Highlights from ASM Microbe 2016 include PrEP use and racial disparities, new bacteria causing Lyme Disease, and more!

Below are highlights from the inaugural meeting that combined the American Society for Microbiology’s general meeting and the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Improving MRSA Care

Previous research has shown that screening patients for MRSA on admission to the ICU can help reduce transmission rates when compared with no screening. However, studies have also shown that most patients with MRSA are treated outside the ICU. In 2005, a hospital system began using polymerase chain reaction tests to screen all incoming patients for MRSA. Patients who screened positive for MRSA were identified as colonized in their medical records, placed in gown and glove isolation, and decolonized. The rate of MRSA in the hospital decreased from 8.9 cases per 10,000 patient-days prior to universal screening to 3.9 cases per 10,000 patients at 18 months after initiating universal screening. After comparing the use of decolonization with no decolonization, the authors observed no differences in MRSA rates. After using an electronic protocol to identify patients at high risk for MRSA carriage, the hospital system was able to capture 90% of carriers while only testing 50% of admissions.

Bacteria on Gloves & Plastic Surfaces

Clinical investigations have yet to define the number and types of common bacteria that can be transmitted from contaminated examination gloves to hospital surfaces. For a study, researchers inoculated examination gloves with bacteria that are commonly found in healthcare-associated infections, including multidrug-resistant strains of Escherichia coliKlebsiella pneumoniaA baumannii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Contaminated gloves were touched to a sterilized polypropylene surface immediately after inoculation, at 30 seconds, and at 3 minutes. Transmission to the surface immediately after inoculation occurred in 5% to 10% of all bacteria. However, only A baumannii—including drug-sensitive and multidrug-resistant strains—remained detectable after 3 minutes.

New Bacteria Causing Lyme Disease

In North America, Borrelia burgdorferi has been the only bacterium known to cause Lyme disease. However, Mayo Clinic researchers—who tested blood and synovial fluid samples earlier in 2016 from patients infected with Lyme disease—discovered six infections that did not trace back to B. burgdorferi. Patients with these infections experienced confusion, nausea, and vomiting along with rash, fever, and other typical Lyme symptoms. While the previously unknown and newly named Borrelia mayonii seems to cause unusually high concentrations of bacteria in the blood, the six patients recovered after receiving the standard antibiotics used to treat Lyme disease. The research team noted that B. mayonii is currently found only in the Upper Midwest of the United States.

PrEP Use & Racial Disparities

Current rates of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use in the United States are lacking. To address this research gap, patient-level data were collected from 82% of U.S. retail pharmacies that dispensed PrEP between January 2012 and September 2015 for a study. Results showed that nearly 50,000 patients started PrEP during the study period. A 523% increase was observed between the third quarters of 2013 and 2015. Among PrEP users in 2015, 74% were Caucasian, 12% were Hispanic, 10% were African American, and 4% were Asian. The proportion of African Americans had decreased from 12% in 2012. The proportion of women using PrEP also decreased, dropping from 49% in 2012 to just 11% in the third quarter of 2015. African-American women were more than four times less likely to have started PrEP than Caucasian women.

Fluoroquinolone Use & CDI

Prior studies suggest that up to 80% of fluoroquinolone use is inappropriate and this commonly prescribed antibiotic is a high-risk agent for causing Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). Researchers conducted a study to determine the impact on CDI rates of a respiratory fluoroquinolone restriction program across a hospital system. The program included education and implementation of criteria for fluoroquinolone use. Following implementation of the program, the hospital system experienced a 94% overall reduction in respiratory fluoroquinolone days of therapy per 1,000 patient days and a 35% reduction in hospital-acquired CDI cases per 1,000 patient days.


Darunavir Plus Cobicistat Works Well in Older HIV Groups

New Tenofovir Easy on the Kidneys

Antibody Shots Keep HIV in Check

Antibiotic Resistance Not a New Phenomenon

Deadly Outbreak Puzzles Investigators

Mom May Not Be Only Source of Kid’s Tooth Decay

Are Community-Acquired C. Diff Cases on the Rise?

Herpes Vaccine Cuts Shedding, Lesions

New Water Source for Flint Helps Keep Legionnaire’s at Bay

Library Books – A Bacteria-Laden Loan?

Single Dose of Antibiotic Helps Drug Users

Universal Flu Vaccine in the Works

PRO-140 Antibody Injections Maintain Viral Suppression Off ART

Novel Immune Therapy GEN-003 Improves Genital Herpes

Never-Before Human-Detected, Potentialy Pathogenic Bacterium Found in Children With Acute Leukemia

Video: New Drugs, Strong Infection Control Needed to Overcome Resistance Mechanisms

MERS Outbreak in Saudi Arabia Hospital Linked to Single Patient

Duodenoscope Surveillance Uncovers Processing Challenges

Multiplex Testing Does Not Reduce Antibiotic Use Among Non-Flu Respiratory Outpatients

Solithromycin Noninferior to Moxifloxacin for CABP, Circumvents Macrolide Resistance

Video: Alcohol-Based Hand Rub Campaign Led to “Tremendous Change” in Global Hand Hygiene

Alcohol-Based Hand Hygiene Confers no Additional Benefit After 30 Seconds

Relebactam Safe, Effective Against Imipenem-Resistant cUTIs

More Data Support Efficacy of GEN-003 Therapeutic Vaccine for HSV-2

Video: Mel Spigelman, MD, discusses TB drug pipeline

Video: Scott B. Halstead, MD, Discusses Zika History

Imipenem elevated-MIC values increase from 2000 to 2014

Video: Antibiotic De-Escalation in ICU Lacks Supportive Evidence

Video: Antibiotic De-Escalation in ICU Improves Outcomes

Infection Control May Have Stopped MERS Spread in South Korea Dialysis Unit

C. difficile Patients Diagnosed With PCR, NAATs More Often Receive Prompt Treatment

Antibiotic Prescriptions Increased in Belgium Despite Public Campaign

Bill Gates Discusses “Good News, Bad News” in ID, Global Health

Video: Visualization of Ebola Transmission

Antimicrobial Stewardship Success Stories

ASM Microbe: Two Meetings in One



ASM Microbe Online (Session Recordings)

Oral Presentation Abstracts

Poster Presentation Abstracts


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