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Volume 15, Number 2—February 2009

Volume 15, Number 2—February 2009   PDF Version [PDF - 12.55 MB - 223 pages]


  • Kupe Virus, a New Virus in the Family Bunyaviridae, Genus Nairovirus, Kenya PDF Version [PDF - 257 KB - 8 pages]
    M. Crabtree et al.
       View Abstract

    We have previously described isolation and preliminary identification of a virus related to Dugbe virus (DUGV), family Bunyaviridae, genus Nairovirus. Six isolates of the virus were obtained from pools of Amblyomma gemma and Rhipicephalus pulchellus ticks collected from hides of cattle in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 1999. We report results of further characterization of this virus, including growth kinetics in cell culture and full-length genome sequencing and genetic characterization, which show it to be distinct from DUGV. We suggest that this is a new virus in the family Bunyaviridae, genus Nairovirus, and we propose that it be designated Kupe virus.

  • Oseltamivir-Resistant Influenza Viruses A (H1N1), Norway, 2007–08 PDF Version [PDF - 292 KB - 8 pages]
    S. H. Hauge et al.
       View Abstract

    In Norway in January 2008, unprecedented levels of oseltamivir resistance were found in 12 of 16 influenza viruses A (H1N1) tested. To investigate the epidemiologic and clinical characteristics of these viruses, we used sequence analysis to test all available subtype H1N1 viruses from the 2007–08 season for resistance. Questionnaires from physicians provided information on predisposing diseases, oseltamivir use, symptoms, and complications. Clinical data were obtained for 265 patients. In total, 183 (67.3%) of 272 viruses were oseltamivir resistant. Resistance was not associated with prior use of antiviral drugs. Symptoms and hospitalization rates did not differ for patients infected with a resistant or a susceptible virus. Oseltamivir-resistant influenza viruses A (H1N1) did not show diminished capability to spread in the absence of selective pressure. The ability of these viruses to sustain their fitness and spread among persons should be considered when shaping future strategies for treating and preventing seasonal and pandemic influenza.

  • Epidemiology of Vibrio parahaemolyticus Outbreaks, Southern Chile PDF Version [PDF - 197 KB - 5 pages]
    E. Harth et al.
       View Abstract

    Disease outbreaks caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Puerto Montt, Chile, began in 2004 and reached a peak in 2005 at 3,600 clinical cases. Until 2006, every analyzed case was caused by the serovar O3:K6 pandemic strain. In the summer of 2007, only 475 cases were reported; 73% corresponded to the pandemic strain. This decrease was associated with a change in serotype of many pandemic isolates to O3:K59 and the emergence of new clinical strains. One of these strains, associated with 11% of the cases, was genotypically different from the pandemic strain but contained genes that were identical to those found on its pathogenicity island. These findings suggest that pathogenicity-related genes were laterally transferred from the pandemic strain to one of the different V. parahaemolyticus groups comprising the diverse and shifting bacterial population in shellfish in this region.

  • Identification of Melioidosis Outbreak by Multilocus Variable Number Tandem Repeat Analysis PDF Version [PDF - 237 KB - 6 pages]
    B. J. Currie et al.
       View Abstract

    Endemic melioidosis is caused by genetically diverse Burkholderia pseudomallei strains. However, clonal outbreaks (multiple cases caused by 1 strain) have occurred, such as from contaminated potable water. B. pseudomallei is designated a group B bioterrorism agent, which necessitates rapidly recognizing point-source outbreaks. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) can identify genetically related isolates, but results take several days to obtain. We developed a simplified 4-locus multilocus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA-4) for rapid typing and compared results with PFGE and MLST for a large number of well-characterized B. pseudomallei isolates. MLVA-4 compared favorably with MLST and PFGE for the same isolates; it discriminated between 65 multilocus sequence types and showed relatedness between epidemiologically linked isolates from outbreak clusters and between isolates from individual patients. MLVA-4 can establish or refute that a clonal outbreak of melioidosis has occurred within 8 hours of receipt of bacterial strains.

  • Simian T-Lymphotropic Virus Diversity among Nonhuman Primates, Cameroon PDF Version [PDF - 275 KB - 10 pages]
    D. M. Sintasath et al.
       View Abstract

    Cross-species transmission of retroviruses is common in Cameroon. To determine risk for simian T-cell lymphotropic virus (STLV) transmission from nonhuman primates to hunters, we examined 170 hunter-collected dried blood spots (DBS) from 12 species for STLV. PCR with generic tax and group-specific long terminal repeat primers showed that 12 (7%) specimens from 4 nonhuman primate species were infected with STLV. Phylogenetic analyses showed broad diversity of STLV, including novel STLV-1 and STLV-3 sequences and a highly divergent STLV-3 subtype found in Cercopithecus mona and C. nictitans monkeys. Screening of peripheral blood mononuclear cell DNA from 63 HTLV-seroreactive, PCR-negative hunters did not identify human infections with this divergent STLV-3. Therefore, hunter-collected DBS can effectively capture STLV diversity at the point where pathogen spillover occurs. Broad screening using this relatively easy collection strategy has potential for large-scale monitoring of retrovirus cross-species transmission among highly exposed human populations.

  • Imported Malaria in Children in Industrialized Countries, 1992–2002 PDF Version [PDF - 215 KB - 7 pages]
    K. Stäger et al.
       View Abstract

    Children account for an appreciable proportion of total imported malaria cases, yet few studies have quantified these cases, identified trends, or suggested evidence-based prevention strategies for this group of travelers. We therefore sought to identify numbers of cases and deaths, Plasmodium species, place of malaria acquisition, preventive measures used, and national origin of malaria in children. We analyzed retrospective data from Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States and data provided by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. During 1992–2002, >17,000 cases of imported malaria in children were reported in 11 countries where malaria is not endemic; most (>70%) had been acquired in Africa. Returning to country of origin to visit friends and relatives was a risk factor. Malaria prevention for children should be a responsibility of healthcare providers and should be subsidized for low-income travelers to high-risk areas.

  • Severe Dengue Epidemics in Sri Lanka, 2003–2006 PDF Version [PDF - 440 KB - 8 pages]
    N. Kanakaratne et al.
       View Abstract

    Recent emergence of dengue hemorrhagic fever in the Indian subcontinent has been well documented in Sri Lanka. We compare recent (2003–2006) and past (1980–1997) dengue surveillance data for Sri Lanka. The 4 dengue virus (DENV) serotypes have been cocirculating in Sri Lanka for >30 years. Over this period, a new genotype of DENV-1 has replaced an old genotype. Moreover, new clades of DENV-3 genotype III viruses have replaced older clades. Emergence of new clades of DENV-3 in 1989 and 2000 coincided with abrupt increases in the number of reported dengue cases, implicating this serotype in severe epidemics. In 1980–1997, most reported dengue cases were in children. Recent epidemics have been characterized by many cases in children and adults. Changes in local transmission dynamics and genetic changes in DENV-3 are likely increasing emergence of severe dengue epidemics in Sri Lanka.

  • Seoul Virus and Hantavirus Disease, Shenyang, People’s Republic of China PDF Version [PDF - 342 KB - 7 pages]
    Y. Zhang et al.
       View Abstract

    An outbreak of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) occurred among students in Shenyang Pharmaceutical University in 2006. We conducted a study to characterize etiologic agents of the outbreaks and clarify the origin of hantaviruses causing infections in humans and laboratory animals. Immunoglobulin (Ig) M or IgG antibodies against Seoul virus (SEOV) were detected in the serum samples of all 8 patients. IgG antibodies against hantavirus were also identified in laboratory rats, which were used by these students for their scientific research. Phylogenetic analysis showed that partial small segment sequences recovered from humans, laboratory rats, and local wild rats belonged to SEOV. Hantavirus sequences recovered from humans and laboratory rats clustered within 1 of 3 lineages of SEOV circulating among local wild rats in Shenyang. These results suggest that the HFRS outbreak in Shenyang was caused by SEOV that was circulating among local wild rats and had also infected the laboratory rats.

  • Characteristics of 263K Scrapie Agent in Multiple Hamster Species PDF Version [PDF - 629 KB - 9 pages]
    K. D. Meade-White et al.
       View Abstract

    Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) diseases are known to cross species barriers, but the pathologic and biochemical changes that occur during transmission are not well understood. To better understand these changes, we infected 6 hamster species with 263K hamster scrapie strain and, after each of 3 successive passages in the new species, analyzed abnormal proteinase K (PK)–resistant prion protein (PrPres) glycoform ratios, PrPres PK sensitivity, incubation periods, and lesion profiles. Unique 263K molecular and biochemical profiles evolved in each of the infected hamster species. Characteristics of 263K in the new hamster species seemed to correlate best with host factors rather than agent strain. Furthermore, 2 polymorphic regions of the prion protein amino acid sequence correlated with profile differences in these TSE-infected hamster species.

  • Prospective Surveillance of Invasive Group A Streptococcal Disease, Fiji, 2005–2007 PDF Version [PDF - 181 KB - 7 pages]
    A. C. Steer et al.
       View Abstract

    We undertook a prospective active surveillance study of invasive group A streptococcal (GAS) disease in Fiji over a 23-month period, 2005–2007. We identified 64 cases of invasive GAS disease, which represents an average annualized all-ages incidence of 9.9 cases/100,000 population per year (95% confidence interval [CI] 7.6–12.6). Rates were highest in those >65 years of age and in those <5 years, particularly in infants, for whom the incidence was 44.9/100,000 (95% CI 18.1–92.5). The case-fatality rate was 32% and was associated with increasing age and underlying coexisting disease, including diabetes and renal disease. Fifty-five of the GAS isolates underwent emm sequence typing; the types were highly diverse, with 38 different emm subtypes and no particular dominant type. Our data support the view that invasive GAS disease is common in developing countries and deserves increased public health attention.

  • Bacterial Phenotype Variants in Group B Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome PDF Version [PDF - 571 KB - 10 pages]
    P. Sendi et al.
       View Abstract

    We conducted genetic and functional analyses of isolates from a patient with group B streptococcal (GBS) necrotizing fasciitis and toxic shock syndrome. Tissue cultures simultaneously showed colonies with high hemolysis (HH) and low hemolysis (LH). Conversely, the HH and LH variants exhibited low capsule (LC) and high capsule (HC) expression, respectively. Molecular analysis demonstrated that the 2 GBS variants were of the same clonal origin. Genetic analysis found a 3-bp deletion in the covR gene of the HH/LC variant. Functionally, this isolate was associated with an increased growth rate in vitro and with higher interleukin-8 induction. However, in whole blood, opsonophagocytic and intracellular killing assays, the LH/HC phenotype demonstrated higher resistance to host phagocytic killing. In a murine model, LH/HC resulted in higher levels of bacteremia and increased host mortality rate. These findings demonstrate differences in GBS isolates of the same clonal origin but varying phenotypes.

  • Medscape CME Activity
    Face Mask Use and Control of Respiratory Virus Transmission in Households PDF Version [PDF - 1.44 MB - 10 pages]
    C. MacIntyre et al.
    View Summary

    Mask use is associated with low adherence, but adherent mask users are significantly protected against seasonal disease.

       View Abstract

    Many countries are stockpiling face masks for use as a nonpharmaceutical intervention to control virus transmission during an influenza pandemic. We conducted a prospective cluster-randomized trial comparing surgical masks, non–fit-tested P2 masks, and no masks in prevention of influenza-like illness (ILI) in households. Mask use adherence was self-reported. During the 2006 and 2007 winter seasons, 286 exposed adults from 143 households who had been exposed to a child with clinical respiratory illness were recruited. We found that adherence to mask use significantly reduced the risk for ILI-associated infection, but <50% of participants wore masks most of the time. We concluded that household use of face masks is associated with low adherence and is ineffective for controlling seasonal respiratory disease. However, during a severe pandemic when use of face masks might be greater, pandemic transmission in households could be reduced.
Many countries are stockpiling face masks for use as nonpharmaceutical interventions to reduce viral transmission during an influenza pandemic. We conducted a prospective cluster-randomized trial comparing surgical masks, non–fit-tested P2 masks, and no masks in prevention of influenza-like illness (ILI) in households. During the 2006 and 2007 winter seasons, 286 exposed adults from 143 households who had been exposed to a child with clinical respiratory illness were recruited. Intent-to-treat analysis showed no significant difference in the relative risk of ILI in the mask use groups compared with the control group; however, <50% of those in the mask use groups reported wearing masks most of the time. Adherence to mask use was associated with a significantly reduced risk of ILI-associated infection. We concluded that household use of masks is associated with low adherence and is ineffective in controlling seasonal ILI. If adherence were greater, mask use might reduce transmission during a severe influenza pandemic.

  • Nontuberculous Mycobacteria, Zambia PDF Version [PDF - 250 KB - 9 pages]
    P. C. Buijtels et al.
       View Abstract

    Clinical relevance of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) isolated from 180 chronically ill patients and 385 healthy controls in Zambia was evaluated to examine the contribution of these isolates to tuberculosis (TB)–like disease. The proportion of NTM-positive sputum samples was significantly higher in the patient group than in controls; 11% and 6%, respectively (p<0.05). NTM-associated lung disease was diagnosed for 1 patient, and a probable diagnosis was made for 3 patients. NTM-positive patients and controls were more likely to report vomiting and diarrhea and were more frequently underweight than the NTM-negative patients and controls. Chest radiographs of NTM-positive patients showed deviations consistent with TB more frequently than those of controls. The most frequently isolated NTM was Mycobacterium avium complex. Multiple, not previously identified mycobacteria (55 of 171 NTM) were isolated from both groups. NTM probably play an important role in the etiology of TB-like diseases in Zambia.

  • Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus in Skin and Soft Tissue Infections, Northern Italy PDF Version [PDF - 176 KB - 8 pages]
    M. Tinelli et al.
       View Abstract

    During February 2004–September 2006, familial clusters and sporadic cases of Staphylococcus aureus skin and soft tissue infections were observed in a suburban area near Milan in northern Italy. Molecular typing of the isolates showed an epidemic methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) strain, spa type 005 and sequence type 22 that harbored Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) genes. The first case-patients were neonates or mothers who had recently delivered in the local hospital. Examination of the medical records showed a cluster of postpartum mastitis and neonatal skin infections antedating the emergence of infections in the community. Nasal swabs of neonates, mothers, and hospital staff were positive for the epidemic MSSA. Hospital circulation of the strain was interrupted by implementation of infection control measures, although infections continued to occur in the community. The PVL-positive MSSA strain resembles typical community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus in its ability to cause prolonged community and hospital outbreaks of skin infections.

  • Causes of Death in HIV-infected Persons Who Have Tuberculosis, Thailand PDF Version [PDF - 162 KB - 7 pages]
    K. P. Cain et al.
       View Abstract

    Up to 50% of persons with HIV and a diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in Thailand die during TB treatment. In a prospective observational study, a team of physicians ascribed the cause of death after reviewing verbal autopsies (interviews of family members about events preceding death), laboratory data, and medical records. Of 849 HIV-infected TB patients enrolled, 142 (17%) died. The cause of death was TB for 38 (27%), including 6 with multidrug-resistant TB and 20 with disseminated TB; an HIV-associated condition other than TB for 50 (35%); and a condition unrelated to TB or HIV for 22 (15%). Twenty-three patients (16%) were judged not to have had TB at all. Death from all causes except those unrelated to TB or HIV was less common in persons receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). In addition to increasing the use of ART, death rates may be reduced through expanded use of modern TB diagnostic techniques.

  • Medical Procedures and Risk for Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Japan, 1999–2008 PDF Version [PDF - 228 KB - 7 pages]
    T. Hamaguchi et al.
       View Abstract

    To elucidate the association between medical procedures and sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), we analyzed medical procedures (any surgical procedure, neurosurgery, ophthalmic surgery, and blood transfusion) for patients registered by the CJD Surveillance Committee in Japan during 1999–2008. We conducted an age-stratified case–control study with 753 sCJD patients and 210 controls and a study of patients who underwent neurosurgical or ophthalmic surgical procedures at the same hospital. Although the control group was relatively small, no evidence was found that prion disease was transmitted through the investigated medical procedures before onset of sCJD. After onset of sCJD, 4.5% of the sCJD patients underwent operations, including neurosurgical for 0.8% and ophthalmic for 1.9%; no special precautions against transmission of prion diseases were taken. Fortunately, we have not identified patients with prion disease attributed to these operations. Our findings indicate that surgical procedures or blood transfusion had little effect on the incidence of sCJD.

  • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus (H5N1) in Frozen Duck Carcasses, Germany, 2007 PDF Version [PDF - 391 KB - 8 pages]
    T. C. Harder et al.
       View Abstract

    We conducted phylogenetic and epidemiologic analyses to determine sources of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV), subtype H5N1, in poultry holdings in 2007 in Germany, and a suspected incursion of HPAIV into the food chain through contaminated deep-frozen duck carcasses. In summer 2007, HPAIV (H5N1) outbreaks in 3 poultry holdings in Germany were temporally, spatially, and phylogenetically linked to outbreaks in wild aquatic birds. Detection of HPAIV (H5N1) in frozen duck carcass samples of retained slaughter batches of 1 farm indicated that silent infection had occurred for some time before the incidental detection. Phylogenetic analysis established a direct epidemiologic link between HPAIV isolated from duck meat and strains isolated from 3 further outbreaks in December 2007 in backyard chickens that had access to uncooked offal from commercial deep-frozen duck carcasses. Measures that will prevent such undetected introduction of HPAIV (H5N1) into the food chain are urgently required.



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