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Maieron A.,Internal Medicine IV | Metz-Gercek S.,Microbiology and Tropical Medicine | Hackl F.,Diakonissen Hospital Linz | Luger C.,Microbiology and Tropical Medicine | And 4 more authors.

Chronic hepatitis C is a leading cause of end-stage liver disease and, with a worldwide prevalence of up to 3%, is a pandemic infectious disease. Austria, like most western European countries can be considered as a low prevalence country. This analysis aimed to assess the distribution of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes in patients with chronic HCV infection in Upper Austria. Between September 1992 and December 2006, we identified 1,318 consecutive patients who tested positive for HCV RNA. Genotyping was routinely performed in 1,239 of the 1,318 patients, and in a subgroup of 617 patients data on the source of transmission were collected. Additionally we obtained data on liver histology and body mass index in a subsample of 273 of the 617 patients. Hepatitis C genotypes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and co-infections were found in 80.4%, 4.5%, 12.3%, 2.7%, 0.1% and 0.2% of the patients, respectively. There was a highly significant age difference in relation to gender at the time of diagnosis of chronic hepatitis C, with women being older than men (men: 45.0 years; women: 49.3 years; p<0.0001). The number of new cases of chronic hepatitis C decreased substantially over the last decade, but although risk factors for obtaining HCV are well established, we did not find a decrease in the age of first diagnosis. Besides consistent screening in defined risk groups it is important to raise awareness for risk factors for HCV acquisition and liver disease progression. Source

Maieron A.,Internal Medicine IV | Metz-Gercek S.,Microbiology and Tropical Medicine | Hackl F.,Diakonissen Hospital Linz | Ziachehabi A.,Internal Medicine IV | And 4 more authors.
Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift

Objective: Pegylated interferon plus ribavirin is the standard treatment for chronic hepatitis C. Sustained virological response (SVR) rates of up to 60% are reported in randomized controlled trials, but it is unclear whether the results from such trials are reproducible in the clinical routine setting. We investigated consecutive treatment-naïve chronic hepatitis C patients at our center to examine the efficacy of treatment with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin in clinical routine. Materials and methods: Between 2000 and 2006 we treated a total of 219 patients with pegylated interferon alpha (2a or 2b) and ribavirin (800-1200 mg/d). Among them, 34.8% of patients infected with HCV genotypes 1/4/6 and 18.4% of those with genotypes 2/3 had advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis (F3-F4). For analysis of outcome we subdivided our series into two groups of patients: those who fulfilled standard inclusion criteria in randomized controlled trials and those who did not. Results: The overall SVR rate was 44.3%. In patients with F0-F2 an SVR was achieved in 52.5%; in those with F3-F4 the SVR rate was 20.8%. In patients infected with genotypes 1/4/6 the SVR rate was 35.4% (SVR: F0-F2 47.7%; F3-F4 19.6%); in those with genotypes 2/3 the rate was 67.8%. The SVR rate in patients with unfavorable baseline factors was significantly lower (32.4% vs. 50%; P = 0.017) and they were more likely to be non-responders (30.9% vs. 13.8%). Conclusion: In everyday clinical practice, up to one-third of patients show unfavorable baseline factors for antiviral therapy, resulting in worse therapeutic outcome. Differences in therapeutic outcome are influenced by patient selection and by the proportion and severity of the underlying liver disease. © 2010 Springer-Verlag. Source

Wagner B.,Medical University of Vienna | Melzer H.,Medical University of Vienna | Melzer H.,Astellas Pharma Inc. | Freymuller G.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | And 12 more authors.

In Austria, vaccination coverage against Bordetella pertussis infections during infancy is estimated at around 90%. Within the last years, however, the number of pertussis cases has increased steadily, not only in children but also in adolescents and adults, indicating both insufficient herd immunity and vaccine coverage. Waning immunity in the host and/or adaptation of the bacterium to the immunised hosts could contribute to the observed reemergence of pertussis. In this study we therefore addressed the genetic variability in B. pertussis strains from several Austrian cities. Between the years 2002 and 2008, 110 samples were collected from Vienna (n = 32), Linz (n = 63) and Graz (n = 15) by nasopharyngeal swabs. DNA was extracted from the swabs, and bacterial sequence polymorphisms were examined by MLVA (multiple-locus variable number of tandem repeat analysis) (n = 77), by PCR amplification and conventional Sanger sequencing of the polymorphic regions of the prn (pertactin) gene (n = 110), and by amplification refractory mutation system quantitative PCR (ARMS-qPCR) (n = 110) to directly address polymorphisms in the genes encoding two pertussis toxin subunits (ptxA and ptxB), a fimbrial adhesin (fimD), tracheal colonisation factor (tcfA), and the virulence sensor protein (bvgS). Finally, the ptxP promoter region was screened by ARMS-qPCR for the presence of the ptxP3 allele, which has been associated with elevated production of pertussis toxin. The MLVA analysis revealed the highest level of polymorphisms with an absence of MLVA Type 29, which is found outside Austria. Only Prn subtypes Prn1/7, Prn2 and Prn3 were found with a predominance of the non-vaccine type Prn2. The analysis of the ptxA, ptxB, fimD, tcfA and bvgS polymorphisms showed a genotype mixed between the vaccine strain Tohama I and a clinical isolate from 2006 (L517). The major part of the samples (93%) displayed the ptxP3 allele. The consequences for the vaccination strategy are discussed. Copyright: © 2015 Wagner et al. Source

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