Conference Report – 14th Biennial Congress of the Anaerobe Society of the Americas

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Conference Report – 14th Biennial Congress of the Anaerobe Society of the Americas, July 10–12 2018, Las Vegas (NV, USA).

Anaerobic microbiology is more than just C. difficile and gas gangrene, the science of this oft-neglected area was discussed in detail by >400 delegates from various countries not just the Americas. This conference has gained global recognition as a venue to learn about many aspects of anaerobic microbiology, the 2018 meeting was no different.

The congress covered such diverse topics as the synergy between human and animal ecologic systems in which Clostridia and Brachyspira infections were presented. The role anaerobes have played in human infection has been known for over a century but the session on clinical issues in human disease revealed new data on Cutibacterium acnes in surgical infections and acne. Unsurprisingly the microbiome studies were a highlight of the congress with lectures on use of Electronic Health Records and mathematical modelling and their role in improved understanding of C. difficile.

Professor David Fredericks (University of Washington, WA, USA), the incoming Society President, chaired the session on genital tract anaerobes and reproductive health, a topic of growing importance and research especially concerning the role of the vaginal flora and acquisition of HIV. Fusobacteria infections have been known for over a century but several presentations highlighted the role of this poorly understood genus in colorectal cancer, infections in the oral cavity and adverse outcomes in pregnancy. The human microbiome and its impact on drug metabolism, hypertension and neurologic disease were discussed in a session chaired by Dr Cindy Sears (John Hopkins University, MD, USA). As with other aspects of microbiology anaerobes have not escaped the rigors of taxonomy and the clinical implications as well as the current changes in the Clostridia genus were the focus of two fascinating presentations.

The third day of the congress covered C. difficile with topics as diverse as pathogenesis, the evolving management of the infection in the light of new IDSA guidelines (https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix1085) and clinical trials of new therapies, including: antibiotics such as the novel agent ridinilazole, which is in Phase III studies; Ribaxamase, which protects the gut flora from B-lactam therapy; vaccines against C. difficile; a novel approach to replacing the microbiome SER-109; and even an ‘old’ agent misoprostol is being studied to protect against C. difficile infection as well as help heal the GI tract post infection.

In addition to these oral presentations the Society encourages submission of abstracts such that >120 posters were shown with 10 student posters receiving special recognition.

The 2020 conference will be held in Seattle , WA in July, details will be available on the Society website www.anaerobe.org.

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