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Volume 15, Number 1—January 2009

Volume 15, Number 1—January 2009   PDF Version [PDF - 3.90 MB - 151 pages]


  • Past, Present, and Future of Japanese Encephalitis PDF Version [PDF - 139 KB - 6 pages]
    T. E. Erlanger et al.
       View Abstract

    Japanese encephalitis (JE), a vector-borne viral disease, is endemic to large parts of Asia and the Pacific. An estimated 3 billion people are at risk, and JE has recently spread to new territories. Vaccination programs, increased living standards, and mechanization of agriculture are key factors in the decline in the incidence of this disease in Japan and South Korea. However, transmission of JE is likely to increase in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, North Korea, and Pakistan because of population growth, intensified rice farming, pig rearing, and the lack of vaccination programs and surveillance. On a global scale, however, the incidence of JE may decline as a result of large-scale vaccination programs implemented in China and India.

  • Threat of Dengue to Blood Safety in Dengue-Endemic Countries PDF Version [PDF - 46 KB - 4 pages]
    A. Wilder-Smith et al.
       View Abstract

    Dengue, the most common arbovirus infection globally, is transmitted by mosquito vectors. Healthcare-related transmission, including transmission by blood products, has been documented, although the frequency of these occurrences is unknown. Dengue is endemic to Singapore, a city-state in Asia. Using mathematical modeling, we estimated the risk for dengue-infected blood transfusions in Singapore in 2005 to be 1.625–6/10,000 blood transfusions, assuming a ratio of asymptomatic to symptomatic infections of 2:1 to 10:1. However, the level of viremia required to cause clinical dengue cases is person-dependent and unknown. Further studies are needed to establish the magnitude of the threat that dengue poses to blood safety in countries where it is endemic. It will then be possible after this information is obtained to assess whether screening is feasible and to identify approaches that are most cost-effective on the basis of characteristics of local populations and seasonality of dengue.


  • Medscape CME Activity
    Sphingomonas paucimobilis Bloodstream Infections Associated with Contaminated Intravenous Fentanyl PDF Version [PDF - 1.56 MB - 8 pages]
    L. L. Maragakis et al.
    View Summary

    Compounding pharmacies should be required to follow good manufacturing practices, including end-product sterility testing.

       View Abstract

    Nationally distributed medications from compounding pharmacies, which typically adhere to less stringent quality-control standards than pharmaceutical manufacturers, can lead to multistate outbreaks. We investigated a cluster of 6 patients in a Maryland hospital who had Sphingomonas paucimobilis bloodstream infections in November 2007. Of the 6 case-patients, 5 (83%) had received intravenous fentanyl within 48 hours before bacteremia developed. Cultures of unopened samples of fentanyl grew S. paucimobilis; the pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern was indistinguishable from that of the isolates of 5 case-patients. The contaminated fentanyl lot had been prepared at a compounding pharmacy and distributed to 4 states. Subsequently, in California, S. paucimobilis bacteremia was diagnosed for 2 patients who had received intravenous fentanyl from the same compounding pharmacy. These pharmacies should adopt more stringent quality-control measures, including prerelease product testing, when compounding and distributing large quantities of sterile preparations.

  • Human Infection with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus (H5N1) in Northern Vietnam, 2004–2005 PDF Version [PDF - 143 KB - 4 pages]
    N. D. Hien et al.
       View Abstract

    We performed a retrospective case-series study of patients with influenza A (H5N1) admitted to the National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, Vietnam, from January 2004 through July 2005 with symptoms of acute respiratory tract infection, a history of high-risk exposure or chest radiographic findings such as pneumonia, and positive findings for A/H5 viral RNA by reverse transcription–PCR. We investigated data from 29 patients (mean age 35.1 years) of whom 7 (24.1%) had died. Mortality rates were 20% (5/25) and 50% (2/4) among patients treated with or without oseltamivir (p = 0.24), respectively, and were 33.3% (5/15) and 14.2% (2/14) among patients treated with and without methylprednisolone (p = 0.39), respectively. After exact logistic regression analysis was adjusted for variation in severity, no significant effectiveness for survival was observed among patients treated with oseltamivir or methylprednisolone.

  • Enhanced Hygiene Measures and Norovirus Transmission during an Outbreak PDF Version [PDF - 124 KB - 7 pages]
    J. C. Heijne et al.
       View Abstract

    Control of norovirus outbreaks relies on enhanced hygiene measures, such as handwashing, surface cleaning, using disposable paper towels, and using separate toilets for sick and well persons. However, little is known about their effectiveness in limiting further spread of norovirus infections. We analyzed norovirus outbreaks in 7 camps at an international scouting jamboree in the Netherlands during 2004. Implementation of hygiene measures coincided with an 84.8% (95% predictive interval 81.2%–86.6%) reduction in reproduction number. This reduction was unexpectedly large but still below the reduction needed to contain a norovirus outbreak. Even more stringent control measures are required to break the chain of transmission of norovirus.

  • Selection Tool for Foodborne Norovirus Outbreaks PDF Version [PDF - 145 KB - 8 pages]
    L. Verhoef et al.
       View Abstract

    Detection of pathogens in the food chain is limited mainly to bacteria, and the globalization of the food industry enables international viral foodborne outbreaks to occur. Outbreaks from 2002 through 2006 recorded in a European norovirus surveillance database were investigated for virologic and epidemiologic indicators of food relatedness. The resulting validated multivariate logistic regression model comparing foodborne (n = 224) and person-to-person (n = 654) outbreaks was used to create a practical web-based tool that can be limited to epidemiologic parameters for nongenotyping countries. Non–genogroup-II.4 outbreaks, higher numbers of cases, and outbreaks in restaurants or households characterized (sensitivity = 0.80, specificity = 0.86) foodborne outbreaks and reduced the percentage of outbreaks requiring source-tracing to 31%. The selection tool enabled prospectively focused follow-up. Use of this tool is likely to improve data quality and strain typing in current surveillance systems, which is necessary for identification of potential international foodborne outbreaks.

Historical Review

  • Venetian Rule and Control of Plague Epidemics on the Ionian Islands during 17th and 18th Centuries PDF Version [PDF - 254 KB - 4 pages]
    K. Konstantinidou et al.
       View Abstract

    During the 17th and 18th centuries, measures were taken by the Venetian administration to combat plague on the Ionian Islands. At that time, although the scientific basis of plague was unknown, the Venetians recognized its infectious nature and successfully decreased its spread by implementing an information network. Additionally, by activating a system of inspection that involved establishing garrisons along the coasts, the Venetians were able to control all local movements in plague-infested areas, which were immediately isolated. In contrast, the neighboring coast of mainland Greece, which was under Ottoman rule, was a plague-endemic area during the same period. We conclude that even in the absence of scientific knowledge, close observation and social and political measures can effectively restrain infectious outbreaks to the point of disappearance.

  • Parapneumonic Empyema Deaths during Past Century, Utah PDF Version [PDF - 100 KB - 5 pages]
    J. M. Bender et al.
       View Abstract

    Bacterial pneumonia with empyema is a serious complication of influenza and commonly resulted in death during the 1918 influenza pandemic. We hypothesize that deaths caused by parapneumonic empyema are increasing in Utah once again despite advances in critical care and the availability of antimicrobial drugs and new vaccines. In this study, we analyzed the historical relationship between deaths caused by empyema and influenza pandemics by using 100 years of data from Utah. Deaths caused by empyema have indeed increased from 2000–2004 when compared with the historic low death rates of 1950–1975. Vaccine strategies and antimicrobial drug stockpiling to control empyema will be important as we prepare for the next influenza pandemic.


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