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Volume 13, Number 1—January 2007

Volume 13, Number 1—January 2007   PDF Version [PDF - 13.66 MB - 195 pages]

Perspective

  • Epidemics after Natural Disasters PDF Version [PDF - 53 KB - 5 pages]
    J. T. Watson et al.
       View Abstract

    The relationship between natural disasters and communicable diseases is frequently misconstrued. The risk for outbreaks is often presumed to be very high in the chaos that follows natural disasters, a fear likely derived from a perceived association between dead bodies and epidemics. However, the risk factors for outbreaks after disasters are associated primarily with population displacement. The availability of safe water and sanitation facilities, the degree of crowding, the underlying health status of the population, and the availability of healthcare services all interact within the context of the local disease ecology to influence the risk for communicable diseases and death in the affected population. We outline the risk factors for outbreaks after a disaster, review the communicable diseases likely to be important, and establish priorities to address communicable diseases in disaster settings.

Synopses

  • Wildlife, Exotic Pets, and Emerging Zoonoses PDF Version [PDF - 187 KB - 6 pages]
    B. B. Chomel et al.
       View Abstract

    Most emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic; wildlife constitutes a large and often unknown reservoir. Wildlife can also be a source for reemergence of previously controlled zoonoses. Although the discovery of such zoonoses is often related to better diagnostic tools, the leading causes of their emergence are human behavior and modifications to natural habitats (expansion of human populations and their encroachment on wildlife habitat), changes in agricultural practices, and globalization of trade. However, other factors include wildlife trade and translocation, live animal and bushmeat markets, consumption of exotic foods, development of ecotourism, access to petting zoos, and ownership of exotic pets. To reduce risk for emerging zoonoses, the public should be educated about the risks associated with wildlife, bushmeat, and exotic pet trades; and proper surveillance systems should be implemented.

Research

  • Prevalence of G2P[4] and G12P[6] Rotavirus, Bangladesh PDF Version [PDF - 201 KB - 7 pages]
    M. Rahman et al.
       View Abstract

    Approximately 20,000 stool specimens from patients with diarrhea visiting an urban and a rural hospital in Bangladesh during January 2001–May 2006 were tested for group A rotavirus antigen, and 4,712 (24.0%) were positive. G and P genotyping was performed on a subset of 10% of the positive samples (n = 471). During the 2001–2005 rotavirus seasons, G1P[8] (36.4%) and G9P[8] (27.7%) were the dominant strains, but G2[4] and G12P[6] were present in 15.4% and 3.1% of the rotavirus-positive patients, respectively. During the 2005–06 rotavirus season, G2P[4] (43.2%) appeared as the most prevalent strain, and G12P[6] became a more prevalent strain (11.1%) during this season. Because recently licensed rotavirus vaccines are specific for only P[8], these vaccines may not perform well in settings where non-P[8] types are prevalent.

  • Elimination of Arctic Variant Rabies in Red Foxes, Metropolitan Toronto PDF Version [PDF - 179 KB - 3 pages]
    R. C. Rosatte et al.
       View Abstract

    To control the arctic variant of rabies virus in red foxes, 332,257 bait doses containing live, attenuated Evelyn-Rokitnicki-Abelseth rabies vaccine were distributed in greater metropolitan Toronto during 1989–1999. Human and pet contact with bait was minimal, and no adverse reactions to the vaccine were noted. Significantly fewer rabid foxes were found during the 17 years after fox baiting (5 cases during 1990–2006) than in the 17 years before (96 cases during 1973–1989). The last report of a rabid fox in metropolitan Toronto was in 1996 (reporting period through September 2006), which confirms that distributing oral rabies vaccine bait is a feasible tactic for the control of rabies in foxes in urban environments.

  • Model for Assessing Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Strategies PDF Version [PDF - 652 KB - 14 pages]
    E. H. Elbasha et al.
       View Abstract

    We present a transmission dynamic model that can assess the epidemiologic consequences and cost-effectiveness of alternative strategies of administering a prophylactic quadrivalent (types 6/11/16/18) human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in a setting of organized cervical cancer screening in the United States. Compared with current practice, vaccinating girls before the age of 12 years would reduce the incidence of genital warts (83%) and cervical cancer (78%) due to HPV 6/11/16/18. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of augmenting this strategy with a temporary catch-up program for 12- to 24-year olds was US $4,666 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Relative to other commonly accepted healthcare programs, vaccinating girls and women appears cost-effective. Including men and boys in the program was the most effective strategy, reducing the incidence of genital warts, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, and cervical cancer by 97%, 91%, and 91%, respectively. The ICER of this strategy was $45,056 per QALY.

  • Spread of Cryptococcus gattii in British Columbia, Canada, and Detection in the Pacific Northwest, USA PDF Version [PDF - 432 KB - 9 pages]
    L. MacDougall et al.
       View Abstract

    Cryptococcus gattii, emergent on Vancouver Island, British Columbia (BC), Canada, in 1999, was detected during 2003–2005 in 3 persons and 8 animals that did not travel to Vancouver Island during the incubation period; positive environmental samples were detected in areas outside Vancouver Island. All clinical and environmental isolates found in BC were genotypically consistent with Vancouver Island strains. In addition, local acquisition was detected in 3 cats in Washington and 2 persons in Oregon. The molecular profiles of Oregon isolates differed from those found in BC and Washington. Although some microclimates of the Pacific Northwest are similar to those on Vancouver Island, C. gattii concentrations in off-island environments were typically lower, and human cases without Vancouver Island contact have not continued to occur. This suggests that C. gattii may not be permanently colonized in off-island locations.

  • Cryptococcus gattii Dispersal Mechanisms, British Columbia, Canada PDF Version [PDF - 297 KB - 7 pages]
    S. E. Kidd et al.
       View Abstract

    Recent Cryptococcus gattii infections in humans and animals without travel history to Vancouver Island, as well as environmental isolations of the organism in other areas of the Pacific Northwest, led to an investigation of potential dispersal mechanisms. Longitudinal analysis of C. gattii presence in trees and soil showed patterns of permanent, intermittent, and transient colonization, reflecting C. gattii population dynamics once the pathogen is introduced to a new site. Systematic sampling showed C. gattii was associated with high-traffic locations. In addition, C. gattii was isolated from the wheel wells of vehicles on Vancouver Island and the mainland and on footwear, consistent with anthropogenic dispersal of the organism. Increased levels of airborne C. gattii were detected during forestry and municipal activities such as wood chipping, the byproducts of which are frequently used in park landscaping. C. gattii dispersal by these mechanisms may be a useful model for other emerging pathogens.

  • Similar Biochemical Signatures and Prion Protein Genotypes in Atypical Scrapie and Nor98 Cases, France and Norway PDF Version [PDF - 311 KB - 8 pages]
    J. Arsac et al.
       View Abstract

    Isolates of atypical scrapie recently identified in sheep and goats in France were compared with Nor98 isolates reported in Norway. Western blot methods for characterization of the protease-resistant prion protein showed that all these isolates shared a unique biochemical signature: 5 groups of bands, including a characteristic band of apparent low molecular weight (11 kDa). This pattern could originate from the presence of 3 different protease cleavage products, including the 11 kDa most likely cleaved at both N- and C-sides of the protein. Genetic data, which strongly suggested the higher susceptibility of AHQ and AF141RQ animals in French cases, resembled earlier data from Nor98 scrapie.

  • Primary Pneumocystis Infection in Infants Hospitalized with Acute Respiratory Tract Infection PDF Version [PDF - 242 KB - 7 pages]
    H. H. Larsen et al.
       View Abstract

    Acquisition of Pneumocystis jirovecii infection early in life has been confirmed by serologic studies. However, no evidence of clinical illness correlated with the primary infection has been found in immunocompetent children. We analyzed 458 nasopharyngeal aspirates from 422 patients hospitalized with 431 episodes of acute respiratory tract infection (RTI) by using a real-time PCR assay. In 68 episodes in 67 infants, P. jirovecii was identified. The odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of a positive signal compared with the first quartile of age (7–49 days) was 47.4 (11.0–203), 8.7 (1.9–39.7), and 0.6 (0.1–6.7) for infants in the second (50–112 days), third (113–265 days), and fourth (268–4,430 days) age quartiles, respectively. Infants with an episode of upper RTI (URTI) were 2.0 (1.05–3.82) times more likely to harbor P. jirovecii than infants with a lower RTI. P. jirovecii may manifest itself as a self-limiting URTI in infants, predominantly those 1.5–4 months of age.

  • Panmicrobial Oligonucleotide Array for Diagnosis of Infectious Diseases PDF Version [PDF - 373 KB - 9 pages]
    G. Palacios et al.
       View Abstract

    To facilitate rapid, unbiased, differential diagnosis of infectious diseases, we designed GreeneChipPm, a panmicrobial microarray comprising 29,455 sixty-mer oligonucleotide probes for vertebrate viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Methods for nucleic acid preparation, random primed PCR amplification, and labeling were optimized to allow the sensitivity required for application with nucleic acid extracted from clinical materials and cultured isolates. Analysis of nasopharyngeal aspirates, blood, urine, and tissue from persons with various infectious diseases confirmed the presence of viruses and bacteria identified by other methods, and implicated Plasmodium falciparum in an unexplained fatal case of hemorrhagic feverlike disease during the Marburg hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Angola in 2004–2005.

  • Correlation between Subtypes of Cryptosporidium parvum in Humans and Risk PDF Version [PDF - 267 KB - 7 pages]
    P. R. Hunter et al.
       View Abstract

    The 2 main species of Cryptosporidium that infect humans are Cryptosporidium hominis and C. parvum. Here, multilocus fragment analysis of 3 microsatellite loci (ML1, ML2, and gp60) was used to subtype strains from sporadic cases of cryptosporidiosis in Wales and northwest England. Of 72 strains of C. parvum, 63 were typeable at all 3 loci, forming 31 subtypes. These strains formed 3 broad clusters, representing 74.6%, 20.6%, and 4.8% of typeable strains. Of 118 C. hominis strains, 106 were typeable at all 3 loci, forming 9 subtypes; however, 90% belonged to the same subtype. Analysis with epidemiologic data found an association between strains from case-patients who reported contact with farm animals and individual C. parvum microsatellite alleles. The strongest association was with ML1; all strains from case-patients that reported farm animal contact had the same allele (ML1–242). Microsatellite typing of C. parvum provides valuable additional information on the epidemiology of this pathogen.

  • Blood Transfusion and Spread of Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease PDF Version [PDF - 507 KB - 8 pages]
    K. Dietz et al.
       View Abstract

    Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) may be transmissible by blood. To prevent secondary transmission through blood components, several countries have started to exclude as donors persons who have received a blood transfusion. We investigated the effectiveness of this measure by using a dynamic age-structured model. It is the first such model based on epidemiologic data: 1) blood donor activities, 2) a case-control study on CJD, 3) age distribution of recipients, and 4) death of recipients of blood transfusions. The model predicts that an infection like vCJD, which has been introduced into the population by the alimentary route, could not become endemic by transfusion alone and that <1% of cases would be avoided by excluding from blood donation those persons who have received a transfusion.

  • Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter Infection Mortality Rate and Length of Hospitalization PDF Version [PDF - 164 KB - 7 pages]
    R. H. Sunenshine et al.
       View Abstract

    Acinetobacter infections have increased and gained attention because of the organism’s prolonged environmental survival and propensity to develop antimicrobial drug resistance. The effect of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter infection on clinical outcomes has not been reported. A retrospective, matched cohort investigation was performed at 2 Baltimore hospitals to examine outcomes of patients with MDR Acinetobacter infection compared with patients with susceptible Acinetobacter infections and patients without Acinetobacter infections. Multivariable analysis controlling for severity of illness and underlying disease identified an independent association between patients with MDR Acinetobacter infection (n = 96) and increased hospital and intensive care unit length of stay compared with 91 patients with susceptible Acinetobacter infection (odds ratio [OR] 2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–5.2 and OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.0–4.3] respectively) and 89 uninfected patients (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.2–5.4 and OR 4.2, 95% CI 1.5–11.6] respectively). Increased hospitalization associated with MDR Acinetobacter infection emphasizes the need for infection control strategies to prevent cross-transmission in healthcare settings.

  • Clusters of Hantavirus Infection, Southern Argentina PDF Version [PDF - 275 KB - 7 pages]
    M. E. Lázaro et al.
       View Abstract

    Person-to-person transmission of a hantavirus was first confirmed during a 1996 outbreak of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in southern Argentina, where Andes virus is endemic. To identify other episodes of secondary transmission, we reviewed reports of 51 hantavirus infection cases from this region (November 1993–June 2005). Nine clusters involving 20 cases (39.2%) were found. Two patients, who had symptoms 3 weeks after they shared risks for rodent exposure, were considered a cluster. The other 8 clusters each began with an index case, which was almost always fatal, followed 19–40 days later by the illness of >1 person who had close and prolonged contact with the index case-patient. Person-to-person transmission was considered the probable source of these 8 clusters. The probability of initiating secondary cases was 41% for patients who died versus 4% for those who survived (p = 0.005). Interpersonal transmission of Andes virus infection should be considered even when rodent exposure cannot be definitively excluded.

  • Emergence of Arctic-like Rabies Lineage in India PDF Version [PDF - 164 KB - 6 pages]
    S. A. Nadin-Davis et al.
       View Abstract

    A collection of 37 rabies-infected samples, 10 human saliva and 27 animal brain, were recovered during 2001–2004 from the cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad in southern India and from Kasauli, a mountainous region in Himachal Pradesh, northern India. Phylogenetic analysis of partial N gene nucleotide sequences of these 37 specimens and 1 archival specimen identified 2 groups, divided according to their geographic (north or south) origins. Comparison of selected Indian viruses with representative rabies viruses recovered worldwide showed a close association of all Indian isolates with the circumpolar Arctic rabies lineage distributed throughout northern latitudes of North America and Europe and other viruses recovered from several Asian countries.

  • Tickborne Relapsing Fever Diagnosis Obscured by Malaria, Togo PDF Version [PDF - 217 KB - 7 pages]
    A. Nordstrand et al.
       View Abstract

    Given the prevalence of relapsing fever (RF) in Senegal, this disease may cause illness and death in other areas of West Africa. We performed a cross-sectional, clinic-based study to investigate the presence of RF in Togo during 2002–2004. Blood samples from patients with fever were examined for RF spirochetes by microscopy, PCR, and DNA sequencing of amplicons and for antibodies to the glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase antigen. Although no spirochetes were seen in blood smears, ≈10% of the patients were positive by PCR and ≈13% were seropositive for spirochetes. DNA sequencing demonstrated that Borrelia crocidurae and B. duttonii were present. Most patients were treated for malaria whether or not plasmodia were observed. Thus, many RF patients originally had a misdiagnosis of malaria, which resulted in ineffective treatment. The inability of microscopic analysis to detect spirochetes compared with PCR demonstrates the need for tests with greater sensitivity.

  • Vaccine Effectiveness Estimates, 2004–2005 Mumps Outbreak, England PDF Version [PDF - 118 KB - 6 pages]
    C. Cohen et al.
    View Summary

    As vaccinated children approach adolescence, immunity wanes, which may contribute to outbreaks.

       View Abstract

    The United Kingdom and United States have recently experienced large outbreaks of mumps, which raises concerns about vaccine effectiveness. The effectiveness of the mumps component of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine was estimated using the screening method. In England from January 2004 through March 2005, 312 cases of mumps were reported in children eligible to have received 2 doses of MMR vaccine. Of these children, 52 (16.7%) had received 1 dose of MMR vaccine, and 97 (31.1%) had received 2 doses. Vaccine effectiveness was 88% (95% confidence interval [CI] 83%–91%) for 1 dose and 95% (95% CI 93%–96%) for 2 doses. The effectiveness of 1 dose declined from 96% (95% CI 81%–99%) in 2-year-olds to 66% (95% CI 30%–83%) in 11- to 12-year-olds, and the effectiveness of 2 doses declined from 99% (95% CI 97%–99.5%) in 5- to 6-year-olds to 86% (95% CI 74%–93%) in 11- to 12-year-olds (p<0.001 for 1 or 2 doses). Waning immunity may contribute to mumps outbreaks in older vaccinated populations.

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