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Volume 12, Number 6—June 2006

Volume 12, Number 6—June 2006   PDF Version [PDF - 10.97 MB - 175 pages]


  • Host Range Restriction and Pathogenicity in the Context of Influenza Pandemic PDF Version [PDF - 149 KB - 6 pages]
    G. Neumann and Y. Kawaoka
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    Certain viral factors determine the host range restriction and pathogenicity of influenza A viruses.

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    Influenza A viruses cause pandemics at random intervals. Pandemics are caused by viruses that contain a hemagglutinin (HA) surface glycoprotein to which human populations are immunologically naive. Such an HA can be introduced into the human population through reassortment between human and avian virus strains or through the direct transfer of an avian influenza virus to humans. The factors that determine the interspecies transmission and pathogenicity of influenza viruses are still poorly understood; however, the HA protein plays an important role in overcoming the interspecies barrier and in virulence in avian influenza viruses. Recently, the RNA polymerase (PB2) protein has also been recognized as a critical factor in host range restriction, while the nonstructural (NS1) protein affects the initial host immune responses. We summarize current knowledge of viral factors that determine host range restriction and pathogenicity of influenza A viruses.


  • Dengue Prevention and 35 Years of Vector Control in Singapore PDF Version [PDF - 180 KB - 7 pages]
    E. Ooi et al.
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    A vector control program must be based on epidemiologic and entomologic data.

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    After a 15-year period of low incidence, dengue has reemerged in Singapore in the past decade. We identify potential causes of this resurgence. A combination of lowered herd immunity, virus transmission outside the home, an increase in the age of infection, and the adoption of a case-reactive approach to vector control contribute to the increased dengue incidence. Singapore's experience with dengue indicates that prevention efforts may not be sustainable. For renewed success, Singapore needs to return to a vector control program that is based on carefully collected entomologic and epidemiologic data. Singapore's taking on a leadership role in strengthening disease surveillance and control in Southeast Asia may also be useful in reducing virus importation.


  • Co-infections of Adenovirus Species in Previously Vaccinated Patients PDF Version [PDF - 282 KB - 10 pages]
    G. J. Vora et al.
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    Adenoviral infections associated with respiratory illness in military trainees involve multiple co-infecting species and serotypes.

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    Despite the success of the adenovirus vaccine administered to US military trainees, acute respiratory disease (ARD) surveillance still detected breakthrough infections (respiratory illnesses associated with the adenovirus serotypes specifically targeted by the vaccine). To explore the role of adenoviral co-infection (simultaneous infection by multiple pathogenic adenovirus species) in breakthrough disease, we examined specimens from patients with ARD by using 3 methods to detect multiple adenoviral species: a DNA microarray, a polymerase chain reaction­ (PCR)–enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and a multiplex PCR assay. Analysis of 52 samples (21 vaccinated, 31 unvaccinated) collected from 1996 to 2000 showed that all vaccinated samples had co-infections. Most of these co-infections were community-acquired serotypes of species B1 and E. Unvaccinated samples primarily contained only 1 species (species E) associated with adult respiratory illness. This study highlights the rarely reported phenomenon of adenoviral co-infections in a clinically relevant environment suitable for the generation of new recombinational variants.

  • Severe Community-acquired Pneumonia Due to Staphylococcus aureus, 2003–04 Influenza Season PDF Version [PDF - 278 KB - 6 pages]
    J. C. Hageman et al.
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    S. aureus community-acquired pneumonia has been reported from 9 states.

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    During the 2003–04 influenza season, 17 cases of Staphylococcus aureus community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) were reported from 9 states; 15 (88%) were associated with methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The median age of patients was 21 years; 5 (29%) had underlying diseases, and 4 (24%) had risk factors for MRSA. Twelve (71%) had laboratory evidence of influenza virus infection. All but 1 patient, who died on arrival, were hospitalized. Death occurred in 5 (4 with MRSA). S. aureus isolates were available from 13 (76%) patients (11 MRSA). Toxin genes were detected in all isolates; 11 (85%) had only genes for Panton-Valentine leukocidin. All isolates had community-associated pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns; all MRSA isolates had the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec type IVa. In communities with a high prevalence of MRSA, empiric therapy of severe CAP during periods of high influenza activity should include consideration for MRSA.

  • Human Streptococcus suis Outbreak, Sichuan, China PDF Version [PDF - 303 KB - 7 pages]
    H. Yu et al.
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    Streptococcus suis outbreak was associated with exposure to sick or dead pigs.

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    From mid-July to the end of August 2005, a total of 215 cases of human Streptococcus suis infections, 66 of which were laboratory confirmed, were reported in Sichuan, China. All infections occurred in backyard farmers who were directly exposed to infection during the slaughtering process of pigs that had died of unknown causes or been killed for food because they were ill. Sixty-one (28%) of the farmers had streptococcal toxic shock syndrome; 38 (62%) of them died. The other illnesses reported were sepsis (24%) and meningitis (48%) or both. All isolates tested positive for genes for tuf, species-specific 16S rRNA, cps2J, mrp, ef, and sly. A single strain of S. suis caused the outbreak, as shown by the identification of a single ribotype. The high death ratio was of concern; prohibiting backyard slaughtering ended the outbreak.

  • Multidrug-resistant Commensal Escherichia coli in Children, Peru and Bolivia PDF Version [PDF - 188 KB - 7 pages]
    A. Bartoloni et al.
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    Healthy children in urban areas have a high prevalence of fecal carriage of drug-resistant E. coli.

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    Using a rapid screening method, we investigated the prevalence of fecal carriage of antimicrobial drug–resistant Escherichia coli in 3,174 healthy children from 4 urban settings in Peru and Bolivia. High resistance rates were observed for ampicillin (95%), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (94%), tetracycline (93%), streptomycin (82%), and chloramphenicol (70%). Lower resistance rates were observed for nalidixic acid (35%), kanamycin (28%), gentamicin (21%), and ciprofloxacin (18%); resistance to ceftriaxone and amikacin was uncommon (<0.5%). In a random sample of 1,080 resistant E. coli isolates, 90% exhibited a multidrug-resistance (MDR) phenotype. The 2 most common MDR phenotypes (ampicillin/tetracycline/trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and ampicillin/tetracycline/trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole/chloramphenicol) could be transferred en bloc in conjugation experiments. The most common acquired resistance genes were blaTEM, tet(A), tet(B), drfA8, sul1, sul2, and catI. These findings underscore the magnitude of the problem of antimicrobial drug resistance in low-resource settings and the urgent need for surveillance and control of this phenomenon.

  • Social Behavior and Meningococcal Carriage in British Teenagers PDF Version [PDF - 301 KB - 8 pages]
    J. MacLennan et al.
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    Understanding predisposing factors for meningococcal carriage may identify targets for public health interventions. Before mass vaccination with meningococcal group C conjugate vaccine began in autumn 1999, we took pharyngeal swabs from ≈14,000 UK teenagers and collected information on potential risk factors. Neisseria meningitidis was cultured from 2,319 (16.7%) of 13,919 swabs. In multivariable analysis, attendance at pubs/clubs, intimate kissing, and cigarette smoking were each independently and strongly associated with increased risk for meningococcal carriage (p<0.001). Carriage in those with none of these risk factors was 7.8%, compared to 32.8% in those with all 3. Passive smoking was also linked to higher risk for carriage, but age, sex, social deprivation, home crowding, or school characteristics had little or no effect. Social behavior, rather than age or sex, can explain the higher frequency of meningococcal carriage among teenagers. A ban on smoking in public places may reduce risk for transmission.

  • Haemophilus influenzae Type b Reemergence after Combination Immunization PDF Version [PDF - 94 KB - 5 pages]
    N. G. Johnson et al.
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    Combination vaccines may suppress Hib antibody concentration and avidity.

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    An increase in Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) in British children has been linked to the widespread use of a diphtheria/tetanus/acellular pertussis combination vaccine (DTaP-Hib). We measured anti-polyribosyl-ribitol phosphate antibody concentration and avidity before and after a Hib booster in 176 children 2–4 years of age who had received 3 doses of DTP-Hib (either DT whole cell pertussis-Hib or DTaP-Hib) combination vaccine in infancy. We also measured pharyngeal carriage of Hib. Antibody concentrations before and avidity indices after vaccination were low (geometric mean concentration 0.46 μg/mL, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.36–0.58; geometric mean avidity index 0.16, 95% CI 0.14–0.18) and inversely related to the number of previous doses of DTaP-Hib (p = 0.02 and p<0.001, respectively). Hib was found in 2.1% (95% CI 0.7%–6.0%) of study participants. Our data support an association between DTaP-Hib vaccine combinations and clinical Hib disease through an effect on antibody concentration and avidity.

  • Norwalk Virus–specific Binding to Oyster Digestive Tissues PDF Version [PDF - 219 KB - 6 pages]
    F. S. Le Guyader et al.
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    Specific binding of virus to oysters can selectively concentrate a human pathogen.

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    The primary pathogens related to shellfishborne gastroenteritis outbreaks are noroviruses. These viruses show persistence in oysters, which suggests an active mechanism of virus concentration. We investigated whether Norwalk virus or viruslike particles bind specifically to oyster tissues after bioaccumulation or addition to tissue sections. Since noroviruses attach to carbohydrates of the histo-blood group family, tests using immunohistochemical analysis were performed to evaluate specific binding of virus or viruslike particles to oyster tissues through these ligands. Viral particles bind specifically to digestive ducts (midgut, main and secondary ducts, and tubules) by carbohydrate structures with a terminal N-acetylgalactosamine residue in an α linkage (same binding site used for recognition of human histo-blood group antigens). These data show that the oyster can selectively concentrate a human pathogen and that conventional depuration will not eliminate noroviruses from oyster tissue.

  • Human Parechovirus Infections in Canada PDF Version [PDF - 242 KB - 7 pages]
    Y. Abed and G. Boivin
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    These infections are associated with a variety of clinical syndromes, in part related to specific serotype.

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    A new reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction assay was developed for identification of 28 Canadian human parechovirus (HPeV) isolates, including 20 HPeV-1, 3 HPeV-2, and 5 HPeV-3, recovered from 1985 to 2004. All HPeV-1 isolates but 1 were genetically distinct from the Harris reference strain. One HPeV-2 isolate was related to the Williamson strain; the other 2 were related to the Connecticut strain. HPeV-3 isolates clustered together. Seventy-five percent of isolates were recovered during the typical enterovirus season. All patients but 1 were children with a mean age of 14.6 months, 6.3 months, and 0.7 months for HPeV-1, HPeV-2, and HPeV-3 patients, respectively. All HPeV-2– and HPeV-3–infected children were hospitalized with a diagnosis of viremia or sepsis. HPeV-1–infected children had bronchiolitis diagnosed in 50% of the cases, with few cases of pneumonia and enteritis. Two infected patients (1 child with leukemia and a 78-year-old woman) died of septic shock and severe pneumonia, respectively.

  • Genetic Divergence of Toxoplasma gondii Strains Associated with Ocular Toxoplasmosis, Brazil PDF Version [PDF - 212 KB - 8 pages]
    A. Khan et al.
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    Brazilian strains of T. gondii differ from lineages in North America and Europe; these differences may underlie severe ocular disease.

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    Previous studies have shown a high prevalence of toxoplasmosis and the frequent occurrence of ocular disease in Brazil. To identify the genotypes of parasite strains associated with ocular disease, we compared 25 clinical and animal isolates of Toxoplasma gondii from Brazil to previously characterized clonal lineages from North America and Europe. Multilocus nested polymerase chain reaction analysis was combined with direct sequencing of a polymorphic intron to classify strains by phylogenetic methods. The genotypes of T. gondii strains isolated from Brazil were highly divergent when compared to the previously described clonal lineages. Several new predominant genotypes were identified from different regions of Brazil, including 2 small outbreaks attributable to foodborne or waterborne infection. These findings show that the genetic makeup of T. gondii is more complex than previously recognized and suggest that unique or divergent genotypes may contribute to different clinical outcomes of toxoplasmosis in different localities.

  • Coccidioidomycosis as a Common Cause of Community-acquired Pneumonia PDF Version [PDF - 68 KB - 5 pages]
    L. Valdivia et al.
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    The early manifestations of coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) are similar to those of other causes of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Without specific etiologic testing, the true frequency of valley fever may be underestimated by public health statistics. Therefore, we conducted a prospective observational study of adults with recent onset of a lower respiratory tract syndrome. Valley fever was serologically confirmed in 16 (29%) of 55 persons (95% confidence interval 16%–44%). Antimicrobial medications were used in 81% of persons with valley fever. Symptomatic differences at the time of enrollment had insufficient predictive value for valley fever to guide clinicians without specific laboratory tests. Thus, valley fever is a common cause of CAP after exposure in a disease-endemic region. If CAP develops in persons who travel or reside in Coccidioides-endemic regions, diagnostic evaluation should routinely include laboratory evaluation for this organism.

  • Temple Monkeys and Health Implications of Commensalism, Kathmandu, Nepal PDF Version [PDF - 314 KB - 7 pages]
    L. Jones-Engel et al.
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    Humans in contact with macaques risk exposure to enzootic primateborne viruses.

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    The threat of zoonotic transmission of infectious agents at monkey temples highlights the necessity of investigating the prevalence of enzootic infectious agents in these primate populations. Biological samples were collected from 39 rhesus macaques at the Swoyambhu Temple and tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Western blot, polymerase chain reaction, or combination of these tests for evidence of infection with rhesus cytomegalovirus (RhCMV), Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1 (CHV-1), simian virus 40 (SV40), simian retrovirus (SRV), simian T-cell lymphotropic virus (STLV), simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), and simian foamy virus (SFV). Antibody seroprevalence was 94.9% to RhCMV (37/39), 89.7% to SV40 (35/39), 64.1% to CHV-1 (25/39), and 97.4% to SFV (38/39). Humans who come into contact with macaques at Swoyambhu risk exposure to enzootic primateborne viruses. We discuss implications for public health and primate management strategies that would reduce contact between humans and primates.

  • Human Rotavirus Serotype G9, São Paulo, Brazil, 1996–2003 PDF Version [PDF - 216 KB - 6 pages]
    R. Carmona et al.
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    Diverse rotavirus strains are present, and frequency of G9 is high.

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    A total of 3,101 fecal specimens were collected during an 8-year survey for rotavirus infection in São Paulo, Brazil. Group A rotavirus was detected in 774 (25.0%) specimens. Of these, 431 strains (55.7%) were analyzed for G and P types by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction; G1 was the predominant serotype (68.2%), followed by G9 (17.2%), G4 (6.3%), G2 (1.2%), G3 (0.7%), mixed infection (1.8%), and untypeable (4.6%). Both rotavirus G and P types could be established in 332 strains (77.0%). We identified the 4 most common strains worldwide: P[8]G1 (66.6%), P[4]G2 (1.0%), P[8]G3 (0.6%), and P[8]G4 (7.2%). Among the single G9 strains detected, VP4 genotyping showed that P[8]G9 was the most prevalent, followed by P[4]G9 and P[6]G9. The emergence and high frequency of rotavirus G9 in São Paulo, Brazil, and other parts of the world will affect the development and evaluation of future vaccines.

Historical Review

  • 2,500-year Evolution of the Term Epidemic PDF Version [PDF - 249 KB - 5 pages]
    P. Martin and E. Martin-Granel
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    The meaning has been evolving since Hippocrates first used this word 25 centuries ago.

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    The term epidemic (from the Greek epi [on] plus demos [people]), first used by Homer, took its medical meaning when Hippocrates used it as the title of one of his famous treatises. At that time, epidemic was the name given to a collection of clinical syndromes, such as coughs or diarrheas, occurring and propagating in a given period at a given location. Over centuries, the form and meaning of the term have changed. Successive epidemics of plague in the Middle Ages contributed to the definition of an epidemic as the propagation of a single, well-defined disease. The meaning of the term continued to evolve in the 19th-century era of microbiology. Its most recent semantic evolution dates from the last quarter of the 20th century, and this evolution is likely to continue in the future.



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