Boston IDSA Meeting Offers Plenty of Hot Topics for 2011

Daniel M. Keller, PhD

October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011 (Boston, Massachusetts) — As delegates prepare to make their way to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) 49th Annual Meeting, to be held here October 20 to 23, IDSA president James M. Hughes, MD, told Medscape Medical News that the event will be a look back and a look forward.

The meeting celebrates a number of anniversaries, said Dr. Hughes, who is professor of medicine and public health and director of the program in global infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. It has been "30 years since the recognition of HIV, 20 years since the resurgence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in New York City, 15 years since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy, and 10 years since the anthrax attacks," he said.

The opening plenary session will feature 2 talks by distinguished lecturers. One by Michael Saag, MD, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is entitled Thirty Years of HIV/AIDS: Where We Have Been...Where Are We Going? The other, by Keiji Fukuda, MD, MPH, from the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, is entitled Global Emerging Infections.

As examples of global emerging infections, Dr. Hughes cited the reemerging and ongoing pertussis problem, the Escherichia coli O104:H4 outbreak in the late spring of this year in Germany, the NDM-1 strains of multidrug resistant Gram-negative infections first recognized in India, and the influenza pandemic a couple of years ago that was complicated by drug-resistant secondary bacterial infections.

A symposium in the pediatric track at will present information on improved vaccination strategies for the control of pertussis, and there will be at least 22 abstracts on food-borne illnesses — several of which will be on E coli O104:H4.

Named Lectures

Two prominent investigators in the infectious diseases field will present named lectures. William Schaffner, MD, from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, will present the Joseph E. Smadel Lecture, entitled The Media and Infectious Diseases. Larry Pickering, MD, from the CDC, will deliver the Edward H. Kass Lecture, entitled The Science of Vaccines: Research, Subjectivity or Speculation. These lectures will be followed by the late-breaker oral abstract session.

Dr. Hughes noted that, besides the Kass Lecture, the conference includes "a lot on immunization, seasonal flu immunization, the importance of healthcare worker immunization, the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and pertussis, and the complications introduced by vaccine refusals."

Other topics to note will be antimicrobial resistance, the judicious use of antibiotics and antibiotic stewardship, problems with a dry pipeline for antibiotic development, the need for rapid diagnostics for identification of resistant organisms, patient safety, and healthcare-associated infections.

New This Year in Infectious Disease Medicine

Dr. Hughes pointed out that a new meeting Web site makes it easier for attendees to navigate the conference program and plan the sessions that they want to attend.

The 5 meeting tracks are adult infectious diseases; HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis; investigative infectious diseases; pediatric infectious diseases; and global infectious diseases (new this year).

Several sessions and topics overlap tracks, such as the HIV and global tracks, and the role of the human microbiome, which has been gaining significant attention in recent years.

Dr. Hughes said the human microbiome is "beginning to be much better characterized...[in terms of] the relationship between all the various organisms that live on us and in us and their contributions both to health and to disease."

A session will explore the role of the microbiome in the development and maintenance of immunity, including associations of specific bacteria with the differentiation of cellular immune responses. It will also explore the mechanisms by which broad-spectrum antibiotics affect susceptibility to colonization and disease by vancomycin-resistant Enterococci and by Clostridium difficile.

Moving from the microscopic to the macroscopic, the meeting, for the first time, will feature a One Health session, which Dr. Hughes described as "issues at the human–veterinary ecosystem interface," such as zoonotic diseases and cross-species transmission of diseases.

Dr. Hughes said there is an increasing need for the involvement of veterinarians in the IDSA, and 4 veterinarians have been invited to speak about issues at the "human–domestic animal–wildlife ecosystem interface." He saw the essential role veterinarians played during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, when he was director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the CDC, because they were familiar with coronaviruses.

Another first this year will be a Presidential Plenary Session, which will focus on the cholera epidemic that began after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. "We're going to get very timely updates from 3 people who've been very involved in various aspects of responding to the cholera epidemic that is still ongoing in Haiti," Dr. Hughes explained. Speakers will review cholera from a historic perspective, discuss practical issues in patient management, examine the local and international responses to protect public health, and summarize some of the problems and lessons learned from the Haitian disaster.

Other Topics of Interest

A number of sessions will discuss antibiotic stewardship. A news conference for reporters will feature the topics of the paucity of new antibiotics in development, drug shortages, and an update on the IDSA's 10 ₓ '20 Initiative, a campaign to mobilize key leaders and resources to create an antibacterial research and development enterprise that will produce 10 new antibiotics by 2020.

A symposium — What's Hot in ID and HIV — will identify important publications from the past year and will apply lessons from these publications to clinical practice. The session, moderated by Joel Ernst, MD, from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and Joel Gallant, MD, MPH, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, will cover basic and clinical science in the areas of HIV and in infectious diseases.

Pediatric Topics of Interest

David Kimberlin, MD, professor and codirector of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, president-elect of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, and a member of the IDSA Annual Meeting Program Committee, identified some abstracts in pediatric infectious disease that he finds particularly deserving of attention:

  • Molecular Evaluation and Pathogen Identification From Pleural Fluid in Pediatric Parapneumonic Empyema: Preliminary Data From the CDC Etiology of Pneumonia in the Community (EPIC) Study (Oral abstract 169)

  • The California Pertussis Epidemic: Pediatric Disease in San Diego County 2010 (Poster abstract 616)

  • Randomized, Double-Blind, Pilot Study of Nitazoxanide (NTZ) Versus Placebo (PCB) for the Treatment of Symptoms Associated With Viral Respiratory Infection (VRI) in Children (Oral abstract 1341)

  • Increasing Invasive Methicillin Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Infections at Texas Children's Hospital, 2007 (Poster abstract 1164)

  • Salivary Shedding of Cytomegalovirus in Children With Congenital Infection (Poster abstract 1214)

  • Longitudinal Assessment of Genotypic Resistance by Deep Sequencing of Cytomegalovirus DNA in Congenitally Infected Infants Treated with Valganciclovir (Poster abstract 1215)

Looking Ahead

The official meeting is preceded by a full-day workshop on the implementation of antibiotic stewardship programs.

Dr. Hughes said the annual meeting next year, to be held in San Diego, California, will be expanded and called Infectious Disease Week. It will be a collaboration of IDSA, the HIV Medicine Association, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

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