Infectious Diseases Research
Infectious Diseases Research

Research within the Infectious Diseases Division has focused on best practices for decreasing antimicrobial resistance and hospital acquired infection, prevention of communicable infection and vaccine education and implementation. We have been involved in studies of new drugs for treatment of fungal infections in neonates, new diagnostics and impact of rapid testing for respiratory viruses, risk factors for catheter-associated infections and MRSA or VRE colonization, and the changing epidemiology and bacterial resistance related to staphylococcal and gram negative pathogens. We have also been instrumental in building alliances nationally with the ultimate goal of enhancing the health and well-being of children and families.

Vaccine Education and Treatment Unit (VTEU)

Building on its long tradition of excellence in infectious diseases, Children's Mercy Hospital has been designated since 2007 as a Pediatric Sub-Site for the national network of nine National Institutes of Health (NIH) Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEU). Children's Mercy Hospital is the pediatric unit collaborating with the University of Iowa's adult unit. Christopher J. Harrison, MD, Director of the Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory is the principal investigator of the Pediatric VTEU Subunit ay CMH and Barbara Pahud MD is the Associated VTEU Director at CMH. There are over 10 VTEU co-investigators at CMH along with 5 nurse or research coordinators and one PhD laboratorian. Through the VTEU, CMH researchers perform important research into new vaccines, new ways to use established vaccines and novel treatment approaches to infectious diseases, e.g. the H1N1P pandemic influenza vaccine in 2009, and safety/immunogenicity of mixed schedules of the two licensed rotavirus vaccines in infants.

New Vaccine Surveillance Network (NVSN)

CMH is also one of 7 designated sites for the CDC sponsored NVSN, providing surveillance for gastrointestinal viral pathogens and their relation to rotavirus vaccine in over 1,000 children each year. Other notable pathogens studied by this group include Human Parechovirus (HPeV), Norovirus, Clostridium difficile, and ESBL producing Enterobacteriaceae. Co-principal investigators at CMH are: Rangaraj Selvarangan, BVSc, PhD, D(ABMM) from the Department of Pathology and Christopher J Harrison, MD from Pediatric Infectious Diseases. Barbara Pahud, MD from Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Mary Moffat MD from the Division of Emergency Medicine are Co-investigators.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Program

The Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs (ASPs) use computer surveillance, data collection, dedicated personnel, and policies and procedures to limit inappropriate use of antimicrobial agents and optimize their selection, dosing, and duration of therapy. The utilization of an ASP program reduces antimicrobial resistance, length of hospital stay and costs, and subsequent morbidity and mortality.  There is a growing number of pediatric ASPs and CMH has had an active stewardship program since 2008.  Directed by Dr. Jennifer Goldman (build link) and pharmacotherapy specialists Drs. Diana Yu and Karisma Patel, the program utilizes a prospective audit of monitored antimicrobials with specified interventions.

Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory

Dr. Christopher Harrison directs the bench lab and Dr. Scott Duncan is the current post-doctoral faculty. Dr. Harrison has envisioned the bench lab to be a source for quality translational, clinical and epidemiologic research into the pathogenesis, immunology and outcome of viral and bacterial diseases in children. It focuses on selected pathogens' responses to vaccines and treatments, as well as new potential interventions.Dr. Doug Swanson, who is an active investigator into the changing epidemiology of pneumococcal infections and performs serotyping of pneumococci, also has an active project that is evaluating antigenic diversity of non-tuberculous mycobacterial strains.

Dr. Barbara Pahud, who joined the ID division in February 2011 after completing her ID fellowship at University of California and Stanford University, brings expertise in vaccine research and the clinical assessment of immunization adverse events.

Dr. J. Christopher Day is the Director of Transplant Infectious Disease services and the newest member of the ID division.

Dr. Raj Selverangan, Director of the Microbiology Laboratory, has actively collaborated with the Infectious Disease division on several laboratory-based studies dealing with diagnostic testing. He also is the primary investigator for a multi-center initiative with the Center for Disease Control evaluating rotavirus vaccine efficacy, with co-investigators, Drs. Harrison and Jackson.

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