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Volume 10, Number 1—January 2004

Volume 10, Number 1—January 2004   PDF Version [PDF - 4.90 MB - 171 pages]

Perspective

  • Salmonella Enteritidis Infections, United States, 1985–1999 PDF Version [PDF - 236 KB - 7 pages]
    M. E. Patrick et al.
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    Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis emerged as an important illness during the 1980s. Investigations showed that consumption of undercooked eggs was the major risk factor for disease, and a variety of prevention and control efforts were initiated during the 1990s. We describe sporadic infections and outbreaks of S. Enteritidis in the United States from 1985 through 1999 and discuss prevention and control efforts. After reaching a high of 3.9 per 100,000 population in 1995, S. Enteritidis infections declined to 1.98 per 100,000 in 1999. While the total number of outbreaks decreased by half, those in the western states tripled. Outbreaks of S. Enteritidis phage type 4 infections accounted for 49% of outbreaks in 1999. Outbreak-associated deaths in health facilities decreased from 14 in 1987 to 0 in 1999. Overall, rates of sporadic S. Enteritidis infection, outbreaks, and deaths have declined dramatically. For further reductions, control measures should continue to be applied along the entire farm-to-table continuum.

  • Emerging Issues in Virus Taxonomy PDF Version [PDF - 138 KB - 6 pages]
    M. H. van Regenmortel and B. W. Mahy
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    Viruses occupy a unique position in biology. Although they possess some of the properties of living systems such as having a genome, they are actually nonliving infectious entities and should not be considered microorganisms. A clear distinction should be drawn between the terms virus, virion, and virus species. Species is the most fundamental taxonomic category used in all biological classification. In 1991, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) decided that the category of virus species should be used in virus classification together with the categories of genus and family. More than 50 ICTV study groups were given the task of demarcating the 1,550 viral species that were recognized in the 7th ICTV report, which was published in 2000. We briefly describe the changes in virus classification that were introduced in that report. We also discuss recent proposals to introduce a nonlatinized binomial nomenclature for virus species.

Synopses

  • Fungal Biofilms and Drug Resistance PDF Version [PDF - 170 KB - 6 pages]
    M. A. Jabra-Rizk et al.
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    Candida species, including the novel opportunistic pathogen Candida dubliniensis, are now emerging as major agents of nosocomial infections. Many such manifestations of infections associated with the formation of Candida biofilms include those occurring on devices such as indwelling intravascular catheters. Fungal biofilm-associated infections are frequently refractory to conventional therapy because of resistance to antimicrobial agents. This resistance could be in part due to the surface-induced upregulation of drug efflux pumps. Biofilm-associated Candida show uniform resistance to a wide spectrum of the currently available conventional antifungal agents, which implies that antimicrobial drugs that specifically target biofilm-associated infections are needed. The novel classes of antifungal agents, the lipid formulation of amphotericins, and the echinocandins have demonstrated unique antifungal activity against the resistant Candida biofilms, providing a breakthrough in the treatment of life-threatening invasive systemic mycoses. The use of drugs effective in combating biofilm-associated infections could lead to major developments in the treatment of fungal implant infections.

Research

  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome–associated Coronavirus in Lung Tissue PDF Version [PDF - 230 KB - 5 pages]
    T. Mazzulli et al.
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    Efforts to contain severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have been limited by the lack of a standardized, sensitive, and specific test for SARS-associated coronavirus (CoV). We used a standardized reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay to detect SARS-CoV in lung samples obtained from well-characterized patients who died of SARS and from those who died of other reasons. SARS-CoV was detected in all 22 postmortem lung tissues (to 109 viral copies/g) from 11 patients with probable SARS but was not detected in any of the 23 lung control samples (sample analysis was blinded). The sensitivity and specificity (95% confidence interval) were 100% (84.6% to 100%) and 100% (85.1% to 100%), respectively. Viral loads were significantly associated with a shorter course of illness but not with the use of ribavirin or steroids. CoV was consistently identified in the lungs of all patients who died of SARS but not in control patients, supporting a primary role for CoV in deaths.

  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Beijing, 2003 PDF Version [PDF - 103 KB - 7 pages]
    W. Liang et al.
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    The largest outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) struck Beijing in spring 2003. Multiple importations of SARS to Beijing initiated transmission in several healthcare facilities. Beijing’s outbreak began March 5; by late April, daily hospital admissions for SARS exceeded 100 for several days; 2,521 cases of probable SARS occurred. Attack rates were highest in those 20–39 years of age; 1% of cases occurred in children <10 years. The case-fatality rate was highest among patients >65 years (27.7% vs. 4.8% for those 20–64 years, p < 0.001). Healthcare workers accounted for 16% of probable cases. The proportion of case-patients without known contact to a SARS patient increased significantly in May. Implementation of early detection, isolation, contact tracing, quarantine, triage of case-patients to designated SARS hospitals, and community mobilization ended the outbreak.

  • Influenza Epidemics in the United States, France, and Australia, 1972–1997 PDF Version [PDF - 450 KB - 8 pages]
    C. Viboud et al.
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    Influenza epidemics occur once a year during the winter in temperate areas. Little is known about the similarities between epidemics at different locations. We have analyzed pneumonia and influenza deaths from 1972 to 1997 in the United States, France, and Australia to examine the correlation over space and time between the three countries. We found a high correlation in both areas between France and the United States (correlation in impact, Spearman’s ρ = 0.76, p < 0.001, and test for synchrony in timing of epidemics, p < 0.001). We did not find a similar correlation between the United States and Australia or between France and Australia, when considering a systematic half-year lead or delay of influenza epidemics in Australia as compared with those in the United States or France. These results support a high correlation at the hemisphere level and suggest that the global interhemispheric circulation of epidemics follows an irregular pathway with recurrent changes in the leading hemisphere.

  • Ecologic and Geographic Distribution of Filovirus Disease PDF Version [PDF - 373 KB - 8 pages]
    A. T. Peterson et al.
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    We used ecologic niche modeling of outbreaks and sporadic cases of filovirus-associated hemorrhagic fever (HF) to provide a large-scale perspective on the geographic and ecologic distributions of Ebola and Marburg viruses. We predicted that filovirus would occur across the Afrotropics: Ebola HF in the humid rain forests of central and western Africa, and Marburg HF in the drier and more open areas of central and eastern Africa. Most of the predicted geographic extent of Ebola HF has been observed; Marburg HF has the potential to occur farther south and east. Ecologic conditions appropriate for Ebola HF are also present in Southeast Asia and the Philippines, where Ebola Reston is hypothesized to be distributed. This first large-scale ecologic analysis provides a framework for a more informed search for taxa that could constitute the natural reservoir for this virus family.

  • Fatal Infectious Disease Surveillance in a Medical Examiner Database PDF Version [PDF - 163 KB - 7 pages]
    M. I. Wolfe et al.
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    Increasing infectious disease deaths, the emergence of new infections, and bioterrorism have made surveillance for infectious diseases a public health concern. Medical examiners and coroners certify approximately 20% of all deaths that occur within the United States and can be a key source of information regarding infectious disease deaths. We hypothesized that a computer-assisted search tool (algorithm) could detect infectious disease deaths from a medical examiner database, thereby reducing the time and resources required to perform such surveillance manually. We developed two algorithms, applied them to a medical examiner database, and verified the cases identified against the opinion of a panel of experts. The algorithms detected deaths with infectious components with sensitivities from 67% to 94%, and predictive value positives ranging from 8% to 49%. Algorithms can be useful for surveillance in medical examiner offices that have limited resources or for conducting surveillance across medical examiner jurisdictions.

  • Hospital-reported Pneumococcal Susceptibility to Penicillin PDF Version [PDF - 84 KB - 6 pages]
    J. P. Metlay et al.
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    Geographic variation in drug susceptibility among isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae has influenced national treatment guidelines for community-acquired pneumonia. Whether individual hospital susceptibility data provide reliable and valid information for providers is unclear. We examined the geographic and temporal variability in hospital-reported rates of pneumococcal susceptibility. We surveyed all 52 hospitals that provided acute adult care in the five counties surrounding Philadelphia and collected data on levels of penicillin susceptibility among all pneumococcal blood isolates from 1998 to 2000. In 1998, pneumococcal nonsusceptibility to penicillin varied from 0% to 67% of all blood isolates across the 33 hospitals with >10 isolates in that year. Hospital location did not correlate with the level of reported pneumococcal susceptibility (p = 0.8). In addition, correlations were not significant in reported pneumococcal susceptibility to penicillin within individual hospitals during the 3 years.

  • Ciprofloxacin-resistant Salmonella enterica Typhimurium and Choleraesuis from Pigs to Humans, Taiwan PDF Version [PDF - 260 KB - 9 pages]
    P. Hsueh et al.
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    We evaluated the disk susceptibility data of 671 nontyphoid Salmonella isolates collected from different parts of Taiwan from March 2001 to August 2001 and 1,261 nontyphoid Salmonella isolates from the National Taiwan University Hospital from 1996 to 2001. Overall, ciprofloxacn resistance was found in 2.7% (18/671) of all nontyphoid Salmonella isolates, in 1.4% (5/347) of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium and in 7.5% (8/107) in S. enterica serotype Choleraesuis nationwide. MICs of six newer fluoroquinolones were determined for the following isolates: 37 isolates of ciprofloxacin-resistant (human) S. enterica Typhimurium (N = 26) and Choleraesuis (N = 11), 10 isolates of ciprofloxacin-susceptible (MIC <1 μg/mL) (human) isolates of these two serotypes, and 15 swine isolates from S. enterica Choleraesuis (N = 13) and Typhmurium (N = 2) with reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin (MIC >0.12 μg/mL). Sequence analysis of the gryA, gyrB, parC, parE, and acrR genes, ciprofloxacin accumulation; and genotypes generated by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis with three restriction enzymes (SpeI, XbaI, and BlnI) were performed. All 26 S. enterica Typhimurium isolates from humans and pigs belonged to genotype I. For S. enterica Choleraesuis isolates, 91% (10/11) of human isolates and 54% (7/13) of swine isolates belonged to genotype B. These two genotypes isolates from humans all exhibited a high-level of resistance to ciprofloxacin (MIC 16–64 μg/mL). They had two-base substitutions in the gyrA gene at codons 83 (Ser83Phe) and 87 (Asp87Gly or Asp87Asn) and in the parC gene at codon 80 (Ser80Arg, Ser80Ile, or Ser84Lys). Our investigation documented that not only did these two S. enterica isolates have a high prevalence of ciprofloxacin resistance nationwide but also that some closely related ciprofloxacin-resistant strains are disseminated from pigs to humans.

  • Escherichia coli Producing CTX-M-2 β-Lactamase in Cattle, Japan PDF Version [PDF - 104 KB - 7 pages]
    Y. Shiraki et al.
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    From November 2000 to June 2001, Escherichia coli strains producing CTX-M-2 β-lactamase were isolated from 6 (1.5%) of 396 cattle fecal samples and 2 (0.7%) of 270 surface swabs of cattle carcasses in Japan. The blaCTX-M-2 gene responsible for CTX-M-2 production was encoded on transferable plasmids, and the gene was transferred to E. coli CSH2 with a very high frequency (2 x 10-4 to 6 x 10-1 per donor cells) by conjugation. Random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis of nine isolates showed at least five different patterns. These findings suggest that CTX-M-2 producers might have originated from cattle through the use of cephalosporins such as ceftiofur and that cattle could be a reservoir of CTX-M-2–producing E. coli. Continuous and strategic surveillance of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in livestock is essential to suppress further dissemination of these bacteria into society at large.

  • Nosocomial Bloodstream Infection and Clinical Sepsis PDF Version [PDF - 128 KB - 6 pages]
    S. Hugonnet et al.
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    Primary bloodstream infection (BSI) is a leading, preventable infectious complication in critically ill patients and has a negative impact on patients’ outcome. Surveillance definitions for primary BSI distinguish those that are microbiologically documented from those that are not. The latter is known as clinical sepsis, but information on its epidemiologic importance is limited. We analyzed prospective on-site surveillance data of nosocomial infections in a medical intensive care unit. Of the 113 episodes of primary BSI, 33 (29%) were microbiologically documented. The overall BSI infection rate was 19.8 episodes per 1,000 central-line days (confidence interval [CI] 95%, 16.1 to 23.6); the rate fell to 5.8 (CI 3.8 to 7.8) when only microbiologically documented episodes were considered. Exposure to vascular devices was similar in patients with clinical sepsis and patients with microbiologically documented BSI. We conclude that laboratory-based surveillance alone will underestimate the incidence of primary BSI and thus jeopardize benchmarking.

  • Experimental Infection of Cats and Dogs with West Nile Virus PDF Version [PDF - 181 KB - 7 pages]
    L. E. Austgen et al.
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    Domestic dogs and cats were infected by mosquito bite and evaluated as hosts for West Nile virus (WNV). Viremia of low magnitude and short duration developed in four dogs but they did not display signs of disease. Four cats became viremic, with peak titers ranging from 103.0 to 104.0 PFU/mL. Three of the cats showed mild, non-neurologic signs of disease. WNV was not isolated from saliva of either dogs or cats during the period of viremia. An additional group of four cats were exposed to WNV orally, through ingestion of infected mice. Two cats consumed an infected mouse on three consecutive days, and two cats ate a single infected mouse. Viremia developed in all of these cats with a magnitude and duration similar to that seen in cats infected by mosquito bite, but none of the four showed clinical signs. These results suggest that dogs and cats are readily infected by WNV. The high efficiency of oral transmission observed with cats suggests that infected prey animals may serve as an important source of infection to carnivores. Neither species is likely to function as an epidemiologically important amplifying host, although the peak viremia observed in cats may be high enough to infect mosquitoes at low efficiency.

  • Fluoroquinolones Protective against Cephalosporin Resistance in Gram-negative Nosocomial Pathogens PDF Version [PDF - 318 KB - 6 pages]
    M. J. Schwaber et al.
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    In a matched case-control study, we studied the effect of prior receipt of fluoroquinolones on isolation of three third-generation cephalosporin-resistant gram-negative nosocomial pathogens. Two hundred eighty-two cases with a third-generation cephalosporin-resistant pathogen (203 with Enterobacter spp., 50 with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and 29 with Klebsiella pneumoniae) were matched on length of stay to controls in a 1:2 ratio. Case-patients and controls were similar in age (mean 62 years) and sex (54% male). Variables predicting third-generation cephalosporin resistance were surgery (p = 0.005); intensive care unit stay (p < 0.001); and receipt of a β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor (p < 0.001), a ureidopenicillin (p = 0.002), or a third-generation cephalosporin (p < 0.001). Receipt of a fluoroquinolone was protective against isolation of a third-generation cephalosporin-resistant pathogen (p = 0.005). Interventional studies are required to determine whether replacing third-generation cephalosporins with fluoroquinolones will be effective in reducing cephalosporin resistance and the effect of such interventions on fluoroquinolone resistance.

  • Evaluating Detection and Diagnostic Decision Support Systems for Bioterrorism Response PDF Version [PDF - 147 KB - 9 pages]
    D. M. Bravata et al.
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    We evaluated the usefulness of detection systems and diagnostic decision support systems for bioterrorism response. We performed a systematic review by searching relevant databases (e.g., MEDLINE) and Web sites for reports of detection systems and diagnostic decision support systems that could be used during bioterrorism responses. We reviewed over 24,000 citations and identified 55 detection systems and 23 diagnostic decision support systems. Only 35 systems have been evaluated: 4 reported both sensitivity and specificity, 13 were compared to a reference standard, and 31 were evaluated for their timeliness. Most evaluations of detection systems and some evaluations of diagnostic systems for bioterrorism responses are critically deficient. Because false-positive and false-negative rates are unknown for most systems, decision making on the basis of these systems is seriously compromised. We describe a framework for the design of future evaluations of such systems.

  • Respiratory and Urinary Tract Infections, Arthritis, and Asthma Associated with HTLV-I and HTLV-II Infection PDF Version [PDF - 135 KB - 8 pages]
    E. L. Murphy et al.
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    Human T-lymphotropic virus types I and II (HTLV-I and -II) cause myelopathy; HTLV-I, but not HTLV-II, causes adult T-cell leukemia. Whether HTLV-II is associated with other diseases is unknown. Using survival analysis, we studied medical history data from a prospective cohort of HTLV-I– and HTLV-II–infected and –uninfected blood donors, all HIV seronegative. A total of 152 HTLV-I, 387 HTLV-II, and 799 uninfected donors were enrolled and followed for a median of 4.4, 4.3, and 4.4 years, respectively. HTLV-II participants had significantly increased incidences of acute bronchitis (incidence ratio [IR] = 1.68), bladder or kidney infection (IR = 1.55), arthritis (IR = 2.66), and asthma (IR = 3.28), and a borderline increase in pneumonia (IR = 1.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.98 to 3.38). HTLV-I participants had significantly increased incidences of bladder or kidney infection (IR = 1.82), and arthritis (IR = 2.84). We conclude that HTLV-II infection may inhibit immunologic responses to respiratory infections and that both HTLV-I and -II may induce inflammatory or autoimmune reactions.

Historical Review

  • Bacillus anthracis Bioterrorism Incident, Kameido, Tokyo, 1993 PDF Version [PDF - 249 KB - 4 pages]
    H. Takahashi et al.
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    In July 1993, a liquid suspension of Bacillus anthracis was aerosolized from the roof of an eight-story building in Kameido, Tokyo, Japan, by the religious group Aum Shinrikyo. During 1999 to 2001, microbiologic tests were conducted on a liquid environmental sample originally collected during the 1993 incident. Nonencapsulated isolates of B. anthracis were cultured from the liquid. Multiple-locus, variable-number tandem repeat analysis found all isolates to be identical to a strain used in Japan to vaccinate animals against anthrax, which was consistent with the Aum Shinrikyo members’ testimony about the strain source. In 1999, a retrospective case-detection survey was conducted to identify potential human anthrax cases associated with the incident, but none were found. The use of an attenuated B. anthracis strain, low spore concentrations, ineffective dispersal, a clogged spray device, and inactivation of the spores by sunlight are all likely contributing factors to the lack of human cases.

Dispatches

Commentaries

Letters

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