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Volume 14, Number 5—May 2008

Volume 14, Number 5—May 2008   PDF Version [PDF - 5.78 MB - 179 pages]


  • Scale-up of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis Laboratory Services, Peru PDF Version [PDF - 119 KB - 8 pages]
    S. S. Shin et al.
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    Over the past 10 years, the Peruvian National Tuberculosis (TB) Program, the National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Socios en Salud, and US partners have worked to strengthen the national TB laboratory network to support treatment of multidrug-resistant TB. We review key lessons of this experience. The preparation phase involved establishing criteria for drug susceptibility testing (DST), selecting appropriate DST methods, projecting the quantity of DST and culture to ensure adequate supplies, creating biosafe laboratory facilities for DST, training laboratory personnel on methods, and validating DST methods at the NRL. Implementation involved training providers on DST indications, validating conventional and rapid first-line DST methods at district laboratories, and eliminating additional delays in specimen transport and result reporting. Monitoring included ongoing quality control and quality assurance procedures. Hurdles included logistics, coordinating with policy, competing interests, changing personnel, communications, and evaluation. Operational research guided laboratory scale-up and identified barriers to effective capacity building.

  • Pandemic Influenza Planning in the United States from a Health Disparities Perspective PDF Version [PDF - 190 KB - 7 pages]
    P. Blumenshine et al.
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    We explored how different socioeconomic and racial/ethnic groups in the United States might fare in an influenza pandemic on the basis of social factors that shape exposure, vulnerability to influenza virus, and timeliness and adequacy of treatment. We discuss policies that might differentially affect social groups’ risk for illness or death. Our purpose is not to establish the precise magnitude of disparities likely to occur; rather, it is to call attention to avoidable disparities that can be expected in the absence of systematic attention to differential social risks in pandemic preparedness plans. Policy makers at the federal, state, and local levels should consider potential sources of socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities during a pandemic and formulate specific plans to minimize these disparities.


  • Declining Artesunate-Mefloquine Efficacy against Falciparum Malaria on the Cambodia–Thailand Border PDF Version [PDF - 99 KB - 4 pages]
    C. Wongsrichanalai and S. Meshnick
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    Resistance to many antimalaria drugs developed on the Cambodia–Thailand border long before developing elsewhere. Because antimalaria resistance is now a global problem, artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are the first-line therapies in most malaria-endemic countries. However, recent clinical and molecular studies suggest the emergence of ACT-resistant Plasmodium falciparum infections in the Cambodia–Thailand border area, where standard ACT is artesunate and mefloquine. These ACT failures might be caused by high-level mefloquine resistance because mefloquine was used for monotherapy long before the introduction of ACT. This observation raises 2 questions. First, how can existing P. falciparum–resistant strains be controlled? Second, how can the evolution of new ACT- resistant strains be avoided elsewhere, e.g., in Africa? Enforcement of rational drug use and improved diagnostic capacity are among the measures needed to avoid and contain ACT resistance.


  • Increasing Hospitalizations and General Practice Prescriptions for Community-onset Staphylococcal Disease, England PDF Version [PDF - 268 KB - 7 pages]
    A. Hayward et al.
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    Rates of hospital-acquired staphylococcal infection increased throughout the 1990s; however, information is limited on trends in community-onset staphylococcal disease in the United Kingdom. We used Hospital Episode Statistics to describe trends in hospital admissions for community-onset staphylococcal disease and national general practice data to describe trends in community prescribing for staphylococcal disease. Hospital admission rates for staphyloccocal septicemia, staphylococcal pneumonia, staphylococcal scalded-skin syndrome, and impetigo increased >5-fold. Admission rates increased 3-fold for abscesses and cellulitis and 1.5-fold for bone and joint infections. In primary care settings during 1991–2006, floxacillin prescriptions increased 1.8-fold and fusidic acid prescriptions 2.5-fold. The increases were not matched by increases in admission rates for control conditions. We identified a previously undescribed but major increase in pathogenic community-onset staphylococcal disease over the past 15 years. These trends are of concern given the international emergence of invasive community-onset staphylococcal infections.

  • Increasing Hospital Admissions for Pneumonia, England PDF Version [PDF - 286 KB - 7 pages]
    C. L. Trotter et al.
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    Pneumonia is an important cause of illness and death in England. To describe trends in pneumonia hospitalizations, we extracted information on all episodes of pneumonia that occurred from April 1997 through March 2005 recorded in the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) database by searching for International Classification of Diseases 10th revision codes J12–J18 in any diagnostic field. The age-standardized incidence of hospitalization with a primary diagnosis of pneumonia increased by 34% from 1.48 to 1.98 per 1,000 population between 1997–98 and 2004–05. The increase was more marked in older adults, in whom the mortality rate was also highest. The proportion of patients with recorded coexisting conditions (defined by using the Charlson Comorbidity Index score) increased over the study period. The rise in pneumonia hospital admissions was not fully explained by demographic change or increasing coexisting conditions. It may be attributable to other population factors, changes in HES coding, changes to health service organization, other biologic phenomenon, or a combination of these effects.

  • Increasing Incidence of Listeriosis in France and Other European Countries PDF Version [PDF - 255 KB - 7 pages]
    V. Goulet et al.
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    From 1999 through 2005, the incidence of listeriosis in France declined from 4.5 to 3.5 cases/million persons. In 2006, it increased to 4.7 cases/million persons. Extensive epidemiologic investigations of clusters in France have ruled out the occurrence of large foodborne disease outbreaks. In addition, no increase has occurred in pregnancy-associated cases or among persons <60 years of age who have no underlying disease. Increases have occurred mainly among persons >60 years of age and appear to be most pronounced for persons >70 years of age. In 8 other European countries, the incidence of listeriosis has increased, or remained relatively high, since 2000. As in France, these increases cannot be attributed to foodborne outbreaks, and no increase has been observed in pregnancy-associated cases. European countries appear to be experiencing an increased incidence of listeriosis among persons >60 years of age. The cause of this selective increased incidence is unknown.

  • Transmission of Avian Influenza Virus (H3N2) to Dogs PDF Version [PDF - 1.02 MB - 6 pages]
    D. Song et al.
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    In South Korea, where avian influenza virus subtypes H3N2, H5N1, H6N1, and H9N2 circulate or have been detected, 3 genetically similar canine influenza virus (H3N2) strains of avian origin (A/canine/Korea/01/2007, A/canine/Korea/02/2007, and A/canine/Korea/03/2007) were isolated from dogs exhibiting severe respiratory disease. To determine whether the novel canine influenza virus of avian origin was transmitted among dogs, we experimentally infected beagles with this influenza virus (H3N2) isolate. The beagles shed virus through nasal excretion, seroconverted, and became ill with severe necrotizing tracheobronchitis and bronchioalveolitis with accompanying clinical signs (e.g., high fever). Consistent with histologic observation of lung lesions, large amounts of avian influenza virus binding receptor (SAα 2,3-gal) were identified in canine tracheal, bronchial, and bronchiolar epithelial cells, which suggests potential for direct transmission of avian influenza virus (H3N2) from poultry to dogs. Our data provide evidence that dogs may play a role in interspecies transmission and spread of influenza virus.

  • Efficacy of Aerial Spraying of Mosquito Adulticide in Reducing Incidence of West Nile Virus, California, 2005 PDF Version [PDF - 300 KB - 8 pages]
    R. M. Carney et al.
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    Epidemic transmission of West Nile virus (WNV) in Sacramento County, California, in 2005 prompted aerial application of pyrethrin, a mosquito adulticide, over a large urban area. Statistical analyses of geographic information system datasets indicated that adulticiding reduced the number of human WNV cases within 2 treated areas compared with the untreated area of the county. When we adjusted for maximum incubation period of the virus from infection to onset of symptoms, no new cases were reported in either of the treated areas after adulticiding; 18 new cases were reported in the untreated area of Sacramento County during this time. Results indicated that the odds of infection after spraying were ≈6× higher in the untreated area than in treated areas, and that the treatments successfully disrupted the WNV transmission cycle. Our results provide direct evidence that aerial mosquito adulticiding is effective in reducing human illness and potential death from WNV infection.

  • Cryptococcus neoformans Strains and Infection in Apparently Immunocompetent Patients, China PDF Version [PDF - 375 KB - 8 pages]
    J. Chen et al.
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    To determine the population structure of the cryptococcosis agents in China, we analyzed the genotype of 120 Cryptococcus neoformans and 9 Cryptococcus gattii strains isolated from 1980 through 2006 from cryptococcosis patients residing in 16 provinces of mainland China. A total of 71% (91/129) of the clinical strains isolated from 1985 through 2006 were from patients without any apparent risk factors. Only 8.5% (11/129) were from AIDS patients; the remaining 20.5% (27/129) were from patients with underlying diseases other than HIV infection. One hundred twenty of the 129 isolates were C. neoformans serotype A, mating type MATα strains that exhibited an identical M13-based VNI subtype, which was distinguishable from the reference VNI molecular type. The 9 remaining isolates were serotype B, MATα strains of C. gattii and portrayed a typical VGI molecular type. Data analyzed from multilocus sequences showed no variation and that these Chinese C. neoformans isolates belong to a cluster that has phylogenetically diverged from the VNI reference strain. Our finding that most cryptococcosis patients in China had no apparent risk factor is in stark contrast with reports from other countries.

  • Risk Factors for Sporadic Shiga Toxin–producing Escherichia coli Infections in Children, Argentina PDF Version [PDF - 189 KB - 9 pages]
    M. Rivas et al.
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    We evaluated risk factors for sporadic Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection among children in Argentina. We conducted a prospective case–control study in 2 sites and enrolled 150 case-patients and 299 controls. The median age of case-patients was 1.8 years; 58% were girls. Serotype O157:H7 was the most commonly isolated STEC. Exposures associated with infection included eating undercooked beef, living in or visiting a place with farm animals, and contact with a child <5 years of age with diarrhea. Protective factors included the respondent reporting that he or she always washed hands after handling raw beef and the child eating more than the median number of fruits and vegetables. Many STEC infections in children could be prevented by avoiding consumption of undercooked beef, limiting exposure to farm animals and their environment, not being exposed to children with diarrhea, and washing hands after handling raw beef.

  • Medscape CME Activity
    Invasive Group A Streptococcal Disease in Nursing Homes, Minnesota, 1995–2006 PDF Version [PDF - 219 KB - 6 pages]
    J. Rainbow et al.
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    Nursing home residents are at high risk for invasive group A streptococcal (GAS) disease, and clusters of cases in nursing homes are common.To characterize the epidemiologic features of invasive GAS disease in nursing homes, we conducted active, statewide, population- and laboratory-based surveillance in Minnesota from April 1995 through 2006. Of 1,858 invasive GAS disease cases, 134 (7%) occurred in nursing home residents; 34 of these cases were identified as part of 13 clusters. Recognizing cases of GAS disease in nursing homes posed challenges. Measures to ensure identification of case-patients as residents of specific nursing homes need to be included in standard guidelines for the prevention and control of invasive GAS disease in this setting.

Policy Review

  • Public Response to Community Mitigation Measures for Pandemic Influenza PDF Version [PDF - 289 KB - 9 pages]
    R. J. Blendon et al.
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    We report the results of a national survey conducted to help public health officials understand the public’s response to community mitigation interventions for a severe outbreak of pandemic influenza. Survey results suggest that if community mitigation measures are instituted, most respondents would comply with recommendations but would be challenged to do so if their income or job were severely compromised. The results also indicate that community mitigation measures could cause problems for persons with lower incomes and for racial and ethnic minorities. Twenty-four percent of respondents said that they would not have anyone available to take care of them if they became sick with pandemic influenza. Given these results, planning and public engagement will be needed to encourage the public to be prepared.



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