of current and advanced diagnosis and management of bloodstream infection (BSI). Speakers will present advanced technologies to improve disease management in a context of challenges including multi-drug resistant pathogens as well as new approaches such as novel molecular detection tools, or anti-infective lock therapy in catheter-associated BSI. Find out more about the programme, grant application and registration timelines.

Thierry Calandra, professor of medicine and head of the Infectious Diseases Service at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland, is the winner of the 2017 ESCMID Excellence Award. The prize recognizes and rewards an outstanding lifetime contribution in clinical microbiology and/or infectious diseases. Calandra’s research interests include innate immunity, sepsis and bacterial and fungal infections in critically ill and ICU patients as well as immunocompromised hosts. Calandra will hold his keynote lecture Sepsis: making progress, but not yet there! at ECCMID 2017 on Sunday, 23 April 2017 at 14:30.

Researchers from France evaluated if screening for primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs) should be performed after the first invasive infection in young adults. In adults screening is recommended after two severe bacterial infections. The researchers included patients who had experienced an invasive infection with encapsulated bacteria commonly encountered in PIDs such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Haemophilus influenzae or group A Streptococcus. About one in five was diagnosed with PID. The researchers conclude that PID screening should be considered after a first unexplained invasive encapsulated bacterial infection in young adults.

The course on the identification and management of arbovirus infections takes place from 29 – 31 March in Zagreb. The course is part of PREPARE, an EU-funded partnership aimed at strengthening European preparedness for (re-) emerging infectious disease outbreaks. Course topics will include a review of arboviruses of clinical importance to Europe, including endemic and travel imported viruses. The course will be delivered by a range of European experts on arboviruses, through a dynamic mix of presentations, case scenarios and outbreak exercises. The registration deadline for the course is 20 February 2017.

The Programme Committee accepts late-breaking abstracts on all conference topics, but organizers particularly welcome submissions for two special tracks: One Health and rapid diagnostics. The abstracts must contain novel data, which only became available after the end of November when the regular submission deadline closed. More information may be found in the abstract guidelines. The submission is open from 15 February – 1 March 2017, 23:59 CET.

We have informed the abstract submitters about the sessions their presentations have been allocated to. When booking your stay in Vienna, please make sure you use our official website to book your hotels at the best rates.

The ESCMID study group for critically ill patients (ESGCIP) is conducting a survey to assess how the current use of nebulized antibiotics in mechanically ventilated patients compares with the results of a previous survey.

Two years ago the group had conducted the Survey of antimicrobial nebulization in mechanically ventilated patients (SANEME). Some results of this study have already been published.

We kindly ask you to participate in ESGCIP’s second survey (SANEME-2). The survey will take less than 10 min to complete. Thank you very much. We plan to present the preliminary results and a position paper at ECCMID 2017.

The First International Conference on Zika Virus takes place in Washington DC, USA from 22-25 February 2017. The scientific programme of this conference has been designed to provide an up-to-date panorama of the virus from a medical and geographical point of view. Participants are able to exchange the latest data with specialists and researchers from across the world. ESCMID offers its Young Scientist members grants to attend the conference in Washington DC. You will find more information about the attendance grants on the ESCMID website.

The course on hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) takes place from 24 – 25 March 2017 in Muscat, Oman. The workshop aims at reviewing existing knowledge, ongoing studies, identifying gaps and priorities for prevention and control of multidrug-resistant HAI in LMIC with a particular focus on Gram-negative bacteria and respiratory and bloodstream infections. After discussing the design of high-quality studies (including randomized controlled trials) to test agreed interventions, participants will continue discussions in their home institutions and become involved in developing further studies to advance knowledge and introduce interventions to reduce the burden of HAIs.

We have received a record 5,000 abstracts for ECCMID. The ECCMID 2017 Programme Committee has accepted 3,500 abstracts for presentation at the congress. We have informed the abstract submitters.

We want to take the opportunity to thank all abstract submitters, members of the programme committee and reviewers for their commitment to the congress, and we are looking forward to seeing you in Vienna from 22 – 25 April 2017. The final scientific programme will be published in February.

Late-breaking abstracts, which have not been included in the above-mentioned number, may be submitted from 15 February – 1 March 2017.

To benefit from the early-bird registration deadline, please register before 26 January 2017. Make sure you use our official website to book your hotels to get the best rates.

The ESCMID Study Group for PK/PD of Anti-Infectives together with the International Society of Anti-Infective Pharmacology are organizing the EPASG/ISAP conference on anti-infective pharmacogenetics and pharmacodynamics on 21 April 2017 in Vienna. The conference, which takes place right before ECCMID 2017, will bring together researchers and clinicians from various parts of the world to discuss pro and cons of current PK/PD strategies. You will find more information on the conference and on study grants in the EPASG newsletter.

The one-week course from 1 – 8 July 2017 in Borstel, Germany, is dedicated to postgraduate and continuing medical education. The programme covers a broad range of topics in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases and will interest young MDs at the end of their specialty training as well as biologists, pharmacists, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows working in the infection field.

Researchers from Belgium review tight blood glucose control and early macronutrient restriction as strategies to reduce nosocomial infections and sepsis in the critically ill. Although the optimal blood glucose target remains to be defined and many controversies are waiting to be solved, common sense supports preventing severe hyperglycaemia in all critically ill patients. When adequate monitoring tools and expertise are available, targeting strict normoglycaemia is preferable for ICU patients. However, when these conditions are not fulfilled in clinical practice, an intermediate target is advisable for safety reasons. Whether early macronutrient restriction renders moderate hyperglycaemia less harmful remains to be further explored. Future research that dares to challenge the classical dogmas will pave the way for clinical progress in this complex area of medicine.

Mass spectrometry is significantly reducing time-to-identification of pathogens, and clinical microbiology is now moving beyond identification towards antibiotic resistance testing, direct specimen exploration and typing. Participants will learn about recent breakthroughs and current applications from leading scientists in the field of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Moreover, the course aims to create networks between clinical microbiologists, basic researchers and allied professions and build capacity to facilitate multiple applications in this multidisciplinary field across Europe.

Several experts active in the ESCMID network contributed to an important paper published in the BMJ Open that aimed at assessing a tool that helps optimise epidemiological studies examining the association between antimicrobial usage and development of resistance. The researchers reviewed and evaluated relevant epidemiological studies according to the items of the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) tool for quality of reporting. The study showed that reporting is currently rather poor. The implementation of the newly developed STROBE for antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) tool should enhance study design and reporting, and therefore contribute to the improvement of evidence to be used for AMS programme development and assessment. The new tool is available on the Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research EQUATOR website.

This postgraduate education course from 28 – 31 March targets 20 to 60 microbiologists and infectious disease specialists who want updated knowledge on the theoretical and practical aspects of current and advanced diagnosis and management of bloodstream infection (BSI). Speakers will present advanced technologies to improve disease management in a context of challenges including multi-drug resistant pathogens as well as new approaches such as novel molecular detection tools, or anti-infective lock therapy in catheter-associated BSI. Participants who want to apply for an attendance grant must apply before 27 January. Find out more about the programme, grant application and registration timelines.

Bloodstream infections (BSIs) due to extended-spectrum-beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-E) are frequent, but outcome prediction rules for clinical use have not been developed. An international group of researchers supported by ESCMID’s study group for BSIs defined and validated
an easy-to-collect predictive scoring model for all-cause 30-day mortality useful for identifying patients at high and low risk of mortality. The study was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

Researchers in Sweden assessed the clinical effect of empirical treatment with narrow-spectrum beta-lactam monotherapy (NSBM) versus broad-spectrum beta-lactam monotherapy (BSBM) in non-severe community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). They observed no significant differences in 30-day and 90-day mortality between NSBM and BSBM. Patients who received BSBM were more often treated in an intensive care unit and had longer length of stay. Empirical NSBM appears to be effective in the majority of hospitalized immunocompetent adults with non-severe CAP and should be further evaluated in randomized trials, the authors concluded.

This postgraduate education course from 28 – 31 March targets 20 to 60 microbiologists and infectious disease specialists who want updated knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of current and advanced diagnosis and management of bloodstream infection (BSI). Speakers will present advanced technologies to improve disease management in a context of challenges including multi-drug resistant pathogens as well as new approaches including molecular detection tools or biofilm or anti-infective lock therapy in catheter-associated BSI. Find out more about the programme, grant application and registration timelines.

The ECCMID Programme Committee is currently meeting in Rome to finalize an exciting scientific programme for the next ECCMID from 22 – 25 April 2017 in Vienna, Austria. The full programme will be available in the beginning of February. In the meantime, you can check out the preliminary scientific programme with the keynote speakers. The early-bird registration fees applies until 26 January. Late-breaking abstracts may be submitted between 15 February and 1 March 2017. You may submit research in all topics, but we will also have two special tracks: One Health approaches and rapid diagnostics.

Researchers from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom investigated genetic variations of Listeria monocytogenes, a food-borne pathogen, and their potential to cause meningitis. They identified a bacteriophage, co-occurring with a novel plasmid associated with unfavourable outcome in patients. The plasmid carries the emrC gene, which confers decreased susceptibility to disinfectants used in the food-processing industry. Isolates harbouring emrC were growth-inhibited at higher levels of benzalkonium chloride, and had higher MICs for amoxicillin and gentamicin compared with isolates without emrC. The results show that the novel plasmid, carrying the efflux transporter emrC, is associated with increased incidence of certain types of listerial meningitis. Suggesting increased disease severity, the findings warrant consideration of disinfectants used in the food-processing industry that select for resistance mechanisms and may, inadvertently, lead to increased risk of poor disease outcome, the researchers conclude.

Young scientists may apply until 13 January for a grant to attend the workshop on hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) from 24 – 25 March 2017 in Muscat, Oman. The workshop aims at reviewing existing knowledge, ongoing studies, identifying gaps and priorities for prevention and control of multidrug-resistant HAI in LMIC with particular focus on Gram-negative bacteria, respiratory and bloodstream infections.

The grant deadline is 15 January for the course on (re-)emerging arbovirus infections in Zagreb from 29 – 31 March 2017. The course is part of an EU-funded partnership aimed at strengthening European preparedness for (re-)emerging infectious disease outbreaks, and aims to improve participants’ knowledge of identification and management of arbovirus infections and outbreaks.

Check out all of ESCMID’s educational events on the dedicated web page.

Mass spectrometry is significantly reducing time-to-identification of causing pathogens, and clinical microbiology is now moving beyond identification towards antibiotic resistance testing, direct specimen exploration and typing. Participants will learn about recent breakthroughs and current applications from leading scientists in the field of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Moreover, the course aims to create networks between clinical microbiologists, basic researchers and allied professions and build capacity facilitating the multiple applications in this multidisciplinary field across Europe. Young scientists may apply for an attendance grant until tomorrow, 4 January 2017. The registration deadline is 3 February 2017.

ESCMID’s journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection is inviting authors to submit papers for the theme issues that are planned for September – December 2017. The topics of the theme issues are New antibiotics and issues surrounding their development, approval and access; Acquired resistance in fungi: how large is the problem?; Antibiotic stewardship; and Nutrition and infection. You may submit articles in any CMI format: original research as full articles or as research notes; narrative or systematic reviews; commentaries or letters to the editor.

The commission founded to review and improve the representation of minorities and gender is seeking an Advocate for Geographic Balance. The new officer’s term is for three years (2017-2019) with the possibility of extension by two years. In order to apply for the position please send a motivation letter (max 500 words) along with a short CV by 15 January 2017.

The aim of the course is to improve participants’ knowledge of identification and management of arbovirus infections and outbreaks at a local and European level. The course is part of PREPARE, an EU-funded partnership aimed at strengthening European preparedness for (re-) emerging infectious disease outbreaks. Course topics will include a review of arboviruses of clinical importance to Europe, including endemic and travel imported viruses. This will include an overview of symptomatology, diagnostics and interpretation of laboratory results and an update on prevention, vaccine and treatments. The course will also include an overview of surveillance systems, European organizations, laboratories and clinical networks involved in surveillance, control and outbreak response and interactive sessions covering serology interpretation, case scenarios and outbreak response exercises. The course will be delivered by a range of European experts on arboviruses, through a dynamic mix of presentations, case scenarios and outbreak exercises.

Immunocompromised patients in some countries are prescribed marijuana to control nausea or pain. But there is little data available on the infectious risks of medical marijuana. Researchers in the U.S. assessed the microbiome of twenty cannabis samples from different dispensaries in northern California. They found evidence for the presence of numerous Gram-negative bacilli and fungal pathogens. The authors conclude that it would be prudent to advise immunocompromised patients against the use of vaporized or inhaled marijuana because it places them at an increased risk for acquisition of severe infections.

The course on hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) takes place from 24 – 25 March 2017 in Muscat, Oman. The workshop aims at reviewing existing knowledge, ongoing studies, identifying gaps and priorities for prevention and control of multidrug-resistant HAI in LMIC with particular focus on Gram-negative bacteria, respiratory and bloodstream infections. After discussing the design of high-quality studies (including randomized controlled trials) to test agreed interventions, participants will continue discussions in their home institutions and become involved in developing further studies to advance knowledge and introduce interventions to reduce the burden of HAIs.

The keynote lectures at ECCMID 2017 in Vienna are presented by renowned speakers who will offer discourse on novel diagnostics and genetics approaches, strategies to fight antimicrobial resistance as well as insights into major challenges including hepatitis B, malaria or HIV. Listen to keynote speaker Gilbert Greub from the Institute of Microbiology at the CHUV hospital in Lausanne who will talk about the recent revolution in diagnostic bacteriology.

Ève Dubé from the National Health Institute of Quebec in a comment discusses a study describing discrepancies between GPs’ vaccination recommendations for their patients and practices for their own children published in CMI. Dubé concludes that it is of critical importance to identify providers who are vaccine-hesitant to understand the causes of their hesitancies and to develop tailored strategies if we wish to maintain vaccination programs successes. As within the population, vaccine hesitancy in healthcare providers is highly context-specific and varies between different vaccines, professions and in time. There are important gaps in our understanding of the complex mix of factors leading to vaccine hesitancy among healthcare providers, which are key to design effective targeted interventions. Read a Healio article about vaccine hesitancy citing the original paper as well as an expert comment by ESCMID's vaccines study group EVASG. And read Dubé's paper in CMI.

ESCMID’s study group for veterinary microbiology ESGVM published its first newsletter. The topics include publications, presentations, educational activities, research projects as well as an outlook for activities at ECCMID 2017 in Vienna.

The postgraduate education course from 28 – 31 March 2017 targets 20 to 60 microbiologists and infectious disease specialists who want to get updated knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of current and advanced diagnosis and management of bloodstream infection (BSI). Speakers will present advanced technologies to improve disease management in a context of challenges including multi-drug resistant pathogens as well as new approaches including molecular detection tools or biofilm or anti-infective lock therapy in catheter-associated BSI. Find out more about the programme, grant application and registration timelines.

The sepsis-3 definitions generated controversies regarding the general applicability of its recommendation defining organ dysfunction as 2-point increase in the sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score. Researchers of the Hellenic sepsis study group validated the recommendations with an emphasis on the quick SOFA (qSOFA) score. They studied 3,346 infections outside the ICU and 1,058 infections within the ICU. Their analysis positively validated the use of the SOFA score to predict unfavourable outcome and to limit misclassification into lower severity. However, the analysis also showed that the qSOFA score had inadequate sensitivity for early risk assessment.

The European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS)’s European Accreditation Council for continued medical education (EACCME) has published new criteria for the recognition of educational activities. Medical specialists may as of 2017 receive EACCME credits for educational activities and/or activities promoting their continuing professional development (CPD). New activities include the publication and editorial review of an article in a peer-reviewed journal as well as a presentation at an accredited educational event.

We thank you for your abstract submissions for ECCMID 2017. Our reviewers will start today to assess the almost 5,000 abstracts we have received for our congress in Vienna. Submitters will be notified about acceptance before the early-bird registration deadline: 26 January 2017.

The European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) reviewed the use of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) for antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST). The EUCAST experts concluded that for most bacterial species there is currently insufficient evidence to support the use of WGS-inferred AST to guide clinical decision making. They state that WGS-AST should be a funding priority if it is to become a rival to phenotypic AST. The major limitations to widespread adoption for WGS-based AST in clinical labs remain the current high-cost and limited speed of inferring antimicrobial susceptibility from WGS data as well as the dependency on prior culture since analysis directly on specimens remains challenging.

Researchers in Chile studied the efficacy and safety of withholding antimicrobials in children with cancer, fever and neutropenia (FN) with a demonstrated respiratory viral infection. The authors conclude that it is safe to reduce antimicrobial treatment in children with FN and respiratory viral infections. Physicians should favour the adoption of evidence-based management strategies, based on clinical and microbiological/molecular diagnostic criteria.

The 9th Cuban Congress of Microbiology and Parasitology, the 6th National Congress of Tropical Medicine and the International Symposium on HIV Infection in Cuba will be held from 5 to 8 December 2017 at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí  in Havana, Cuba. The event marks the 80th anniversary of the Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí (IPK), one of the most celebrated in Latin America. ESCMID supports science in Cuba and is collaborating with infectious disease and clinical microbiology institutions to organize future activities. Read more about the congress in the first announcement.

Abstract submission for ECCMID from 22 – 25 April 2017 in Vienna is open until Wednesday, 30 November at midnight CET. Share and discuss your research at the largest congress combining clinical microbiology and infectious diseases. To give you some idea about the highlights you can expect next year, you may watch the message of ECCMID Programme Director Winfried Kern.

The Trainee Association of ESCMID has a new more attractive funding scheme for its TAE award, which is intended to recognize and reward outstanding trainees in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases. The award includes a non-restricted prize money of EUR 1,500, ECCMID 2017 travel and registration and Summer School 2017 registration and accommodation. Find out more about eligibility criteria, the nomination and selection procedure. (Picture: Clíodhna Ní Bhuachalla, winner 2016 TAE award)

The University Laboratory of Brussels has an opening for head of the Clinical Microbiology Department. The Head of Department is in charge of the medical, teaching, and administrative organization of the department. The required qualities are leadership and communication skills, rigour and integrity, a sense of responsibility, good resistance to stress, and the ability to prioritize. The Head of Department guarantees and furthers the production of quality results to support hospital clinicians in their daily practice and, in particular, maintains and optimizes the microbiology department's collaboration with the network's infectious diseases hospital departments/wards. He/she represents the microbiology laboratory on the Hospital Hygiene Committee and in the Antibiotic Management Group and ensures the department's collaboration with these bodies while facilitating the transmission of epidemiological and antibiotic resistance data.

Researchers in Norway compared treating febrile neutropenia (FN) with benzylpenicillin plus an aminoglycoside vs the broad-spectrum beta-lactam antibiotic meropenem in neutropenic patients with lymphoma or leukaemia, and a suspected bacterial infection. Clinical success was significantly more frequent in patients randomized to the meropenem arm, and they also had fewer fatal outcomes than patients randomized to the benzylpenicillin plus an aminoglycoside regimen, the researchers found. Balancing the need for adequate antimicrobial therapy in each patient, and avoiding unnecessary use of broad-spectrum-beta-lactams to reduce antibiotic resistance in the interest of future patients, make this trial and future research important, the researchers conclude.

The ESCMID Parity Commission (EPC) was founded to review and improve the representation of minorities and gender as well as geographic balance in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases. It is seeking a new member for three years starting 2017 with the possibility of extension by two years. The aims and activities of the ESCMID Parity Commission may be viewed here.

Researchers investigated the response to a pentavalent childhood vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus, whole cell pertussis, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b) in Laos, a country where the high burden of vaccine-preventable diseases was thought to be due to low vaccine coverage. After a full documented course of vaccination, seroprotective rates were unusually low and disparate against components of the vaccine: only 38% of children were protected against hepatitis B, 56% against diphtheria and 85% against tetanus. Time since vaccination, age, home-birth and malnutrition only partially explained the poor vaccine responses. The study demonstrates an urgent need to monitor the serological response to vaccination, in particular in resource-poor countries, the researchers concluded.

The Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology department at the Louvain Drug Research Institute of the Université catholique de Louvain has a Post-doc opening (minimum two years) to study the biology of intracellular infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and to evaluate innovative therapeutic approaches. The project aims to characterize the interaction between eukaryotic cells and human pathogenic bacteria in the context of intracellular infection to better understand the cell response to infection and the reasons for poor response to antibiotic treatments. The work will consist of following the intracellular fate of bacteria and examining changes in bacterial gene expression during the infection process. The goal is to propose rational bases for innovative therapeutic strategies to be combined with antibiotics.

The Medical Mycology/ Invasive Fungi Research Center at the School of Medicine, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, in Sari, Iran is the one of the country’s largest teaching and training departments specialized on MSc and PhD in fungal infections. The department is fully equipped to undertake molecular identification, antifungal drug resistance and epidemiologic studies of invasive fungal infections. In addition, it runs a specialized clinic for the diagnosis of fungal infections and has a very active research team focusing on the epidemiology of azole-resistant Aspergillus and Candida species.

The European Committee on Infection Control (EUCIC) and the ESCMID Study Group for Antibiotic Policies (ESGAP) organize a number of activities to promote prudent use of antibiotics in Europe. They include events at healthcare institutions and public campaigns on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), surveillance and antibiotic stewardship programmes in Moldova, Turkey, Spain, Cyprus and the Netherlands.

AMR has been at the core of ESCMID’s educational and research activities for many years, and the society has undertaken a number of initiatives to effectively fight AMR. ESCMID plans to publish a position paper on its strategy and role in the fight against AMR. ESCMID has been supporting governments and international organizations to implement policies on evidence-based prevention, infection control, surveillance of resistance, antibiotic stewardship and sanitation to guarantee an optimal use of antimicrobial medicines. Concrete efforts include the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST), jointly organized by ESCMID and the ECDC, which defines so-called breakpoints required to distinguish between therapeutic success and failure. More recent initiatives are the European Committee on Infection Control (EUCIC), created in 2014, to implement infection control and preventive measures to reduce the burden of healthcare-associated infections. Just in September ESCMID together with the American Society for Microbiology organized an international conference on drug development to meet the AMR challenge. AMR will once again be the main topic at ECCMID, the largest congress in infectious diseases and clinical microbiology, from 22 – 25 April 2017 in Vienna. The society welcomes the fact that the topic moved to the top of the global agenda in September when the United Nations General Assembly called a high-level meeting to address AMR.

The goal of this week’s initiative is to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance. Join ESCMID and its partners and contribute to activities aimed at raising awareness on AMR at your organization or in your country. Share your experience on twitter using @ESCMID @ESGAP_ABS #WAAW #EAAD and #AntibioticResistance and #AMR!

Nominations are accepted until 15 November 2016 at 12:00 noon CET for the Award for Excellence in recognition of an outstanding lifetime contribution to science, education or professional affairs in the field of infection as well as for the Young Investigator Award, which rewards outstanding research and stimulates further studies at the highest scientific level.

An international research group led by the University of Queensland in Australia defined standardized endpoints to aid the design of trials that compare antibiotic therapies for bloodstream infection (BSI), including Staphylococcus aureus and Gram-negative BSI. They defined different primary and secondary endpoints for small-scale pilot studies designed to evaluate protocol design, feasibility and implementation as well as larger-scale trials designed to test hypotheses and influence clinical practice. These new endpoints provide a framework to aid future trial design, the authors conclude. Further work will be required to validate them with respect to patient-centred clinical outcomes. The paper is important because randomized controlled trials are the basis of evidence-based management of patients. The findings will help investigators choose endpoints that improve the management of patients.

The following candidates were elected: Zaira Palacios Baena (Seville, Spain) and Cansu Çimen (Istanbul, Turkey) for infectious diseases as well as Caroline Rönnberg (Stockholm, Sweden) and Thea-Christin Zapf (Marburg, Germany) for clinical microbiology. We welcome them to the TAE Steering Committee. We thank all candidates for their interest and active participation in the electoral procedure.

The MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) is a hotbed for many well-known and emerging infectious diseases. Due to political instability and migratory flows, the region might contribute greatly to the global spread of infectious diseases. The conference, jointly organized by ESCMID, The LANCET Infectious Diseases, Fondation Mérieux, ESA (Ecole Supérieure des Affaires) and AUF (Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie), will bring together local scientists and renowned international experts to address this important issue for global health.

For the 2017 ESCMID research grants we received 97 proposals. We are currently preparing to have the projects reviewed by three reviewers per application. This year ESCMID invited applications for projects on fungal/viral/parasitic infections and diseases (including diagnostics, pathogenesis, susceptibility, resistance, stewardship and vaccines). In addition to the regular EUR 20,000 grants, ESCMID has reserved up to EUR 50,000 each for two excellently rated projects. In the coming newsletters we will highlight the outcomes of some of the research projects funded by ESCMID grants in the past.

 A group of German researchers showed that travel through airports does have the potential to introduce antibiotic-resistant bacteria onto surfaces at airports, which may pose a public health risk. International travellers can acquire antimicrobial-resistant bacteria while travelling and spread it in their home countries after returning from abroad. While the study is limited by its small sample size, time delays between sampling and culture and a lack of hygiene information, it also shows that a joint strategy by low, middle and high income countries is required to successfully fight antimicrobial resistance, the authors conclude. ESCMID will send out a press release on the paper 2 November.

ESCMID fungal study group comments a Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy supplement on antifungal stewardship. ESCMID Fungal Infection Study Group EFISG welcomes and supports this initiative and takes this opportunity to highlight a few specific recommendations on antifungal stewardship. The series of reviews published in JAC summarize core elements of successful hospital antifungal stewardship programmes and outline how such programmes have been implemented in different clinical settings. Due to the complexity of medical decision-making and the variability in the site and types of care among hospitals worldwide a successful implementation requires flexible models. Read EFISG’s full comments on the study group’s website.

ESCMID is partnering with the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID), the Chinese Medical Association and The Lancet Infectious Diseases on the 2nd International Conference on Infections and their Prevention - New Challenges, New Strategies, which takes place in Nanjing, China 18/19 November 2016. Chinese and international speakers will provide updates on severe ID challenges in China, emerging threats, vaccine discovery and implementation and antibiotic therapy and resistance.

On 17 October, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) launched a public consultation on the preliminary scientific advice document Expert opinion on rotavirus vaccination in infancy. The consultation is open until 28 November 2016. The input will be used for ECDC’s expert opinion to support the decision-making process at the European Union/European Economic Area member states on the possible introduction and monitoring of routine vaccination against rotavirus-induced gastroenteritis in infants. Please read more here on how to submit contributions.

Researchers at the Imperial College performed an economic evaluation of the cost associated with an outbreak of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) at hospitals in London. The outbreak cost €1.1 million over 10 months, comprising €312,000 of actual expenditure (drugs, laboratory costs, contact precautions, decontamination, monitoring and costs of bay closures), and €822,000 in opportunity cost (lost bed days, missed revenue, staff time). Reduced capacity to perform elective surgical procedures related to bed closures (€349,000) represented the greatest cost. An additional €153,000 was spent on estates renovations prompted by the outbreak. The authors conclude that CPE outbreaks are highly costly.

Nominations are accepted until 15 November 2016 at 12:00 noon CET for the Award for Excellence in recognition of an outstanding lifetime contribution to science, education or professional affairs in the field of infection as well as for the Young Investigator Award, which rewards outstanding research and stimulates further studies at the highest scientific level.

ESCMID’s Parity Commission explored the social, cultural, psychological, and organizational factors associated with inequality in the workplace among clinical microbiologists (CM) and infectious disease (ID) specialists at European hospitals. The study shows that discrimination occurs at all institutions in all the countries, though it is generally not explicit and uses disrespectful micro-behaviours that are hard to respond to when they occur. Inequality for example affects loans, distribution of research funds and gender and country representation in boards and conference faculty. Parenthood has a major impact on women’s careers, as women are still mainly responsible for family care. Responses to discrimination range from reactive to surrender strategies. The authors present an effective model for diagnosing discriminatory behaviours in a medical professional setting. The identification of inequality drivers may help national ID/CM societies to further reduce discrimination.

The society agreed to facilitate the reopening of the St. John of God Hospital in Lunsar, Sierra Leone, which was closed down during the Ebola outbreak. Sierra Leone was one of the countries heavily affected by the epidemic. The hospital was not operational after the infection caused numerous casualties among health workers including doctors and nurses. With ESCMID’s funding the Spanish non-profit organization Fundación Juan Ciudad ONGD that manages the hospital was able to send a tropical disease specialist who trained new staff in infectious disease management. Read more about the project in Spanish on the foundation’s website. [Picture: Patrick Kuruma, General Director of St. John of God Hospital with Rogelio López-Vélez]

Check out our scientific programme for ECCMID from 22 – 25 April 2017 in Vienna. Until 26 January 2017 you may benefit from early-bird registration fees, which will include public transport in the city of Vienna. Until 30 November you will be able to submit your abstracts and apply for a travel grant to attend the congress. 

Applications for next year’s ESCMID research grants are accepted until 13 October 2016 at 12:00 noon CET. For the 2017 grants we only accept proposals for projects on fungal/viral/parasitic infections and diseases (including diagnostics, pathogenesis, susceptibility, resistance, stewardship and vaccines). This focus increases the chances of individual projects. In addition to the regular EUR 20,000 grants, ESCMID has reserved up to EUR 50,000 each for two excellently rated projects.

Researchers led by a team at the Imperial College London studied the impact of migration on multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in low-incidence countries in Europe. The study showed that a significant proportion of MDR-TB cases in migrants result from reactivation of latent infection. Screening, however, is highly problematic since current tests cannot distinguish latent MDR-TB. Although there is a human rights obligation to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of MDR-TB in migrants, refugees experience significant barriers to testing and treatment, exacerbated by increasingly restrictive health systems. The researchers call for further studies into the impact of screening on detection or prevention, and the potential consequences of failing to treat and prevent MDR-TB among migrants in Europe. An evidence-based guidance for treatment of latent infection and effective approaches for MDR-TB management are urgently needed, the researchers conclude.

The Trainee Association of ESCMID (TAE) has recently published the results of a large survey among European trainees in clinical microbiology and infectious disease on training systems and training adequacy. This survey shows high heterogeneity in training conditions in European countries, identifies perceived gaps in training, and suggests areas for improvements. You may find the results in the open-access article.

The congress registration includes the use of public transportation within the city of Vienna and for the first time we also offer cancellation insurance.
The programme committee has prepared an attractive scientific programme. Have a look for example at our keynote lectures, which include presentations by renowned experts on antibiotic stewardship, diagnostic bacteriology, elimination of malaria and HIV or the role of intestinal microbiota to combat antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.

Researchers in Hungary studied the efficacy of tigecycline compared to standard therapy with oral vancomycin plus intravenous metronidazole in adults treated for severe Clostridium difficile infection (sCDI). Patients treated with tigecycline had significantly better outcomes of clinical cure, less complicated disease courses and less CDI sepsis compared to patients receiving standard therapy. Tigecycline usage was not associated with adverse drug reactions or need for colectomy. Rates of ileus, toxic megacolon, mortality and relapse were similar between the two groups, the study showed. The researchers concluded that the favourable outcomes suggest that tigecycline should be considered as a potential candidate for therapeutic usage in cases of sCDI refractory to standard treatment.

The ESCMID/ASM Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance has come to a close in Vienna, Austria. The conference addressed issues such as the reliance on very robust preclinical studies, innovative clinical trial design, strong academic-industrial partnerships, and a requirement for early engagement with regulatory bodies in order to facilitate the processes for accelerated antimicrobial development. The presentations can be found in the ESCMID eLibrary.

Nominations are accepted until 15 November 2016 at 12:00 noon CET for the Award for Excellence in recognition of an outstanding lifetime contribution to science, education or professional affairs in the field of infection as well as for the Young Investigator Award, which rewards outstanding research and stimulates further studies at the highest scientific level.

Applications for next year’s ESCMID research grants are being accepted until 13 October 2016 at 12:00 noon CET. For the 2017 grants we only accept proposals for projects on fungal/viral/parasitic infections and diseases (including diagnostics, pathogenesis, susceptibility, resistance, stewardship and vaccines). This focus increases the chances of the individual projects. In addition to the regular grants of EUR 20,000, ESCMID has reserved up to EUR 50,000 each for two excellently rated projects.

Researchers in France investigated if general practitioners’ vaccination recommendations for their patients differ from their practices for their own children. The study showed that most reported that their own children were vaccinated, but that they did not always recommend the same vaccines to their patients. Nearly half, for example, reported that their children were vaccinated against hepatitis B but that they did not always recommend that vaccine to patients. Discrepancies were also observed with vaccines against measles-mumps-rubella, meningococcal bacteria and human papillomavirus. The researchers suggest that the reasons behind these discrepancies, including vaccine hesitancy, should be investigated.

Médecins Sans Frontières, an international humanitarian medical organization established in 1971, is looking for a laboratory quality manager to manage a microbiology laboratory at the Surgical Reconstructive Hospital “Al Mowasah” in Amman, Jordan.

The ideal candidate holds an essential laboratory technician diploma and is specialized or trained in tropical diseases and microbiology laboratory analysis with a focus on bacteriology.

Kindly send your application (motivation letter & resume) until 15 October 2016 via MSF's recruitment page.

We will be adding photographs from members who have taken part in the ESCMID observership programme. The pictures illustrate the range of different experiences our observers make during their visits at the society’s collaborative centres. Share your best pictures with colleagues across the world!

The ISF Steering Committee will select the top sepsis abstract among all submissions on sepsis-related topics to the 27th ECCMID 2017 for the USD 500 award. The ISF/ESCMID Sepsis Award 2017 will be presented during a symposium jointly organized by ISF and the ECCMID Programme Committee.

Researchers in Australia investigated the prevalence and risk factors for asymptomatic toxigenic (TCD) and non-toxigenic C. difficile (NTCD)-colonisation in a broad cross-section of the general hospital population over a three-year period. TCD colonisation was associated with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, a higher number of admissions in the previous year, and antimicrobial exposure during the current admission, while NTCD colonisation was associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic kidney failure. The researchers conclude that risk factors differ between patients with asymptomatic colonisation by toxigenic and non-toxigenic strains. Given that morbidity is largely driven by toxigenic strains, this novel finding has important implications for disease control and prevention.

The ESCMID/ASM Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance will be held in Vienna, Austria, from 21 – 23 September to help researchers accelerate the development of new antimicrobials for drug-resistant infections. The conference will address issues such as the reliance on very robust preclinical studies, innovative clinical trial design, strong academic-industrial partnerships, and a requirement for early engagement with regulatory bodies in order to facilitate the processes for accelerated antimicrobial development.

The ESCMID observership at the ECDC took place from 5 – 9 September in Stockholm. The 15 ESCMID observers were joined by 10 participants from the European Society for Clinical Virology.

During the current UN General Assembly, a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is scheduled on 21 September 2016. As one of the most experienced players in this specialized field, ESCMID urges the UN to focus on concrete outcomes from this high-level meeting. Measures to effectively fight AMR should include improving surveillance of resistance, regulation of the appropriate use of antimicrobial drugs in human medicine and animal farming, education and public campaigns on overuse as well as incentives and funding systems to promote the development of new medicines, new diagnostics and innovative interventions to improve antibiotic use and infection control. We look forward to the outcomes and strongly support the work of the WHO, FAO and the OIE.

We aim to explore current practices regarding durations of antibiotic treatments in common infections, in order to get an international picture on the topic. The duration of antibiotic therapy is indeed not completely solved for many infectious syndromes. The survey is intended for senior or trainee specialists in infectious diseases or clinical microbiology, clinical pharmacists, or any healthcare professional part of an antimicrobial stewardship team worldwide, provided that these professionals regularly give advice on antibiotic prescriptions (outside their own department).
The questionnaire will take around 5-7 minutes and is strictly anonymous. Click here to go to the survey and complete before the end of November 2016.

The European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) published five instruction videos on how to perform antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) using EUCAST recommended methods and interpretation. They currently include clips on preparation of inoculum, inoculation, application of disks and incubation, reading of zones and guidance on breakpoint tables.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control published reports on whole genome sequencing (WGS) and laboratory capacities.

According to the EU Laboratory Capability Monitoring System, EULabCap report, which is based on a 2014 survey, capacity of capabilities at public health microbiology laboratories in the European Union Europe improved. Find out more in the press release.

An expert opinion discusses the strategy to harness WGS for public health surveillance to empower disease surveillance and outbreak investigation, while a roadmap outlines the integration of molecular typing and genomic typing into European-level surveillance and epidemic preparedness. The WGS news items can be found here.

EUCAST and ESCMID study groups contributed to both reports. Find all of ECDC’s publications on the organization’s website.

Researchers from Marseille University investigated the challenges associated with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with daily administration of doxycycline as a means to reduce the transmission of bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in men who have sex with men. The researchers discuss questions raised by this creative initiative as well as the challenges to improve the control of STIs through the use of PrEP. They conclude that relevant information should be drawn from available epidemiologic data to identify those who could benefit from such prophylactic treatment. They stress that the choice of antimicrobial agents is crucial, as antimicrobial susceptibility of STI agents is heterogeneous.

02 September 2016
ESCMID members taken into custody in Turkey

ESCMID has been informed that some of its members in Turkey have been taken into custody in connection with the failed coup d’état attempt on 15 July 2016. ESCMID hopes that the investigation will rapidly clarify the allegations and that our members will soon be able to get back to their families and resume their professional activities.

Until 30 November you will be able to submit your abstracts for ECCMID 2017 in Vienna. If you have questions on the process, you may consult the abstract guidelines, abstract topics or check out the tutorial video on how to submit an abstract for ECCMID. You also have time until the end of November to apply for a travel grant to attend ECCMID.

The ESCMID/ASM Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance will be held in Vienna, Austria, from 21 – 23 September. In addition to the conventional plenaries and symposia there will be an interactive one-hour session with a panel of world experts on drug discovery, drug development, pharmacodynamics and resistance development. They will respond to questions submitted by the participants.

Researchers at the Department of Dental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden investigated the effects a single dose of the antibiotic amoxicillin as prophylaxis has on the normal oral microflora. Six of the 29 healthy volunteers already carried resistant viridans streptococci in the saliva before receiving 2g of amoxicillin. Amoxicillin reduced the streptococci, while the proportion of those with reduced susceptibility increased significantly on days 2 and 5. The researchers conclude that a single dose of amoxicillin can cause an ecological disturbance and induce selection of resistant strains in the oral microflora.

In 2017 the term of three TAE Steering Committee (TAE SC) members will end. In the autumn an election will take place to fill the resulting vacancies, one (1) in clinical microbiology (CM) and two (2) in infectious diseases (ID) for a three-year term. The call for candidates is open until Monday, 19 September 2016, 12.00 noon CET. Any ESCMID member who has not previously been a member of the TAE Steering Committee, who is 35 years old or younger and still in training may apply.

Antimicrobial resistance is finally on the agenda at the high-level United Nations General Assembly, which will take place on 21 September in New York. This will be only the fourth health issue – and the first One Health issue integrating human, animal, and environmental health – bringing together heads of state to set a global agenda. We encourage experts within the ESCMID network to urge their governments to support a strong resolution on AMR. We would like the UN assembly to set targets for reduction of antimicrobial use and resistance both in human and animal sectors; to define the governance to address AMR and make a commitment to funding for a global action. More detail and background information can be found on the WHO website. An article in Science on the topic is available for subscribers only.

Researchers from Switzerland, Austria and Israel reviewed point-of-care randomization and informed consent in clinical trials. For low-risk trials whose purpose is to evaluate non-experimental therapies or other measures toward which the medical community is in a state of equipoise, ethics committees should play a more active role in a more standardized fashion, the authors write. Patients in the clinic are continually subject to spontaneous “pseudo-randomizations” based on local dogma and the anecdotal experience of their physicians. Stronger ethics oversight would allow point-of-care trials to structure these spontaneous randomizations, using widely available informatics tools, in combination with opt-out informed consent where deemed appropriate.

From 29 August until 30 November you will be able to submit your abstracts for ECCMID 2017 in Vienna. If you have questions on the process, you may consult the abstract guidelines, abstract topics or check out the tutorial video on how to submit an abstract for ECCMID.

ESCMID and the American Society for Microbiology are jointly organizing a conference in Vienna, Austria, from 21 – 23 September 2016 to help researchers accelerate the development of new antimicrobials for drug-resistant infections. The conference will address issues such as the reliance on very robust preclinical studies, innovative clinical trial design, strong academic-industrial partnerships, and a requirement for early engagement with regulatory bodies in order to facilitate the processes for accelerated antimicrobial development.

Researchers at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, assessed the pros and cons of circumcision. Adult circumcision decreases the rate of HIV acquisition among men in settings with a high incidence of HIV and therefore indirectly reduces women’s risk of exposure. Deciding whether to perform the procedure is easier for people residing in areas with high prevalence of STIs, including HIV, and for those who choose to be circumcised or have their children circumcised on religious, social, or cultural grounds. For many others, a definite pro or con recommendation, based on a risk-benefit ratio, cannot be made. 

ESCMID researchers conducted a survey – supported by the study groups ESGAP, ESGIE and ESGNI – to assess the current status of infectious diseases (ID), clinical microbiology (CM) and infection control (IC) staffing in hospitals. They found that currently no standard of physician staffing for ID/CM/IC in hospitals is available. More than half of respondents estimated that additional staffing is needed for appropriate IC or ID management. The researchers conclude that a ratio of 1.21/100 beds will serve as an informed point of reference enabling antibiotic stewardship programmes and infection surveillance.

The University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) offers 16 PhD positions within the project PRONKJEWAIL within its Microbes in Health and Disease programme. The full-time PhD positions in the medical specialties clinical microbiology, infectious diseases, epidemiology, public health, microbiology, pharmacology and biochemistry are for four years. The training builds on four pillars: vaccines and primary prevention; personalized detection and infection prevention; iatrogenic influence on the microbiome; and personalized therapy and stewardship. Applicants must hold a master’s degree or equivalent, be in the first four years of their career and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree.

Researchers in Switzerland and Australia conducted a clinical trial to find out if a fast molecular resistance test of Gram-positive cocci would allow physicians to initiate a targeted therapy with beta-lactams more quickly instead of starting with an empiric therapy with vancomycin. The researchers conclude that rapid determination of methicillin resistance in staphylococcal bacteraemia is accurate and significantly reduces the time to targeted antibiotic therapy in the subgroup of S. aureus, thereby avoiding unnecessary exposure to vancomycin. The study was published in ESCMID’s journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection.

The ESCMID Study Group for Antibiotic Policies (ESGAP) is conducting a survey on the legal responsibility associated with antibiotic prescribing and advising. We encourage all senior infectious disease specialists and clinical microbiologists to take part in this short online survey about legal liability and antibiotic stewardship. The survey is anonymous and only takes 10 minutes to complete. Thank you for your support!

The ECDC encourages the scientific community and stakeholders to comment on the draft guidelines on the prudent use of antimicrobials in a public consultation, which will be open until 5 September 2016. You may also find a relevant news item here and the draft guideline document here.

In view of the rising threat from resistance due to antimicrobial misuse and overuse the European Commission has asked ECDC to develop guidelines on their prudent use. The final guideline document will include generic principles of good practice on the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents in human medical practice in the European Union.

Researchers in Lyon studied the incidence and prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in a large sentinel cohort to evaluate the epidemiology of HBV during vaccination policy changes. The HBV incidence fluctuated between 5 and 8 per 1,000 person-years in pre-1986 birth-cohorts, decreased to 2.1 in birth-cohorts 1986 to 1991 and rebounded to 5 in post-1991 birth-cohorts. The authors of the study concluded that the HBV incidence was ‘remarkably high’ in young adults with noticeable variations concomitantly to vaccination policy changes. A dramatic decline in immunization rate was temporally associated with a sharp rebound of infection after withdrawal of systematic adolescent vaccination in 1998, the researchers wrote in their paper published in CMI

Applications for next year’s ESCMID research grants are being accepted until 13 October 2016 at 12:00 noon CET. For the 2017 grants we only accept proposals for projects dealing with fungal/viral/parasitic infections and diseases (including diagnostics, pathogenesis, susceptibility, resistance, stewardship and vaccines). This focus increases the chances of the individual projects. In addition to the regular grants worth EUR 20,000, ESCMID has reserved up to EUR 50,000 each for two excellently rated projects.

ESCMID updated its guideline for diagnosing Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) to take account of newer diagnostic tools, especially nucleic acid amplification tests. The guideline, which underwent public consultation, summarizes the currently available evidence on laboratory diagnosis of CDI and revises recommendations to optimize testing. The ESCMID experts recommend a two-step algorithm. Samples without free toxin detected by toxins A and B enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) but with positive glutamate dehydrogenase EIA, nucleic acid amplification test or toxigenic culture results require clinical evaluation to discern CDI from asymptomatic carriage, the authors recommend. The update is essential to improve CDI diagnosis and diagnosis uniformity for surveillance purposes. The guideline was published and is openly accessible in ESCMID’s journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection

Because of the political uncertainties in Turkey the ESCMID Executive Committee decided to postpone two educational events, which were scheduled to take place in September, until further notice. This measure concerns the course on brain infections planned in Izmir from 4 – 7 September and a course on septic shock on 22 and 23 September in Istanbul. ESCMID will keep you updated about all its educational courses on its website.

Researchers in Marseille evaluated the link between the bacterium Tropheryma whipplei and the presence of acute diarrhea in a large group of young children. The study showed that T. whipplei was significantly more common in patients with diarrhea (22/555, 4%) than without (56/3,241, 1.7%; p=0.001). Neither C. difficile nor G. duodenalis showed this association. The researchers also found that T. whipplei was found more commonly in the autumn. The researchers concluded that T. whipplei is significantly associated with diarrhea in children, suggesting that the bacterium may be a cause of acute diarrhea.

From 2 – 9 July another edition of our yearly Summer School was held in wonderful Seville in Spain. A record-breaking 76 participants from 29 countries enjoyed the excellent lectures by renowned experts in the field and have taken the opportunity to network with their peers in a relaxed setting. The presentations and a picture gallery can be found in our Online Lecture Library.

The Summer School next year will take place in Borstel, Germany, in July 2017. Please keep an eye on the website for more information.

Jennifer Reid and Manica Balasegaram from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) published a paper on the organization’s opinion regarding research and development costs as well as access to medicines. The authors criticize the industry’s lack of cost transparency and the fact that the public contributes to R&D funds twice: through public investments as well as high prices. MSF calls for companies to become more transparent about their R&D costs and to proactively and systematically promote access to their products. The authors also urge governments to promote fair pricing and needs-driven innovation that protects access by supporting complementary R&D models.

The deadline for registration with the early-bird fee is coming closer! Register until 22 July and benefit from reduced fees:

  • ESCMID/ASM Members: EUR 600
  • All others: EUR 700

Register now online HERE!

ESCMID and the American Society for Microbiology are jointly organizing a conference in Vienna, Austria, from 21 – 23 September 2016 to help researchers accelerate the development of new antimicrobials for drug-resistant infections. The conference will address issues such as the reliance on very robust preclinical studies, innovative clinical trial design, strong academic-industrial partnerships, and a requirement for early engagement with regulatory bodies in order to facilitate the processes for accelerated antimicrobial development.

Marc Bonten from the University Medical Center Utrecht published a comment outlining why he considers traditional randomized controlled trials (RCT) designs as suboptimal and inefficient to answer infectious disease questions. He concludes by proposing strategies to overcome the issues. To increase generalizability he suggests embedding trials in daily care practice and to immediately enrol all eligible patients. He also stresses the importance of using fully anonymized outcome data and establishing sufficient power for pre-defined subgroup analyses. Finally Professor Bonten suggests repeating analyses throughout the study and allowing for adaptive randomization to avoid statistically significant beneficial effects being hidden in a subgroup.

Researchers at the University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Seoul in South Korea used a large database to show that herpes zoster infection is a risk factor for stroke and transient ischaemic attacks (TIA) for several years. People diagnosed with shingles were almost twice as likely to have a TIA or full-blown stroke. The risk was highest in the youngest people studied and it continuously decreased over time. The authors suggest investigating whether more aggressive anti-viral treatment of varicella zoster could prevent death and serious disability due to stroke. Read the press release or the abstract in CMI.

Applications for next year’s ESCMID research grants are being accepted until 13 October 2016 at 12:00 noon CET. Please note that for uneven years (2017) we only accept proposals for projects dealing with fungal/viral/parasitic infections and diseases (including diagnostics, pathogenesis, susceptibility, resistance, stewardship and vaccines). This focus increases the chances of the individual projects. In addition to the regular grants worth EUR 20,000, ESCMID has reserved up to EUR 50,000 each for two excellently rated projects.

ESCMID and the American Society for Microbiology are jointly organizing a conference in Vienna from 21 – 23 September 2016 to help researchers accelerate the development of new antimicrobials for drug-resistant infections. The conference will address issues such as the reliance on very robust preclinical studies, innovative clinical trial design, strong academic/industrial partnerships, and a requirement for early engagement with regulatory bodies in order to facilitate the processes for accelerated antimicrobial development. You find more information on the conference in this press release and on the conference website. Please note that ESCMID supports “Young Scientist Members” with attendance grants for this conference. Grant application deadline is 13 July.

Researchers from Aalborg in Denmark and Seville in Spain investigated clinical outcomes in female and male patients with community-acquired Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (CA-SAB). They showed that female patients with CA-SAB experienced an increased 30-day mortality compared with male patients. The prognostic impact of gender was most pronounced among female patients with diabetes and cancer, while the 30-day prevalence of infective endocarditis or osteomyelitis did not differ according to gender. The researchers concluded that gender should be considered in the triage and risk stratification of CA-SAB patients. 

The European Sepsis Academy – Innovative Training Network (ESA-ITN) has 15 PhD positions available for early-stage (max. four years post-graduation) researchers wishing to focus on the pathogenesis, clinical diagnosis and monitoring of sepsis-induced immune suppression. ESA-ITN is a project supported by universities, research institutions (including ESCMID, International Sepsis Forum, European Society of Intensive Care Medicine) and companies offering an extensive sepsis-oriented joint training program to PhD students, who will benefit from attractive salary and working conditions under the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) programme.

The ESCMID Study Group for Antibiotic Policies (ESGAP) is conducting a survey on the legal responsibility associated with antibiotic prescribing and advising. We encourage all senior infectious disease specialists and clinical microbiologists to take part in this short online survey about legal liability and antibiotic stewardship. The survey is anonymous and only takes 10 minutes to complete. Thank you for your support!

Researchers at the Laboratory of Infectious Agents and Hygiene at the University Hospital of Saint-Étienne in France showed that mobile devices are not only contaminated by nosocomial bacteria but also by RNA from epidemic viruses including metapneumovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza viruses, rotavirus (RV) and norovirus. The survey showed that many healthcare professionals did not carry out any hand hygiene procedures even if using a mobile phone while making physical contact with patients. The survey also showed that cordless hospital phones were cleaned and disinfected less frequently in paediatric departments than on adult wards. The researchers conclude that frequent hand hygiene before and after mobile phone use and frequent cleaning of devices should be promoted. Read the press release sent out today or check out the abstract in CMI.

The Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the Chinese University of Hong Kong offers a fully funded PhD programme for molecular studies in sepsis and autophagy in relation to intensive care medicine. The ideal candidate for the three to four year programme has a bachelor or master degree and a special interest in infectious diseases, epidemiology, public health or microbiology.

The committee met in Vienna last week to set the scientific programme for ECCMID 2017. They selected the 100 top-ranked of the 400 session proposals on topics such as antimicrobial resistance, refugee health, infection control strategies, novel diagnostic approaches and many more. Abstracts may be submitted from 29 August 2016 until 26 January 2017. You may sign up to receive information about abstract submission and approaching deadlines for ECCMID 2017.

Researchers from the Israel Institute of Technology Technion in Haifa, Israel, conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the safety and effectiveness of antibiotic de-escalation as part of antibiotic stewardship programmes. They included randomized controlled trials and observational studies comparing antibiotic de-escalation versus no de-escalation in adults with bacteraemia, microbiologically documented pneumonia or severe sepsis. Observational studies suggest that antibiotic susceptibility testing-based de-escalation lowers mortality in bacteraemia, severe sepsis and ventilator-associated pneumonia, the researchers conclude.

The programme for the ESCMID-ASM conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance in Vienna, Austria, from 21 - 23 September 2016, is online now. Registration will open on 20 June. ESCMID, ASM, EMA, FDA and industry representatives have contributed to designing the programme, which aims to outline problems and discuss solutions to help accelerate the development of new antimicrobials.

The course Advanced Course on Antibiotics (AdCAb), organized by Institut Pasteur and Fondation Mérieux, takes place from 10 – 21 October in Annecy, France. The course will offer participants training on cutting-edge approaches and technologies for the determination of antibacterial activity, detection of potential resistance mechanisms, antibiotic discovery, chemical optimization and usage that maximizes their utility and minimizes the development of resistance. ESCMID provides a number of attendance grants for ESCMID “young scientist members”, covering the registration fee. Please apply here before 25 June 2016.

European Medicines Agency (EMA) published a draft for consultation updating advice on the use of colistin products in animals in the European Union, the development of colistin resistance and the possible impact on human and animal health. The consultation ends 26 June 2016. To read more and comment please go to the EMA website.

Abstract submission is now open for the International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance 2016, which takes place in Vienna, Austria from 4 – 7 November. ESCMID is one of the participating organizations at IMED, which is organized by the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID). IMED 2016 will bring leading scientists, clinicians and policy makers to Vienna to present breakthroughs and discuss how to discover, detect, understand, prevent and respond to outbreaks of emerging pathogens.

Researchers from Switzerland assessed the threat posed by the emergence of plasmid-mediated colistin resistance. While the identification of MCR-1 clearly is bad news – particularly after the mechanism was also found in the U.S. – the authors conclude that it is possible to control the spread of this resistance trait to prevent its further dissemination to bacteria affecting immunocompromised patients in hospitals. The authors call for a worldwide ban of polymyxins as growth promoters in animals and a revision of the practice of using colistin-containing mixtures for selective digestive decontamination in humans. If adequate measures are rapidly taken in veterinary and human medicine it is possible to preserve the efficacy of polymyxins, which are particularly important for immunocompromised patients already infected by other multidrug-resistant bacteria, they conclude.

ESCMID partner Drive-AB is organizing a conference to drive reinvestment in R&D for antibiotics and advocate their responsible use to fight antimicrobial resistance. The event supported by the Dutch EU Presidency takes place in Amsterdam 2 June. The conference is expected to stimulate a dialogue about the implementation of feasible incentive policies among international decision-makers. The speakers include policy makers, regulatory and public health experts, and economists including Dutch Health Minister Angelique Berg; Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England; and Hala Audi, the economist responsible for the UK Review on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Our collaborative partner, the European for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) is offering a range of courses that may be of interest to specialists in the ESCMID network. Conferences and meetings include a conference on the regulatory framework governing clinical trials for in-vitro diagnostics, under courses you for example find a course on clinical trial statistics for non-statisticians and the organization also offers joint courses you may find interesting. 

The European Commission will award EUR 1 million for the development of a rapid diagnostics test that will allow healthcare providers to distinguish at the point of care between patients with upper respiratory tract infections that require antibiotics and those that can be treated safely without antibiotics. The challenge is to develop a test that is cheap, rapid and easy-to-use for healthcare providers and non- or minimally invasive for patients. By stopping many patients from taking antibiotics needlessly, it will prevent the side effects of such unnecessary treatment, eliminate the cost of prescribing the antibiotics and, most importantly, decrease the development of resistant bacteria. Contestants can submit entries until 17 August 2016. The rules of contest are available online. For information on this call and other EU funding, check out our website.

Researchers in Spain conducted one of the largest studies comparing the clinical efficacy of fluconazole and echinocandins in the treatment of candidemia. They conclude that empirical or targeted treatment with fluconazole was not associated with increased 30-day mortality among adults. The researchers conclude that echinocandins should not necessarily be preferred for more severely ill cases. The article can be found at CMI under this link

The ECCMID 2016 gallery offers some impressions from our annual congress in Amsterdam. 

The European Sepsis Academy – Innovative Training Network (ESA-ITN) has 15 PhD positions available for early-stage (max. four years post-graduation) researchers wishing to focus on the pathogenesis, clinical diagnosis and monitoring of sepsis-induced immune suppression. ESA-ITN is a project supported by universities, research institutions (including ESCMID, International Sepsis Forum, European Society of Intensive Care Medicine) and companies offering an extensive sepsis-oriented joint training program to PhD students, who will benefit from attractive salary and working conditions under the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) programme.

Leonard Leibovici, the new Editor-in-Chief of ESCMID’s journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection, welcomes systematic reviews, which address questions that are of interest to patients and clinicians. Other topics that lend themselves for reviews are outcomes that make a difference to patients and/or outcomes of mortality and resistance development frequently not addressed in primary studies. Diagnostic systematic reviews should base their conclusions mainly on studies that included the population of interest (e.g. patients suspected of harbouring a fungal infection) and not on studies that separately tested groups with and without the disease. One of the best sources describing an optimal methodology for systematic reviews and meta-analyses can be found in the Cochrane Handbook. The editorial office is looking forward to receiving your submissions.

ESCMID members with a focus on public health may apply for an observership from 5 – 9 September with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm. A group of 10 observers are offered a five-day programme at ECDC where they will learn about the organization’s roles and responsibilities, its outputs, the EU surveillance and epidemic intelligence systems or the ECDC’s Public Health Microbiology Programme.

The ESCMID Study Group for Epidemiological Markers ESGEM published last week what it believes will be a landmark paper about molecular epidemiology and the future of pathogen surveillance in Europe.

The study provides a road map for the integration of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data into routine pathogen surveillance. The authors emphasize the importance of large-scale routine surveys to provide the population context for more targeted or localized investigation and the development of open-access bioinformatic tools to provide the means to combine and compare independently generated data with publicly available data sets.

Read the paper Whole-Genome Sequencing for Routine Pathogen Surveillance in Public Health: a Population Snapshot of Invasive Staphylococcus aureus in Europe in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal mBio under this link.

The postgraduate education course Individualized Medicine in Infectious Diseases: a Practical Approach will take place in Tübingen, Germany, from 3 – 4 June 2016. Participants will learn about clinical implications of pharmacokinetics, microbiota, variations in epidemiology and regional perceptions regarding antimicrobial use. They will also be taught how to best identify tools for individualized diagnostics and therapy and explore biases and ethical dilemmas in decision making. The course targets microbiologists, clinical infectious disease specialists and other healthcare professionals with interest in individualized medicine in infectious diseases.

If you have not received your CME credits for attending ECCMID, you may do so by logging into your account on eccmidlive.org. The credits are available until the end of July. ECCMID webcasts, presentations, posters and abstracts will still be available on the same webpage until the end of August. After that all material will only be accessible in the ESCMID eLibrary.  

The Aesculap Akademie training course in healthcare epidemiology and infection control (IC) takes place in Bochum, Germany, from 4 – 7 October 2016. ESCMID also provides a number of attendance grants for young scientist members covering the registration fee. The training course consists of a plenary part and three separate practical tracks; how to analyze a high rate of surgical side infections, how to analyze a possible Clostridium difficile outbreak and a third with four interactive master classes. The course targets IC nurses, infectious disease physicians, medical microbiologists and other specialists involved in hospital epidemiology or IC. The cases require some basic knowledge on epidemiology and statistics as well as basic experience with databases.

We encourage you to take part in a short (10 minutes) survey on polymyxins by researchers at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois in Chicago. The purpose of their survey is to address clinicians’ knowledge and attitudes concerning the use of polymyxin antibiotics and the perceived quality of the available information. The investigators would like to include more information on European clinicians’ attitudes and practices pertaining to these agents to bolster efforts to push for an international guideline.

The postgraduate workshop Application of Molecular Diagnostics in Forensic Microbiology takes place from 2 – 3 June in Leuven, Belgium. Leading scientists in forensic and molecular microbiology will present their insights into the most recent breakthroughs and current applications of molecular diagnostics in forensic microbiology. Moreover, participants are able to create new networks between microbiologists, forensic pathologists and allied professions and build capacity in order to facilitate the application of molecular microbiology in this multidisciplinary field across Europe.

In a new entry by Angela Huttner in the Parity Commission Blog discusses a review in The Lancet on why women choose or reject careers in academic medicine.

Please save the date for the ESCMID-ASM conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance, which will take place in Vienna, Austria, from 21 - 23 September 2016. Download the first announcement here. Registration will open in a few weeks. Antimicrobial drug resistance is an urgent problem. There are relatively few agents in developmental pipelines. Traditional pathways for drug development are expensive and slow. Both the EMA and FDA have recognized some of these obstacles for drug development. New regulation now enables accelerated drug development, with adaptive licensing until larger definitive phase III studies are completed. Such an approach enables access to drugs for patients with unmet medical needs. There is uncertainty regarding what constitutes reasonable pathways for accelerated drug development. There is a reliance on very robust preclinical studies, innovative clinical trial design, strong academic/industrial partnerships, and a requirement for early engagement with regulatory bodies. By bringing together experts from all fields (drug development, regulatory organizations, professionals) we aim to outline problems, share our current knowledge and discuss solutions. ESCMID, ASM, EMA, FDA and industry representatives have contributed to designing the program. In our opinion these two and a half days of intense discussions on the future of drug development in the antimicrobial field are a must for anyone involved in the field of antimicrobials. 

The postgraduate education course Virulence and Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus: 2016 State of the Art will take place in Lyon, France, from 28 June – 1 July 2016. The objective is to provide postgraduate microbiologists and infectious disease physicians with an updated overview of pathophysiology and resistance in Staphylococcus. Participants are given the opportunity to have state-of-the-art insights and scientific exchanges on virulence and resistance on these pathogens. The presentations include topics such as mechanisms of resistance and virulence in vivo data, clinical management, screening, detection and identification of virulence and resistance determinants in the daily laboratory as well as infection control practice.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started a review of medicines containing the antibiotic vancomycin as part of its strategy to update product information of older antibacterial agents in the context of the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Because of a growing problem of infections that are resistant to multiple antibiotics including vancomycin, it is considered of high relevance that the way this antibiotic is used in treating infections is re-assessed and that the product information for vancomycin-containing products is updated in light of available data.
EMA will now review all available information on the benefits and risks of vancomycin and will consider whether any changes to its approved uses are required. You may read more on this topic on EMA’s website.

You may read more about the highlights of the congress in the press releases on our website. Video clips featuring interviews with delegates, including keynote speakers, session chairs and young reporters on the scientific highlights may also be found on the society’s ECCMID 2016 Youtube channel. Abstracts, presentations and webcasts from this year’s ECCMID are freely available on ECCMID Live until the end of August. ECCMID material is currently being curated to be included in the ESCMID eLibrary, which also hosts material from other ESCMID events.

12 April 2016

ECCMID 2016 Wrap-up

Dear ECCMID 2016 attendees,

this year’s 26th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases ECCMID 2016 has come to a close with record-breaking numbers! As many as 11,640 people from 123 countries attended ECCMID with the top countries of provenance being the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland and Russia. The congress featured more than 200 sessions covering the entire field of infectious diseases and clinical microbiology, including 11 keynote lectures, more than 100 symposia and oral sessions, 20 educational workshops and 20 meet-the-expert sessions. It also offered attendees 26 industry-organized symposia and 157 exhibitors this year. More than 3,000 abstracts were presented. In addition, ECCMID offered delegates attractive formats including poster and ePoster sessions, a networking corner, as well as a platform for smaller biotechnology companies to present their drug pipeline.

The highlights of this year’s congress included the keynote speech by Prof. Robert A. Bonomo from Ohio, the winner of this year’s ESCMID Excellence Award, for his outstanding lifetime achievements in the field of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR remained one of the key topics at this year’s congress with very popular sessions on antimicrobial resistance, susceptibility and stewardship in Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria as well as one-health strategies to fight AMR. But we also had crowd-drawing sessions on infection control and prevention, sepsis, fungal diagnostics and treatment, emerging viruses, novel diagnostic techniques or the microbiome, just to name a few. A record number of 69 late-breaking abstracts accepted for presentation – reported in three dedicated oral sessions including the two special tracks on colistin resistance and refugee health – attracted many interested delegates.

You may read more about the highlights of the congress in the press releases on our website, which will include information on the awards, late-breaking abstracts, the pipeline corner and on an AMR event organized with the Dutch Society of Medical Microbiology (NVMM). Video clips featuring interviews with keynote speakers, session chairs and young reporters on the scientific highlights may also be found on the society’s ECCMID 2016 Youtube channel. Abstracts, presentations and webcasts from this year’s ECCMID are freely available on ECCMID Live until the end of August. ECCMID material is currently being curated to be included in the ESCMID eLibrary, which also hosts material from other ESCMID events. The next ECCMIDs will take place in Vienna from 22 – 25 April 2017 and in Madrid from 21 – 24 April 2018.

Safe travels and see you next time!

We already have a record number of almost 9,000 scientific delegates registered for ECCMID, bringing the total number of attendees to more than 10,000.

For your ECCMID attendance you will receive a total of 23 CME credits by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education Institution of the UEMS.

Reports on ESCMID’s partnerships and various research and educational activities can now be found in the society’s 2015/2016 yearbook. You may also check out the scientific activities of ESCMID’s 28 study groups. The material from our scientific events can be found in the ESCMID eLibrary – formerly called Online Lecture Library. The recently re-designed tool has better search functionalities and yields faster results. 

ESCMID members with a focus on public health may apply for an observership from 5 – 9 September with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm.

Small innovative pharmaceutical companies with early-stage antimicrobial therapies in development are given a platform at ECCMID to present their R&D pipelines and recent advances in their early-stage programmes to a wider audience. The pipeline corner will take place between 13:00 and 14:00 on Sunday, parallel to the poster sessions.

We would like to highlight two publications in 2015 on excellent projects that were made possible by ESCMID research grants. Rasmus Hare Jansen, Copenhagen, Denmark, co-funded by an ESCMID Research Grant in 2013, published a paper on the examination of mutations in Candida albicans and its adaptation to antifungal exposure. The authors followed the stepwise emergence of multidrug-resistance by analysing Candida in a patient over time and scrutinized the observed changes by susceptibility testing, MLST, gene expression analysis and virulence determination in an insect model.

A second publication worth highlighting was project co-funded by an ESCMID Research Grant 2011 to Thamarai Schneiders, Belfast, United Kingdom. The author describes how microbial immune evasive strategies contribute to the development and persistence of antimicrobial resistance. She showed that RamA plays a role in both protection against antibiotic challenge and also against the innate host immune response thus resulting in Klebsiella that are less susceptible to antibiotics and simultaneously more virulent. As of July, we are looking forward to receiving project submissions focusing on fungal, viral and parasitic infections and diseases for the 2017 research grants.

29 March 2016
Members may apply for an ESCMID Summer School grant until 1 April

The one-week course dedicated to postgraduate and continuing medical education takes place from 2 – 9 July 2016 in Seville, Spain. The summer school’s programme covers a broad range of topics in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases and will interest young MDs at the end of their specialty training as well as biologists, pharmacists, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows working in the infection field.

We also still have a few places left for the postgraduate workshop Application of Molecular Diagnostics in Forensic Microbiology, which takes place from 2 – 3 June in Leuven, Belgium. Leading scientists in forensic and molecular microbiology will present their insights into the most recent breakthroughs and current applications of molecular diagnostics in forensic microbiology.

Check out the final programme of ECCMID 2016 in Amsterdam. Last week the authors of late-breaker abstracts have been notified. In total 60 additional abstracts will be presented in three dedicated oral late-breaker sessions, in one poster session and as ePoster viewing. Feel free to share your expectations and ideas for #ECCMID2016 on twitter and on Facebook

ESCMID and FEMS have a long-standing joint initiative to foster outstanding research in microbiology by young Europeans. Every year each organization selects one or two individuals among their research grantees or fellows to receive an additional grant from the other organization. We are pleased to announce that the ESCMID Executive Committee and the FEMS Council have selected as

•    ESCMID/FEMS Joint Research Fellow 2016:

     Juan Manuel Pericas, Barcelona, Spain

•    FEMS/ESCMID Joint Research Fellow 2016:

     Alexander Borodavka, Leeds, United Kingdom

Congratulations!

The postgraduate course Infection Prevention and Control: Let's Get Practical! takes place from 29 May – 1 June in Groningen, Netherlands. You will have the opportunity to be taught face-to-face by top experts covering all major aspects of IPC in the hospital. With modern techniques invisible transmission of microbes will be made visible. Join us in Groningen and get your hands on real life infection prevention and control!

We received a record number of 340 submissions of late-breaking abstracts for presentations at ECCMID. For the first time the programme committee offered two special topics: emerging colistin resistance (44) and refugee health (25) in addition to abstracts on other topics (271).

In March 2016, executives of ESCMID, the European Committee for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) and the European Committee for Infection Control (EUCIC) met with two MSF representatives to explore options to develop closer ties. Possible areas for cooperation include an exchange of observership programmes, the creation of a task force for emerging diseases, a study group in low-resource settings or the organization of joint conferences. ESCMID is looking forward to a fruitful collaboration!

The Institute of Microbiology and Infection (IMI) at the University of Birmingham has a number of antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance posts available, ranging from lecturer to chair level.  The closing date for applications to the vacancies is 10 April 2016.

The registration for the TAE Trainees Day ends 28 March 2016. Young scientists attending ECCMID may sign up for the round-table sessions where they can discuss their career plans at the beginning of their professional lives. This is the perfect opportunity to forge links between more-senior experts and junior specialists.

The Complejo Hospitalario Metropolitano is the latest addition to ESCMID’s list of collaborative centres offering observerships across the globe. The hospital’s Department of Clinical Microbiology and Department of Infectious Diseases, located in Panama City, is specialized in clinical microbiology (bacteriology, mycology, mycobacteriology) as well as infectious diseases, especially HIV, TB, histoplasmosis and invasive fungal infections.

The postgraduate workshop Application of Molecular Diagnostics in Forensic Microbiology takes place from 2 – 3 June in Leuven, Belgium. Leading scientists in forensic and molecular microbiology will present their insights into the most recent breakthroughs and current applications of molecular diagnostics in forensic microbiology. Moreover, participants are able to create new networks between microbiologists, forensic pathologists and allied professions and build capacity in order to facilitate the application of molecular microbiology in this multidisciplinary field across Europe.

You may now browse the scientific programme for our congress from 9 – 12 April in Amsterdam. By clicking on the session, you will find more information on the speakers and their presentations. Please note, that titles and abstracts of ePoster Viewings will only be published at the end of March. Video clips where experts give an outlook on some of the scientific highlights can be found on the ECCMID website.

01 March 2016
Registration for the 15th ESCMID Summer School is open!

The one-week course dedicated to postgraduate and continuing medical education takes place from 2 – 9 July 2016 in Seville, Spain. The programme covers a broad range of topics in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases and will interest young MDs at the end of their specialty training as well as biologists, pharmacists, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows working in the infection field.

The postgraduate technical workshop Population Modelling and Dose Optimization with Pmetrics and BestDose: Antimicrobial Applications takes place from 13 - 15 April 2016 in Lyon, France. Important objectives of the course are to define PK structural models, to create datasets for population analysis and perform simulations for PK-PD analysis of antimicrobials in relevant software packages.

The ECDC for the first time published the EULabCap report and the corresponding EU capability maps. The tools monitor laboratory capacities and capabilities in the EU/EEA to assess the risk posed by infectious diseases. EUCAST and the affiliated national committees contributed to the tool, which combines 60 indicators for primary diagnostic testing, national microbiology reference laboratory services and laboratory-based surveillance and epidemic response support. EULabCap is designed to help policy makers identify possible areas for action and evaluates the impact of capacity strengthening activities and health system reforms.

ESCMID congratulates the 15 grant applicants selected to receive Research Grants 2016. You may find more information on the grantees and the funded projects online. We want to take this opportunity to address all the reviewers, who gave their expert advice on 126 research grant applications submitted for 2016! Thank you for your commitment and dedication!

Dan Otelea, the ESCMID Parity Commission’s advocate on geographic balance shares his experience working at a Louis Pasteur laboratory in France as a non-native. He elaborates on how well richer and poorer countries are represented in the scientific world and looks forward to your comments.

The postgraduate course on antimicrobial stewardship takes place in Ijmuiden Aan Zee near Amsterdam from 7 - 8 April immediately before ECCMID. The objectives of the course are to teach participants the basic principles of antimicrobial resistance, consumption surveillance and antimicrobial stewardship. Participants will also learn how to conduct quality management and how to address barriers to antimicrobial stewardship in various settings.

The professor of medicine, pharmacology, molecular biology and microbiology at the Cleveland VA Medical Center and Case Western University School of Medicine  in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, is rewarded for his research in the field of infectious diseases, particularly on Gram-negative bacteria. The award ceremony on Sunday, 10 April 2016 at 2:30 p.m. at ECCMID in Amsterdam is followed by the keynote speech “The renaissance of the beta-lactamase inhibitors”.

Check out the clips where members of the ECCMID Programme Committee present their personal highlights for the congress from 9-12 April in Amsterdam! The new clips include Hans Hirsch, an expert for infection diagnostics and clinical virology at the University Hospital in Basel, highlighting sessions on infections in transplantation as well as Surbhi Malhotra, a clinical and molecular microbiologist at the University of Antwerp, who gives an outlook on sessions focused on next-genome sequencing.

The winners of this year’s TAE Awards for Training Achievements are Clíodhna Ní Bhuachalla from the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, as well as Luís Filipe Gomes Malheiro from the Centro Hospitalar de São João in Porto, Portugal. We congratulate the two promising young scientists! They will receive their awards recognizing outstanding trainees in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases during ECCMID 2016 in Amsterdam. (Picture: Last year’s awardees)

The 2016 awards will go to Sanne Jespersen, and infectious disease specialist at the Institute for Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University in Denmark; Robert P. Ryan, a microbiologist at the Centre for Microbial Resistance at the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom; and Timothy M. Walker, an ID microbiologist at the University of Oxford. Congratulations! We will present the awardees and their outstanding scientific achievements in the coming newsletters.

The keynotes of the 11th International Meeting on Microbial Epidemiological Markers (IMMEM XI) will for example include lectures on microbial genomes, mobile genetic elements or disruptive technologies in infectious disease epidemiology. The conference will be held from 9 – 12 March 2016 in Estoril, Portugal. Leading scientists will explain current changes in the understanding of disease transmission brought about by high-resolution molecular typing systems. Given its increasing importance, there will be a particular emphasis on whole genome sequencing and methodologies for complex data analysis.

The ESCMID Study Group for Antibiotic Policies (ESGAP) will hold a postgraduate course on antimicrobial stewardship in Ijmuiden Aan Zee near Amsterdam from 7 - 8 April right before ECCMID. The objectives of the course are to teach participants the basic principles of antimicrobial resistance, consumption surveillance and antimicrobial stewardship. Participants will also learn how to conduct quality management and how to address barriers to antimicrobial stewardship in various settings.

The World Health Organization declared the spread of Zika and an associated birth defect an international public health emergency on 1 February. The declaration is only the fourth in WHO’s history. It comes just days after WHO warned that the total number of cases could reach 4 million by the end of the year. The virus has spread rapidly throughout the Americas infecting people in more than 20 countries. Officials in Brazil, the hardest hit country, have an estimated 1.5 million infections.

In a statement WHO Director General Margaret Chan on 1 February cited the pattern of the disease’s spread, the lack of a vaccine, and the large global population of mosquitoes that can carry the virus as factors that contributed to the declaration. Reports about the disease situation, Q&A and fact sheets can be found on the WHO website.

Please be aware that you cannot use the ID from the abstract submission to register for the congress. You may either sign up for ESCMID membership or become a registered user to register for ECCMID. Please register here

The Parity Commission was set up by ESCMID in 2010 to counter inequity among professionals in the fields of infectious diseases and clinical microbiology. At the end of January the commission launched a blog to offer a platform where participants may exchange information and testimonies with the overall goal of identifying strategies to counter inequity within all fields. In a first blog contribution published 27 January commission member Angela Huttner, ESCMID Advocate for Gender Balance, wrote about existing gender inequity in the profession. According to a survey the parity commission conducted a few years ago, men still have bigger pay checks and three times as many full professorships as women. Over the coming months other commission members will also write about other topics including geographic imbalance and minorities in the fields of infectious diseases and clinical microbiology. The parity commission invites you to contribute to the blog and actively share your thoughts and experiences.

The course Population Modelling and Dose Optimization with Pmetrics and BestDose: Antimicrobial Applications, ESCMID Postgraduate Technical Workshop will take place from 13 – 15 April in Lyon, France.  Important objectives of the course are to define PK structural models, to create datasets for population analysis and perform simulations for PK-PD analysis of antimicrobials in relevant software packages.

Check out the clips where members of the ECCMID Programme Committee present their personal highlights for the congress from 9-12 April in Amsterdam! The new clips include Hanna Nohynek of the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare who gives an outlook on the top vaccine sessions as well as Jean Paul Stahl, a specialist on tropical infectious diseases, who highlights sessions focusing on difficult-to-treat and emerging infections including those caused by the Zika virus.

The Imagine Institute for Genetic Diseases, an interdisciplinary research centre focused on human genetic diseases located in the heart of Paris, offers two postdoctoral bioinformatics research positions in infectious diseases. In March 2016 Imagine will launch a new research laboratory in clinical bioinformatics, which will develop statistical methods and bioinformatics pipelines with a clinical focus on the computational assessment and prioritization of human rare genetic variants and statistical analyses of high-dimensional single-cell data of human cells.

The position is in Roche’s business area Centralized and Point of Care Solutions (CPS) where Roche is looking for a Global Medical Leader Infectious Diseases in the department Medical and Scientific Affairs (MSA), based in Rotkreuz. In this position you will work proactively with CPS colleagues to identify and meet critical data needs for clinical development of new and existing products. The role requires a strong biomedical background and diagnostics expertise combined with a clear business understanding and focus to identify and address the relevant needs of clinical practice and also a laboratory environment.

Look at the video clips where members of the ECCMID Programme Committee present their personal highlights for the congress from 9-12 April in Amsterdam! The first clips include Joop Arends, an HIV and hepatitis expert at the UMC Utrecht; Arnfinn Sundsfjord, a microbiogists specialized in antibiotics at Tromsø University; and Lucia Pastore Celentano, head of the vaccine-preventable disease programme at the ECDC.

The Institute of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (IAC) at Smolensk State Medical University is devoted to increasing the level of scientific research in clinical microbiology and antimicrobial chemotherapy. Main topics of investigation include surveillance of antimicrobial resistance of the main pathogens causing nosocomial and community-acquired infections, applied and fundamental studies on mechanisms of emerging antimicrobial resistance, pharmacoepidemiological and pharmacoeconomical analysis in the field of optimization of antimicrobial usage, educational activities (seminars, courses, workshops in clinical microbiology and antimicrobial chemotherapy) for clinicians, microbiologists, epidemiologists, general population and everyone who is interested in this area.

Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, located in Iran's capital Tehran, is looking for an academic organization specialized in clinical microbiology to partner for a project on H. pylori. The researchers should have expertise in RNA extraction, cDNA production and real-time PCR. The project aims at evaluating the expression of microRNA 21,155,121 in blood of endoscopy candidates with or without H. pylori infections.

The European Food Safety Authority has published a call for tender for the provision of “Training in Systematic Reviews or in specific steps of Systematic Reviews for EFSA risk assessment”.  The maximum budget available is EUR 330,000. The call is open until 26 February 2016. All the information can be accessed through this link on the EFSA website.

The members of the ECCMID Programme Committee are currently meeting in Munich to discuss the abstracts we received and build attractive sessions with them. After finalizing the scientific programme for ECCMID 2016 in Amsterdam we will invite session chairs and inform speakers about their time slots. Towards the end of the month abstract submitters will receive feedback on acceptance.

The 11th International Meeting on Microbial Epidemiological Markers (IMMEM XI) will be held from 9 – 12 March 2016 in Estoril, Portugal. At this year’s conference leading scientists in the field will summarize and explain the current changes in the understanding of disease transmission brought about by high-resolution molecular typing systems. Given its increasing importance, there will be a particular emphasis on whole genome sequencing and methodologies for complex data analysis. Keynotes will include lectures on microbial genomes, mobile genetic elements or disruptive technologies in infectious disease epidemiology.

The Lausanne University Hospital CHUV offers a permanent full-time position Professor of Bacteriology. Applications are accepted from biologists or medical doctors specialized in bacteriology with specific skills in bacterial genomics and/or metagenomics. He or she will lead the bacterial genomics and metagenomics unit, one of four diagnostic units of the institute of microbiology. He/she will provide undergraduate, postgraduate and further teaching in bacteriology, with a specific focus on bacterial genomics, functional genomics and/or metagenomics and also lead a high-level research programme in bacteriology. 

After eight successful years, Didier Raoult will step down as Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Microbiology and Infection in April 2016. We thank Didier Raoult for his excellent and valuable work for the journal. Since he took the lead in 2008 the number of submitted original papers and reviews increased from 908 to 1,535 submissions in 2015, and the journal’s impact factor increased from below 3 to 5.768.

The new CMI editor and ex officio ESCMID EC member is Leonard Leibovici from the Rabin Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel. With Leonard Leibovici we have acquired an experienced editor. After serving on the the British Medical Journal‘s editorial board from 1999 to 2004 he was an editor (2005-2011) and a senior editor (2011 until now) with the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. He has been in charge of more than 1,700 articles, and in this capacity at JAC has taken an active part in shaping the journal. We welcome him and wish him all the best in his new position.

The 11th International Meeting on Microbial Epidemiological Markers (IMMEM XI) will be held from 9 – 12 March 2016 in Estoril, Portugal.

The postgraduate education course PREPAREing for (Re-)Emerging Arbovirus Infections in Europe is taking place in Thessaloniki, Greece, from 7-9 March 2016. The objective of the course is to improve the participants’ knowledge of identification and management of arbovirus infections and outbreaks at local and European levels. The course is part of PREPARE, a project aimed at strengthening European preparedness for (re-)emerging infectious disease outbreaks.