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Volume 11, Number 1—January 2005

Volume 11, Number 1—January 2005   PDF Version [PDF - 5.91 MB - 195 pages]


  • Hedgehog Zoonoses PDF Version [PDF - 48 KB - 5 pages]
    P. Y. Riley and B. B. Chomel
       View Abstract

    Exotic pets, including hedgehogs, have become popular in recent years among pet owners, especially in North America. Such animals can carry and introduce zoonotic agents, a fact well illustrated by the recent outbreak of monkeypox in pet prairie dogs. We reviewed known and potential zoonotic diseases that could be carried and transmitted by pet hedgehogs or when rescuing and caring for wild-caught hedgehogs.


  • Border Screening for SARS PDF Version [PDF - 183 KB - 5 pages]
    R. K. St. John et al.
       View Abstract

    With the rapid international spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from March through May 2003, Canada introduced various measures to screen airplane passengers at selected airports for symptoms and signs of SARS. The World Health Organization requested that all affected areas screen departing passengers for SARS symptoms. In spite of intensive screening, no SARS cases were detected. SARS has an extremely low prevalence, and the positive predictive value of screening is essentially zero. Canadian screening results raise questions about the effectiveness of available screening measures for SARS at international borders.

  • Capacity of State and Territorial Health Agencies to Prevent Foodborne Illness PDF Version [PDF - 126 KB - 6 pages]
    R. E. Hoffman et al.
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    The capacity of state and territorial health departments to investigate foodborne diseases was assessed by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists from 2001 to 2002 with a self-administered, web-based survey. Forty-eight health departments responded (47 states and 1 territory). The primary reason for not conducting more active case surveillance of enteric disease is lack of staff, while the primary reasons for not investigating foodborne disease outbreaks are limited staff and delayed notification of the outbreak. Sixty-four percent of respondents have the capacity to conduct analytic epidemiologic investigations. States receiving Emerging Infections Program (EIP) funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more often reported having a dedicated foodborne disease epidemiologist and the capability to perform analytic studies than non-EIP states. We conclude that by addressing shortages in the number of dedicated personnel and reducing delays in reporting, the capacity of state health departments to respond to foodborne disease can be improved.

  • Hepatitis C Virus Infection, Linxian, China PDF Version [PDF - 139 KB - 5 pages]
    M. Zhang et al.
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    Bloodborne viruses may have spread in rural China during the past 25 years, but population-based prevalence estimates are lacking. We examined the frequency of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV type 1 (HIV-1) among residents of Linxian, a rural community in Henan Province. In 2000, blood was collected from participants (>55 years of age) who had enrolled in a population-based nutritional intervention trial in 1985. We randomly selected 500 participants for HCV testing and 200 participants for HIV-1 testing. For HCV, 48 (9.6%) of 500 participants were positive by enzyme immunoassay and recombinant immunoblot assay (95% confidence interval [CI], 7.0%–12.2%), and prevalence was lowest in the most geographically isolated participants. Among the HCV-infected participants, 42 had a specimen available from1985, of which 16 (38.1%) were positive for HCV. For HIV-1, 0/200 participants were positive. We conclude that HCV is now a common infection among older adults in Linxian, China.

  • Multidrug-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii PDF Version [PDF - 215 KB - 8 pages]
    A. Abbo et al.
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    To understand the epidemiology of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter baumannii and define individual risk factors for MDR, we used epidemiologic methods, performed organism typing by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and conducted a matched case-control retrospective study. We investigated 118 patients, on 27 wards, in whom MDR A. baumannii was isolated from clinical cultures. Each case-patient had a control without MDR A. baumannii and was matched for hospital length of stay, ward, and calendar time. The epidemiologic investigation found small clusters of up to 6 patients each with no common identified source. Ten different PFGE clones were found, of which 2 dominated. The PFGE pattern differed within temporospatial clusters, and antimicrobial drug susceptibility patterns varied within and between clones. Multivariate analysis identified the following significant risk factors: male sex, cardiovascular disease, having undergone mechanical ventilation, and having been treated with antimicrobial drugs (particularly metronidazole). Penicillins were protective. The complex epidemiology may explain why the emergence of MDR A. baumannii is difficult to control.

  • Hybrid Vibrio vulnificus PDF Version [PDF - 357 KB - 6 pages]
    N. Bisharat et al.
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    The recent emergence of the human-pathogenic Vibrio vulnificus in Israel was investigated by using multilocus genotype data and modern molecular evolutionary analysis tools. We show that this pathogen is a hybrid organism that evolved by the hybridization of the genomes from 2 distinct and independent populations. These findings provide clear evidence of how hybridization between 2 existing and nonpathogenic forms has apparently led to the emergence of an epidemic infectious disease caused by this pathogenic variant. This novel observation shows yet another way in which epidemic organisms arise.

  • Hypersensitivity to Ticks and Lyme Disease Risk PDF Version [PDF - 215 KB - 6 pages]
    G. Burke et al.
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    Persons who report frequent tick-associated itch are less likely to contract Lyme disease than those who do not.

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    Although residents of Lyme disease–endemic regions describe frequent exposure to ticks, Lyme disease develops in relatively few. To determine whether people who experience cutaneous hypersensitivity against tick bite have fewer episodes of Lyme disease than those who do not, we examined several factors that might restrict the incidence of Lyme disease among residents of Block Island, Rhode Island. Of 1,498 study participants, 27% (95% confidence interval [CI] 23%–31%) reported >1 tick bites, and 17% (95% CI 13%–21%) reported itch associated with tick bite in the previous year. Borrelia burgdorferi infected 23% (95% CI 20%–26%) of 135 nymphal Ixodes scapularis (I. dammini) ticks. The likelihood of Lyme disease infection decreased with >3 reports of tick-associated itch (odds ratio 0.14, 95% CI 0.94–0.03, p = 0.01). Prior exposure to uninfected vector ticks protects residents of disease-endemic sites from Lyme disease.

  • Demand for Prophylaxis after Bioterrorism-Related Anthrax Cases, 2001 PDF Version [PDF - 110 KB - 6 pages]
    E. A. Belongia et al.
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    Media reports suggested increased public demand for anthrax prophylaxis after the intentional anthrax cases in 2001, but the magnitude of anthrax-related prescribing in unaffected regions was not assessed. We surveyed a random sample of 400 primary care clinicians in Minnesota and Wisconsin to assess requests for and provision of anthrax-related antimicrobial agents. The survey was returned by 239 (60%) of clinicians, including 210 in outpatient practice. Fifty-eight (28%) of those in outpatient practice received requests for anthrax-related antimicrobial agents, and 9 (4%) dispensed them. Outpatient fluoroquinolone use in both states was also analyzed with regression models to compare predicted and actual use in October and November 2001. Fluoroquinolone use as a proportion of total antimicrobial use was not elevated, and anthrax concerns accounted for an estimated 0.3% of all fluoroquinolone prescriptions. Most physicians in Minnesota and Wisconsin managed anthrax-related requests without dispensing antimicrobial agents.

  • Dengue and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, Brazil, 1981–2002 PDF Version [PDF - 165 KB - 6 pages]
    J. B. Siqueira et al.
  • Genetic Background of Escherichia coli and Extended-spectrum β-Lactamase Type PDF Version [PDF - 180 KB - 8 pages]
       View Abstract

    To assess the implication of the genetic background of Escherichia coli strains in the emergence of extended-spectrum-β-lactamases (ESBL), 55 TEM-, 52 CTX-M-, and 22 SHV-type ESBL-producing clinical isolates involved in various extraintestinal infections or colonization were studied in terms of phylogenetic group, virulence factor (VF) content (pap, sfa/foc, hly, and aer genes), and fluoroquinolone resistance. A factorial analysis of correspondence showed that SHV type, and to a lesser extent TEM type, were preferentially observed in B2 phylogenetic group strains that exhibited numerous VFs but were fluoroquinolone-susceptible, whereas the newly emerged CTX-M type was associated with the D phylogenetic group strains that lacked VF but were fluoroquinolone-resistant. Thus, the emergence of ESBL-producing E. coli seems to be the result of complex interactions between the type of ESBL, genetic background of the strain, and selective pressures in ecologic niches.

  • Mycobacterium haemophilum and Lymphadenitis in Children PDF Version [PDF - 218 KB - 7 pages]
    L. E. Bruijnesteijn van Coppenraet et al.
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    Infections associated with Mycobacterium haemophilum are underdiagnosed because specific culture methods required for its recovery are not applied routinely. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology on fine needle aspirates and biopsied specimens from 89 children with cervicofacial lymphadenitis, we assessed the importance of M. haemophilum. Application of a Mycobacterium genus–specific real-time PCR in combination with amplicon sequencing and a M. haemophilum–specific PCR resulted in the recognition of M. haemophilum as the causative agent in 16 (18%) children with cervicofacial lymphadenitis. Mycobacterium avium was the most frequently found species (56%), and M. haemophilum was the second most commonly recognized pathogen. Real-time PCR results were superior to culture because only 9 (56%) of the 16 diagnosed M. haemophilum infections were positive by culture.

  • HEPA/Vaccine Plan for Indoor Anthrax Remediation PDF Version [PDF - 195 KB - 8 pages]
    L. M. Wein et al.
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    A mathematical model suggests that a HEPA/vaccine approach is viable for most buildings after a large-scale anthrax attack.

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    We developed a mathematical model to compare 2 indoor remediation strategies in the aftermath of an outdoor release of 1.5 kg of anthrax spores in lower Manhattan. The 2 strategies are the fumigation approach used after the 2001 postal anthrax attack and a HEPA/vaccine plan, which relies on HEPA vacuuming, HEPA air cleaners, and vaccination of reoccupants. The HEPA/vaccine approach leads to few anthrax cases among reoccupants if applied to all but the most heavily contaminated buildings, and recovery is much faster than under the decades-long fumigation plan. Only modest environmental sampling is needed. A surge capacity of 10,000 to 20,000 Hazmat workers is required to perform remediation within 6 to 12 months and to avoid permanent mass relocation. Because of the possibility of a campaign of terrorist attacks, serious consideration should be given to allowing or encouraging voluntary self-service cleaning of lightly contaminated rooms by age-appropriate, vaccinated, partially protected (through masks or hoods) reoccupants or owners.

  • Invasive Group A Streptococcal Infections, Clinical Manifestations and Their Predictors, Montreal, 1995–2002 PDF Version [PDF - 96 KB - 6 pages]
    M. Hollm-Delgado et al.
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    We identified 306 invasive group A streptococcal infections (IGASI) by passive population-based surveillance in Montreal, Canada, from 1995 to 2001. The average yearly reported incidence was 2.4 per 100,000 persons, with a 14% death rate. Among clinical manifestations, incidence of pneumonia increased from 0.06 per 100,000 in 1995 to 0.50 per 100,000 in 2000. Over a span of 7 years, the odds of developing pneumonia increased (odds ratio [OR] = 1.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0–1.5), while they decreased for soft-tissue infections (OR = 0.86, 95% CI 0.7–1.0). Serotypes M1 and M3 accounted for 30% of IGASI. However, neither serotype was significantly associated with specific clinical manifestations, which suggests that manifestation development among IGASI might be attributable to host or environmental factors rather than the pathogen. In our study, these factors included age, gender, underlying medical conditions, and living environment, yet none explained temporal changes in risk for pneumonia and soft-tissue infections.

  • Malassezia pachydermatis Carriage in Dog Owners PDF Version [PDF - 148 KB - 6 pages]
    D. O. Morris et al.
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    Yeasts of the genus Malassezia serve as both commensal microorganisms and pathogens on the skin of humans and domestic animals. Although rare, cases of life-threatening fungemia in people have been attributed to Malassezia pachydermatis, for which dogs are a natural host. Zoonotic transfer has been documented from dogs to immunocompromised patients by healthcare workers who own dogs. We investigated the role of pet dogs as risk factors for mechanical carriage of M. pachydermatis on human hands. Dogs and their owners were sampled as pairs, by fungal culture and nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Although fungal culture was not a reliable means by which to detect carriage of the yeast on human hands, PCR identified M. pachydermatis on most (≈93%) human participants. Human carriage of ubiquitous opportunistic pathogens such as M. pachydermatis underscores the importance of good hand hygiene by healthcare professionals.

  • Anti–SARS-CoV Immunoglobulin G in Healthcare Workers, Guangzhou, China PDF Version [PDF - 249 KB - 6 pages]
    W. Chen et al.
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    To determine the prevalence of inapparent infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) among healthcare workers, we performed a serosurvey to test for immunoglobulin (Ig) G antibodies to the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) among 1,147 healthcare workers in 3 hospitals that admitted SARS patients in mid-May 2003. Among them were 90 healthcare workers with SARS. As a reference group, 709 healthcare workers who worked in 2 hospitals that never admitted any SARS patients were similarly tested. The seroprevalence rate was 88.9% (80/90) for healthcare workers with SARS and 1.4% (15/1,057) for healthcare workers who were apparently healthy. The seroprevalence in the reference group was 0.4% (3/709). These findings suggest that inapparent infection is uncommon. Low level of immunity among unaffected healthcare workers reinforces the need for adequate personal protection and other infection control measures in hospitals to prevent future epidemics.

  • Norovirus and Foodborne Disease, United States, 1991–2000 PDF Version [PDF - 203 KB - 8 pages]
    M. Widdowson et al.
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    Efforts to prevent foodborne illness target bacterial pathogens, yet noroviruses (NoV) are suspected to be the most common cause of gastroenteritis. New molecular assays allow for better estimation of the role of NoV in foodborne illness. We analyzed 8,271 foodborne outbreaks reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1991 to 2000 and additional data from 6 states. The proportion of NoV-confirmed outbreaks increased from 1% in 1991 to 12% in 2000. However, from 1998 to 2000, 76% of NoV outbreaks were reported by only 11 states. In 2000, an estimated 50% of foodborne outbreaks in 6 states were attributable to NoV. NoV outbreaks were larger than bacterial outbreaks (median persons affected: 25 versus 15), and 10% of affected persons sought medical care; 1% were hospitalized. More widespread use of molecular assays will permit better estimates of the role of NoV illness and help direct efforts to control foodborne illness.

  • Human Parechovirus-3 and Neonatal Infections PDF Version [PDF - 174 KB - 5 pages]
    G. Boivin et al.
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    A third serotype of human parechovirus (HPeV) has been recently isolated from stool specimens of a young Japanese child with transient paralysis. We report 3 additional cases of neonatal sepsis caused by HPeV-3 in the fall of 2001 in Canadian infants 7–27 days old. All children were hospitalized with high fever, erythematous rash, and tachypnea for a median of 5 days. The viruses isolated from nasopharyngeal aspirates grew slowly on tertiary monkey kidney cells and were successfully passaged on Vero cells. The predicted amino acid identity of the VP0-VP3-VP1 region of the three viruses was 74.6%–74.8%, 73.4%–73.6%, and 97.0%–97.1% when compared to HPeV-1, -2, and –3 prototype strains, respectively. Although different, our isolates were closely related; amino acid identity was 99.6%–100% for the latter three proteins.


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