There are limited clinical and epidemiological data on patients diagnosed with Bell's palsy. While investigating an apparent clustering of Bell's palsy, we sought to characterize the spectrum of illness in patients with this diagnosis.
A telephone survey of persons with idiopathic facial (Bell's) palsy in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA, population = 4.99 million) and Nova Scotia (population = 0.93 million) from August 1 to November 15, 1997 collected information on subject demographics, neurological symptoms, constitutional symptoms, medical investigation and management. Information regarding potential risks for exposure to infectious agents, past medical history, and family history of Bell's palsy was also collected. Subjects with other secondary causes of facial palsy were excluded.
In the GTA and Nova Scotia, 222 and 36 patients were diagnosed with idiopathic facial (Bell's) palsy, respectively. The crude annualized incidence of Bell's palsy was 15.2 and 13.1 per 100,000 population in the GTA and Nova Scotia, respectively. There was no temporal or geographical clustering, and symptomatology did not differ significantly between the two samples. The mean age was 45 years, with 55% of subjects being female. The most common symptoms accompanying Bell's palsy were increased tearing (63%), pain in or around the ear (63%), and taste abnormalities (52%). A significant number of patients reported neurological symptoms not attributable to the facial nerve.
No clustering of cases of Bell's palsy was observed to support an infectious etiology for the condition. Misdiagnosis of the etiology of facial weakness is common. Patients diagnosed with Bell's palsy have a variety of neurological symptoms, many of which cannot be attributed to a facial nerve disorder.
Since 1985 there have been worldwide reports of increases in severe invasive Group A streptococcal (IGAS) infections. We reviewed the charts of all children with IGAS infections (defined as isolation of Group A streptococcus from a normally sterile site) presenting to our institution over a 7-year period (January, 1985, to December, 1991) and the literature. Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome required hypotension and multisystem organ involvement. Twenty-four patients (mean age, 4.96 +/- 4.4 years) were identified with IGAS infection. One patient (presenting in 1989) met the criteria for probable streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and none died. Eight of 19 Group A streptococcal isolates tested were streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin (SPE) A producers, most (90%) had the speC gene and all had the speB gene and produced the toxin. No M or T type predominated. The low rates of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and fatalities among children with IGAS infection are consistent with other pediatric but not with adult series. The apparent differences in outcome of IGAS between children and adults were not explained by the virulence factors we examined and may warrant further investigation.
Broth microdilution testing of 702 community-acquired isolates of Haemophilus influenzae from across Canada was performed with both Mueller-Hinton broth supplemented with 3% lysed horse blood broth (LHB) (BBL Microbiology Systems, Cockeysville, Md.) and haemophilus test medium (HTM). The prevalence of beta-lactamase production was found to be 26% with no regional variation. MICs determined with LHB tended to be higher than those with HTM, but interpretive errors due to these differences were observed only rarely with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (n = 5), cefaclor (n = 8), and cefamandole (n = 3). The interobserver variability in MIC determinations was found to be greater when LHB was used than when HTM was used. There was no difference in intraobserver variability between the two medium formulations. beta-Lactamase-positive isolates developed false resistance to amoxicillin-clavulanate 2 weeks after microdilution panels of both types of medium were stored at -20 degrees C but not when panels were stored at -70 degrees C. In conclusion, this study supports the use of HTM rather than LHB for sensitivity testing of H. influenzae because of its lower rate of interobserver variability and its ability to support the growth of these organisms, which is comparable to that of LHB.
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The epidemiology of invasive Haemophilus influenzae infections was evaluated in Ontario between 1989 and 2007 to assess the impact of the introduction of the conjugate H. influenzae serotype b (Hib) vaccine in the early 1990 s on Hib and non-Hib serotypes in both vaccinated and unvaccinated cohorts as well as the possibility of "strain replacement" with non-vaccine H. influenzae strains. Data were collected by the provincial Public Health Laboratories-Toronto, Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, which performed almost all serotyping on invasive (blood, CSF, other sterile sites) H. influenzae strains isolated in the province during the study period. Temporal trends for Hib, other typeable strains, and non-typeable H. influenzae were evaluated by Poisson regression, controlling for the specimen submissions. Prior to infant Hib vaccination, the most commonly observed serotype was serotype b (64.9%). Subsequently, 70.3%, 13.6%, and 9.4% of isolates were non-typeable, serotype f, and serotype b, respectively. Infant Hib vaccination resulted in a decrease in Hib incidence in all age groups (pooled IRR 0.432) and marked increases of non-typeable and serotype f H. influenzae in children aged
Clostridium difficile is the bacterium most commonly surmised to cause antimicrobial- and hospital-associated diarrhea in developed countries worldwide, and such infections are thought to be increasing in frequency and severity. A laboratory-based study was carried out to characterize C. difficile strains isolated from persons in Ontario, Canada, during 2004 to 2006 according to toxin type (enterotoxin A, cytotoxin B, and binary toxin [CDT]), tcdC gene characterization, ribotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and toxinotyping. Clostridium difficile was isolated from 1,080/1,152 (94%) samples from 21 diagnostic laboratories. Isolates with toxin profiles A(+) B(+) CDT(-), A(+) B(+) CDT(+), A(-) B(+) CDT(-), and A(-) B(+) CDT(+) accounted for 63%, 34%, 2.4%, and 0.6% of isolates, respectively. Alterations in tcdC were detected in six different ribotypes, including ribotype 027. A total of 39 different ribotypes were identified, with ribotype 027/North American pulsotype 1 (NAP1), an internationally recognized outbreak strain associated with severe disease, being the second most common ribotype (19% of isolates). Transient resistance to metronidazole was identified in 19 (1.8%) isolates. While a large number of ribotypes were found, a few predominated across the province. The high prevalence and wide distribution of ribotype 027/NAP1 are disconcerting in view of the severity of disease associated with it.
Group A streptococci account for less than 1% of all surgical wound infections but are an important cause of nosocomial outbreaks. We report here a cluster of four group A streptococcal infections that occurred within an 11-day period on a single surgical service. The index case presented with toxic shock-like syndrome. Epidemiologic investigation did not identify any relationship between infections. Restriction endonuclease analysis and M and T typing found the four isolates to be unrelated. Restriction endonuclease analysis is a useful tool for determining relatedness of nosocomial isolates of group A streptococci.
To describe the investigation and control of transmission of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in a residential long-term-care (LTC) setting. OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION: A strain of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium not previously isolated in Ontario colonized five residents of a 254-bed LTC facility in Toronto. The index case was identified when VRE was isolated from a urine culture taken after admission to a local hospital. Screening of rectal swabs from all 235 residents identified four others who were colonized with the same strain of E faecium.
Colonized residents were cohorted. VRE precautions were established as follows: gown and gloves for resident contact, restriction of contact between colonized and noncolonized residents, no sharing of personal equipment, and daily double-cleaning of residents' rooms and wheelchairs.
Two colonized residents died of causes unrelated to VRE. Although bacitracin therapy (75,000 units four times a day x 14 days) failed to eradicate carriage in two of three surviving residents, both cleared their carriage within 7 weeks. Repeat rectal swabs from 224 residents (91%) 2 months after isolation precautions were discontinued and from 125 residents (51%) 9 months later identified no new cases. Total cost of investigation and control was $12,061 (Canadian).
VRE may be transmitted in LTC facilities, and colonized LTC residents could become important VRE reservoirs. Control of VRE transmission in LTC facilities can be achieved even with limited resources.
Fluoroquinolones are now recommended for the treatment of respiratory tract infections due to Streptococcus pneumoniae, particularly when the isolates are resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics. Although pneumococci with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones have been identified, their prevalence has not been determined in a defined population.
We performed susceptibility testing on 7551 isolates of S. pneumoniae obtained from surveillance in Canada in 1988 and from 1993 to 1998. Pneumococci with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones (defined as a minimal inhibitory concentration of ciprofloxacin of at least 4 microg per milliliter) were further characterized. We also examined antibiotic prescriptions dispensed in Canadian retail pharmacies.
Between 1988 and 1997, fluoroquinolone prescriptions increased from 0.8 to 5.5 per 100 persons per year. The prevalence of pneumococci with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones increased from 0 percent in 1993 to 1.7 percent in 1997 and 1998 (P=0.01). Among adults, the prevalence increased from 1.5 percent in 1993 and 1994 combined to 2.9 percent in 1997 and 1998 combined. The prevalence was higher in isolates from older patients (2.6 percent among those 65 years of age or older vs. 1.0 percent among those 15 to 64 years of age, P
Comment In: N Engl J Med. 1999 Nov 11;341(20):1547; author reply 1547-810577110
Comment In: N Engl J Med. 1999 Nov 11;341(20):1546-7; author reply 1547-810577109