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Volume 15, Number 7—July 2009

CME ACTIVITY - Research

Cluster of Sylvatic Epidemic Typhus Cases Associated with Flying Squirrels, 2004–2006

Alice S. Chapman1, David L. Swerdlow, Virginia M. Dato, Alicia D. Anderson, Claire E. Moodie, Chandra Marriott, Brian R. Amman, Morgan Hennessey, Perry Fox, Douglas B. Green, Eric Pegg, William L. Nicholson, Marina E. Eremeeva, and Gregory A. DaschComments to Author 

Author affiliations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA (A.S. Chapman, D.L. Swerdlow, A.D. Anderson, C.E. Moodie, B. Amman, M. Hennessey, D.B. Green, E. Pegg, W.L. Nicholson, M.E. Eremeeva, G.A. Dasch); Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA (V.M. Dato, C. Marriott, P. Fox)

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Table 2

Selected characteristics of surveyed staff members at wilderness camp in Pennsylvania, March 2006*

Characteristic Case-patients (n = 4) Non–case-patients (n = 29) Case-patients surveyed† (n = 12)
Median age, y‡
28.5 (range 26–40)
38.7 (range 21–69)
35 (range 23–63)
Gender
Male‡ 4 (100) 23 (79) 11 (92)
Female
0
6 (21)
1 (8)
Job classification
Counselor‡ 4 (100) 14 (48) 7 (58)
Maintenance 0 3 (10) 1 (8.3)
Administrative 0 5 (17) 1 (8.3)
Support staff 0 5 (17) 1 (8.3)
Night security 0 1 (3.4) 2 (17)
No answer
0
1 (3.4)
0
Employment, y‡
2.5 (range 1.8–3.9)
2.7 (range 0.1–30.8)
1.1 (range 0.2–26.3)
Ever slept in cabins
Yes‡ 4 (100) 19 (66) 8 (66.6)
No 0 10 (34) 3 (25)
Don’t know
0
0
1 (8.3)
Contact with (touching) flying squirrel
Yes‡ 1 (25) 7 (24) 1 (8)
No 3 (75) 20 (69) 11 (92)
Don’t know 0 1 (3.4) 0
No answer
0
1 (3.4)
0
Contact with (touching) flying squirrel nests§
Yes 2 (50) 3 (10) 0
No 1 (25) 17 (58.6) 10 (83)
Don’t know 1 (25) 8 (28) 2 (17)
No answer
0
1 (3.4)
0
Ever slept in cabin A
Yes‡ 4 (100) 13 (45) 4 (33)
No
0
16 (55)
8 (67)
Ever slept in bunk B in cabin A
Yes¶ 4 (100) 9 (69) 2 (50)
No 0 3 (23) 1 (25)
No answer
0
1 (7.6)
1 (25)
Cumulative months in cabin A# 17.00 (range 8–43) 2.00 (range 0–13) 0.25 (range 0–30)

*Data given as frequency (%) except as indicated.
†Responses of staff members who declined serologic testing. Remaining respondents classified as case-patients or non–case-patients, according to results of serologic testing for Rickettsia prowazekii and patients’ medical histories.
‡These characteristics did not demonstrate statistical difference between case-patients and non–case-patients.
§Odds ratio 11.3 (95% confidence interval 0.51–474) for association between contact with flying squirrel nests and sylvatic typhus.
¶Association with sleeping in bunk B of cabin A significant at p = 0.02.
#Significant at p = 0.04.

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1Current affiliation: US Air Force, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, USA.

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