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Volume 14, Number 4—April 2008

Volume 14, Number 4—April 2008   PDF Version [PDF - 7.02 MB - 167 pages]


  • Bluetongue Epidemiology in the European Union PDF Version [PDF - 270 KB - 6 pages]
    C. Saegerman et al.
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    Bluetongue (BT) is a reportable disease of considerable socioeconomic concern and of major importance in the international trade of animals and animal products. Before 1998, BT was considered an exotic disease in Europe. From 1998 through 2005, at least 6 BT virus strains belonging to 5 serotypes (BTV-1, BTV-2, BTV-4, BTV-9, and BTV-16) were continuously present in the Mediterranean Basin. Since August 2006, BTV-8 has caused a severe epizootic of BT in northern Europe. The widespread recrudescence and extension of BTV-8 infections in northern Europe during 2007 suggest that requirements for BTV establishment may now be fulfilled in this area. In addition, the radial extension of BTV-8 across Europe increases the risk for an encounter between this serotype and others, particularly those that occur in the Mediterranean Basin, where vector activity continues for more of the year. This condition increases the risk for reassortment of individual BTV gene segments.


  • Potential Use of Antiviral Agents in Polio Eradication PDF Version [PDF - 227 KB - 7 pages]
    A. M. De Palma et al.
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    In 1988, the World Health Assembly launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which aimed to use large-scale vaccination with the oral vaccine to eradicate polio worldwide by the year 2000. Although important progress has been made, polio remains endemic in several countries. Also, the current control measures will likely be inadequate to deal with problems that may arise in the postpolio era. A panel convoked by the National Research Council concluded that the use of antiviral drugs may be essential in the polio eradication strategy. We here report on a comparative study of the antipoliovirus activity of a selection of molecules that have previously been reported to be inhibitors of picornavirus replication and discuss their potential use, alone or in combination, for the treatment or prophylaxis of poliovirus infection.


  • Determination of Oseltamivir Quality by Colorimetric and Liquid Chromatographic Methods PDF Version [PDF - 203 KB - 5 pages]
    M. D. Green et al.
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    We developed a colorimetric and chromatographic assay for oseltamivir to assess the authenticity of Tamiflu (F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Basel, Switzerland) because of a growing concern about counterfeit oseltamivir. The colorimetric assay is quantitative and relies on an extractable colored ion-pair complex of oseltamivir with Congo red or bromochlorophenol blue. The reverse-phase chromatographic assay uses an alkaline mobile phase with UV detection. Both methods were evaluated for variability and selectivity and subsequently applied to batches of oseltamivir products acquired through the Internet. The Congo red test showed greater assay sensitivity, linearity, and accuracy. Colorimetric and chromatographic analysis showed all batches of oseltamivir product were within ±15% of the stated amount of active ingredient.

  • Clonal Population of Flucytosine-Resistant Candida tropicalis from Blood Cultures, Paris, France PDF Version [PDF - 230 KB - 9 pages]
    M. Desnos-Ollivier et al.
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    Candida tropicalis is a diploid ascomycetes yeast responsible for 4%–24% of candidemia. Resistance to flucytosine is rarely described for this species but was observed for 45 (35%) of 130 C. tropicalis isolates recovered from blood cultures in the Paris area in a 4-year survey. The aims of this study were to test the hypothesis that the flucytosine-resistant isolates could represent a subgroup and to determine the relationship between epidemiologic and genomic data. Epidemiologic data and gene sequences were analyzed, and molecular typing was performed. Our results suggest that a clone of flucytosine-resistant isolates, associated with malignancies and a lower mortality than that for other C. tropicalis isolates, is widespread in the Paris area. We propose the analysis of 2 polymorphic microsatellite markers coupled with URA3 sequencing to track the clone.

  • Emericella quadrilineata as Cause of Invasive Aspergillosis PDF Version [PDF - 320 KB - 7 pages]
    P. E. Verweij et al.
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    We noted a cluster of 4 cases of infection or colonization by Emericella spp., identified by sequence-based analysis as E. quadrilineata. Sequence-based analysis of an international collection of 33 Emericella isolates identified 12 as E. nidulans, all 12 of which had previously been identified by morphologic methods as E. nidulans. For 12 isolates classified as E. quadrilineata, only 6 had been previously identified accordingly. E. nidulans was less susceptible than E. quadrilineata to amphotericin B (median MICs 2.5 and 0.5 mg/L, respectively, p<0.05); E. quadrilineata was less susceptible than E. nidulans to caspofungin (median MICs, 1.83 and 0.32 mg/L, respectively, p<0.05). These data indicate that sequence-based identification is more accurate than morphologic examination for identifying Emericella spp. and that correct species demarcation and in vitro susceptibility testing may affect patient management.

  • Control Measures Used during Lymphogranuloma Venereum Outbreak, Europe PDF Version [PDF - 183 KB - 6 pages]
    A. Timen et al.
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    To assess the response to the reemergence of lymphogranuloma venereum, we conducted a cross-sectional survey by administering a structured questionnaire to representatives from 26 European countries. Responses were received from 18 countries. The ability to respond quickly and the measures used for outbreak detection and control varied. Evidence-based criteria were not consistently used to develop recommendations. We did not develop criteria to determine the effectiveness of the recommendations. The degree of preparedness for an unexpected outbreak, as well as the ability of countries to respond quickly to alerts, varied, which indicates weaknesses in the ability to control an outbreak. More guidance is needed to implement and evaluate control measures used during international outbreaks.

  • Medscape CME Activity
    β-Herpesviruses in Febrile Children with Cancer
    S. Yee-Guardino et al.
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    We conducted a cross-sectional study of β-herpesviruses in febrile pediatric oncology patients (n = 30), with a reference group of febrile pediatric solid-organ transplant recipients (n = 9). One (3.3%) of 30 cancer patients and 3 (33%) of 9 organ recipients were PCR positive for cytomegalovirus. Four (13%) of 30 cancer patients and 3 (33%) of 9 transplant recipients had human herpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B) DNAemia, which was more common within 6 months of initiation of immune suppression (4 of 16 vs. 0 of 14 cancer patients; p = 0.050). HHV-6A and HHV-7 were not detected. No other cause was identified in children with HHV-6B or cytomegalovirus DNAemia. One HHV-6B–positive cancer patient had febrile disease with concomitant hepatitis. Other HHV-6B–positive children had mild “viral” illnesses, as did a child with primary cytomegalovirus infection. Cytomegalovirus and HHV-6B should be included in the differential diagnosis of febrile disease in children with cancer.

  • Seroprevalence and Risk Factors for Human Herpesvirus 8 Infection, Rural Egypt PDF Version [PDF - 186 KB - 6 pages]
    S. M. Mbulaiteye et al.
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    To determine whether human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) is associated with schistosomal and hepatitis C virus infections in Egypt, we surveyed 965 rural household participants who had been tested for HHV-8 and schistosomal infection (seroprevalence 14.2% and 68.6%, respectively, among those <15 years of age, and 24.2% and 72.8%, respectively, among those ≥15 years of age). Among adults, HHV-8 seropositivity was associated with higher age, lower education, dental treatment, tattoos, >10 lifetime injections, and hepatitis C virus seropositivity. In adjusted analyses, HHV-8 seropositivity was associated with dental treatment among men (odds ratio [OR] 2.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1–5.2) and hepatitis C virus seropositivity among women (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.4–7.9). HHV-8 association with antischistosomal antibodies was not significant for men (OR 2.1, 95% CI 0.3–16.4), but marginal for women (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.0–2.5). Our findings suggest salivary and possible nosocomial HHV-8 transmission in rural Egypt.

  • Retrospective Analysis of Monkeypox Infection PDF Version [PDF - 390 KB - 8 pages]
    M. E. Dubois and M. K. Slifka
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    Serologic cross-reactivity between orthopoxviruses is a substantial barrier to laboratory diagnosis of specific orthopoxvirus infections and epidemiologic characterization of disease outbreaks. Historically, time-consuming and labor-intensive strategies such as cross-adsorbed neutralization assays, immunofluorescence assays, and hemagglutination-inhibition assays have been used to identify orthopoxvirus infections. We used cross-adsorption to develop a simple and quantitative postadsorption ELISA for distinguishing between monkeypox and vaccinia infections. Despite the difficulty of diagnosing clinically inapparent monkeypox in previously vaccinated persons, this technique exhibited 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity for identifying clinically overt monkeypox infection irrespective of vaccination history. We also describe a Western blot technique in which up to 3 diagnostic bands may be used to distinguish between vaccinia and monkeypox infection. The techniques described provide independent diagnostic tests suitable for retrospective analysis of monkeypox outbreaks.

  • Wild Ducks as Long-Distance Vectors of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus (H5N1) PDF Version [PDF - 1.13 MB - 8 pages]
    J. Keawcharoen et al.
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    Wild birds have been implicated in the expansion of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N1) outbreaks across Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa (in addition to traditional transmission by infected poultry, contaminated equipment, and people). Such a role would require wild birds to excrete virus in the absence of debilitating disease. By experimentally infecting wild ducks, we found that tufted ducks, Eurasian pochards, and mallards excreted significantly more virus than common teals, Eurasian wigeons, and gadwalls; yet only tufted ducks and, to a lesser degree, pochards became ill or died. These findings suggest that some wild duck species, particularly mallards, can potentially be long-distance vectors of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N1) and that others, particularly tufted ducks, are more likely to act as sentinels.

  • Rapid Typing of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy Strains with Differential ELISA PDF Version [PDF - 474 KB - 9 pages]
    S. Simon et al.
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    The bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) agent has been transmitted to humans, leading to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Sheep and goats can be experimentally infected by BSE and have been potentially exposed to natural BSE; however, whether BSE can be transmitted to small ruminants is not known. Based on the particular biochemical properties of the abnormal prion protein (PrPsc) associated with BSE, and particularly the increased degradation induced by proteinase K in the N terminal part of PrPsc, we have developed a rapid ELISA designed to distinguish BSE from other scrapie strains. This assay clearly discriminates experimental ovine BSE from other scrapie strains and was used to screen 260 transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE)–infected small ruminant samples identified by the French active surveillance network (2002/2003). In this context, this test has helped to identify the first case of natural BSE in a goat and can be used to classify TSE isolates based on the proteinase K sensitivity of PrPsc.

  • Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome Caused by 2 Lineages of Dobrava Hantavirus, Russia PDF Version [PDF - 326 KB - 9 pages]
    B. Klempa et al.
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    Dobrava-Belgrade virus (DOBV) is a European hantavirus that causes hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS); case-fatality rates in Balkan countries are as high as 12%. To determine causative agents, we examined 126 cases of DOBV-associated HFRS in central and southern European Russia. In central Russia (Lipetsk, Voronezh, Orel regions), outbreaks were caused by a DOBV variant (DOBV-Aa) carried by Apodemus agrarius. In southern Russia (Sochi district), where HFRS is endemic, HFRS cases were caused by a new DOBV variant (DOBV-Ap), found in A. ponticus, a novel hantavirus natural host. Both viruses, DOBV-Aa/Lipetsk and DOBV-Ap/Sochi, were isolated through Vero E6 cells, genetically characterized, and used for serotyping of the HFRS patients’ serum. The clinical severity of HFRS caused by DOBV-Aa resembles that of HFRS caused by Puumala virus (mild to moderate); clinical severity of disease caused by DOBV-Ap infections is more often moderate to severe.

  • Detection and Prevalence Patterns of Group I Coronaviruses in Bats, Northern Germany
    F. Gloza-Rausch et al.
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    We tested 315 bats from 7 different bat species in northern Germany for coronaviruses by reverse transcription–PCR. The overall prevalence was 9.8%. There were 4 lineages of group I coronaviruses in association with 4 different species of verspertilionid bats (Myotis dasycneme, M. daubentonii, Pipistrellus nathusii, P. pygmaeus). The lineages formed a monophyletic clade of bat coronaviruses found in northern Germany. The clade of bat coronaviruses have a sister relationship with a clade of Chinese type I coronaviruses that were also associated with the Myotis genus (M. ricketti). Young age and ongoing lactation, but not sex or existing gravidity, correlated significantly with coronavirus detection. The virus is probably maintained on the population level by amplification and transmission in maternity colonies, rather than being maintained in individual bats.


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