A database to facilitate collaborative research studies for childhood TB in Europe - a multinational ptbnet initiative
PIs: Beate Kampmann, Imperial College London, UK; Giovanni Sotgui, University of Sassari, Italy
Given its global burden, tuberculosis in children is a relatively neglected issue, since management and research tend to focus on active cases in adults. Within the research community of the ptbnet, the paediatric branch of TBnet, we acknowledge that each of our members only see a limited number of cases and contacts, but that in order to conduct meaningful collaborative research we require a data collection tool, which allows us to collect the same parameters at each participating site.
Many questions in the paediatric research community relate to children exposed to TB in the household or community context. There is currently no data collection tool to capture the activities of paediatricians dealing with TB-exposed children and monitor their outcome according to chosen investigative streams or management. This is of particular importance in the context of MDR/XDR TB, where basically no evidence-based paediatric guidelines exist.
With the grant awarded from TBnet, we have now achieved the first major milestone on the way to develop such a tool.
In collaboration between the members of the ptbnet and the Universities of Imperial College, UK (B. Kampmann) and Sassari, Italy (G. Sotgiu), we will use this funding to set up a web-based paediatric TB database. The database will facilitate research within the ptbnet and also aims to create links with adult databases already under development within the TBnet and TB-PANNET.
Exposure to NON-Tuberculosis Mycobacteria (NTM): Are showerheads a source of pulmonary NTM-diseases?
PI: Dirk Wagner, University Freiburg, Germany
NTM are abundant in the environment, and there are ample data that NTM, especially M. avium complex, are capable of biofilm formation and occur in drinking water systems. Recent data in the USA have shown a very high abundance of NTM-DNA in showerheads (28% of all showerhead studied) where NTM-DNA was enriched to high levels in many showerhead biofilms, >100-fold above background water contents. Molecular comparison of Mycobacterium avium isolates from clinical and environmental sources suggest that water isolates may be related to clinical isolates. Thus evidence is growing for aerosolic transmission of non-tuberculous mycobacteria . We therefore will compare clinical isolates from patients with non-tuberculous mycobacteria isolated from respiratory specimen with those present in shower water and showerheads of the respective patient and close by neighbours exposed to the same water system. Eight institutions from eight different European countries will collaborate in this project.