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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Vaccination and malaria prophylaxis among Greek international travelers to Asian destinations.
J Infect Public Health
PUBLISHED: 08-13-2014
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International travel is rapidly increasing worldwide, and the greatest increases have occurred in tropical and subtropical areas. The aim of the survey was to investigate the pre-travel health-seeking practices of travelers to Asian destinations.
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Vaccine-preventable diseases in Europe: where do we stand?
Expert Rev Vaccines
PUBLISHED: 06-24-2014
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During the second half of the 20th century, vaccinations led to the control or even eradication of several vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) in Europe. However, outbreaks of VPDs continue to occur even in countries with well-established vaccination programs. Reasons include the existence of under-vaccinated populations, the increasing anti-vaccination movement and the increasing movement of populations across borders. Ensuring adequate levels of herd immunity is the only reliable method for preventing epidemics and a re-emergence of VPDs. In order to achieve this, more flexible vaccine delivery platforms are needed targeting the less-privileged people, especially in the context of the current economic crisis. Healthcare personnel and healthcare systems should be prepared to address these challenges in the following years.
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Vaccination coverage and susceptibility against vaccine-preventable diseases of healthcare students in Athens, Greece.
Vaccine
PUBLISHED: 04-11-2014
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Vaccination of healthcare students is important to protect them from acquiring and transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) to high-risk patients and other healthcare workers (HCWs). The aim of the current study was to estimate the vaccination coverage, the susceptibility against VPDs, the knowledge and attitudes toward vaccinations of healthcare students studying at the Athens Technological Educational Institute.
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Vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis for long-term travellers travelling from Greece: A prospective, questionnaire-based analysis.
Travel Med Infect Dis
PUBLISHED: 03-14-2014
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The purpose of this prospective, questionnaire-based study is to assess pre-travel vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis for long-term travellers who receive pre-travel advice in Greece. A total of 4721 travellers were studied from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2012. Travellers sought pre-travel advice at a mean of 19.7 days (range: 0-349 days) before departure. Long-term travellers (?1 month) accounted for 2205 (46.7%) of all travellers. Long-term travellers had a mean age of 34.5 years. The majority of them were men (79.8%). In terms of destinations, 84% were visiting malaria-endemic countries and sub-Saharan Africa was the most common destination (17.7%). Most long-term travellers pursued trips for work purposes (70%), visited urban areas (79.6%) and stayed in hotels (29.2%). Yellow fever, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and tetanus/diphtheria vaccines were administered to 1647 (74.7%), 741 (33.6%), 652 (29.5%), and 589 (26.7%) travellers, respectively. Yellow fever vaccine was administered to 339 (87%) and 132 (71%) of long-term travellers to sub-Saharan Africa and South America respectively, whereas typhoid vaccine to 119 (90.8%) and 330 (84.6%) of those travelling to the Indian subcontinent and sub-Saharan Africa respectively. Rabies vaccine was administered to 14 (0.6%) of them. Malaria prophylaxis was recommended to 446 (20%) of long-term travellers. Mefloquine was the most commonly (49%) prescribed agent, and was prescribed to 26.7% of long-term travellers to sub-Sahara Africa. In conclusion, this study revealed that recommendations for vaccine and malaria prophylaxis for long-term travellers to developing countries should be more selective, based on the assessment of all travellers' and travel characteristics, in order to provide adequate pre-travel preparation for this high risk group of travellers. More focused studies are suggested in order to understand the particular needs of long-term travellers. Increasing awareness of travellers and travel health consultants is very important.
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Vaccination of healthcare personnel: spotlight on groups with underlying conditions.
Vaccine
PUBLISHED: 02-24-2014
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Healthcare personnel (HCP) are at increased risk of acquiring vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). Vaccination protects HCP and their patients from nosocomial transmission of VPDs. HCP who have underlying diseases (e.g., immunocompromised, HIV-infected, or those with chronic diseases) and HCP in particular phases of life (e.g., pregnant, elderly) require special consideration in regards the provision of vaccines. On the one hand, live virus vaccines may be contraindicated (e.g., pregnant HCP, immunocompromised HCP), while on the other hand, vaccines not routinely recommended (e.g., pneumococcal) may be indicated (e.g., elderly or immunocompromised HCP). It is not known how many HCP with underlying conditions require special consideration in the healthcare setting. This is an important issue, because the risk for serious morbidity, complications and mortality for HCP with underlying conditions will only increase. The prevention of nosocomial infections requires comprehensive occupational safety programs. The healthcare system must engage HCP and occupational physicians to ensure sufficient vaccination rates as part of an effective nosocomial infection prevention and HCP safety strategy.
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Pre-travel preparation practices among business travellers to tropical and subtropical destinations: results from the Athens International Airport Survey.
Travel Med Infect Dis
PUBLISHED: 02-18-2014
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The number of business travellers from Greece to tropical and subtropical areas has recently increased. The study aimed to assess travel health preparation practices of business travellers departing to Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
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The role and utilisation of public health evaluations in Europe: a case study of national hand hygiene campaigns.
BMC Public Health
PUBLISHED: 01-27-2014
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Evaluations are essential to judge the success of public health programmes. In Europe, the proportion of public health programmes that undergo evaluation remains unclear. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control sought to determine the frequency of evaluations amongst European national public health programmes by using national hand hygiene campaigns as an example of intervention.
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Prescription of antibiotics and awareness of antibiotic costs by paediatricians in two hospitals in Greece.
J Chemother
PUBLISHED: 01-14-2014
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Our aim was to study the antibiotic prescription practices and the knowledge about antibiotic costs, brand and generic drugs of paediatricians working in two hospitals in Greece. The 2007 national guidelines were used as the gold standard for antibiotic prescription. A total of 126 paediatricians participated in the study (50.4% response rate). The mean compliance rate with the guidelines was 50.1% (range per infection: 10.6-84.7%). The mean scores of knowledge about antibiotic costs and about brand name and generic drugs were 35.6 and 60.3%, respectively. Linear regression analysis found a significant association between the mean compliance rate with the national guidelines and the paediatricians' age (mean compliance rates were 49.1, 53.0, and 43.0% in the ? 30, 31-40, and > 40 years age-groups, respectively; P ?=? 0.003). In conclusion, five years after the first national guidelines were issued in Greece only half of the paediatricians working in hospitals comply fully with them.
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Vaccination and Malaria Prevention among International Travelers Departing from Athens International Airport to African Destinations.
J Trop Med
PUBLISHED: 01-09-2014
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Background. International travel to Africa has grown dramatically over the last decade along with an increasing need to understand the health issues for travelers. The current survey aimed to assess vaccination and malaria prevention of travelers visiting Africa. Methods. A questionnaire-based survey was conducted from of November 1, 2011 to of April 30, 2013 at Athens International Airport. Results. A total of 360 travelers were studied; 68% were men. Their mean age was 39.9 years. Previous travel to tropical countries was reported by 71.9% of them. Most frequent destination was sub-Saharan Africa (60%). Most of them traveled for ?1 month (62%). The main reason for travel was work (39.7%). Only 47% sought pretravel consultation. Hepatitis A, typhoid, and meningococcal vaccines were administered to 49.8%, 28%, and 26.6%, respectively, and malaria chemoprophylaxis to 66.8% of those who visited sub-Saharan Africa. A history of previous travel to a tropical country, elementary level of education, and traveling for visiting friends and relatives, and for short duration were significant determinants for not pursuing pretravel consultation. Conclusions. The current survey revealed important inadequacies in vaccine and malaria prophylaxis of travelers departing to Africa. Educational tools should be developed in order to improve awareness of travelers to risk destinations.
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Prescription of antibiotics and knowledge about antibiotic costs among physicians working in tertiary-care hospitals.
J Chemother
PUBLISHED: 01-02-2014
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The objective of this study is to investigate antibiotic prescription practices among hospital-based physicians in Greece, using the 2007 national guidelines as the golden standard. A total of 168 physicians participated. Compliance rate with the first-line antibiotic treatment recommended by the national guidelines was 65·5% for acute bacterial sinusitis; 24% for acute uncomplicated cystitis; 36·4% for an acute febrile diarrheic syndrome; 38% for an afebrile adult with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and non-productive cough of 7 days duration; 23·2% for streptococcal pharyngotonsillitis; 55·1% for a surgically sutured, dirty wound; and 48·2% for community-acquired pneumonia. The total mean rate of compliance with the first recommended antibiotic was 41·2%.
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Isolation facilities for highly infectious diseases in europe - a cross-sectional analysis in 16 countries.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Highly Infectious Diseases (HIDs) are (i) easily transmissible form person to person; (ii) cause a life-threatening illness with no or few treatment options; and (iii) pose a threat for both personnel and the public. Hence, even suspected HID cases should be managed in specialised facilities minimizing infection risks but allowing state-of-the-art critical care. Consensus statements on the operational management of isolation facilities have been published recently. The study presented was set up to compare the operational management, resources, and technical equipment among European isolation facilities. Due to differences in geography, population density, and national response plans it was hypothesized that adherence to recommendations will vary.
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Typhoid Vaccination for International Travelers From Greece Visiting Developing Countries.
J Travel Med
PUBLISHED: 11-19-2013
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Typhoid fever is one of the most common diagnoses in returned international travelers. Our aim was to study the typhoid vaccine prescription practices for travelers from Greece visiting developing countries.
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Impact of postpartum influenza vaccination of mothers and household contacts in preventing febrile episodes, influenza-like illness, healthcare seeking, and administration of antibiotics in young infants during the 2012-2013 influenza season.
Clin. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 09-17-2013
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Influenza is associated with an increased risk for serious illness, hospitalization, and mortality in infants aged <6 months. However, influenza vaccines are not licensed for administration in this age group. The study evaluated the effectiveness of postpartum influenza vaccination of mothers and household members in infants.
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Infections caused by carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative pathogens in hospitalized children.
Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J.
PUBLISHED: 09-12-2013
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Carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative pathogens (CRPs) are emerging as major causes of nosocomial infections that increase morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs. Little is known about CRP infections in children.
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Preparedness of paediatric international travellers departing from Athens, Greece: an 18-month airport-based survey.
Acta Paediatr.
PUBLISHED: 09-02-2013
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The number of children who travel to tropical and subtropical areas has increased. This study aimed to assess the preparedness of children departing from Greece to Africa and Asia, in terms of vaccination and malaria chemoprophylaxis.
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Vaccination policies for healthcare workers in Europe.
Vaccine
PUBLISHED: 08-31-2013
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Health-care workers (HCWs) are at increased risk for acquisition of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) and vaccination is justified in order to protect them from occupational exposure and to prevent the spread of VPDs that pose a threat to susceptible patients. Review of European vaccination policies for HCWs revealed significant differences between countries in terms of recommended vaccines, implementation frame (mandatory or recommendation), target HCW groups and health-care settings. Further, the few published studies available identified indicate significant immunity gaps among HCWs against VPDs in Europe. In order to achieve higher vaccination coverage against VPDs stronger recommendations are needed in Europe. The issue of mandatory vaccination should be considered for diseases that can be transmitted to susceptible patients (influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, pertussis, varicella). The acceptance of vaccinations and of mandatory vaccinations by HCWs is a challenge and appears to be VPD-specific.
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Outbreak of pan-susceptible Klebsiella pneumoniae in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Scand. J. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 08-01-2013
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We describe the outbreak of a pan-susceptible Klebsiella pneumoniae strain in a neonatal intensive care unit. A total of 7 neonates developed bacteraemia (37% attack rate), of whom 3 died (43% case fatality rate). A birth weight < 1500 g was the only statistically significant risk factor. Despite an extensive environmental investigation, the source was not identified.
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?epatitis A and enteric fever in Greece, 2004-2011: A cross-sectional analysis.
Travel Med Infect Dis
PUBLISHED: 03-20-2013
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In Greece the number of international travellers has increased significantly the past decade.
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Vaccinations for international travellers travelling from Greece.
Travel Med Infect Dis
PUBLISHED: 02-20-2013
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The aim of this prospective, questionnaire-based study is to assess pre-travel vaccinations for international travellers who receive pre-travel advice in Greece. A total of 2494 travellers were studied from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010. Travellers sought pre-travel advice at a median of 16 days (range: 0-349 days) before departure. Sub-Saharan Africa was the most common destination (34.7%). Most travellers (60.8%) travelled for <1 month, for recreation purposes (58.9%), stayed in hotels (65.3%), and in urban areas (53.6%). Yellow fever, tetravalent meningococcal, typhoid fever, cholera, and rabies vaccines were administered to 1629 (65.3%), 666 (26.7%), 615 (24.7%), 28 (1.1%), and/or 12 (0.5%) travellers, respectively. Of those who received Yellow fever vaccine, 737 (45.2%) travelled to sub-Saharan Africa, 332 (20.4%) travelled to South America, 949 (58.3%) stayed for short term, and 762 (46.8%) stayed in urban areas. Of the 1629 travellers vaccinated against Yellow fever, 150 (9.2%) and 226 (13.8%) travelled to areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South America respectively, where the vaccine is not or generally not recommended. Of those travellers who received meningococcal vaccine, 327 (49.1%) travelled to the Middle East for the Hajj, 251 (29%) travelled to sub-Saharan Africa, 410 (61.6%) for short term, and 540 (64.4%) stayed in urban areas. Of those travellers who received typhoid vaccine, 241 (39.2%) travelled to sub-Saharan Africa, 78 (12.7%) to the Indian subcontinent, 234 (38%) for short term, and 419 (68.1%) stayed in urban areas. Regarding routine vaccines, tetanus-diphtheria, poliomyelitis, and measles-mumps-rubella vaccines were administered to 707 (28.3%), 639 (25.6%) and/or 149 (6%) travellers, respectively. Of those to whom poliomyelitis vaccine was recommended, 295 (46.2%) and 137 (21.4%) travelled to sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, respectively, and 362 (56.7%) travelled for short term. In conclusion, this study revealed that there is a need for more selective vaccine recommendations for travellers to developing countries, taking under consideration travellers and travel characteristics as well. Strategies to target travel health consultants should be developed in order to increase awareness in travel health issues.
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Antibiotic prescription and knowledge about antibiotic costs of physicians in primary health care centers in Greece.
Am J Infect Control
PUBLISHED: 02-19-2013
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The aim of this questionnaire-based study is to investigate antibiotic prescription practices among primary health care physicians in Greece using the 2007 Hellenic Center for Diseases Control and Prevention guidelines as the gold standard. Seven case scenarios were used. A total of 527 physicians participated. The mean compliance rate with the first recommended antibiotic by the guidelines was 51%, ranging from 22.9% to 71.5% by scenario. Younger physicians and female physicians had higher scores of compliance.
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Paediatric malaria in Greece in the era of global population mobility.
Travel Med Infect Dis
PUBLISHED: 02-16-2013
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We reviewed the medical records of children admitted because of malaria to four tertiary-care hospitals in Greece during 1972-2002. A total of 21 cases were found, including 20 (95.2%) diagnosed during 2003-2012. Sixteen (76.2%) children had been in a malaria-endemic country within a median of 50 days before the onset of their symptoms. Main causes of travel were immigration to Greece and to visit friends and relatives (VFRs). A considerable epidemiological shift of paediatric malaria occurred in Greece during the past decade, which is attributed almost exclusively to the increase of immigrants and travellers VFRs.
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Factors associated with IgG positivity to Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus in the area with the highest seroprevalence in Greece.
Ticks Tick Borne Dis
PUBLISHED: 02-08-2013
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In order to gain insight into the factors playing a role for the high seroprevalence of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus in the human population of Thesprotia prefecture, Greece, serum samples were collected from residents of the area together with a questionnaire about demographic and epidemiological factors. A 14.4% seroprevalence was detected, with increased age, agro-pastoral activities, slaughtering, and contact with animals (especially sheep) among the factors associated with seropositivity. The high seroprevalence with the absence of any clinical cases needs further investigation.
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Measles in health-care settings.
Am J Infect Control
PUBLISHED: 01-23-2013
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Despite the availability of an effective and safe vaccine for almost half a century, measles is re-emerging in several developed countries because of the insufficient vaccination coverage among specific subpopulations, the emerging anti-vaccination movement, and the increasing movement of humans across borders. In this context, health-care settings play a critical role in the transmission of infection and generation of numerous cases. Health-care-associated outbreaks may be associated with severe morbidity and mortality among specific groups of patients, disruption of health-care services, and considerable costs. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a measles case and inadequate implementation of infection control measures are common in almost all events of nosocomial spread. Measles vaccination of health-care workers is an effective means of prevention of nosocomial measles outbreaks. Eliminating measles by 2010 has not been accomplished. Stronger recommendations and higher vaccination coverage against measles in health-care workers could contribute to eliminate measles in the general population.
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Attitudes towards mandatory vaccination and vaccination coverage against vaccine-preventable diseases among health-care workers in tertiary-care hospitals.
J. Infect.
PUBLISHED: 10-27-2011
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To assess the attitudes about mandatory vaccination and vaccination coverage against vaccine-preventable diseases among health-care workers (HCWs) working in tertiary-care hospitals in Greece.
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Legal aspects of public health: how law frames communicable disease control in Greece.
J Public Health Policy
PUBLISHED: 08-25-2011
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We reviewed Greek law (legislation, historic Royal Decrees, and modern Presidential ones, 1833-2010) pertinent to control of communicable diseases and compared this body of Greek law with the revised International Health Regulations. Greece authorizes and regulates communicable disease control commensurate with public health risks, and integrates the principles of equality, objectivity, and respect for human rights. Despite strength at the level of principles, Greek law lacks coherence, clarity, and systematization. An inadequate body of regulations means legislation falls short of adequate implementing authority and guidelines; public health authorities often cannot find or understand the laws, nor are they certain about allocation of jurisdictional authority. We identified areas for improvement.
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Estimation of seroprevalence of the pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza virus using a novel virus-free ELISA assay for the detection of specific antibodies.
Viral Immunol.
PUBLISHED: 06-15-2011
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The pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza A emerged in April 2009 and spread rapidly all over the world. In Greece, the first case of the pandemic H1N1 was reported on May 18, 2009, while a considerable increase in the number of cases was noticed at the beginning of July 2009. The need for surveillance of the immune status of the Greek population led us to develop a virus-free ELISA that specifically recognizes pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza virus antibodies in human sera. The method is based on the use of synthetic peptides (H1-pep and N1-pep) that are derived from the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase of the 2009 pandemic strain, respectively, and differentiate the swine-origin influenza A/California/14/2009 (H1N1) from the seasonal influenza A viruses. Serum samples were obtained from 271 healthy blood donors during May, November, and December 2009. Among sera collected during May, November, and December, IgG antibodies against the peptide H1-pep were detected in 7.4, 13.8, and 19.3% of the donors, respectively, while IgG antibodies against the peptide N1-pep were detected in 5.3, 9.6, and 16.9% of the donors, respectively. The application of the immunoassay indicated a time-dependent increase of the prevalence of anti-H1-pep and anti-N1-pep IgG antibodies during the pandemic H1N1 outbreak in Greece. The method could be also indicative for the discrimination of immune persons from those susceptible to infection with the pandemic H1N1 strain, as well as for the establishment of effective vaccination programs.
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Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever: epidemiological trends and controversies in treatment.
BMC Med
PUBLISHED: 05-20-2011
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Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus has the widest geographic range of all tick-borne viruses and is endemic in more than 30 countries in Eurasia and Africa. Over the past decade, new foci have emerged or re-emerged in the Balkans and neighboring areas. Here we discuss the factors influencing CCHF incidence and focus on the main issue of the use of ribavirin for treating this infection. Given the dynamics of CCHF emergence in the past decade, development of new anti-viral drugs and a vaccine is urgently needed to treat and prevent this acute, life-threatening disease.
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Descriptive analysis of malaria prophylaxis for travellers from Greece visiting malaria-endemic countries.
Travel Med Infect Dis
PUBLISHED: 03-23-2011
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International travel is changing the epidemiology of imported malaria. Our aim was to study malaria prophylaxis administered to travellers from Greece. The study was conducted during 2008-2009. Data were collected using a standardized form. A total of 2337 travellers were studied; prophylaxis was recommended to 60.2% of them. Of the 2337 travellers, 32.6% travelled to sub-Saharan Africa, 25.5% to South America, 11.8% to Indian subcontinent, 11.7% to Middle East, and 4.4% to Southeast Asia; prophylaxis was recommended to 77.4%, 64%, 80.6%, 4.8% and 73.5% of them, respectively. According to the purpose of travel, prophylaxis was recommended to 85.4% of those travelling for work, 75.2% of those visiting friends and relatives, and 62% of those travelling for recreation. Prophylaxis advised was provided to 68.5%, 66.2%, 61.5%, and 18.9% to those staying at a residence of local people, camping, hotels, and cruise ships, respectively. Regarding long-term travellers, malaria prophylaxis was recommended to 42.6%. Recommendation of malaria prophylaxis was significantly statistically in association with destination countries, purpose of travel, type of residence in endemic areas There is a need to improve recommendations for malaria prophylaxis for travellers from Greece, and to increase awareness and education of professionals providing travel health services in Greece.
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Vaccination of health-care workers against influenza: our obligation to protect patients.
Influenza Other Respir Viruses
PUBLISHED: 03-21-2011
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Nosocomial influenza poses a threat for specific groups of patients and is associated not only with the disruption of health-care services but also excess costs. Although vaccination of health-care workers (HCWs) has been recommended for almost three decades and constitutes the most convenient and effective means to prevent nosocomial transmission, vaccine uptake within this group remains unacceptably low worldwide. In regard to the pandemic influenza A H1N1, HCWs constitute a priority group for immunization. Nevertheless, low vaccination rates have been documented regarding the influenza pandemic and associated with the onset of nosocomial cases and outbreaks. HCWs, health-care institutions, and public health bodies have the moral obligation to protect vulnerable patients and therefore weigh the benefits of mandatory vaccination. Key effective interventions, such as the education of HCWs concerning the benefits and safety of influenza vaccination, the reinforcement of on-site, free of charge vaccinations, and the use of mobile vaccination teams in conjunction with incentives, should be widely implemented.
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Vaccination policies for health-care workers in acute health-care facilities in Europe.
Vaccine
PUBLISHED: 03-18-2011
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The aim of this study was to evaluate existing policies regarding recommended and mandatory occupational vaccinations for health-care workers (HCWs) in Europe. A standardized questionnaire was sent to experts in Infection Control or Occupational Health in all 27 European Union Member States, as well as Norway, Russia, and Switzerland. All 30 countries have established policies about HCW vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases. However significant gaps and considerable country-to-country variation were found, in terms of number of recommended vaccines and target subgroups of HCWs and health-care settings. Vaccination against hepatitis B and annual vaccination against seasonal influenza are almost universally recommended for HCWs in Europe (29 countries each, including eight countries where vaccination against hepatitis B is mandatory or required for employment). Policies regarding HCW vaccination also exist against mumps (12 countries), measles or rubella (15 countries), varicella (17 countries), diphtheria-tetanus (14 countries), pertussis (9 countries), poliomyelitis (11 countries), hepatitis A (11 countries), tuberculosis (BCG vaccine) (9 countries), and against meningococcus group C or meningococci groups A, C, W135, Y (tetravalent vaccine) (in 4 countries each). Re-evaluation of occupational vaccine policies for HCWs in Europe on a consensus basis is imperative in order to promote HCW and patient safety.
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Seroepidemiological study of pandemic influenza H1N1 following the 2009-2010 wave in Greece.
Vaccine
PUBLISHED: 02-04-2011
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Knowledge of seroprevalence rates against 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus will assist vaccination recommendations and the preparation of the health-care system during subsequent years. This study was conducted in Greece during June-August 2010 to estimate the seroprevalence rate against pandemic H1N1 virus. Persons presenting in 29 health-care facilities across the country were studied. Seroprevalence was estimated employing a virus-free ELISA that specifically recognizes 2009 H1N1 virus antibodies in human sera. Sera collected from 2005 to April 2009 were also used to estimate pre-pandemic seroprevalence rates. A total of 954 persons were studied. The overall seroprevalence rate was 28.5% (95% confidence interval=25.6-31.3%). Age-specific rates were 34.2% in persons 0-4 years, 36.3% in persons 5-19 years, 25.0% in persons 20-39 years, 23.4% in persons 40-59 years, and 31.8% in persons ? 60 years. The highest rates were recorded in the Regions of Ionian Islands (67%) and Epirus (42.9%), while the lowest (8.4%) in the Region of Thessaly. Age-specific attack rates of infection during 2009-2010 were 28.8% in persons 0-4 years, 32.5% in persons 5-19 years, 14.3% in persons 20-39 years, 19.1% in persons 40-59 years, and 14.4% in persons ? 60 years. Multivariate analysis revealed that Region of residence and caring for children <5 years were associated with increased risk for seropositivity. Urbanity, personal and family characteristics, working in a health-care facility or in a school, history of pandemic H1N1 vaccination or history of influenza-like illness during 2009-2010 were not associated with increased risk for seropositivity.
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Post?cataract surgery endophthalmitis outbreak caused by multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Am J Infect Control
PUBLISHED: 02-02-2011
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In June 2010, a severe outbreak of 13 cases of post-cataract surgery endophthalmitis caused by multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa occurred. Pulse-field gel electrophoresis in eye isolates found 95% genetic similarity; however, extensive environmental and carriage investigation revealed no source of infection.
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Travelling to Greece for the summer 2011 Special Olympics.
Travel Med Infect Dis
PUBLISHED: 01-14-2011
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The Special Olympics is a non-profit organization that was officially founded in 1968. Nowadays, the Special Olympics have evolved to a Global Movement that offers the opportunity to more than 3 million athletes with mental or physical disabilities from 185 countries to participate. The Special Olympics will take place in Greece from June 25 until July 4, 2011, where 7500 athletes from 185 countries will participate in 22 Olympic-type games. Mass gatherings such as Olympic Games represent a significant challenge for public health. This paper focuses on relevant health and safety issues for all travellers travelling to Greece for the summer 2011 Special Olympic Games.
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Knowledge and practices about rabies among travel medicine consultants in Greece.
Travel Med Infect Dis
PUBLISHED: 09-23-2010
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The number of travellers returning with animal bites from rabies enzootic areas has increased in Greece. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge of travel-associated risk and preventive measures for rabies. A questionnaire was sent to Travel Medicine consultants in all prefectures. Of 100 Travel Medicine consultants, advice about rabies was given to long-term travellers, business travellers, travellers to rural areas, and travellers engaged in animal activities in rabies enzootic countries by 44%, 22%, 58%, and 75% of them respectively. Avoidance of animals, post-exposure medical assistance, return back to their country, and special caution about children was recommended by 89%, 95%, 8%, and 65% of them, respectively. Rabies pre-exposure vaccination was recommended for travellers to rural areas, long-term travellers, and travellers engaged in animal activities by 61%, 35%, and 81% of them, respectively. Regarding post-exposure vaccination, 78% and 37% answered correctly with regards to travellers with no pre-exposure prophylaxis and travellers with pre-exposure prophylaxis, respectively. Counselling about rabies and management of risk exposure needs to be improved. Our findings indicate the need to promote continuous training in Travel Medicine in Greece and provide practical information about rabies prophylaxis.
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Novel (pandemic) influenza A H1N1 in healthcare facilities: implications for prevention and control.
Scand. J. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 03-25-2010
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In April 2009 a novel (pandemic) influenza A H1N1 virus was identified in Mexico and the USA and spread throughout the world over a short period of time. Although the virulence of novel influenza was no greater than that of seasonal influenza, a major patient load and wave of admissions were faced. There are few evidence-based data available to guide infection control measures for novel influenza, however what is clear is that the novel virus is a very efficient agent for rapid spread and onset of outbreaks in healthcare settings. There are few reports on the nosocomial transmission of novel influenza, however outbreaks with severe morbidity and mortality may occur among high-risk groups. Last y efforts were made in several countries to build infection control capacity in healthcare facilities and to improve employee and patient safety. Adherence of healthcare workers to recommendations for vaccination against novel influenza and the use of personal protective equipment are emerging as major obstacles in achieving this goal. The use of N95 respirators instead of surgical masks for all close contacts, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in contrast with recommendations for seasonal influenza, is a major shift in everyday practice.
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Determinants of intention to get vaccinated against novel (pandemic) influenza A H1N1 among health-care workers in a nationwide survey.
J. Infect.
PUBLISHED: 03-17-2010
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A nationwide survey was conducted in October-November 2009 to investigate determinants of intention to get vaccinated against novel (pandemic) influenza A H1N1 among health-care workers (HCWs) in Greece. Out of 12,879 participating HCWs (response rate: 12.1%) working in 152 (40%) of 380 health-care facilities in Greece, 2814 (21.8%) reported that they intend to get vaccinated against novel influenza A N1H1. Intention rates to get vaccinated increased with age, male sex, being a physician, history of vaccination against seasonal influenza, training in use of personal protective equipment and hand hygiene, and training and involvement in the management of novel influenza cases. Main reasons for refusing vaccination were concerns about vaccine safety (43.1%), inadequate information about the vaccine (27.8%), and perception that they were not at risk for contracting novel influenza (10.7%). Given the low rates of acceptance of pandemic vaccination among HCWs, as found in this study, public health bodies should consider the implementation of a mandatory vaccination policy for HCWs for future pandemics, in order to prevent nosocomial transmission and to protect patients at high-risk for influenza-related complications and death, and to assure the continuity of the essential health-care infrastructure. New strategies should be explored to built safety perception towards influenza vaccines and enhance vaccination rates among HCWs.
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Leishmaniasis, an emerging infection in travelers.
Int. J. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 02-04-2010
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Leishmaniasis is a vector-borne protozoan infection with a wide clinical spectrum, which ranges from asymptomatic infection to fatal visceral leishmaniasis. A review of the recent literature indicates a sharp increase in imported leishmaniasis cases in developed, non-endemic countries over the last decade, in association with increasing international tourism, military operations, and the influx of immigrants from endemic countries. South America is the main area for the acquisition of cutaneous leishmaniasis, and adventure travelers on long-term trips in highly-endemic forested areas are at particular risk. Popular Mediterranean destinations are emerging as the main areas of acquisition of visceral leishmaniasis for European travelers. Leishmaniasis should be considered in patients presenting with a compatible clinical syndrome and a history of travel to an endemic area, even if this occurred several months or years ago. Appropriate counseling should be provided to adventure travelers, military personnel, researchers, and other groups of travelers likely to be exposed to sandflies in endemic areas.
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Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever: risk for emergence of new endemic foci in Europe?
Travel Med Infect Dis
PUBLISHED: 02-04-2010
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During recent years, new foci of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) have emerged in several Balkan countries, southwest Russia, and Turkey. Starting in 2002, Turkey experiences the largest ever recorded outbreak with more than 2500 cases. Potential reasons for the emergence or re-emergence of CCHF include climate changes which may have a significant impact on the reproduction rate of the vector Hyalomma ticks, as well as anthropogenic factors (e.g. changes in agricultural and hunting activities). Given the abundance of its vector, the numerous animals that can serve as hosts, and the favorable climate and ecologic parameters in other southern Europe Mediterranean countries, CCHF is an example of a vector-borne disease which may be knocking the door in this area. There are models which show probability of CCHF extending to other countries around the Mediterranean basin suggesting that the vector, veterinarian, and human surveillance should be enhanced.
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Malaria and travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Travel Med Infect Dis
PUBLISHED: 01-12-2010
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Among all travel-acquired illnesses, malaria carries the greatest burden not only considering the number of imported cases but also the potential of a fatal outcome. The increased number of imported malaria cases in developed countries in the last decades has been attributed to the increasing number of travel to tropical destinations in combination with the enormous influx of immigrants. At present, immigrants visiting friends and relatives (VFRs) constitute the most significant group of travellers for malaria importation in developed countries, with sub-Saharan Africa destinations carrying the highest risk. VFRs typically demonstrate travel and behavioural patterns which render them at high risk for acquisition of this largely preventable infection. Pre-travel services are rarely sought by VFRs, whereas misconceptions that they possess life-long immunity against malaria make them less likely to receive or adhere to antimalarial chemoprophylaxis recommendations. There is an urgent need to increase awareness about malaria of this group of travellers.
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Attitudes towards vaccination against seasonal influenza of health-care workers in primary health-care settings in Greece.
Vaccine
PUBLISHED: 01-04-2010
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Vaccination of health-care workers (HCWs) against seasonal influenza has been consistently recommended worldwide in order to prevent nosocomial transmission and ensure delivery of health-care services during outbreaks. We describe the effects of a nationwide campaign to promote influenza vaccination among HCWs working in primary health-care centers in Greece. During 2008-2009 the mean vaccination rate among HCWs in primary health-care centers was 22.8% (range: 0-100%), with a considerable variability among Health Districts (range: 12.66-54.68%). Logistic regression showed that history of previous influenza vaccination, influenza vaccination the previous season, being a physician and a larger number of employees were associated with increased vaccination rates. Main reason for vaccination was self-protection (75.90%), while main reasons for refusing vaccination were belief that they are not at risk for contracting influenza (44.5%), doubts about vaccine effectiveness (20.79%), and fear of vaccine adverse effects (20.33%).
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Drug resistance in visceral leishmaniasis.
J. Biomed. Biotechnol.
PUBLISHED: 06-29-2009
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Visceral leishmaniasis remains a public health problem worldwide. This illness was included by the World Health Organization in the list of neglected tropical diseases targeted for elimination by 2015. The widespread emergence of resistance to pentavalent antimonials in India where half cases occur globally and the unavailability of a vaccine in clinical use constitute major obstacles in achieving of this goal. The last decade new antileishmanials became available, including the oral agent miltefosine. However, in poor endemic countries their wide use was curtailed because of the high costs, and also due to concerns of toxicity and emergence of resistance. Various mechanisms of antileishmanial resistance were identified recently in field isolates. Their elucidation will boost the design of new drugs and the molecular surveillance of resistance. Combination regimens should be evaluated in large trials. Overall, the development of antileishmanials has been generally slow; new drugs are needed. In order to control visceral leishmaniasis worldwide, treatment advances should become affordable in the poorest countries, where they are needed most.
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Infection control in the management of highly pathogenic infectious diseases: consensus of the European Network of Infectious Disease.
Lancet Infect Dis
PUBLISHED: 04-28-2009
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The European Network for Infectious Diseases (EUNID) is a network of clinicians, public health epidemiologists, microbiologists, infection control, and critical-care doctors from the European member states, who are experienced in the management of patients with highly infectious diseases. We aim to develop a consensus recommendation for infection control during clinical management and invasive procedures in such patients. After an extensive literature review, draft recommendations were amended jointly by 27 partners from 15 European countries. Recommendations include repetitive training of staff to ascertain infection control, systematic use of cough and respiratory etiquette at admission to the emergency department, fluid sampling in the isolation room, and analyses in biosafety level 3/4 laboratories, and preference for point-of-care bedside laboratory tests. Children should be cared for by paediatricians and intensive-care patients should be cared for by critical-care doctors in high-level isolation units (HLIU). Invasive procedures should be avoided if unnecessary or done in the HLIU, as should chest radiography, ultrasonography, and renal dialysis. Procedures that require transport of patients out of the HLIU should be done during designated sessions or hours in secure transport. Picture archiving and communication systems should be used. Post-mortem examination should be avoided; biopsy or blood collection is preferred.
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Knowledge and practice of malaria prophylaxis among travel medicine consultants in Greece.
Travel Med Infect Dis
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Malaria is among the most significant travel-related infections encountered by travellers to endemic countries in terms of morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study is to assess the knowledge and practices about malaria prophylaxis of travel medicine consultants in Greece. A standardized questionnaire was sent to travel medicine consultants in all 57 Regional Departments of Public Health which are the official travel medicine services in Greece. Seventy (66% response rate) travel medicine consultants participated in the survey. Of them, 34.3%, 17.1%, and 44.3% delivered >20, 6-20, and ?5 consultations per month, respectively. The average score of correct answers was 60% about malaria general knowledge and prophylaxis, and 60% about case scenarios. Linear regression revealed that being a physician and previous training in travel medicine were factors statistically significantly associated with higher rates of correct answers. Our results show inadequacies in knowledge and practices on malaria prophylaxis of travel medicine consultants in Greece. Continuing training and usage of credible information resources about malaria transmission and malaria prophylaxis in travellers will improve the quality of pre-travel advice provided by travel medicine consultants in Greece.
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Acceptance of a post-partum influenza vaccination (cocooning) strategy for neonates in Greece.
Vaccine
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Young infants are at increased risk for influenza-associated serious illness, onset of complications, utilization of health-care services, and hospitalization. We investigated the feasibility and acceptance of an influenza vaccination (cocooning) strategy by household contacts implemented in a maternity hospital and the neonatal unit of a pediatric hospital in Athens. A total of 224 mothers (mean age: 30.2 years) who gave birth to 242 neonates were studied. Of them, 165 (73.7%) mothers were vaccinated. Multiple logistic regression revealed that statistically significant factors associated with increased vaccination rates among mothers were: being of Roma origin (p-value=0.002), being an immigrant (p-value=0.025), giving birth to a neonate with birth weight <2500g (p-value=0.012), and residing in a family with ?4 family members (p-value=0.017). Of the 224 fathers, 125 (55.8%) received the influenza vaccine. Fathers of neonates whose mothers were vaccinated had 6-fold higher vaccination rates compared to fathers of neonates whose mothers refused vaccination (p-value<0.001). Overall, influenza vaccine was administered to 348 (46.9%) of a total of 742 household contacts of the 242 neonates. Upon entering the 2011-2012 influenza season, 51 (22.7%) of 224 families had all household contacts vaccinated against influenza (complete cocoon). Among parents, the statement "I do not want to receive the vaccine" was the prevalent reason for declining influenza vaccination, followed by the misconception "I am not at risk for contacting influenza" (41.1% and 38.2%, respectively).
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Attitudes toward mandatory occupational vaccinations and vaccination coverage against vaccine-preventable diseases of health care workers in primary health care centers.
Am J Infect Control
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The aim of this study was to assess the attitudes regarding mandatory occupational vaccinations and the vaccination coverage against vaccine-preventable diseases among health care workers (HCWs) working in primary health care centers in Greece.
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Biosecurity measures in 48 isolation facilities managing highly infectious diseases.
Biosecur Bioterror
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Biosecurity measures are traditionally applied to laboratories, but they may also be usefully applied in highly specialized clinical settings, such as the isolation facilities for the management of patients with highly infectious diseases (eg, viral hemorrhagic fevers, SARS, smallpox, potentially severe pandemic flu, and MDR- and XDR-tuberculosis). In 2009 the European Network for Highly Infectious Diseases conducted a survey in 48 isolation facilities in 16 European countries to determine biosecurity measures for access control to the facility. Security personnel are present in 39 facilities (81%). In 35 facilities (73%), entrance to the isolation area is restricted; control methods include electronic keys, a PIN system, closed-circuit TV, and guards at the doors. In 25 facilities (52%), identification and registration of all staff entering and exiting the isolation area are required. Access control is used in most surveyed centers, but specific lacks exist in some facilities. Further data are needed to assess other biosecurity aspects, such as the security measures during the transportation of potentially contaminated materials and measures to address the risk of an "insider attack."
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Oseltamivir pharmacokinetics and clinical experience in neonates and infants during an outbreak of H1N1 influenza A virus infection in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
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Detailed oseltamivir pharmacokinetics have yet to be reported in neonates and infants; this group is at high risk of serious influenza-associated complications. Extrapolation of doses from older patients is complicated by rapid organ and drug-metabolizing enzyme maturation. A pharmacokinetic study has been conducted during an influenza A(H1N1) outbreak in a neonatal intensive care unit. Each included patient provided 4 samples for oseltamivir and 4 samples for its active metabolite oseltamivir carboxylate. A population pharmacokinetic model was developed with NONMEM. Allometric weight scaling and maturation functions were added a priori to scale for size and age based on literature values. Nine neonates and infants were recruited. A physiologically parameterized pharmacokinetic model predicted typical day 1 area under the curve (AUC(0-12)) values of 1,966 and 2,484 ?g · h/liter for neonates and infants of ? 37 weeks of postmenstrual age (PMA) and >37 weeks of PMA treated with 1 mg/kg of body weight and 2 mg/kg, respectively. The corresponding steady-state AUC(0-12) values were 3,670 and 4,559 ?g · h/liter. Premature neonates treated with 1 mg/kg and term babies treated with 2 mg/kg should have average oseltamivir carboxylate concentrations in a range similar to that for adults treated with 75 mg, corresponding to >200-fold above the half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) value for influenza A(H1N1) from the start of therapy.
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Paediatric international travellers from Greece: characteristics and pre-travel recommendations.
Travel Med Infect Dis
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The aim of this study was to describe the children who seek pre-travel advice in Greece. During 2008-2010, 4065 persons sought pre-travel services in the 57 Prefectures, including 128 (3.15%) children <15 years. Main travel destinations were sub-Saharan Africa (54 children; 42.2%), South America (18; 14.1%), the Middle East (16; 12.5%), the Indian subcontinent (12; 9.4%), and South East Asia (7; 5.5%). Seventy-six children (59.4%) stayed for <1 month, 34 (26.6%) for 1-6 months, and 10 (7.8%) for >6 months. Recreation was the main purpose of travel (81 children; 63.3%), followed by work (24; 18.8%), and to visit friends and relatives (VFRs) (14; 10.9%). Paediatric travellers VFRs stayed more frequently in local residences compared to non-VFR paediatric travellers (85.7% and 20.2%). Children stayed more frequently in local residences and travelled more frequently for recreational purposes or to VFRs (27.3%, 63.3%, and 10.9%, respectively), compared to older travellers (11.9%, 58.8%, and 4%, respectively). Malaria chemoprophylaxis was prescribed for 64.8% of children travelling to sub-Saharan Africa. This study demonstrated clearly that only a very small number of international paediatric travellers seek pre-travel services in Greece. Communication strategies to access paediatric travellers should be developed in order to improve travel medicine services for children in Greece.
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Extremely low risk for acquisition of a respiratory viral infection in the emergency room of a large pediatric hospital during the winter season.
Influenza Other Respir Viruses
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The aim of this study was to investigate the rate of transmission of respiratory viral infections to children visiting the emergency room of a large pediatric hospital during winter. A total of 615 children were prospectively studied. Twenty-two (3·6%) children developed at least one symptom compatible with a respiratory viral infection within 1-7 days after the visit, including cough (12 children), fever (8), rhinorrhea (7), and/or respiratory distress (1). Three children (0·49%) developed an influenza-like illness. These findings indicate that transmission of respiratory viral infections to children visiting an emergency room during the winter season is extremely low.
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Attitudes regarding occupational vaccines and vaccination coverage against vaccine-preventable diseases among healthcare workers working in pediatric departments in Greece.
Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J.
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We studied the attitudes with regard to occupational vaccines and vaccination coverage among healthcare workers in pediatric departments. Completed vaccination rates were 33%, 33%, 41.7%, 3%, 5.8%, 69.2% and 36.3% against measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and tetanus-diphtheria, respectively. Susceptibility rates were 14.2%, 15.7%, 14.6%, 7.6%, 87.4%, 22.6% and 61.8% for measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and tetanus-diphtheria, respectively. Mandatory vaccinations were supported by 70.6% of healthcare workers, with considerable differences by target disease.
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Infection control management of patients with suspected highly infectious diseases in emergency departments: data from a survey in 41 facilities in 14 European countries.
BMC Infect. Dis.
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In Emergency and Medical Admission Departments (EDs and MADs), prompt recognition and appropriate infection control management of patients with Highly Infectious Diseases (HIDs, e.g. Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers and SARS) are fundamental for avoiding nosocomial outbreaks.
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Consecutive Serratia marcescens multiclone outbreaks in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Am J Infect Control
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This report describes 3 consecutive outbreaks caused by genetically unrelated Serratia marcescens clones that occurred in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) over a 35-month period.
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