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Infectious Diseases Society of America, Oct. 20-23, 2011

Last Updated: October 26, 2011.

The 49th Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America

The annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America was held from Oct. 20 to 23 in Boston, and attracted approximately 5,000 participants from around the world, including scientists, physicians, and other health care professionals. The conference featured education courses and comprehensive educational programs that focused on the latest advances in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases as well as provided insight into emerging infections, new diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.

In one study, Greer A. Burkholder, M.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues evaluated the prescription of aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in a large cohort of HIV-infected patients.

"Our study included HIV-infected men, age 45 to 79, who qualified for aspirin to prevent heart attacks by U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines, and HIV-infected women, age 55 to 79, who qualified for aspirin to prevent ischemic strokes," Burkholder said. "We found that only a small number of eligible patients received aspirin. Of 397 patients who qualified for aspirin by Framingham Risk Score, only 66 patients, or 17 percent, were prescribed aspirin."

The investigators also found that patients with cardiovascular disease-related comorbidities were more likely to receive aspirin.

"When we looked at cardiovascular disease-related comorbidities as a count measure, the larger the number of comorbidities a patient had, the more likely they were to be on aspirin. But even among patients with four cardiovascular disease-related comorbidities (hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and current smoking), only 44 percent were receiving aspirin," Burkholder said. "What this study tells us is that we are underutilizing aspirin in this HIV-infected population."

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with various pharmaceutical companies.

Abstract No. 480

In another study, Candice K. Kwan, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues found that fewer than 50 percent of men at high risk for HIV infection reported HIV testing in the prior 12 months, suggesting that, for these men, HIV testing is not being performed as frequently as recommended.

The investigators used data from 2002 and 2006 to 2008 cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth to assess proportions of men who reported having been tested for HIV infection in the previous 12 months.

"We found little improvement in rates of those reporting HIV testing in the prior 12 months. There was a 5 percent increase among men who have sex with men, but this did not reach statistical significance," Kwan said. "Although testing or treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) increased the likelihood of receiving HIV testing, nearly 40 percent of men at high risk for HIV infection who received STD testing or treatment in the prior 12 months did not receive HIV testing during that period."

Abstract No. 149

Julie H. Shakib, D.O., M.P.H., of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues found that immunizing pregnant women against influenza, even during early pregnancy, provided some protection for their infants against influenza during the first months after birth. The investigators evaluated 27 women, including 11 women who received the seasonal influenza vaccine and 16 women who did not receive the vaccine. Antibody development in the blood of the infants was tested at birth, two months, and four months.

The investigators found that all infants born to women who had received the influenza vaccine had antibody protection at birth, compared to 31 percent of infants born to women who had not received the influenza vaccine. The investigators also found that 60 percent of infants born to immunized women had antibody protection at two months and 11 percent of infants born to immunized women still had protective antibodies at four months. However, no infants born to unimmunized women had antibody protection at two or four months.

"Pregnant women should continue to receive the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available to protect themselves throughout their pregnancy," Shakib said.

One author disclosed a financial relationship with Pfizer Inc.; another author disclosed a relationship with Idaho Technology Inc.

Abstract No. 519

In another study evaluating the effects of influenza vaccination during pregnancy, Stephanie A. Irving, M.H.S., of the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin, and colleagues found no link between influenza vaccination during pregnancy and miscarriage.

In a retrospective analysis, the investigators compared 243 pregnant women who had a miscarriage to 243 who did not have a miscarriage. The investigators found that women who miscarried were not more likely to have received influenza vaccination in the four weeks before miscarriage.

"Safety concerns are one of the top reasons pregnant women provide for abstaining from getting the influenza vaccine," Irving said in a statement. "Our findings should help pregnant women feel more comfortable about getting vaccinated."

Abstract No. 536

Lewis Neville, Ph.D., of Lostam BioPharmaceuticals Ltd. in Nazareth, Israel, and colleagues found a panel of monoclonal antibodies that can latch onto Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA), disable the bacterium, and effectively conquer the infection.

"In a lethal mouse model of PA-induced pneumonia, in which the infecting strain was resistant to 19 of 21 antibiotics, the monoclonal antibody LST-007 afforded survival of animals at 75 percent, as compared to controls (10 percent survival). Importantly, LST-007 demonstrated superiority to imipenem (only 30 percent survival), a critically important antibiotic used to treat clinical pneumonia," Neville said. "Adaptation of monoclonal antibodies as anti-infective agents represents a highly novel and urgently required therapeutic strategy to combat PA, including multi-drug resistant strains."

Abstract No. 607

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