IDWeek 2014: A Preview for Clinicians

Paul G. Auwaerter, MD


October 03, 2014

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Hello. This is Paul Auwaerter with Medscape Infectious Diseases and from the Johns Hopkins Division of Infectious Diseases. Today I have a brief preview of the upcoming IDWeek 2014, to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr Larry Pickering, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, Georgia, heads the program committee as its vice-chair. As I look over the preliminary program, I would say he has done an excellent job of covering the landscape of infectious diseases. There are lots of old favorites, including new drugs, clinical conditions such as endocarditis and pneumonia, childhood diseases, infection prevention, and so on.

If you want everything in a single session, "What's Hot" includes such luminaries as John G. Bartlett, Joel Ernst, Joe Gallant, and Beatrice Hahn, who all will no doubt provide first-rate updates about the cutting edge of clinical and basic science in infectious diseases.

After looking through the program, I have several impressions about some of the themes of this meeting. This is not meant to take the emphasis away from many other deserving areas, but there are five topics I want to mention specifically.

Five Themes for IDWeek 2014

Viral diseases. Viral diseases seem to be very active and soon could affect more populations in North America, or at least change our behavior. The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus(CoV) was a major topic last year and continues to be a topic of interest, both in the area of incidence and the potential for interrupting transmission or immunizing against infection. The other big three viruses at the moment include the Ebola virus, which has been in the news; the chikungunya virus, which has swept through the Caribbean at a ferocious rate during the past year and is now at the shores of southern Florida and perhaps the Gulf States; and the dengue outbreaks, which are all very important to ID practitioners who see travelers. It will be good to learn about efforts that are being made to help us better understand and prevent these viral diseases.

Antimicrobial resistance. The second theme is antimicrobial resistance, both in pediatric and adult populations. This weaves together many areas that rely on Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) leadership and stewardship in infection control. There will be an interesting session on the impact of pneumococcal immunization on other resistant viruses. In addition, we will hear several commentaries about how household, over-the-counter antiseptics may be affecting the microbiome and whether they are truly effective in the face of increasing microbial resistance.

C difficile. A third important area is C difficile, always a very popular topic. Now with growing interest and more centers performing fecal microbial transplants, I believe that this too is something that people will be eager to learn more about.

New diagnostics. Fourth are new diagnostics and new scientific tools that can improve our understanding of pathogen and host interactions. These include molecular diagnostics, with some relevance for whole genome-wide sequencing, which may have some impact on the understanding of a variety of both host and pathogen issues.

Hepatitis C. Last, hepatitis C has been a topic of interest for some time. New drugs are here and more are forthcoming. The wider rollout and greater ease of use of these treatments is a topic of great interest. Some of the more interesting issues are those concerning societal allocations in terms of how and when to treat, and how many people should be treated at one time, as well as some interesting population aspects of the control of hepatitis C infection. These topics are just the beginning of the conversation with these fabulous new drugs.

None of these are surprise topics, but I give credit to the committee at IDWeek for keeping them well up-front. They have included many wide-ranging topics with many first-rate speakers. I am sure that, with late-breaker sessions and some late-breaking news, IDWeek 2014 will really be at the forefront in helping to keep you informed. Thanks so much for listening.


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