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Volume 13, Number 2—February 2007

Volume 13, Number 2—February 2007   PDF Version [PDF - 5.52 MB - 179 pages]


  • Immune Cell Apoptosis Prevention as Potential Therapy for Severe Infections PDF Version [PDF - 484 KB - 8 pages]
    J. Parrino et al.
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    Some labile cell types whose numbers are normally controlled through programmed cell death are subject to markedly increased destruction during some severe infections. Lymphocytes, in particular, undergo massive and apparently unregulated apoptosis in human patients and laboratory animals with sepsis, potentially playing a major role in the severe immunosuppression that characterizes the terminal phase of fatal illness. Extensive lymphocyte apoptosis has also occurred in humans and animals infected with several exotic agents, including Bacillus anthracis, the cause of anthrax; Yersinia pestis, the cause of plague; and Ebola virus. Prevention of lymphocyte apoptosis, through either genetic modification of the host or treatment with specific inhibitors, markedly improves survival in murine sepsis models. These findings suggest that interventions aimed at reducing the extent of immune cell apoptosis could improve outcomes for a variety of severe human infections, including those caused by emerging pathogens and bioterrorism agents.


  • Reduced Efficacy of Insecticide-treated Nets and Indoor Residual Spraying for Malaria Control in Pyrethroid Resistance Area, Benin PDF Version [PDF - 163 KB - 8 pages]
    R. N’Guessan et al.
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    The pyrethroid knockdown resistance gene (kdr) has become widespread in Anopheles gambiae in West Africa. A trial to test the continuing efficacy of insecticide-treated nets (ITN) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) was undertaken in experimental huts at 2 sites in Benin, 1 where kdr is present at high frequency (Ladji), the other where An. gambiae is susceptible (Malanville). Holes were made in the nets to mimic worn nets. At Malanville, 96% of susceptible An. gambiae were inhibited from blood-feeding, whereas at Ladji feeding was uninhibited by ITNs. The mortality rate of An. gambiae in ITN huts was 98% in Malanville but only 30% at Ladji. The efficacy of IRS was equally compromised. Mosquitoes at Ladji had higher oxidase and esterase activity than a laboratory-susceptible strain, but this fact did not seem to contribute to resistance. Pyrethroid resistance in An. gambiae appears to threaten the future of ITN and IRS in Benin.

  • Code-based Syndromic Surveillance for Influenzalike Illness by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision PDF Version [PDF - 512 KB - 10 pages]
    N. Marsden-Haug et al.
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    With the spread of avian influenza, use of automated data streams to rapidly detect and track human influenza cases has increased. We performed correlation analyses to determine whether International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9), groupings used to detect influenzalike illness (ILI) within an automated syndromic system correlate with respiratory virus laboratory test results in the same population (r = 0.71 or 0.86, depending on group). We used temporal and signal-to-noise analysis to identify 2 subsets of ICD-9 codes that most accurately represent ILI trends, compared nationwide sentinel ILI surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the automated data (r = 0.97), and found the most sensitive set of ICD-9 codes for respiratory illness surveillance. Our results demonstrate a method for selecting the best group of ICD-9 codes to assist system developers and health officials who are interpreting similar data for daily public health activities.

  • Imported Infectious Disease and Purpose of Travel, Switzerland PDF Version [PDF - 211 KB - 6 pages]
    L. Fenner et al.
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    We evaluated the epidemiologic factors of patients seeking treatment for travel-associated illness from January 2004 through May 2005 at the University Hospital of Zurich. When comparing persons whose purpose of travel was visiting friends and relatives (VFR travelers; n = 121) with tourists and other travelers (n = 217), VFR travelers showed a distinct infectious disease and risk spectrum. VFR travelers were more likely to receive a diagnosis of malaria (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 2.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–7.3) or viral hepatitis (OR = 3.1, 95% CI 1.1–9) compared with other travelers but were less likely to seek pre-travel advice (20% vs. 67%, p = 0.0001). However, proportionate rates of acute diarrhea were lower in VFR (173 vs. 364 per 1,000 ill returnees). Travel to sub-Saharan Africa contributed most to malaria in VFR travelers. In countries with large migrant populations, improved public health strategies are needed to reach VFR travelers.

  • Invasive Group B Streptococcal Infection in Infants, Malawi PDF Version [PDF - 101 KB - 7 pages]
    K. J. Gray et al.
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    Group B streptococci (GBS) are a recently identified cause of neonatal sepsis in Malawi. In Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi, during May 2004–June 2005, GBS were isolated from routine blood and cerebrospinal fluid cultures from 57 infants. The incidence of early (EOD) and late onset (LOD) invasive GBS disease was 0.92 and 0.89 cases per 1,000 live births, respectively. Sepsis (52%) was the most common manifestation of EOD; meningitis (43%) and sepsis (36%) were the principal manifestations of LOD. The case-fatality rate was 33% overall (38% EOD, 29% LOD). Serotypes Ia and III were responsible for 77% of disease. All isolates were susceptible to penicillin, but 21% were resistant to erythromycin. The rate and manifestations of neonatal GBS disease in Malawi are similar to those in industrialized countries, but the case-fatality rate is higher than in industrialized countries. Effective locally relevant prevention strategies are needed.

  • Deaths from Cysticercosis, United States PDF Version [PDF - 241 KB - 6 pages]
    F. J. Sorvillo et al.
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    Cysticercosis has emerged as a cause of severe neurologic disease in the United States. We evaluated cysticercosis-related deaths in the United States for 1990–2002 by race, sex, age, state of residence, country of birth, and year of death. A total of 221 cysticercosis deaths were identified. Mortality rates were highest for Latinos (adjusted rate ratio [ARR] 94.5, relative to whites) and men (ARR = 1.8). The mean age at death was 40.5 years (range 2–88). Most patients (187 [84.6%]) were foreign born, and 137 (62%) had emigrated from Mexico. The 33 US-born persons who died of cysticercosis represented 15% of all cysticercosis-related deaths. The cysticercosis mortality rate was highest in California, which accounted for ≈60% of all deaths. Although uncommon, cysticercosis is a cause of premature death in the United States. Fatal cysticercosis affected mainly immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries; however, US-born persons were also affected.

  • Community-associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolates and Healthcare-Associated Infections PDF Version [PDF - 109 KB - 7 pages]
    C. L. Maree et al.
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    We noted a marked increase in healthcare-associated (HA) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections caused by isolates phenotypically consistent with community-associated (CA)-MRSA strains. To study this trend, we retrospectively examined all HA-MRSA isolates from patients in our institution during 1999–2004. An isolate was considered an SCCmecIV phenotype if it had antimicrobial drug susceptibilities consistent with typical CA-MRSA isolates. Our phenotypic definition was validated in a limited subset of isolates by SCCmec genotype, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and multilocus sequence typing. Among 352 patients with HA-MRSA isolates, SCCmecIV phenotype increased from 17% in 1999 to 56% in 2003 (p<0.0001). Antimicrobial drug-susceptibility phenotype and genotype were consistent in 21 (91%) of 23 isolates. In a multivariate model, the SCCmec type IV phenotype was independently associated with wound culture source, later year of collection, and MRSA isolated earlier during hospitalization. In conclusion, MRSA isolates phenotypically similar to CA strains have become the predominant isolates associated with HA-MRSA in our hospital.

  • Subclinical Infection with Avian Influenza A H5N1 Virus in Cats PDF Version [PDF - 146 KB - 5 pages]
    M. Leschnik et al.
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    Avian influenza A virus subtype H5N1 was transmitted to domestic cats by close contact with infected birds. Virus-specific nucleic acids were detected in pharyngeal swabs from 3 of 40 randomly sampled cats from a group of 194 animals (day 8 after contact with an infected swan). All cats were transferred to a quarantine station and monitored for clinical signs, virus shedding, and antibody production until day 50. Despite unfamiliar handling, social distress and the presence of other viral and nonviral pathogens that caused illness and poor health and compromised the immune systems, none of the cats developed clinical signs of influenza. There was no evidence of horizontal transmission to other cats because only 2 cats developed antibodies against H5N1 virus.

  • Human African Trypanosomiasis in a Rural Community, Democratic Republic of Congo PDF Version [PDF - 226 KB - 7 pages]
    P. Lutumba et al.
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    According to the World Health Organization, human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) (sleeping sickness) caused the loss of ≈1.5 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in 2002. We describe the effect of HAT during 2000–2002 in Buma, a rural community near Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We used retrospective questionnaire surveys to estimate HAT-related household costs and DALYs. The HAT outbreak in Buma involved 57 patients and affected 47 (21%) households. The cost to each household was equivalent to 5 months’ income for that household. The total number of HAT-related DALYs was 2,145, and interventions to control HAT averted 1,408 DALYs. The cost per DALY averted was US $17. Because HAT has a serious economic effect on households and control interventions are cost-effective, considering only global burden of disease rankings for resource allocation could lead to misguided priority setting if applied without caution in HAT-affected countries.

  • Campylobacter Antimicrobial Drug Resistance among Humans, Broiler Chickens, and Pigs, France PDF Version [PDF - 260 KB - 8 pages]
    A. Gallay et al.
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    We describe isolates from human Campylobacter infection in the French population and the isolates' antimicrobial drug resistance patterns since 1986 and compare the trends with those of isolates from broiler chickens and pigs from 1999 to 2004. Among 5,685 human Campylobacter isolates, 76.2% were C. jejuni, 17.2% C. coli, and 5.0% C. fetus. Resistance to nalidixic acid increased from 8.2% in 1990 to 26.3% in 2004 (p<10-3), and resistance to ampicillin was high over time. Nalidixic acid resistance was greater for C. coli (21.3%) than for C. jejuni (14.9%, p<10-3). C. jejuni resistance to ciprofloxacin in broilers decreased from 31.7% in 2002 to 9.0% in 2004 (p = 0.02). The patterns of resistance to quinolones and fluoroquinolones were similar between 1999 and 2004 in human and broiler isolates for C. jejuni. These results suggest a potential benefit of a regulation policy limiting use of antimicrobial drugs in food animals.

  • Host-associated Genetic Import in Campylobacter jejuni PDF Version [PDF - 137 KB - 6 pages]
    N. D. McCarthy et al.
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    Establishing sources of human infection supports effective disease control measures. Host association with Campylobacter jejuni was analyzed by using multilocus sequence typing data for 713 isolates from chickens and bovids (cattle and sheep). Commonly used summary measures of genotypes (sequence type and clonal complex) showed poor accuracy, but a method using the full allelic profile showed 80% accuracy in distinguishing isolates from these 2 host groups. We explored the biologic basis of more accurate results with allelic profiles. Strains isolated from specific hosts have imported a substantial number of alleles while circulating in those host species. These results imply that 1) although Campylobacter moves frequently between hosts, most transmission is within species, and 2) lineages can acquire a host signature and potentially adapt to the host through recombination. Assignment using this signature enables improved prediction of source for pathogens that undergo frequent genetic recombination.

  • Meningococcal Disease in South Africa, 1999–2002 PDF Version [PDF - 252 KB - 9 pages]
    G. B. Coulson et al.
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    We describe the epidemiology of invasive meningococcal disease in South Africa from August 1999 through July 2002, as reported to a laboratory-based surveillance system. Neisseria meningitidis isolates were further characterized. In total, 854 cases of laboratory-confirmed disease were reported, with an annual incidence rate of 0.64/100,000 population. Incidence was highest in infants <1 year of age. Serogroup B caused 41% of cases; serogroup A, 23%; serogroup Y, 21%; serogroup C, 8%; and serogroup W135, 5%. Serogroup B was the predominant serogroup in Western Cape Province, and disease rates remained stable. Serogroup A was most prevalent in Gauteng Province and increased over the 3 years. On pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis, serogroup A strains showed clonality, and serogroup B demonstrated considerable diversity. Selected isolates of serogroup A belonged to sequence type (ST)-1 (subgroup I/II) complex, serogroup B to ST-32/electrophoretic type (ET)-5 complex, and serogroup W135 to ST-11/ET-37 complex.

  • Neutralizing Antibodies after Infection with Dengue 1 Virus PDF Version [PDF - 75 KB - 5 pages]
    G. Kourí et al.
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    Severity of disease is markedly increased when infection with dengue virus type 2 (DENV-2) follows infection with DENV-1. Studies have shown that heterologous neutralizing antibody titers are inversely correlated with severity of a second infection. If this mechanism controlled disease severity in Cuba, heterotypic antibody titers should have declined over time. To determine whether phenotypic changes in dengue antibodies occur over time, we analyzed serum samples collected 4–8 and 20–22 years after DENV-1 infection. We found a significant increase in mean titer of homologous DENV-1 neutralizing antibodies and a significant decrease in heterologous antibodies to 1 of 2 genotypes of DENV-2 virus (the American genotype). Asian DENV-2 viruses were not neutralized during either interval; however, the American genotype underwent phenotypic changes in heterotypic viral neutralizing antibodies in the predicted direction. This finding may be related to the time-dependent changes in severity of disease found with secondary dengue infection.

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ST398 in Humans and Animals, Central Europe PDF Version [PDF - 99 KB - 4 pages]
    W. Witte et al.
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    Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus of clonal lineage ST398 that exhibits related spa types and contains SCCmec elements of types IVa or V has been isolated from colonized and infected humans and companion animals (e.g., dog, pig, horse) in Germany and Austria. Of particular concern is the association of these cases with cases of nosocomial ventilator-associated pneumonia.


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