Public Health Ontario Laboratory

Etobicoke, Canada

Public Health Ontario Laboratory

Etobicoke, Canada
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Segura M.,University of Montréal | Fittipaldi N.,Public Health Ontario Laboratory | Fittipaldi N.,University of Toronto | Calzas C.,University of Montréal | Gottschalk M.,University of Montréal
Trends in Microbiology | Year: 2017

Streptococcus suis is an important swine pathogen that can be transmitted to humans by contact with diseased animals or contaminated raw pork products. This pathogen possesses a coat of capsular polysaccharide (CPS) that confers protection against the immune system. Yet, the CPS is not the only virulence factor enabling this bacterium to successfully colonize, invade, and disseminate in its host leading to severe systemic diseases such as meningitis and toxic shock-like syndrome. Indeed, recent research developments, cautiously inventoried in this review, have revealed over 100 'putative virulence factors or traits' (surface-associated or secreted components, regulatory genes or metabolic pathways), of which at least 37 have been claimed as being 'critical' for virulence. In this review we discuss the current contradictions and controversies raised by this explosion of virulence factors and the future directions that may be conceived to advance and enlighten research on S. suis pathogenesis. Streptococcus suis is a major swine pathogen - an emerging zoonotic agent whose pathogenesis of disease is partially characterized. S. suis is an encapsulated microorganism and its capsular polysaccharide (CPS) allows bacterial evasion of the host immune system and bloodstream dissemination. But, the CPS is not the only virulence factor and, under certain circumstances, its absence may also be beneficial to pathogenic strains.Indeed, the immune-pathogenesis of S. suis-induced disease is a complex, multifactorial process.Yet, the discovery of a large array of virulence factors claimed as 'critical' for the pathogen's virulence has brought confusion into the field of S. suis.The large genetic diversity of the S. suis species further complicated the study of the pathogenesis of the disease. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.


Shuel M.,National Microbiology Laboratory | Jamieson F.B.,Public Health Ontario Laboratory | Jamieson F.B.,University of Toronto | Tang P.,Public Health Ontario Laboratory | And 6 more authors.
International Journal of Infectious Diseases | Year: 2013

Objective: To characterize Bordetella pertussis isolates in Ontario, Canada in order to understand the clonal diversity of strains present in this province. Methods: A total of 521 isolates from the period 1998-2006 were analyzed by serotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and DNA sequencing of their virulence factors of pertactin, fimbriae 3, pertussis toxin subunit 1, and pertussis toxin gene promoter. Characteristics of the Ontario isolates were compared to those described for isolates from Europe and Australia. Results: A single predominant clone was identified in Ontario, Canada, represented by 83.5% of the 521 isolates analyzed. This clone was characterized by the genotype fim3B, prn2, ptxS1A, and ptxP3 (sequence type (ST)-1), and 72.9% of this clone displayed three closely related PFGE profiles of BpSR11, BpSR5, and BpSR12. Pertussis isolates in Europe with these PFGE profiles and virulence factor genotype are reported as common. The Australian epidemic clone was previously reported to have the genotype prn2 and ptxP3. Conclusion: The finding of one predominant B. pertussis clone in Ontario, Canada, with characteristics identical to strains involved in epidemics in Europe and Australia, suggests a potential link of this strain to the resurgence of pertussis in this province. © 2013 .


Peci A.,Public Health Ontario Laboratory | Marchand-Austin A.,Public Health Agency of Canada | Winter A.-J.,Public Health Ontario Laboratory | Gubbay J.B.,Public Health Ontario Laboratory | Gubbay J.B.,University of Toronto
Epidemiology and Infection | Year: 2013

The objective of this study was to determine the optimal number of respiratory samples per outbreak to be tested for institutional respiratory outbreaks in Ontario. We reviewed respiratory samples tested for respiratory viruses by multiplex PCR as part of outbreak investigations. We documented outbreaks that were positive for any respiratory viruses and for influenza alone. At least one virus was detected in 1454 (85·2%) outbreaks. The ability to detect influenza or any respiratory virus increased as the number of samples tested increased. When analysed by chronological order of when samples were received at the laboratory, percent positivity of outbreaks testing positive for any respiratory virus including influenza increased with the number of samples tested up to the ninth sample, with minimal benefit beyond the fourth sample tested. Testing up to four respiratory samples per outbreak was sufficient to detect viral organisms and resulted in significant savings for outbreak investigations. © Cambridge University Press 2012.


Lim G.H.,University of Toronto | Harris T.,University of Toronto | Desai S.,Public Health Agency of Canada | Crowcroft N.S.,University of Toronto | And 7 more authors.
BMC Infectious Diseases | Year: 2013

Background: Countries of the Americas have been working towards rubella elimination since 2003 and endemic rubella virus transmission appears to have been interrupted since 2009. To contribute towards monitoring of rubella elimination, we assessed rubella seroprevalence among prenatal screening tests performed in Ontario.Methods: Specimens received for prenatal rubella serologic testing at the Public Health Ontario Laboratory, the provincial reference laboratory, between 2006 and 2010 were analyzed. A patient-based dataset was created using all tests occurring among 15-49 year-old females, where prenatal screening was indicated. Multiple tests were assigned to the same patient on the basis of health card number, name and date of birth. Only unique tests performed at least nine months apart were included. SAS version 9.2 was used for analysis.Results: Between 2006 and 2010, we identified 459,963 women who underwent 551,160 unique prenatal screening tests for rubella. Of these, 81.6%, 17.1% and 1.4% had one, two and three or more tests respectively.Rubella immunity remained stable at approximately 90% overall; the proportion of susceptible women was 4.4%. Additionally, 0.6% of women were initially susceptible and subsequently developed immunity. Across the province, susceptibility was highest in the north and declined with increasing age (p < 0.0001). Among women with multiple tests, the proportion who remained susceptible declined as the number of years between tests increased (p < .0001). Based on age at first test, younger women had the highest susceptibility (4.2% among 15-19 year-olds) and were significantly more likely to develop immunity if previously susceptible (p < .0001).Conclusion: Rubella susceptibility among prenatal women in Ontario supports elimination goals as population immunity in this group is relatively high. Higher susceptibility among young women and women living in the north highlights an opportunity for greater focus on identification and immunization of susceptible women in these groups. © 2013 Lim et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Mallegol J.,Public Health Ontario Laboratory | Fernandes P.,Cempra | Melano R.G.,Public Health Ontario Laboratory | Melano R.G.,University of Toronto | And 3 more authors.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy | Year: 2014

The activity of solithromycin was evaluated against clinical Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 (Lp1) isolates (n=196) collected in Ontario, Canada, from 1980 to 2011. Its in vitro activity was compared to that of azithromycin (AZM) using the broth microdilution method. Solithromycin had a MIC50 of<0.015 μg/ml and a MIC90 of 0.031 μg/ml, making its activity at least 8-fold to 32-fold higher than that of AZM (MIC50 and MIC90, 0.125 μg/ml and 1 μg/ml, respectively). Ninety-nine percent of the isolates had MICs for solithromycin ranging from<0.015 μg/ml to 0.031 μg/ml, whereas 83.6% of the isolates showed MICs for AZM ranging from 0.062 μg/ml to 0.25 μg/ml. Interestingly, 96.7% (30 out of 31 clinical isolates) identified with higher AZM MICs (0.5 μg/ml to 2 μg/ml) belonged to the clinically prevalent sequence type 1. To investigate the intracellular activity of solithromycin, in vitro invasion assays were also performed against a subset of representative Lp1 isolates internalized within human lung epithelial cells. Solithromycin and AZM both inhibited growth of all intracellular Lp1 isolates at 1×or 8×MICs, displaying bacteriostatic effects, as would be expected with protein synthesis inhibitor rather than bactericidal activity. Solithromycin demonstrated the highest in vitro and intracellular potency against all Lp1 isolates compared to AZM. Given the rapid spread of resistance mechanisms among respiratory pathogens and the reported treatment failures in legionellosis, the development of this new fluoroketolide, already in phase 3 oral clinical studies, constitutes a promising alternative option for the treatment of legionellosis. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


Szakacs T.A.,Brant Community Healthcare System Brantford General Hospital | Kalan L.,McMaster University | McConnell M.J.,Brant Community Healthcare System Brantford General Hospital | McConnell M.J.,Hamilton Health Sciences | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2014

Accurate detection of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) is essential in preventing transmission in health care settings. Chromogenic media are widely used for screening VRE because of fast turnaround times (TAT) and high sensitivity. We report an outbreak of Enterococcus faecium bearing vanA yet susceptible to vancomycin (vancomycin-variable Enterococcus [VVE]). Between October 2009 to March 2011, clinical and screening specimens (n = 14,747) were screened for VRE using VRE-selective medium and/or PCR. VVE isolates were genotyped to determine relatedness. Plasmids from these isolates were characterized by sequencing. Overall, 52 VVE isolates were identified, comprising 15% of all VRE isolates identified. Isolates demonstrated growth on Brilliance VRE agar (Oxoid) at 24 h of incubation but did not grow on brain heart infusion agar with 6 μg/ml vancomycin (Oxoid) or bile esculin azide agar with 6 μg/ml vancomycin (Oxoid) and were susceptible to vancomycin. Genotyping of 20 randomly selected VVE isolates revealed that 15/20 were identical, while 5 were highly related. PCR of the VVE transposon confirmed the presence of vanHAXYgene cluster; however, vanS (sensor) and vanR (regulator) genes were absent. The outbreak was controlled through routine infection control measures. We report an emergence of a fit strain of E. faecium containing vanA yet susceptible to vancomycin. Whether this new strain represents VRE has yet to be determined; however, unique testing procedures are required for reliable identification of VVE. © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


PubMed | University of Toronto, Public Health Ontario Laboratory, University of Montréal and Laval University
Type: | Journal: BioMed research international | Year: 2017

Recently, we reported the purification and characterization of three distinct lantibiotics (named suicin 90-1330, suicin 3908, and suicin 65) produced by


PubMed | University of Toronto and Public Health Ontario Laboratory
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease | Year: 2015

A total of 219 clinical isolates of Campylobacter spp. including 180 Campylobacter jejuni and 39 Campylobacter coli were assessed for in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility. Resistance among C. coli was higher for ciprofloxacin (41% versus 30.80%), erythromycin (12.80% versus 3.90%) and lower for tetracycline (53.80% versus 64.60%) compared to C. jejuni.


PubMed | University of Toronto and Public Health Ontario Laboratory
Type: | Journal: The Canadian journal of infectious diseases & medical microbiology = Journal canadien des maladies infectieuses et de la microbiologie medicale | Year: 2016

Fluoroquinolone resistance in group B Streptococcus is increasingly being reported worldwide. Here, we correlated fluoroquinolone resistance with mutations in gyrA, gyrB, parC, and parE genes, identified by mining whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data of 190 clonal complex 1 group B Streptococcus strains recovered from patients with invasive diseases in North America. We report a high prevalence of fluoroquinolone resistance (12%) among GBS strains in our collection. Our approach is the first step towards accurate prediction of fluoroquinolone resistance from WGS data in this opportunistic pathogen.


PubMed | Public Health Ontario Laboratory and Public Health Agency of Canada
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Ticks and tick-borne diseases | Year: 2016

Relatively little is known about the prevalence of rickettsial species in Dermacentor ticks in eastern Canada. In this study, Dermacentor ticks from the province of Ontario, Canada, were tested for the presence of spotted fever group rickettsial (SFGR) species, Coxiella burnetii and Francisella tularensis. Rickettsia rickettsii was not detected in any ticks tested, but R. montanensis was detected at a prevalence of 2.2% in D. variabilis (17/778). Two other SFGR species, R. parkeri and Candidatus R. andeanae, were detected individually in 2 Amblyomma maculatum ticks. Rickettsia peacockii, a non-pathogenic endosymbiont, was detected in two D. andersonii ticks. Given the highly abundant nature of D. variabilis, surveillance for human pathogens in this species of tick has important public health implications, but the lack of detection of known human pathogens indicates a low risk of infection via this tick species in Ontario. However, the detection of R. parkeri in an adventive A. maculatum tick indicates that health care providers should be aware of the possibility of spotted fever rickettsioses in individuals with a history of travel outside of Ontario and symptoms compatible with a spotted fever rickettsiosis. Coxiella burnetii and Francisella tularensis, human pathogens also potentially transmitted by D. variabilis, were not detected in a subset of the ticks.

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