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Volume 10, Number 12—December 2004

Volume 10, Number 12—December 2004   PDF Version [PDF - 9.53 MB - 215 pages]

Perspective

  • Wildlife as Source of Zoonotic Infections PDF Version [PDF - 229 KB - 6 pages]
    H. Kruse et al.
       View Abstract

    Zoonoses with a wildlife reservoir represent a major public health problem, affecting all continents. Hundreds of pathogens and many different transmission modes are involved, and many factors influence the epidemiology of the various zoonoses. The importance and recognition of wildlife as a reservoir of zoonoses are increasing. Cost-effective prevention and control of these zoonoses necessitate an interdisciplinary and holistic approach and international cooperation. Surveillance, laboratory capability, research, training and education, and communication are key elements.

Research

  • Risk Factors for Alveolar Echinococcosis in Humans PDF Version [PDF - 198 KB - 6 pages]
    P. Kern et al.
       View Abstract

    We conducted a case-control study to investigate risk factors for acquiring autochthonous alveolar echinococcosis in Germany. Forty cases and 120 controls matched by age and residence were interviewed. Patients were more likely than controls to have owned dogs that killed game (odds ratio [OR] = 18.0), lived in a farmhouse (OR = 6.4), owned dogs that roamed outdoors unattended (OR = 6.1), collected wood (OR = 4.7), been farmers (OR = 4.7), chewed grass (OR = 4.4), lived in a dwelling close to fields (OR = 3.0), gone into forests for vocational reasons (OR = 2.8), grown leaf or root vegetables (OR = 2.5), owned cats that roamed outdoors unattended (OR = 2.3), and eaten unwashed strawberries (OR = 2.2). Sixty-five percent of cases were attributable to farming. Measures that prevent accidental swallowing of possibly contaminated material during farming or adequate deworming of pet animals might reduce the risk for alveolar echinococcosis.

  • Origin of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus PDF Version [PDF - 227 KB - 6 pages]
    C. Weldon et al.
       View Abstract

    The sudden appearance of chytridiomycosis, the cause of amphibian deaths and population declines in several continents, suggests that its etiologic agent, the amphibian chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, was introduced into the affected regions. However, the origin of this virulent pathogen is unknown. A survey was conducted of 697 archived specimens of 3 species of Xenopus collected from 1879 to 1999 in southern Africa in which the histologic features of the interdigital webbing were analyzed. The earliest case of chytridiomycosis found was in a Xenopus laevis frog in 1938, and overall prevalence was 2.7%. The prevalence showed no significant differences between species, regions, season, or time period. Chytridiomycosis was a stable endemic infection in southern Africa for 23 years before any positive specimen was found outside Africa. We propose that Africa is the origin of the amphibian chytrid and that the international trade in X. laevis that began in the mid-1930s was the means of dissemination.

  • West Nile Virus Outbreak in North American Owls, Ontario, 2002 PDF Version [PDF - 306 KB - 7 pages]
    A. Y. Gancz et al.
       View Abstract

    From July to September 2002, an outbreak of West Nile virus (WNV) caused a high number of deaths in captive owls at the Owl Foundation, Vineland, Ontario. Peak death rates occurred in mid-August, and the epidemiologic curve resembled that of corvids in the surrounding Niagara region. The outbreak occurred in the midst of a louse fly (Icosta americana, family Hippoboscidae) infestation. Of the flies tested, 16 (88.9%) of 18 contained WNV RNA. Species with northern native breeding range and birds >1 year of age were at significantly higher risk for WNV-related deaths. Species with northern native breeding range and of medium-to-large body size were at significantly higher risk for exposure to WNV. Taxonomic relations (at the subfamily level) did not significantly affect exposure to WNV or WNV-related deaths. Northern native breeding range and medium-to-large body size were associated with earlier death within the outbreak period. Of the survivors, 69 (75.8%) of 91 were seropositive for WNV.

  • Alligators as West Nile Virus Amplifiers PDF Version [PDF - 140 KB - 6 pages]
    K. Klenk et al.
       View Abstract

    Recent evidence suggests that American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) may be capable of transmitting West Nile virus (WNV) to other alligators. We experimentally exposed 24 juvenile alligators to WNV parenterally or orally. All became infected, and all but three sustained viremia titers >5.0 log10 PFU/mL (a threshold considered infectious for Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes) for 1 to 8 days. Noninoculated tankmates also became infected. The viremia profiles and multiple routes of infection suggest alligators may play an important role in WNV transmission in areas with high population densities of juvenile alligators.

  • Identifying Rodent Hantavirus Reservoirs, Brazil PDF Version [PDF - 281 KB - 8 pages]
    A. Suzuki et al.
       View Abstract

    This study describes the genetic analysis carried out on samples from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) patients from southern and southeastern states of Brazil and rodents captured at the presumed site of infection of these patients. A total of 65 samples that were antibody-positive for Sin Nombre or Laguna Negra virus by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were processed by nested reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) by using several primer combinations in the M and S genome segments. PCR products were amplified and sequenced from samples from 11 HPS patient and 7 rodent samples. Phylogenetic analysis of nucleotide sequence differences showed the cocirculation of Araraquara and Juquitiba-like viruses, previously characterized from humans. Our genetic data indicate that Araraquara virus is associated with Bolomys lasiurus (hairy-tailed Bolo mouse) and the Juquitiba-like virus is associated with Oligoryzomys nigripes (black-footed pigmy rice rat).

  • Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus, Southern Mexico PDF Version [PDF - 427 KB - 9 pages]
    J. G. Estrada-Franco et al.
       View Abstract

    Equine epizootics of Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) occurred in the southern Mexican states of Chiapas in 1993 and Oaxaca in 1996. To assess the impact of continuing circulation of VEE virus (VEEV) on human and animal populations, serologic and viral isolation studies were conducted in 2000–2001 in Chiapas State. Human serosurveys and risk analyses indicated long-term endemic transmission of VEEV among villages with seroprevalence levels of 18% to 75% and that medical personnel had a high risk for VEEV exposure. Seroprevalence in wild animals suggested cotton rats as possible reservoir hosts in the region. Virus isolations from sentinel animals and genetic characterizations of these strains indicated continuing circulation of a subtype IE genotype, which was isolated from equines during the recent VEE outbreaks. These data indicate long-term enzootic and endemic VEEV circulation in the region and continued risk for disease in equines and humans.

  • Opisthorchiasis from Imported Raw Fish PDF Version [PDF - 372 KB - 5 pages]
    O. Yossepowitch et al.
       View Abstract

    Liver fluke infection caused by Opisthorchiidae is a major public health problem in many parts of the Far East, Southeast Asia, and eastern Europe. However, with the growing volume of international travel and population migration, the infection is increasingly diagnosed in countries where the disease is not endemic, particularly in North America. We report an outbreak of acute opisthorchiasis in a family that was infected in a non–disease-endemic area after eating raw carp illegally imported from a highly disease-endemic area in Siberia. With the growing numbers of former Soviet Union citizens immigrating to other countries, western physicians need to be alert regarding Opisthorchis-associated pathology in this population. The epidemiology and biology of Opisthorchiidae in the former Soviet Union are reviewed.

  • Nonsusceptibility of Primate Cells to Taura Syndrome Virus PDF Version [PDF - 736 KB - 7 pages]
    C. R. Pantoja et al.
       View Abstract

    Taura syndrome virus (TSV), a pathogen of penaeid shrimp and member of the family Dicistroviridae, was recently reported to have the ability to infect primate cells. We independently retested this hypothesis. Three lines of primate cells FRhK-4, MA-104, and BGMK, which are highly susceptible to infection by human picornaviruses, were challenged with TSV. Viral replication was assayed by real time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction using cell media samples collected on days 0, 4, and 7 postchallenge. By day 7, genome copy numbers had decreased 25%–99%. No cytopathic effect was observed after 7 days. An in situ hybridization assay, with gene probes specific for detection of TSV, was negative for TSV in challenged cells. The infectivity of residual virus in the cell culture media at day 7 was confirmed by bioassay using TSV-free indicator shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). TSV did not infect the primate cells tested, and no evidence of zoonotic potential was found.

  • Experimental Everglades Virus Infection of Cotton Rats (Sigmodon hispidus) PDF Version [PDF - 308 KB - 7 pages]
    L. L. Coffey et al.
       View Abstract

    Everglades virus (EVEV), an alphavirus in the Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) serocomplex, circulates among rodents and vector mosquitoes and infects humans, causing a febrile disease sometimes accompanied by neurologic manifestations. EVEV circulates near metropolitan Miami, which indicates the potential for substantial human disease, should outbreaks arise. We characterized EVEV infection of cotton rats in South Florida to validate their role in enzootic transmission. To evaluate whether the viremia induced in cotton rat populations regulates EVEV distribution, we also infected rats from a non–EVEV-endemic area. Viremia levels developed in rats from both localities that exceeded the threshold for infection of the vector. Most animals survived infection with no signs of illness, despite virus invasion of the brain and the development of mild encephalitis. Understanding the mechanisms by which EVEV-infected cotton rats resist clinical disease may be useful in developing VEE therapeutics for equines and humans.

  • Differential Virulence of West Nile Strains for American Crows PDF Version [PDF - 224 KB - 8 pages]
    A. C. Brault et al.
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    Crow deaths were observed after West Nile virus (WNV) was introduced into North America, and this phenomenon has subsequently been used to monitor the spread of the virus. To investigate potential differences in the crow virulence of different WNV strains, American Crows were inoculated with Old World strains of WNV from Kenya and Australia (Kunjin) and a North American (NY99) WNV genotype. Infection of crows with NY99 genotype resulted in high serum viremia levels and death; the Kenyan and Kunjin genotypes elicited low viremia levels and minimal deaths, but resulted in the generation of neutralizing antibodies capable of providing 100% protection from infection with the NY99 strain. These results suggest that genetic alterations in NY99 WNV are responsible for the crow-virulent phenotype and that increased replication of this strain in crows could spread WNV in North America.

  • H3N2 Influenza Virus Transmission from Swine to Turkeys, United States PDF Version [PDF - 128 KB - 5 pages]
    Y. K. Choi et al.
       View Abstract

    In 1998, a novel H3N2 reassortant virus emerged in the United States swine population. We report the interspecies transmission of this virus to turkeys in two geographically distant farms in the United States in 2003. This event is concerning, considering the reassortment capacity of this virus and the susceptibility of turkey to infection by avian influenza viruses. Two H3N2 isolates, A/turkey/NC/16108/03 and A/turkey/MN/764/03, had 98.0% to 99.9% nucleotide sequence identity to each other in all eight gene segments. All protein components of the turkey isolates had 97% to 98% sequence identity to swine H3N2 viruses, thus demonstrating interspecies transmission from pigs to turkeys. The turkey isolates were better adapted to avian hosts than were their closest swine counterparts, which suggests that the viruses had already begun to evolve in the new host. The isolation of swine-like H3N2 influenza viruses from turkeys raises new concerns for the generation of novel viruses that could affect humans.

  • Nipah Virus Encephalitis Reemergence, Bangladesh PDF Version [PDF - 187 KB - 6 pages]
    V. P. Hsu et al.
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    We retrospectively investigated two outbreaks of encephalitis in Meherpur and Naogaon, Bangladesh, that occurred in 2001 and 2003. We collected serum samples from persons who were ill, their household contacts, randomly selected residents, hospital workers, and various animals. Cases were classified as laboratory confirmed or probable. We identified 13 cases (4 confirmed, 9 probable) in Meherpur; 7 were in persons in two households. Patients were more likely than nonpatients to have close contact with other patients or have contact with a sick cow. In Naogaon, we identified 12 cases (4 confirmed, 8 probable); 7 were in persons clustered in 2 households. Two Pteropus bats had antibodies for Nipah virus. Samples from hospital workers were negative for Nipah virus antibodies. These outbreaks, the first since 1999, suggest that transmission may occur through close contact with other patients or from exposure to a common source. Surveillance and enhancement of diagnostic capacity to detect Nipah virus infection are recommended.

  • VecTest as Diagnostic and Surveillance Tool for West Nile Virus in Dead Birds PDF Version [PDF - 210 KB - 7 pages]
    W. B. Stone et al.
       View Abstract

    The VecTest antigen-capture assay for West Nile virus was performed on oral and tissue swabs from dead birds in New York State from April 2003 through July 2004. Results were compared with those from real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction of kidney or brain. Oral VecTest sensitivity is adequate for surveillance in American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) (87%), Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) (80%), and House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) (76%). Oral VecTest performed well for small samples of American Kestrels (Falco sparverius), Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis), Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), and House Finches (Carpodacus mexicanus). Poor sensitivity occurred in most raptors, Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura), Fish Crows (Corvus ossifragus), and American Robins (Turdus migratorius). Specificity was excellent (98%), except for false-positive results that occurred mostly in Gray Catbirds (Dumatella carolinensis), Green Herons (Butorides virescens), and tests of blood and tissues. Feather pulp and kidney may be useful for VecTest assays in corvids.

  • Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, Mauritania PDF Version [PDF - 192 KB - 7 pages]
    P. Nabeth et al.
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    From February to August 2003, 38 persons were infected with Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus in Mauritania; 35 of these persons were residents of Nouakchott. The first patient was a young woman who became ill shortly after butchering a goat. She transmitted the infection to 15 persons in the hospital where she was admitted and four members of her family. In Nouakchott, two disease clusters and 11 isolated cases were identified. The case-fatality ratio was 28.6%. Of the patients not infected by the first case-patient, almost half were butchers, which suggests that the primary mode of animal-to-human transmission was direct contact with blood of infected animals. The hospital outbreak alerted health authorities to sporadic cases that occurred in the following weeks, which would have probably gone otherwise unnoticed. Studies must be conducted to determine the potential risk for continued sporadic outbreaks of CCHF in humans and to propose prevention measures.

  • Cats as a Risk for Transmission of Antimicrobial drug−resistant Salmonella PDF Version [PDF - 209 KB - 6 pages]
    F. Van Immerseel et al.
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    To determine whether cats were a risk for transmission of Salmonella to humans, we evaluated the excretion of Salmonella by pet cats. Rectal-swab specimens were taken from 278 healthy house cats, from 58 cats that died of disease, and from 35 group-housed cats. Group-housed cats were kept in one room with three cat trays and a common water and feed tray. Eighteen (51.4%) of 35 group-housed cats, 5 (8.6%) of 58 diseased cats (5/58), and 1 (0.36%) of 278 healthy house cats excreted Salmonella. Salmonella isolates were of serotypes Typhimurium, Enteritidis, Bovismorbificans and 4:i:-. Acquired antimicrobial resistance was found in serotype Typhimurium (resistance to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline; to ampicillin; and to chloramphenicol) and 4:i:- strains (resistance to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, sulfonamides, trimethoprim, and sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim). Cats that excrete Salmonella can pose a public health hazard to people who are highly susceptible to Salmonella, such as children, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons.

  • Exposure to Nonhuman Primates in Rural Cameroon PDF Version [PDF - 196 KB - 6 pages]
    N. D. Wolfe et al.
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    Exposure to nonhuman primates has led to the emergence of important diseases, including Ebola hemorrhagic fever, AIDS, and adult T-cell leukemia (HTLV). To determine the extent of exposure to nonhuman primates, persons were examined in 17 remote villages in Cameroon that represented three habitats (savanna, gallery forest, and lowland forest). Questionnaire data were collected to assess whether persons kept wild animal pets; hunted and butchered wild game; had experienced bites, scratches, or injuries from live animals; or had been injured during hunting or butchering. While all villages had substantial exposure to nonhuman primates, higher rates of exposure were seen in lowland forest sites. The study demonstrates that exposure is not limited to small groups of hunters. A high percentage of rural villagers report exposure to nonhuman primate blood and body fluids and risk acquiring infectious diseases.

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