Verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) is the cause of severe gastrointestinal infection especially among infants. Between 10 and 20 cases are reported annually to the National Infectious Disease Register (NIDR) in Finland. The aim of this study was to identify explanatory variables for VTEC infections reported to the NIDR in Finland between 1997 and 2006. We applied a hurdle model, applicable for a dataset with an excess of zeros.
We enrolled 131 domestically acquired primary cases of VTEC between 1997 and 2006 from routine surveillance data. The isolated strains were characterized by virulence type, serogroup, phage type and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. By applying a two-part Bayesian hurdle model to infectious disease surveillance data, we were able to create a model in which the covariates were associated with the probability for occurrence of the cases in the logistic regression part and the magnitude of covariate changes in the Poisson regression part if cases do occur. The model also included spatial correlations between neighbouring municipalities.
The average annual incidence rate was 4.8 cases per million inhabitants based on the cases as reported to the NIDR. Of the 131 cases, 74 VTEC O157 and 58 non-O157 strains were isolated (one person had dual infections). The number of bulls per human population and the proportion of the population with a higher education were associated with an increased occurrence and incidence of human VTEC infections in 70 (17%) of 416 of Finnish municipalities. In addition, the proportion of fresh water per area, the proportion of cultivated land per area and the proportion of low income households with children were associated with increased incidence of VTEC infections.
With hurdle models we were able to distinguish between risk factors for the occurrence of the disease and the incidence of the disease for data characterised by an excess of zeros. The density of bulls and the proportion of the population with higher education were significant both for occurrence and incidence, while the proportion of fresh water, cultivated land, and the proportion of low income households with children were significant for the incidence of the disease.
To investigate antimicrobial susceptibility in Staphylococcus pseudintermedius and the occurrence of methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius (MRSP), to explore the molecular structure of the MRSP population and to analyse risk factors for MRSP.
Susceptibility data for clinical S. pseudintermedius isolates in 2011-15 were analysed using WHONET. All MRSP isolates in 2010-14 ( n? = ? 362) were typed using PFGE. Representative isolates ( n ?= ? 87) of clusters were analysed using MLST and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCC mec ) typing. Risk factors were analysed using logistic regression.
Of the clinical S. pseudintermedius ( n ?= ? 1958; 98% from dogs), 14% were MRSP. Resistance to other antimicrobials varied between 12% and 39%. No trends were observed over time. Among clinical specimens (from infection sites) and screening specimens (from potential carriers), respectively, 2.5% (267/10?813) and 9% (211/2434) revealed MRSP. MLST revealed 42 different STs, including 19 new ones. Clonal complexes 71, 45 and 258 were the most common, but the MRSP population diversified over the years. A clinical S. pseudintermedius isolate was more likely to be MRSP if the patient was on antimicrobials at the time of sampling or was male. The presence of MRSP in screening specimens was more likely if the patient was on multiple antimicrobials at the time of sampling. Specimens from private clinics (versus the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of the University of Helsinki) had a higher likelihood of MRSP in both analyses.
Resistance to antimicrobials among S. pseudintermedius in Finland is high, emphasizing the importance of infection control measures and susceptibility testing prior to therapy. The diverse MRSP population indicates non-clonal spread.
Salmonella enterica, Campylobacter and Yersinia species, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium perfringens are the bacterial pathogens constituting the greatest burden of food-borne disease in Finland. Several molecular genetic methods have been applied to diagnose, discriminate and survey these bacteria. PCR, PCR-RFLP and PFGE are the most widely and successfully used. However, these methods are unable to replace conventional and internationally standardised phenotyping. Electronic database libraries of the different genomic profiles will enable continuous surveillance of infections and detection of possible infection clusters at an early stage. Furthermore, whole-genome sequence data have opened up new insights into epidemiological surveillance. Laboratory-based surveillance performed in a timely manner and exploiting adequate methods, and co-operation at local, national and international levels are among the key elements in preventing food-borne diseases. This paper reviews different applications of molecular genetic methods for investigating enteric bacterial pathogens and gives examples of the methods successfully used in diagnostics and epidemiological studies in Finland.
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) and Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are common multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria in dogs. In 2012-2013 three dogs of the Guide Dog School of the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired were found to be MRSP positive. Guide dogs have regular contact with each other during their first year of life and prolonged contact when in training. Since dogs are placed in different parts of Finland after training, there is a risk for national spread of MDR bacteria. In this study the prevalence of MRSP and MRSA, as well as the risk factors for MRSP were determined in the Finnish guide dog population. MRSP isolates were investigated using molecular methods and compared to the earlier isolates.
Out of 132 tested dogs 4 were MRSP positive thus giving the prevalence estimate of 3% (95% CI: 1-8%) for MRSP in the target population. MRSA was not detected (prevalence estimate 0%, 95% CI: 0-3%). Risk factors associated with MRSP were being a breeding bitch (OR = 8.4; 95% CI: 1.1-64.1, P = 0.012), the number of veterinary visits (OR = 1.23; 95% CI: 1.0-1.5, P = 0.025) and number of antimicrobial courses (OR = 1.63; 95% CI: 1.0-2.55; P = 0.035). Identified MRSP isolates belonged to five different sequence types (ST45, 71, 402, 403 and 404). All ST71 isolates carried SCCmec II-III, while the SCCmec type of the ST45 and ST402 (a single locus variant of ST45) isolates were non-typeable with the method used.
MRSP and MRSA had low prevalence in the studied dog population despite the close contact between dogs, and the MRSP population was heterogenic. Antimicrobial therapy and veterinary visits are risk factors for MRSP even among a small case group.