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Bellinzona, Switzerland

Schubert C.J.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology | Vazquez F.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology | Losekann-Behrens T.,Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology | Knittel K.,Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology | And 2 more authors.
FEMS Microbiology Ecology | Year: 2011

Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) has been investigated in sediments of a high alpine sulfate-rich lake. Hot spots of AOM could be identified based on geochemical and isotopic evidence. Very high fractionation of methane (α=1.031) during oxidation was observed in the uppermost sediment layers, where methane is oxidized most likely with sulfate-containing bottom waters. However, we could not exclude that other electron acceptors such as iron, or manganese might also be involved. Light carbon isotope values (δ13C=-10‰ vs. Vienna Pee Dee Belemnite [VPDB]) of sedimentary carbonates at 16-20cm sediment depth are indicative of a zone where methane was oxidized and the resulting bicarbonate ions were used for carbonate precipitation. 16S rRNA gene analysis revealed the presence of sequences belonging to the marine benthic groups B, C, and D and to the recently described clade of AOM-associated archaea (AAA). Catalyzed reporter deposition-FISH analysis revealed a high abundance of Deltaproteobacteria, especially of free-living sulfate-reducing bacteria of the Desulfosarcina/Desulfococcus branch of Deltaproteobacteria in the AOM zone. Here, loose aggregations of AAA cells were found, suggesting that AAA might be responsible for oxidation of methane in Lake Cadagno sediments. © 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. Source


Wicht B.,Istituto cantonale di microbiologia | Wicht B.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Yanagida T.,Asahikawa Medical College | Scholz T.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2010

The specific identification of broad tapeworms (genus Diphyllobothrium) infecting humans is very difficult to perform by morphological observation. Molecular analysis by PCR and sequencing represents the only reliable tool to date to identify these parasites to the species level. Due to the recent spread of human diphyllobothriosis in several countries, a correct diagnosis has become crucial to better understand the distribution and the life cycle of human-infecting species as well as to prevent the introduction of parasites to disease-free water systems. Nevertheless, PCR and sequencing, although highly precise, are too complicated, long, and expensive to be employed in medical laboratories for routine diagnostics. In the present study we optimized a cheap and rapid molecular test for the differential identification of the most common Diphyllobothrium species infecting humans (D. latum, D. dendriticum, D. nihonkaiense, and D. pacificum), based on a multiplex PCR with the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene of mitochondrial DNA. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. Source


Sieber R.,Zentrale Notfallaufnahme | Martinetti G.,Istituto cantonale di microbiologia | Meylan P.,Institute Of Microbiologie Imul Du Center Hospitalier Vaudois Chuv
International Journal of Infectious Diseases | Year: 2013

Background: Recent data suggest that varicella zoster virus (VZV)-associated complications of the central nervous system (CNS) are more common and diverse than previously thought. The main purpose of this article is to describe the clinical characteristics and the outcome of patients suffering from meningitis and encephalitis caused by VZV reactivation. Methods: A retrospective case study of adult patients (≥16 years old) diagnosed with a VZV reactivation in the CNS was performed. The cases were identified by a qualitative PCR DNA assay of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) at the Regional Hospital of Lugano between January 1, 2003 and July 31, 2010. Results: Eleven out of 519 CSF samples (2.1%), submitted from patients with a clinical diagnosis of viral meningitis or encephalitis, were positive for VZV. A vesiculo-pustular skin eruption was observed in only five patients (45%). In six cases (55%), a systemic inflammatory syndrome was absent. The clinical outcome was favorable in eight patients (73%). Only one out of 11 patients (9%) died. The four patients with encephalitis had a less favorable prognosis: one patient recovered without residual neurological sequelae; two had a chronic neuropsychological handicap, speech difficulties, facial nerve palsy, and focal seizures; one patient died. We estimated an annual incidence rate of VZV infection of the CNS of 1.02/100 000 inhabitants for southern Switzerland. Conclusions: Screening of CSF for VZV by PCR is recommended for all patients with encephalitis and for those with viral meningitis of unclear origin in order to better target antiviral treatment. © 2013 International Society for Infectious Diseases. Source


Wicht B.,Research Station Agroscope Changins Wadenswil ACW | Wicht B.,ETH Zurich | Petrini O.,Istituto cantonale di microbiologia | Jermini M.,Research Station Agroscope Changins Wadenswil ACW | And 2 more authors.
Mycologia | Year: 2012

Guignardia bidwellii is the etiological agent of grape black rot, a disease affecting Vitis and other Vitaceae that can cause heavy crop losses in vineyards. Its identification is based mainly on morphological characters and the symptoms on plants but, due to their variability, they may be difficult to interpret to reliably distinguish the pathogen to species. To date, despite the economic importance of G. bidwellii, no molecular investigations have been carried out on Vitis isolates and few sequence data are available for cultures derived from ornamental host plants. We analyzed samples of G. bidwellii collected from grapevine cultivars and ornamental plants of various geographic origins by morphological, molecular and proteomic techniques, including ITS1-ITS2 regions and calmodulin gene sequencing, as well as matrixassisted laser desorption/ionization analysis by timeof-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). This polyphasic approach allowed assessing the phylogenetic relationships among the different isolates and suggested the existence of two distinct species. The advantages of a polyphasic approach for the identification of G. bidwellii are highlighted. © 2012 by The Mycological Society of America. Source


Schupbach J.,University of Zurich | Bisset L.R.,University of Zurich | Gebhardt M.D.,Federal office of Public Health of Fribourg | Regenass S.,University of Zurich | And 12 more authors.
BMC Infectious Diseases | Year: 2012

Background: Serologic testing algorithms for recent HIV seroconversion (STARHS) provide important information for HIV surveillance. We have previously demonstrated that a patient's antibody reaction pattern in a confirmatory line immunoassay (INNO-LIA™ HIV I/II Score) provides information on the duration of infection, which is unaffected by clinical, immunological and viral variables. In this report we have set out to determine the diagnostic performance of Inno-Lia algorithms for identifying incident infections in patients with known duration of infection and evaluated the algorithms in annual cohorts of HIV notifications.Methods: Diagnostic sensitivity was determined in 527 treatment-naive patients infected for up to 12 months. Specificity was determined in 740 patients infected for longer than 12 months. Plasma was tested by Inno-Lia and classified as either incident (< = 12 m) or older infection by 26 different algorithms. Incident infection rates (IIR) were calculated based on diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of each algorithm and the rule that the total of incident results is the sum of true-incident and false-incident results, which can be calculated by means of the pre-determined sensitivity and specificity.Results: The 10 best algorithms had a mean raw sensitivity of 59.4% and a mean specificity of 95.1%. Adjustment for overrepresentation of patients in the first quarter year of infection further reduced the sensitivity. In the preferred model, the mean adjusted sensitivity was 37.4%. Application of the 10 best algorithms to four annual cohorts of HIV-1 notifications totalling 2'595 patients yielded a mean IIR of 0.35 in 2005/6 (baseline) and of 0.45, 0.42 and 0.35 in 2008, 2009 and 2010, respectively. The increase between baseline and 2008 and the ensuing decreases were highly significant. Other adjustment models yielded different absolute IIR, although the relative changes between the cohorts were identical for all models.Conclusions: The method can be used for comparing IIR in annual cohorts of HIV notifications. The use of several different algorithms in combination, each with its own sensitivity and specificity to detect incident infection, is advisable as this reduces the impact of individual imperfections stemming primarily from relatively low sensitivities and sampling bias. © 2012 Schüpbach et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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