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Volume 13, Number 10—October 2007

Volume 13, Number 10—October 2007   PDF Version [PDF - 21.67 MB - 183 pages]

THEME ISSUE
Global Poverty and Human Development

Policy Review

Perspective

  • Preparedness for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Pandemic in Africa PDF Version [PDF - 207 KB - 6 pages]
    R. F. Breiman et al.
       View Abstract

    Global concerns about an impending influenza pandemic escalated when highly pathogenic influenza A subtype H5N1 appeared in Nigeria in January 2006. The potential devastation from emergence of a pandemic strain in Africa has led to a sudden shift of public health focus to pandemic preparedness. Preparedness and control activities must work within the already strained capacity of health infrastructure in Africa to respond to immense existing public health problems. Massive attention and resources directed toward influenza could distort priorities and damage critical public health programs. Responses to concerns about pandemic influenza should strengthen human and veterinary surveillance and laboratory capacity to help address a variety of health threats. Experiences in Asia should provide bases for reassessing strategies for Africa and elsewhere. Fowl depopulation strategies will need to be adapted for Africa. Additionally, the role of avian vaccines should be comprehensively evaluated and clearly defined.

Research

  • Plague Reappearance in Algeria after 50 Years, 2003 PDF Version [PDF - 127 KB - 4 pages]
    E. Bertherat et al.
       View Abstract

    An outbreak of plague occurred in the region of Oran, Algeria, from June to July 2003. Algeria had not reported this disease for >50 years. Eighteen bubonic cases were identified, and Yersinia pestis was isolated from 6 patients. Except for the index case-patient, all patients recovered. Targeted chemoprophylaxis, sanitation, and vector control played a crucial role in controlling the outbreak. Epidemiologic and biomolecular findings strongly suggested the existence of a local animal reservoir during this period, but its origin (resurgence or re-importation) could not be determined. This sudden and unexpected reemergence of plague, close to an important commercial seaport, is a textbook illustration of a public health event of international importance. It also demonstrates that the danger of plague reoccurrence is not limited to the currently indexed natural foci.

  • HIV and Tuberculosis in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 1997–2002 PDF Version [PDF - 228 KB - 7 pages]
    T. N. Buu et al.
       View Abstract

    In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, reporting rates for tuberculosis (TB) are rising in an emerging HIV epidemic. To describe the HIV epidemic among TB patients and quantify its impact on rates of reported TB, we performed a repeated cross-sectional survey from 1997 through 2002 in a randomly selected sample of inner city TB patients. We assessed effect by adjusting TB case reporting rates by the fraction of TB cases attributable to HIV infection. HIV prevalence in TB patients rose exponentially from 1.5% to 9.0% during the study period. Young (<35 years), single, male patients were mostly affected; injection drug use was a potent risk factor. After correction for HIV infection, the trend in TB reporting rates changed from a 1.9% increase to a 0.4% decrease per year. An emerging HIV epidemic, concentrated in young, male, injection drug users, is responsible for increased TB reporting rates in urban Vietnam.

  • Epidemiology of Schistosomiasis in the People’s Republic of China, 2004 PDF Version [PDF - 250 KB - 7 pages]
    X. Zhou et al.
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    Results from the third nationwide cluster sampling survey on the epidemiology of schistosomiasis in the People’s Republic of China, conducted by the Ministry of Health in 2004, are presented. A stratified cluster random sampling technique was used, and 239 villages were selected in 7 provinces where Schistosoma japonicum remains endemic. A total of 250,987 residents 6–65 years of age were included in the survey. Estimated prevalence rates in the provinces of Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Anhui, Yunnan, Sichuan, and Jiangsu were 4.2%, 3.8%, 3.1%, 2.2%, 1.7%, 0.9%, and 0.3%, respectively. The highest prevalence rates were in the lake and marshland region (3.8%) and the lowest rates were in the plain region with waterway networks (0.06%). Extrapolation to all residents in schistosome-endemic areas indicated 726,112 infections. This indicates a reduction of 16.1% compared with a nationwide survey conducted in 1995. However, human infection rates increased by 3.9% in settings where transmission is ongoing.

  • Dengue Fever Seroprevalence and Risk Factors, Texas–Mexico Border, 2004 PDF Version [PDF - 175 KB - 7 pages]
    J. M. Brunkard et al.
       View Abstract

    Reported autochthonous dengue fever transmission in the United States has been limited to 5 south Texas border counties since 1980. We conducted a cross-sectional serosurvey in Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico (n = 600), in 2004 to assess dengue seroprevalence. Recent dengue infection was detected in 2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.5%–3.5%) and 7.3% (95% CI 4.3%–10.3%) of residents in Brownsville and Matamoros, respectively. Past infection was detected in 40% (95% CI 34%–45%) of Brownsville residents and 78% (95% CI 74%–83%) of Matamoros residents. For recent infection, only weekly family income <$100 was a significant predictor (adjusted odds ratio 3.2, 95% CI 1.3–8.0). Risk factors that predicted past dengue infection were presence of larval habitat, absence of air-conditioning and street drainage, and weekly family income <$100. Mosquito larvae were present in 30% of households in both cities. Our results show that dengue fever is endemic in this area of the southern Texas–Mexico border.

  • Cost-effectiveness of Algorithms for Confirmation Test of Human African Trypanosomiasis PDF Version [PDF - 626 KB - 7 pages]
    P. Lutumba et al.
       View Abstract

    The control of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) is compromised by low sensitivity of the routinely used parasitologic confirmation tests. More sensitive alternatives, such as mini-anion exchange centrifugation technique (mAECT) or capillary tube centrifugation (CTC), are more expensive. We used formal decision analysis to assess the cost-effectiveness of alternative HAT confirmation algorithms in terms of cost per life saved. The effectiveness of the standard method, a combination of lymph node puncture (LNP), fresh blood examination (FBE), and thick blood film (TBF), was 36.8%; the LNP-FBE-CTC-mAECT sequence reached almost 80%. The cost per person examined ranged from €1.56 for LNP-FBE-TBF to €2.99 for LNP-TBF-CTC-mAECT-CATT (card agglutination test for trypanosomiasis) titration. LNP-TBF-CTC-mAECT was the most cost-effective in terms of cost per life saved. HAT confirmation algorithms that incorporate concentration techniques are more effective and efficient than the algorithms that are currently and routinely used by several T.b. gambiense control programs.

Dispatches

Another Dimension

Letters

Volume 13, Number 10—October 2007 - Continued

Perspective

  • Confronting Potential Influenza A (H5N1) Pandemic with Better Vaccines PDF Version [PDF - 196 KB - 7 pages]
    A. Haque et al.
       View Abstract

    Influenza A (H5N1) viruses are strong candidates for causing the next influenza pandemic if they acquire the ability for efficient human-to-human transmission. A major public health goal is to make efficacious vaccines against these viruses by using novel approaches, including cell-culture system, reverse genetics, and adjuvant development. Important consideration for the strategy includes preparation of vaccines from a currently circulating strain to induce broad-spectrum immunity toward newly emerged human H5 strains. This strategy would be a good solution early in a pandemic until an antigenically matched and approved vaccine is produced. The concept of therapeutic vaccines (e.g., antidisease vaccine) directed at diminishing the cytokine storm frequently seen in subtype H5N1–infected persons is underscored. Better understanding of host–virus interaction is essential to identify tools to produce effective vaccines against influenza (H5N1).

Research

  • Antigenic Diversity of Human Sapoviruses PDF Version [PDF - 324 KB - 7 pages]
    G. S. Hansman et al.
       View Abstract

    Sapovirus (SaV) is a causative agent of gastroenteritis. On the basis of capsid protein (VP1) nucleotide sequences, SaV can be divided into 5 genogroups (GI–GV), of which the GI, GII, GIV, and GV strains infect humans. SaV is uncultivable, but expression of recombinant VP1 in insect cells results in formation of viruslike particles (VLPs) that are antigenically similar to native SaV. In this study, we newly expressed SaV GII and GIV VLPs to compare genetic and antigenic relationships among all human SaV genogroups. Hyperimmune antiserum samples against VLPs reacted strongly with homologous VLPs. However, several antiserum samples weakly cross-reacted against heterologous VLPs in an antibody ELISA. Conversely, an antigen ELISA showed that VLPs of SaV in all human genogroups were antigenically distinct. These findings indicate a likely correspondence between SaV antigenicity and VP1 genogrouping and genotyping.

  • Evolutionary Relationships between Bat Coronaviruses and Their Hosts PDF Version [PDF - 273 KB - 7 pages]
    J. Cui et al.
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    Recent studies have suggested that bats are the natural reservoir of a range of coronaviruses (CoVs), and that rhinolophid bats harbor viruses closely related to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) CoV, which caused an outbreak of respiratory illness in humans during 2002–2003. We examined the evolutionary relationships between bat CoVs and their hosts by using sequence data of the virus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene and the bat cytochrome b gene. Phylogenetic analyses showed multiple incongruent associations between the phylogenies of rhinolophid bats and their CoVs, which suggested that host shifts have occurred in the recent evolutionary history of this group. These shifts may be due to either virus biologic traits or host behavioral traits. This finding has implications for the emergence of SARS and for the potential future emergence of SARS-CoVs or related viruses.

  • Rapid Increase of Genetically Diverse Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Copenhagen, Denmark PDF Version [PDF - 213 KB - 8 pages]
    M. D. Bartels et al.
       View Abstract

    In Copenhagen, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) accounted for <15 isolates per year during 1980–2002. However, since 2003 an epidemic increase has been observed, with 33 MRSA cases in 2003 and 110 in 2004. We analyzed these 143 cases epidemiologically and characterized isolates by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, Staphylococcus protein A (spa) typing, multilocus sequence typing, staphylococcal chromosome cassette (SCC) mec typing, and detection of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) genes. Seventy-one percent of cases were community-onset MRSA (CO-MRSA); of these, 36% had no identified risk factors. We identified 29 spa types (t) and 16 sequence types (STs) belonging to 8 clonal complexes and 3 ST singletons. The most common clonal types were t024/ST8-IV, t019/ST30-IV, t044/ST80-IV, and t008/ST8-IV (USA300). A total of 86% of isolates harbored SCCmec IV, and 44% had PVL. Skin and soft tissue infections dominated. CO-MRSA with diverse genetic backgrounds is rapidly emerging in a low MRSA prevalence area.

  • Personal Protective Equipment and Antiviral Drug Use during Hospitalization for Suspected Avian or Pandemic Influenza PDF Version [PDF - 294 KB - 7 pages]
    A. Swaminathan et al.
       View Abstract

    For pandemic influenza planning, realistic estimates of personal protective equipment (PPE) and antiviral medication required for hospital healthcare workers (HCWs) are vital. In this simulation study, a patient with suspected avian or pandemic influenza (API) sought treatment at 9 Australian hospital emergency departments where patient–staff interactions during the first 6 hours of hospitalization were observed. Based on World Health Organization definitions and guidelines, the mean number of “close contacts” of the API patient was 12.3 (range 6–17; 85% HCWs); mean “exposures” were 19.3 (range 15–26). Overall, 20–25 PPE sets were required per patient, with variable HCW compliance for wearing these items (93% N95 masks, 77% gowns, 83% gloves, and 73% eye protection). Up to 41% of HCW close contacts would have qualified for postexposure antiviral prophylaxis. These data indicate that many current national stockpiles of PPE and antiviral medication are likely inadequate for a pandemic.

  • SurvNet Electronic Surveillance System for Infectious Disease Outbreaks, Germany PDF Version [PDF - 279 KB - 8 pages]
    G. Krause et al.
       View Abstract

    In 2001, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) implemented a new electronic surveillance system (SurvNet) for infectious disease outbreaks in Germany. SurvNet has captured 30,578 outbreak reports in 2001–2005. The size of the outbreaks ranged from 2 to 527 cases. For outbreaks reported in 2002–2005, the median duration from notification of the first case to the local health department until receipt of the outbreak report at RKI was 7 days. Median outbreak duration ranged from 1 day (caused by Campylobacter) up to 73 days (caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis). The most common settings among the 10,008 entries for 9,946 outbreaks in 2004 and 2005 were households (5,262; 53%), nursing homes (1,218; 12%), and hospitals (1,248; 12%). SurvNet may be a useful tool for other outbreak surveillance systems because it minimizes the workload of local health departments and captures outbreaks even when causative pathogens have not yet been identified.

Dispatches

Letters

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