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Volume 10, Number 11—November 2004

Volume 10, Number 11—November 2004   PDF Version [PDF - 7.46 MB - 175 pages]


International Conference on Women and Infectious Diseases (ICWID)

  • International Conference on Women and Infectious Diseases, Atlanta, Georgia, February 27–28, 2004 PDF Version [PDF - 76 KB - 2 pages]
    M. McDonald et al.
  • Women and Infectious Diseases PDF Version [PDF - 118 KB - 3 pages]
    J. L. Gerberding
  • Steps for Preventing Infectious Diseases in Women PDF Version [PDF - 98 KB - 6 pages]
    M. R. Periago et al.
       View Abstract

    Communicable diseases account for approximately 25% of deaths in most Latin American and Caribbean countries; illness from communicable diseases reaches 40% in developing countries. Mainly affected are poor women in rural areas. A medical approach is not sufficient to implement effective infectious disease prevention strategies in women, which would offset these numbers. Health policies must be changed, and social restrictions that circumscribe women need to be eliminated. In the long run, the only solution is to improve women’s socioeconomic status. The following three steps are necessary for developing a prevention strategy: 1) a gender perspective must be incorporated into infectious disease analysis and research to target policies and programs. Data collected must be disaggregated by sex, age, socioeconomic status, education, ethnicity, and geographic location; 2) models must be developed and implemented that address gender inequities in infectious diseases in an integrated manner; and 3) outreach activities must be supported, using information, education, and communication strategies and materials for advocacy and training. Active participation of civil society groups is key to translating the strategy into specific interventions.

  • Barriers to Infectious Disease Care among Lesbians PDF Version [PDF - 147 KB - 5 pages]
    J. M. Marrazzo
       View Abstract

    Despite the considerable number of women in the United States who identify as lesbian, few data exist that address lesbians’ health needs. The Institute of Medicine emphasized that data on sexually transmitted infections, Pap smear screening, and cervical dysplasia among lesbians were needed to guide clinical practice, policy development, and patient education. Use of surveillance data for this purpose is limited because risk classifications exclude same-gender sex among women or subsume it under behaviors considered as higher risk. However, sexual transmission of human papillomavirus, HIV, Treponema pallidum, and Trichomonas vaginalis between women has been reported. Data indicate that lesbians receive routine Pap smear screening less frequently than is optimal. Moreover, lesbians commonly report previous pregnancy, induced abortion, and hormonal contraceptive use. Education of lesbians and their care providers should counter assumptions that sex between women confers no risk of transmission of sexually transmitted infections, and lesbians should receive Pap smears according to current guidelines.

  • Gender and Monitoring Response to HIV/AIDS Pandemic PDF Version [PDF - 255 KB - 5 pages]
    P. DeLay
       View Abstract

    The mechanisms, techniques, and data sources used to monitor and evaluate global AIDS prevention and treatment services may vary according to gender. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS has been charged with tracking the response to the pandemic by using a set of indicators developed as part of the Declaration of Commitment endorsed at the U.N. General Assembly Special Session on AIDS in 2001. Statistics on prevalence and incidence indicate that the pandemic has increasingly affected women during the past decade. Women’s biologic, cultural, economic, and social status can increase their likelihood of becoming infected with HIV.

  • Nurses’ Working Conditions: Implications for Infectious Disease PDF Version [PDF - 213 KB - 6 pages]
    P. W. Stone et al.
       View Abstract

    Staffing patterns and nurses’ working conditions are risk factors for healthcare-associated infections as well as occupational injuries and infections. Staffing shortages, especially of nurses, have been identified as one of the major factors expected to constrain hospitals’ ability to deal with future outbreaks of emerging infections. These problems are compounded by a global nursing shortage. Understanding and improving nurses’ working conditions can potentially decrease the incidence of many infectious diseases. Relevant research is reviewed, and policy options are discussed.

  • Vaccines for Women Age 50 and Older PDF Version [PDF - 250 KB - 6 pages]
    P. Gardner and S. Pabbatireddy
       View Abstract

    For older populations, most of whom are women, preventing illnesses and deaths through the use of vaccines is a leading public health challenge. Our understanding about how age and sex affect the immune system is limited, and basic and translational research aimed at improving vaccines and immune responses of older persons is needed. In the meantime, fully implementing current vaccine recommendations, particularly those for influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, can save thousands of lives and prevent illnesses in persons >50 years of age.

  • Sexual Power and HIV Risk, South Africa PDF Version [PDF - 279 KB - 9 pages]
    A. E. Pettifor et al.
    View Summary

    Among a sample of young women, limited sexual power was associated with inconsistent condom use but not directly with HIV.

       View Abstract

    Gender power inequities are believed to play a key role in the HIV epidemic through their effects on women’s power in sexual relationships. We hypothesized that lack of sexual power, measured with a four-point relationship control scale and by a woman’s experience of forced sex with her most recent partner, would decrease the likelihood of consistent condom use and increase the risk for HIV infection among sexually experienced, 15- to 24-year-old women in South Africa. While limited sexual power was not directly associated with HIV, it was associated with inconsistent condom use: women with low relationship control were 2.10 times more likely to use condoms inconsistently (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.17–3.78), and women experiencing forced sex were 5.77 times more likely to inconsistently use condoms (95% CI 1.86–17.91). Inconsistent condom use was, in turn, significantly associated with HIV infection (adjusted odds ratio 1.58, 95% CI 1.10–2.27).

  • Women and Autoimmune Diseases PDF Version [PDF - 206 KB - 7 pages]
    D. Fairweather and N. R. Rose
       View Abstract

    Autoimmune diseases affect approximately 8% of the population, 78% of whom are women. The reasons for the high prevalence in women are unknown, but circumstantial evidence links autoimmune diseases with preceding infections. Animal models of autoimmune diseases have shown that infections can induce autoimmune disease. For example, coxsackievirus B3 (CB3) infection of susceptible mice results in inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) that resembles myocarditis in humans. The same disease can be induced by injecting mice with heart proteins mixed with adjuvant(s), which indicates that an active infection is not necessary for the development of autoimmune disease. We have found that CB3 triggers autoimmune disease in susceptible mice by stimulating elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines from mast cells during the innate immune response. Sex hormones may further amplify this hyperimmune response to infection in susceptible persons, which leads to an increased prevalence of autoimmune diseases in women.

  • Contribution of Sex-linked Biology and Gender Roles to Disparities with Trachoma PDF Version [PDF - 58 KB - 5 pages]
    P. Courtright and S. West
       View Abstract

    Globally, trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness. Survey data consistently show that trachoma-related blindness is two to four times higher in women than men. Tracing the increased risk for trachoma and its consequences for women suggests that other factors besides biology may contribute. Understanding the reasons for the excess risk for and consequences of trachoma in girls and women requires examining a number of issues: Are girls and women more biologically susceptible to the consequences of infection with C. trachomatis? Could other factors help explain the excess of conjunctival scarring and trichiasis in women? Do gender roles affect the risk for trachoma and its consequences? Are women more likely to have recurrence after trichiasis surgery compared to men? This article explores the answers to these questions.

  • Rubella Elimination and Improving Health Care for Women PDF Version [PDF - 111 KB - 5 pages]
    C. Castillo-Solórzano and J. K. Andrus
       View Abstract

    In the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization supports strategies for the appropriate control and elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases, especially if the strategies are designed to reduce health inequities, strengthen the political commitment for immunization services, and promote the culture of prevention. In September 2003, the 44th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization adopted a goal to eliminate rubella and congenital rubella syndrome by 2010. One of the main objectives of this initiative is improving women’s health, consistent with achieving the Millennium Development Goals. An important component of rubella elimination is conducting vaccination campaigns for men and women of childbearing age to reduce rapidly the number of people susceptible to rubella infection. From 1998 to 2002, the English-speaking Caribbean, Chile, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Honduras conducted mass rubella vaccination campaigns aimed at adults. Vaccination coverage reached >95% in each country with an exception of the Caribbean, where the coverage was 80%.

  • Globalization and Infectious Diseases in Women PDF Version [PDF - 183 KB - 3 pages]
    C. Bellamy
       View Abstract

    Women have an enhanced vulnerability to disease, especially if they are poor. Indeed, the health hazards of being female are widely underestimated. Economic and cultural factors can limit women’s access to clinics and health workers. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that less is spent on health care for women and girls worldwide than for men and boys. As a result, women who become mothers and caretakers of children and husbands often do so at the expense of their own health. The numbers tell the story: the latest (2003) World Health Report showed that, globally, the leading causes of death among women are HIV/AIDS, malaria, complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and tuberculosis.

  • Women, Water Management, and Health PDF Version [PDF - 37 KB - 2 pages]
    S. Watts

ICWID Session Summaries

International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases (ICEID)

ICEID Session Summaries

Volume 10, Number 11—November 2004 - Continued


  • Trachoma Decline and Widespread Use of Antimicrobial Drugs PDF Version [PDF - 213 KB - 5 pages]
    J. D. Chidambaram et al.
       View Abstract

    Trachoma is disappearing in many parts of the world, even in the absence of specific control programs. Following mass antimicrobial drug treatments for trachoma in western Nepal, the prevalence of trachoma declined far more rapidly than could be attributed to the control program alone. Pharmacy surveys in the same region found that children received more antichlamydial drugs from sources outside the trachoma program than they did from the program itself. We demonstrate that high background antimicrobial drug use may be responsible for much of the observed decline in trachoma and discuss its potential role in eliminating this infectious disease.


  • Topographic Changes in SARS Coronavirus–infected Cells during Late Stages of Infection PDF Version [PDF - 586 KB - 8 pages]
    M. Ng et al.
       View Abstract

    Scanning electron and atomic force microscopy was used for the first time to view the maturation of the severe acute respiratory syndrome–associated coronavirus at the cell surface. The surface form of the cells at advanced infection displayed prolific pseudopodia that, in addition to the rest of the plasma membrane, were also active sites of virus release. High magnification of the maturing virus particles showed a rosette appearance with short knoblike spikes under both the scanning electron and atomic force microscopes. The final expulsion step of the maturing virus particles seemed to result in some disruptions to the plasma membrane. The cytoskeletal network along the edge of the infected cells was enhanced and could be involved in transporting and expelling the progeny virus particles. Thickening of the actin filaments at the cell edge provided the bending force to extrude the virus particles.

  • Evaluating Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Programs PDF Version [PDF - 347 KB - 9 pages]
    A. V. Taira et al.
       View Abstract

    Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been implicated as the primary etiologic agent of cervical cancer. Potential vaccines against high-risk HPV types are in clinical trials. We evaluated vaccination programs with a vaccine against HPV-16 and HPV-18. We developed disease transmission models that estimated HPV prevalence and infection rates for the population overall, by age group, by level of sexual activity within each age group, and by sex. Data were based on clinical trials and published and unpublished sources. An HPV-16/18 vaccine for 12-year-old girls would reduce cohort cervical cancer cases by 61.8%, with a cost-effectiveness ratio of $14,583 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Including male participants in a vaccine rollout would further reduce cervical cancer cases by 2.2% at an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $442,039/QALY compared to female-only vaccination. Vaccination against HPV-16 and HPV-18 can be cost-effective, although including male participants in a vaccination program is generally not cost-effective, compared to female-only vaccination.

  • Enhanced Identification of Postoperative Infections among Inpatients PDF Version [PDF - 112 KB - 7 pages]
    D. S. Yokoe et al.
    View Summary

    Monitoring antimicrobial exposure and diagnosis codes for certain procedures identifies more postoperative infections than routine surveillance methods.

       View Abstract

    We evaluated antimicrobial exposure, discharge diagnoses, or both to identify surgical site infections (SSI). This retrospective cohort study in 13 hospitals involved weighted, random samples of records from 8,739 coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures, 7,399 cesarean deliveries, and 6,175 breast procedures. We compared routine surveillance to detection through inpatient antimicrobial exposure (>9 days for CABG, >2 days for cesareans, and >6 days for breast procedures), discharge diagnoses, or both. Together, all methods identified SSI after 7.4% of CABG, 5.0% of cesareans, and 2.0% of breast procedures. Antimicrobial exposure had the highest sensitivity, 88%–91%, compared with routine surveillance, 38%–64%. Diagnosis codes improved sensitivity of detection of antimicrobial exposure after cesareans. Record review confirmed SSI after 31% to 38% of procedures that met antimicrobial surveillance criteria. Sufficient antimicrobial exposure days, together with diagnosis codes for cesareans, identified more postoperative SSI than routine surveillance methods. This screening method was efficient, readily standardized, and suitable for most hospitals.

  • Enhanced Identification of Postoperative Infections among Outpatients PDF Version [PDF - 132 KB - 7 pages]
    A. L. Miner et al.
    View Summary

    Claims data complement other data sources for identification of surgical site infections following breast surgery and cesarean section.

       View Abstract

    We investigated using administrative claims data to identify surgical site infections (SSI) after breast surgery and cesarean section. Postoperative diagnosis codes, procedure codes, and pharmacy information were automatically scanned and used to identify claims suggestive of SSI ("indicators") among 426 (22%) of 1,943 breast procedures and 474 (10%) of 4,859 cesarean sections. For 104 breast procedures with indicators explained in available medical records, SSI were confirmed for 37%, and some infection criteria were present for another 27%. Among 204 cesarean sections, SSI were confirmed for 40%, and some criteria were met for 27%. The extrapolated infection rates of 2.8% for breast procedures and 3.1% for cesarean section were similar to those reported by the National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance program but differ in representing predominantly outpatient infections. Claims data may complement other data sources for identification of surgical site infections following breast surgery and cesarean section.

  • Histopathologic Improvement with Lymphedema Management, Léogâne, Haiti PDF Version [PDF - 381 KB - 9 pages]
    S. F. Wilson et al.
       View Abstract

    In countries where bancroftian filariasis is endemic, lymphedema of the leg is a public health problem, particularly for women, who are disproportionately affected. We investigated the effect of basic lymphedema management (hygiene, skin care, and lower limb movement and elevation) on the histologic features of lymphedema. A total of 118 skin-punch biopsies were collected from the legs of 91 patients enrolled in a lymphedema treatment clinic in Léogâne, Haiti. Follow-up biopsies were collected from 27 patients ≈12 months later. Keratinocyte hyperproliferation, condensed dermal collagen, and mononuclear perivascular infiltrate increased with lymphedema stage, which suggested progressive chronic inflammation and fibrosis. Follow-up biopsies showed reductions in perivascular mononuclear infiltrate in the superficial dermis (41% decrease in prevalence), perivascular fibrosis in the deep dermis (58% decrease), and periadnexal mononuclear infiltrate (53% decrease). These data suggest that the clinical improvement commonly observed with basic lymphedema management has a histologic basis.

Policy Review

  • Public Health Interventions and SARS Spread, 2003 PDF Version [PDF - 202 KB - 7 pages]
    D. M. Bell
       View Abstract

    The 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was contained largely through traditional public health interventions, such as finding and isolating patients, quarantining close contacts, and enhanced infection control. The independent effectiveness of measures to “increase social distance” and wearing masks in public places requires further evaluation. Limited data exist on the effectiveness of providing health information to travelers. Entry screening of travelers through health declarations or thermal scanning at international borders had little documented effect on detecting SARS cases; exit screening appeared slightly more effective. The value of border screening in deterring travel by ill persons and in building public confidence remains unquantified. Interventions to control global epidemics should be based on expert advice from the World Health Organization and national authorities. In the case of SARS, interventions at a country’s borders should not detract from efforts to identify and isolate infected persons within the country, monitor or quarantine their contacts, and strengthen infection control in healthcare settings.


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