News & Media

ESCMID Panorama

We are pleased to announce that Önder Ergönül from Istanbul, Turkey, will join the ESCMID Executive Committee in April 2018 as representatives of infectious diseases (ID) and Emmanuelle Cambau from Paris, France, will represent clinical microbiology (CM). ID specialist Annelies Zinkernagel from Zurich, Switzerland, has been successfully re-elected for a second term.

On behalf of all our colleagues, we heartily congratulate the re-elected and newly elected officers. We are looking forward to their much-valued contributions to the society. We also thank all candidates for their interest and for actively participating in the electoral procedure. This year’s EC election has seen a record participation from its voting members. We thank you for your lively interest in our society.

The new composition of the ESCMID Executive Committee will be effective as of the Assembly of Members during ECCMID in Madrid from 21 – 24 April 2018.

The preliminary scientific programme for ECCMID from 21 – 24 April 2018 in Madrid, Spain, is online. Several keynote lectures will discuss antimicrobial resistance, which will once again be one of the main topics at the congress. Otto Cars will give a historical perspective on the development of antibiotic policies to tackle the crisis of antibiotic resistance by balancing innovation access and stewardship. Cars is the founder of ReAct, Action on Antibiotic Resistance, and member of the United Nations ad-hoc Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance. Another keynote lecture will focus on bacteria’s strategies to evade antibiotic treatments. Nathalie Q. Balaban from the Hebrew University will discuss the acquisition of resistance factors that enable bacteria to counter the effect of drugs as well as other survival mechanisms such as tolerance or persistence.

From 8 – 10 March 2018 an ESCMID postgraduate workshop on migrant health takes place in Muscat, Oman. Participants may learn how countries can establish surveillance and integrated research for migrant health and how to control and prevent infectious diseases in migrants. The faculty will discuss the impact of migrants on health systems of hosting countries especially for vaccine preventable diseases, importation of communicable diseases and antimicrobial resistance. They will, for example, outline the strategies countries can follow to address the challenge of dealing with the impact of migrants on the elimination programmes for tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and hepatitis viruses.

ESCMID is also organizing a postgraduate course on endocarditis and endovascular infections from 20 – 23 March 2018 in Münster, Germany. The objective of the organizers is to discuss the pathogenesis, epidemiology, treatment and prophylaxis of intravascular infections including infective endocarditis and cardiovascular implantable electronic device (CIED) infections caused especially by staphylococci and some other pathogens.
 
Lastly, on 4 April 2018, the ESCMID study group for antimicrobial stewardship will organize a course on the challenges in veterinary hospital infection control in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The course will be hosted by the annual BSAVA congress (5 – 8 April 2018), one of the largest veterinary conferences worldwide. The objectives are to promote hospital infection control and antimicrobial stewardship in small animal practice and to educate a new generation of veterinary infectious disease specialists to be able to develop and implement infection control programmes and antimicrobial stewardship programmes.

Researchers evaluated if colistin exposure is a risk factor for inherently colistin-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (ICRE). Colistin exposure was significantly associated with ICRE isolation in both univariate and multivariate analyses, the study showed. Curtailed functional capacity was a significant risk factor for ICRE as well. Exposure to other broad-spectrum antibiotics was associated with isolation of colistin-susceptible pathogens. Exposure to colistin is associated with an increased risk of isolating inherently colistin-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in patients with prolonged hospitalization. This should be taken into account while considering empirical therapy for such patients. Use of colistin should be judicious. The correlation between duration and magnitude of exposure and ICRE infection should be investigated in further studies, the researchers concluded.

Luigia Scudeller, a clinical epidemiologist specialized in methodology will become the new ESCMID Guidelines Director from January 2018. Luigia Scudeller’s main fields of interest are the design, implementation, analysis and publication of observational studies and clinical trials as well as the development of consensus documents and guidelines. Luigia Scudeller, who has a clinical background in infectious diseases, works at the Policlinic San Matteo Foundation in Pavia, Italy. She is succeeding William Hope, who stepped down from the ESCMID guideline director position to focus on his work as head of the Antimicrobial Pharmacodynamics and Therapeutics Group at the University of Liverpool. We thank William Hope for his valuable work for the society, and we welcome Luigia Scudeller as guidelines director and ad-hoc member of the Executive Committee.

Experts of the European Committee on antimicrobial susceptibility testing (EUCAST) evaluated five commercially available broth microdilution (BMD) products and two brands of gradient tests to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of colistin for Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter spp. The colistin BMD products correlated well with reference tests, while gradient tests generally underestimated the lowest concentration of colistin inhibiting bacterial growth, resulting in a significant number of false susceptible results. Based on these results, EUCAST experts advise laboratories not to trust gradient tests for colistin susceptibility testing and to use broth microdilution methods for this purpose (open-access paper).

The ESCMID postgraduate education course Adult Immunization: New and Old Challenges from 16 – 17 March 2018 in Sao Paulo, Brazil is co-organized with the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases (SBI) and the Brazilian Immunization Society (SBIM). Experts will discuss different aspects related to immunization in adults. Participants will learn about the importance and challenges of adult immunization, immune response in the elderly and vaccine schedule for adults, immunocompromised patients, healthcare workers and travellers. The course targets infectious disease, public health and travel health specialists, training physicians in infectious diseases, vaccinology and paediatrics as well as healthcare professionals interested in adult immunization.

ESCMID thanks all the researchers who have submitted their work to our next congress. We have received more than 5,300 abstracts for ECCMID, which will take place from 21 – 24 April 2018 in Madrid. That is the highest number we have ever received. About 600 experts will start their review of the submissions from tomorrow. Submitters will be informed about acceptance by the end of January 2018.

The two-year training programme starts in February 2018 with a basic and compulsory module in Groningen. Advanced modules follow in June and October of 2018, and in January, March, May and September of 2019. In addition, trainees will have the opportunity to attend local modules in different countries comprising the topics of the curriculum, follow e-learning modules, and apply for observerships. All medical doctors and pharmacists, nurses or other healthcare professionals with a MSc or PhD are eligible. After successful completion of the programme, trainees will receive the EUCIC Certificate in Infection Prevention and Control. Registration for the basic module is now open.

The goal of the course Preparing for (Re-)Emerging Arbovirus Infections in Europe is to improve the participant’s knowledge of identification and management of arbovirus (arthropod-borne virus) infections and outbreaks at local and European levels. The course from 21 – 23 March 2018 in Bucharest, Romania is part of the EU-PREPARE partnership, aimed at strengthening European preparedness for (re-)emerging infectious disease outbreaks. Course topics will include a review of arboviruses of 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 for these viruses. The course will also include an overview of surveillance systems, European organizations, laboratories and clinical networks involved in surveillance, control and outbreak response and practical sessions covering serology interpretation, case scenarios and outbreak response exercises.

The 2017 online election for the ESCMID Executive Committee (EC) is open until Tuesday, 12 December 2017 at 12:00 noon CET. ESCMID members may cast their votes for the election and determine who will represent their interests and area of practice at your society. You may choose one candidate representing clinical microbiology and two representing infectious diseases. Have a look at the profiles of the eight candidates who have offered their time and energy for ESCMID. Thank you for voting and selecting the future leadership of your society. We will announce the results both on the ESCMID website and in a special newsletter later in December.

ESCMID members may cast their votes now for the ESCMID Executive Committee (EC) election 2017 and determine who will represent your interests and your area of practice at our society. You may choose one candidate representing clinical microbiology (CM) and two representing infectious diseases (ID). We are pleased to present five candidates for ID and three for CM. Have a look at the profiles of the eight candidates who have offered their time and energy for ESCMID. You will find the presentation of the candidates as well as the ballot on our website.

The 2017 online election for the ESCMID Executive Committee is open until Tuesday, 12 December 2017 at 12:00 noon CET. Thank you for voting and selecting the future leadership of our society. We will announce the results both on the ESCMID website and in a special newsletter in December.

Colistin antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) has been acknowledged as challenging, and recently the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) has posted warnings regarding the gradient tests, which have been used for testing by many clinical laboratories. Current EUCAST recommendations state that only broth microdilution (BMD) should be used for AST of colistin. EUCAST will conduct an investigation on the performance of the Rapid Polymyxin NP test. Based on the results EUCAST experts will decide whether it can recommend the test as one possible method for colistin AST. Meanwhile, clinical laboratories, particularly larger university laboratories with complex patients, should acknowledge the increasing need for reference AST, and preferably implement BMD, EUCAST experts recommend.

For the World Antibiotic Awareness Week and the European Antibiotic Awareness Day, TAE Steering Committee members shared some reports about how their countries approach these initiatives. Throughout their stories you will get an insight into Europe’s diversity. We hope you enjoy reading about the experiences of our trainees in Turkey, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Italy.

ESCMID can offer participants discounts on travel to and within Madrid. The registration includes a five-day travel pass for Madrid covering the congress days from 21 – 24 April. Registered ECCMID participants also benefit from discounted flight fares if you book with the official airline alliance Oneworld.

The November issue of ESCMID’s journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection is dedicated to antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) to coincide with World Antibiotic Awareness Week. Until mid-December you have free access to three papers by ESCMID’s study group for antimicrobial stewardship (ESGAP): an editorial on antibiotic stewardship, a commentary about funding for AMS teams, and a review on AMS.

The molecular diagnostics course from 17 – 19 January 2018 in Maastricht, Netherlands, provides an overview, advantages and pitfalls of the general principles of state-of-the-art molecular techniques in the diagnosis of infectious diseases. Basic features of e.g. next-generation sequencing (NGS) as well as advanced features e.g. real-time PCR will be addressed in relation to their diagnostic importance and usefulness. In addition, interactive discussions on clinical interpretation and application will be held in several specific simultaneous workshops for which participants will be able to register. The grant application deadline is 20 November 2017, the registration deadline is 6 December 2017.

Researchers established a novel direct-on-target microdroplet growth assay, which can detect antibiotic resistance within a few hours. The assay is based on matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). They incubated Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa microorganisms with and without meropenem directly on MALDI-TOF MS target. The best performance was achieved using 6 μl microdroplets, which allowed successful detection of all growth controls. All isolates were correctly categorised as susceptible or non-susceptible after 18-hours incubation. The researchers demonstrated easy, rapid and accurate resistance detection using carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative bacteria as an example. The technology is suitable for automatization and expandable to further applications, e.g. simultaneous testing of multiple antibiotics as well as resistance determination directly from clinical samples.

The course Regional Capacity-building for Integration of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) in the Clinical Microlab took place from 30 October – 1 November 2017 in Israel. The workshop was organised by the ESCMID Study Group for Genomic and Molecular Diagnostics (ESGMD) in collaboration with ESGEM, ESGLI and ESGFOR as well as the Israeli Society for Infectious Diseases. Over 100 participants (microbiologists, epidemiologists, infectious diseases specialists and bioinformaticians) from 18 countries attended this three-day course. The focus of the workshop was to introduce the emerging role of next-generation sequencing (NGS) in microbiology, with special emphasis on bacterial whole genome sequencing, clinical metagenomics and practical aspects of implementing NGS technology in routine settings. This workshop is a part of an ongoing series of capacity-building events organised by ESGMD across Europe. Three such events will take place in 2018 – more information will become available soon on the ESCMID website.

The ESCMID-ASM conference on drug development to meet the challenge of antimicrobial resistance will take place in Lisbon, Portugal from 4 – 7 September 2018. The flyer can be downloaded under the following link.

Another event that may be of interest to you is the international conference on migration health, which takes place from 1 – 3 October 2018 in Rome, Italy.

The preliminary scientific programme for ECCMID from 21 – 24 April 2018 in Madrid, Spain, is online now. The keynote lectures include for example a talk by Nobel Prize winner Rolf Zinkernagel about immunology taught by viruses. In the symposia, you will find pro-con debates about the use of corticosteroids to treat community-acquired pneumonia and the value of standard susceptibility testing for biofilms as well as the popular year-in sessions.

The ESCMID Study Group for Genomics and Molecular Diagnostics (ESGMD) reviewed the practical aspects of implementing bacterial whole genome sequencing (WGS) in routine diagnostic laboratories. They discuss when and how to integrate WGS in the routine workflow.

As microbiology laboratories have to adhere to various national and international regulations and criteria, the authors also deliberate on quality control issues for using WGS in microbiology, including the importance of proficiency testing. Furthermore, the current and future place of this technology in the diagnostic hierarchy of microbiology is described as well as the necessity of maintaining backwards compatibility with already established methods. Finally, the authors speculate on the question whether WGS can entirely replace routine microbiology in the future and the tension between the fact that most sequencers are designed to process multiple samples in parallel whereas for optimal diagnosis a one-by-one processing of the samples is preferred. Special reference is made to the cost and turnaround time of WGS in diagnostic laboratories.

The ESGMD experts conclude that further development is required to improve the workflow for WGS, particularly to shorten the turnaround time, reduce costs and streamline downstream data analyses. Only when these processes reach maturity, reliance on WGS for routine patient management and infection control management will become feasible, enabling the transformation of clinical microbiology into a genome-based and personalised diagnostic field.

Trainee Association of ESCMID (TAE) welcomes two new members onto its Steering Committee. The new members on the TAE steering committee are Aleksandra Barac (left) from Belgrade, Serbia, and Muge Cevik (right) from Edinburgh, UK. We look forward to officially welcoming them to their new roles at the next TAE Steering Committee meeting later this month. Welcome on board!

The Staphylococcus aureus biofilm may constitute a major cause of virulence. Researchers analyzed if biofilm production can be associated with poor outcome in patients with S. aureus bacteraemia. Outcome was poor in 199/485 (41.0%) of the S. aureus bacteraemia episodes. The distribution of poor outcome with respect to biomass production (BP) and metabolic activity (MA) was as follows: low BP, 36.6% vs. high BP, 43.2% (p=0.26); and low MA, 43.5% vs. high MA, 36.2% (p=0.91). The presence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus was the only characteristic that was more likely to be present in the high MA group (17.4% vs. 39.3%, p < 0.001). They concluded that biofilm production, as determined by any of the methods used in the study, is not associated with poor outcome in patients with S. aureus bacteraemia.

Be part of another record-breaking ECCMID! Share and discuss the research you are currently working on with colleagues from around the world. We expect to accept about three quarters of around 5,000 abstracts that are likely to be submitted for presentation at our congress from 21 – 24 April 2018. 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.

ESCMID and the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada (AMMI Canada) signed a memorandum of understanding on 6 October 2017. Potential areas of cooperation between the two societies are contributions to the scientific programmes of annual meetings, the development of medical guidelines and the organization of conferences, education courses and observerships.

The Italian National Institute for Infectious Diseases L. Spallanzani and non-profit organization EMERGENCY Onlus evaluated the performance of the EBOLA Virus Antigen (Ag) Detection K-SeT on 210 residual plasma samples, comparing results with those obtained by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The sensitivity and specificity of the test were 88.6% (95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 82.5-94.7) and 98.1% (95% CI: 95.5-100.7) respectively. The positive and negative predictive values were 97.9% (95% CI: 95.0–100.8) and 89.6% (95% CI: 84–95.2), respectively. In samples with high viral load (≥6.2 log RNA copies/ml), the sensitivity increased up to 98.7% (95% CI: 96.1–101.2). The test needs minimal resources to rapidly diagnose individuals suspected to be infected with Ebola virus disease and may function as a new effective diagnostic tool, the authors conclude.

Nine ESCMID members visited WHO in Copenhagen, Denmark last week for a three-day observership. The observers travelled from as far as Australia, Indonesia and Peru, as well as from within Europe, to get a closer look at the inner workings of the health agency. Watch this space for information about when the 2018 applications will open so that you too can benefit from this unique opportunity.

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.