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Emerging Infectious Diseases journal

Perspective

  • Ebola and Its Control in Liberia, 2014–2015 PDF Version [PDF - 525 KB - 9 pages]
    T. G. Nyenswah et al.
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    Several factors explain the successful response to the outbreak in this country.

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    The severe epidemic of Ebola virus disease in Liberia started in March 2014. On May 9, 2015, the World Health Organization declared Liberia free of Ebola, 42 days after safe burial of the last known case-patient. However, another 6 cases occurred during June–July; on September 3, 2015, the country was again declared free of Ebola. Liberia had by then reported 10,672 cases of Ebola and 4,808 deaths, 37.0% and 42.6%, respectively, of the 28,103 cases and 11,290 deaths reported from the 3 countries that were heavily affected at that time. Essential components of the response included government leadership and sense of urgency, coordinated international assistance, sound technical work, flexibility guided by epidemiologic data, transparency and effective communication, and efforts by communities themselves. Priorities after the epidemic include surveillance in case of resurgence, restoration of health services, infection control in healthcare settings, and strengthening of basic public health systems.

Synopses

  • Epidemiology of Epidemic Ebola Virus Disease in Conakry and Surrounding Prefectures, Guinea, 2014–2015 PDF Version [PDF - 524 KB - 6 pages]
    A. Rico et al.
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    The capital and neighboring areas remain a focal point of transmission, requiring continued public health vigilance.

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    In 2014, Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa was first reported during March in 3 southeastern prefectures in Guinea; from there, the disease rapidly spread across West Africa. We describe the epidemiology of EVD cases reported in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, and 4 surrounding prefectures (Coyah, Dubreka, Forecariah, and Kindia), encompassing a full year of the epidemic. A total of 1,355 EVD cases, representing ≈40% of cases reported in Guinea, originated from these areas. Overall, Forecariah had the highest cumulative incidence (4× higher than that in Conakry). Case-fatality percentage ranged from 40% in Conakry to 60% in Kindia. Cumulative incidence was slightly higher among male than female residents, although incidences by prefecture and commune differed by sex. Over the course of the year, Conakry and neighboring prefectures became the EVD epicenter in Guinea.

  • Hospital Preparations for Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Patients and Experience Gained from Admission of an Ebola Patient PDF Version [PDF - 1.01 MB - 8 pages]
    J. Haverkort et al.
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    Clear protocols, a buddy system, and intensive staff training increased the sense of safety and motivation among staff.

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    The Major Incident Hospital of the University Medical Centre of Utrecht has a longstanding history of preparing for the management of highly pathogenic and infectious organisms. An assessment of the hospital’s preparations for an outbreak of viral hemorrhagic fever and its experience during admission of a patient with Ebola virus disease showed that the use of the buddy system, frequent training, and information sessions for staff and their relatives greatly increased the sense of safety and motivation among staff. Differing procedures among ambulance services limited the number of services used for transporting patients. Waste management was the greatest concern, and destruction of waste had to be outsourced. The admission of an Ebola patient proceeded without incident but led to considerable demands on staff. The maximum time allowed for wearing personal protective equipment was 45 minutes to ensure safety, and an additional 20 minutes was needed for recovery.

Research

  • Trematode Fluke Procerovum varium as Cause of Ocular Inflammation in Children, South India PDF Version [PDF - 772 KB - 9 pages]
    L. Arya et al.
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    Larvae of this fluke are novel causes of granulomatous eye disease in children.

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    Trematodes are recognized as a group of emerging parasites in tropical countries. We identified a trematode as a cause of ocular granulomas that developed in children who bathed in ponds or rivers in South India. DNA was isolated from patients’ surgically excised granulomas and from the trematode cercariae (larvae) released by the snail Melanoides tuberculata in water in which the children bathed. Real-time and conventional PCRs were performed that targeted ribosomal DNA regions spanning the internal transcribed spacer 2 and 28S sequences of this trematode. The PCR-amplified products were subjected to bidirectional sequencing. Analysis of sequences for the granuloma samples and the trematode cercariae showed maximum sequence similarity with Procerovum varium (family Heterophyidae). Our results confirmed the etiology of the ocular infection, implicating snail vectors as environmental risk factors for ocular parasitosis.

  • Association between Landscape Factors and Spatial Patterns of Plasmodium knowlesi Infections in Sabah, Malaysia PDF Version [PDF - 551 KB - 9 pages]
    K. M. Fornace et al.
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    Forest loss and other environmental changes correlate with increased malaria incidence.

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    The zoonotic malaria species Plasmodium knowlesi has become the main cause of human malaria in Malaysian Borneo. Deforestation and associated environmental and population changes have been hypothesized as main drivers of this apparent emergence. We gathered village-level data for P. knowlesi incidence for the districts of Kudat and Kota Marudu in Sabah state, Malaysia, for 2008–2012. We adjusted malaria records from routine reporting systems to reflect the diagnostic uncertainty of microscopy for P. knowlesi. We also developed negative binomial spatial autoregressive models to assess potential associations between P. knowlesi incidence and environmental variables derived from satellite-based remote-sensing data. Marked spatial heterogeneity in P. knowlesi incidence was observed, and village-level numbers of P. knowlesi cases were positively associated with forest cover and historical forest loss in surrounding areas. These results suggest the likelihood that deforestation and associated environmental changes are key drivers in P. knowlesi transmission in these areas.

  • Feasibility of Xpert Ebola Assay in Médecins Sans Frontières Ebola Program, Guinea PDF Version [PDF - 564 KB - 7 pages]
    R. Van den Bergh et al.
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    This assay provides results in less time than routine PCR and is equally sensitive.

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    Rapid diagnostic methods are essential in control of Ebola outbreaks and lead to timely isolation of cases and improved epidemiologic surveillance. Diagnosis during Ebola outbreaks in West Africa has relied on PCR performed in laboratories outside this region. Because time between sampling and PCR results can be considerable, we assessed the feasibility and added value of using the Xpert Ebola Assay in an Ebola control program in Guinea. A total of 218 samples were collected during diagnosis, treatment, and convalescence of patients. Median time for obtaining results was reduced from 334 min to 165 min. Twenty-six samples were positive for Ebola virus. Xpert cycle thresholds were consistently lower, and 8 (31%) samples were negative by routine PCR. Several logistic and safety issues were identified. We suggest that implementation of the Xpert Ebola Assay under programmatic conditions is feasible and represents a major advance in diagnosis of Ebola virus disease without apparent loss of assay sensitivity.

  • Prognostic Indicators for Ebola Patient Survival PDF Version [PDF - 578 KB - 7 pages]
    S. J. Crowe et al.
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    Odds of survival were greatest when first Ebola virus–positive blood sample collected had low viral load.

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    To determine whether 2 readily available indicators predicted survival among patients with Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone, we evaluated information for 216 of the 227 patients in Bo District during a 4-month period. The indicators were time from symptom onset to healthcare facility admission and quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR cycle threshold (Ct), a surrogate for viral load, in first Ebola virus–positive blood sample tested. Of these patients, 151 were alive when detected and had reported healthcare facility admission dates and Ct values available. Time from symptom onset to healthcare facility admission was not associated with survival, but viral load in the first Ebola virus–positive blood sample was inversely associated with survival: 52 (87%) of 60 patients with a Ct of >24 survived and 20 (22%) of 91 with a Ct of <24 survived. Ct values may be useful for clinicians making treatment decisions or managing patient or family expectations.

  • Invasive Group A Streptococcus Infection among Children, Rural Kenya PDF Version [PDF - 812 KB - 9 pages]
    A. C. Seale et al.
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    These infections cause serious illness, especially in neonates.

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    To determine the extent of group A Streptococcus (GAS) infections in sub-Saharan Africa and the serotypes that cause disease, we analyzed surveillance data for 64,741 hospital admissions in Kilifi, Kenya, during 1998–2011. We evaluated incidence, clinical presentations, and emm types that cause invasive GAS infection. We detected 370 cases; of the 369 for which we had data, most were skin and soft tissue infections (70%), severe pneumonia (23%), and primary bacteremia (14%). Overall case-fatality risk was 12%. Incidence of invasive GAS infection was 0.6 cases/1,000 live births among neonates, 101/100,000 person-years among children <1 year of age, and 35/100,000 among children <5 years of age. Genome sequencing identified 88 emm types. GAS causes serious disease in children in rural Kenya, especially neonates, and the causative organisms have considerable genotypic diversity. Benefit from the most advanced GAS type–specific vaccines may be limited, and efforts must be directed to protect against disease in regions of high incidence.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial of Hospital-Based Hygiene and Water Treatment Intervention (CHoBI7) to Reduce Cholera PDF Version [PDF - 602 KB - 9 pages]
    C. George et al.
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    This intervention significantly reduced symptomatic Vibrio cholerae infection.

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    The risk for cholera infection is >100 times higher for household contacts of cholera patients during the week after the index patient seeks hospital care than it is for the general population. To initiate a standard of care for this high-risk population, we developed Cholera-Hospital-Based-Intervention-for-7-Days (CHoBI7), which promotes hand washing with soap and treatment of water. To test CHoBI7, we conducted a randomized controlled trial among 219 intervention household contacts of 82 cholera patients and 220 control contacts of 83 cholera patients in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during 2013–2014. Intervention contacts had significantly fewer symptomatic Vibrio cholerae infections than did control contacts and 47% fewer overall V. cholerae infections. Intervention households had no stored drinking water with V. cholerae and 14 times higher odds of hand washing with soap at key events during structured observation on surveillance days 5, 6, or 7. CHoBI7 presents a promising approach for controlling cholera among highly susceptible household contacts of cholera patients.

  • Medscape CME Activity
    Sustained Transmission of Pertussis in Vaccinated, 1–5-Year-Old Children in a Preschool, Florida, USA PDF Version [PDF - 496 KB - 5 pages]
    J. Matthias et al.
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    Monitoring of vaccine performance is necessary to identify outbreaks or emerging epidemiologic trends.

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    In September 2013, local county health officials in Tallahassee, Florida, USA, were notified of a laboratory-confirmed pertussis case in a 1-year-old preschool attendee. During a 5-month period, 26 (22%) students 1–5 years of age, 2 staff from the same preschool, and 11 family members met the national case definition for pertussis. Four persons during this outbreak were hospitalized for clinical management of pertussis symptoms. Only 5 students, including 2 students with pertussis, had not received the complete series of vaccinations for pertussis. Attack rates in 1 classroom for all students who received the complete series of vaccinations for pertussis approached 50%. This outbreak raises concerns about vaccine effectiveness in this preschool age group and reinforces the idea that recent pertussis vaccination should not dissuade physicians from diagnosing, testing, or treating persons with compatible illness for pertussis.

  • Medscape CME Activity
    Molecular Characterization of Invasive Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis, Japan PDF Version [PDF - 606 KB - 8 pages]
    T. Wajima et al.
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    This infection is an increasing threat to aging populations.

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    We collected β-hemolytic streptococci (1,611 isolates) from patients with invasive streptococcal infections in Japan during April 2010–March 2013. Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis (SDSE) was most common (n = 693); 99% of patients with SDSE infections were elderly (mean age 75 years, SD ±15 years). We aimed to clarify molecular and epidemiologic characteristics of SDSE isolates and features of patient infections. Bacteremia with no identified focus of origin and cellulitis were the most prevalent manifestations; otherwise, clinical manifestations resembled those of S. pyogenes infections. Clinical manifestations also differed by patient’s age. SDSE isolates were classified into 34 emm types; stG6792 was most prevalent (27.1%), followed by stG485 and stG245. Mortality rates did not differ according to emm types. Multilocus sequence typing identified 46 sequence types and 12 novel types. Types possessing macrolide- and quinolone-resistance genes were 18.4% and 2.6%, respectively; none showed β-lactam resistance. Among aging populations, invasive SDSE infections are an increasing risk.

  • Population Effects of Influenza A(H1N1) Pandemic among Health Plan Members, San Diego, California, USA, October–December 2009 PDF Version [PDF - 411 KB - 6 pages]
    R. A. Bitar
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    Population-specific data were collected and analyzed to improve planning for influenza pandemics.

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    Lacking population-specific data, activity of seasonal and pandemic influenza is usually tracked by counting the number of diagnoses and visits to medical facilities above a baseline. This type of data does not address the delivery of services in a specific population. To provide population-specific data, this retrospective study of patients with influenza-like illness, influenza, and pneumonia among members of a Kaiser Permanente health plan in San Diego, California, USA, during October–December 2009 was initiated. Population data included the number of outpatients accessing healthcare; the number of patients diagnosed with pneumonia; antimicrobial therapy administered; number of patients hospitalized with influenza, influenza-like illness, or pneumonia; level of care provided; and number of patients requiring specialized treatments (e.g., oxygen, ventilation, vasopressors). The rate of admissions specific to weeks and predictions of 2 epidemiologic models shows the strengths and weaknesses of those tools. Data collected in this study may improve planning for influenza pandemics.

  • Epidemiology of Serotype 1 Invasive Pneumococcal Disease, South Africa, 2003–2013 PDF Version [PDF - 665 KB - 10 pages]
    C. von Mollendorf et al.
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    Because of the epidemic nature of this disease and its distinctive clinical features in this area, surveillance should continue.

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    In South Africa, 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) was introduced in April 2009 and replaced with 13-valent PCV in April 2011. We describe the epidemiology of serotype 1 Streptococcus pneumoniae disease during the pre- and post-PCV eras (2003–2013). Using laboratory-based invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) surveillance, we calculated annual incidences, identified IPD clusters, and determined serotype 1–associated factors. Of 46,483 IPD cases, 4,544 (10%) were caused by serotype 1. Two clusters of serotype 1 infection were detected during 2003–2004 and 2008–2012, but incidence decreased after 2011. Among children <5 years of age, those who had non–serotype 1 IPD had shorter hospital stays, fewer cases of penicillin-nonsusceptible disease, and lower HIV prevalence and in-hospital death rates than did those with serotype 1 IPD; similar factors were noted for older patients. Serotype 1 IPD had distinctive clinical features in South Africa, and annual incidences fluctuated, with decreases noted after the introduction of PCV13.

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