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Volume 15, Number 9—September 2009

Volume 15, Number 9—September 2009   PDF Version [PDF - 15.65 MB - 211 pages]


  • Using Satellite Images of Environmental Changes to Predict Infectious Disease Outbreaks PDF Version [PDF - 418 KB - 6 pages]
    T. E. Ford et al.
        View Abstract

    Recent events clearly illustrate a continued vulnerability of large populations to infectious diseases, which is related to our changing human-constructed and natural environments. A single person with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in 2007 provided a wake-up call to the United States and global public health infrastructure, as the health professionals and the public realized that today’s ease of airline travel can potentially expose hundreds of persons to an untreatable disease associated with an infectious agent. Ease of travel, population increase, population displacement, pollution, agricultural activity, changing socioeconomic structures, and international conflicts worldwide have each contributed to infectious disease events. Today, however, nothing is larger in scale, has more potential for long-term effects, and is more uncertain than the effects of climate change on infectious disease outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics. We discuss advances in our ability to predict these events and, in particular, the critical role that satellite imaging could play in mounting an effective response.


  • Zika Virus Outside Africa PDF Version [PDF - 521 KB - 4 pages]
    E. B. Hayes
        View Abstract

    Zika virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus related to yellow fever, dengue, West Nile, and Japanese encephalitis viruses. In 2007 ZIKV caused an outbreak of relatively mild disease characterized by rash, arthralgia, and conjunctivitis on Yap Island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. This was the first time that ZIKV was detected outside of Africa and Asia. The history, transmission dynamics, virology, and clinical manifestations of ZIKV disease are discussed, along with the possibility for diagnostic confusion between ZIKV illness and dengue.The emergence of ZIKV outside of its previously known geographic range should prompt awareness of the potential for ZIKV to spread to other Pacific islands and the Americas.

  • Extrapulmonary Infections Associated with Nontuberculous Mycobacteria in Immunocompetent Persons PDF Version [PDF - 629 KB - 8 pages]
    C. Piersimoni and C. Scarparo
    View Summary

    Incidence data are lacking, and diagnosis remains difficult.

        View Abstract

    Over the past several years, the prevalence of human disease caused by nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) has increased. Whether the increase in cases is real or whether more cases are being recognized remains unclear. Despite a considerable increase in knowledge about NTM infections, they still represent a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge for several reasons: 1) pathogenic isolates may be indistinguishable from contaminant or saprophytic isolates; 2) timely and reliable identification of isolates may depend on proper communication between clinicians and laboratory staff; 3) lack of standardized susceptibility testing makes adoption of tailored therapies unrealistic; and 4) lack of treatment guidelines exposes patients to toxic drugs and disappointing outcomes. Laboratory research and multicenter controlled trials are needed to improve diagnosis and treatment of these infections.


  • Etiology of Encephalitis in Australia, 1990–2007 PDF Version [PDF - 596 KB - 8 pages]
    C. Huppatz et al.
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    Encephalitis is a clinical syndrome commonly caused by emerging pathogens, which are not under surveillance in Australia. We reviewed rates of hospitalization for patients with encephalitis in Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, from January 1990 through December 2007. Encephalitis was the primary discharge diagnosis for 5,926 hospital admissions; average annual hospitalization rate was 5.2/100,000 population. The most commonly identified pathogen was herpes simplex virus (n = 763, 12.9%). Toxoplasma encephalitis and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis showed notable declines. The average annual encephalitis case-fatality rate (4.6%) and the proportion of patients hospitalized with encephalitis with no identified pathogen (69.8%, range 61.5%–78.7%) were stable during the study period. The nonnotifiable status of encephalitis in Australia and the high proportion of this disease with no known etiology may conceal emergence of novel pathogens. Unexplained encephalitis should be investigated, and encephalitis hospitalizations should be subject to statutory notification in Australia.

  • Susceptibilities of Nonhuman Primates to Chronic Wasting Disease PDF Version [PDF - 776 KB - 11 pages]
    B. Race et al.
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    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, or prion disease, that affects deer, elk, and moose. Human susceptibility to CWD remains unproven despite likely exposure to CWD-infected cervids. We used 2 nonhuman primate species, cynomolgus macaques and squirrel monkeys, as human models for CWD susceptibility. CWD was inoculated into these 2 species by intracerebral and oral routes. After intracerebral inoculation of squirrel monkeys, 7 of 8 CWD isolates induced a clinical wasting syndrome within 33–53 months. The monkeys’ brains showed spongiform encephalopathy and protease-resistant prion protein (PrPres) diagnostic of prion disease. After oral exposure, 2 squirrel monkeys had PrPres in brain, spleen, and lymph nodes at 69 months postinfection. In contrast, cynomolgus macaques have not shown evidence of clinical disease as of 70 months postinfection. Thus, these 2 species differed in susceptibility to CWD. Because humans are evolutionarily closer to macaques than to squirrel monkeys, they may also be resistant to CWD.

  • Distant Relatives of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus and Close Relatives of Human Coronavirus 229E in Bats, Ghana PDF Version [PDF - 682 KB - 8 pages]
    S. Pfefferle et al.
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    We tested 12 bat species in Ghana for coronavirus (CoV) RNA. The virus prevalence in insectivorous bats (n = 123) was 9.76%. CoV was not detected in 212 fecal samples from Eidolon helvum fruit bats. Leaf-nosed bats pertaining to Hipposideros ruber by morphology had group 1 and group 2 CoVs. Virus concentrations were <45,000 copies/100 mg of bat feces. The diversified group 1 CoV shared a common ancestor with the human common cold virus hCoV-229E but not with hCoV-NL63, disputing hypotheses of common human descent. The most recent common ancestor of hCoV-229E and GhanaBt-CoVGrp1 existed in ≈1686–1800 ad. The GhanaBt-CoVGrp2 shared an old ancestor (≈2,400 years) with the severe acute respiratory syndrome–like group of CoV.

  • Predicting Phenotype and Emerging Strains among Chlamydia trachomatis Infections PDF Version [PDF - 2.42 MB - 10 pages]
    D. Dean et al.
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    Chlamydia trachomatis is a global cause of blinding trachoma and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We used comparative genomics of the family Chlamydiaceae to select conserved housekeeping genes for C. trachomatis multilocus sequencing, characterizing 19 reference and 68 clinical isolates from 6 continental/subcontinental regions. There were 44 sequence types (ST). Identical STs for STI isolates were recovered from different regions, whereas STs for trachoma isolates were restricted by continent. Twenty-nine of 52 alleles had nonuniform distributions of frequencies across regions (p<0.001). Phylogenetic analysis showed 3 disease clusters: invasive lymphogranuloma venereum strains, globally prevalent noninvasive STI strains (ompA genotypes D/Da, E, and F), and nonprevalent STI strains with a trachoma subcluster. Recombinant strains were observed among STI clusters. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were predictive of disease specificity. Multilocus and SNP typing can now be used to detect diverse and emerging C. trachomatis strains for epidemiologic and evolutionary studies of trachoma and STI populations worldwide.

  • Increasing Incidence of Zygomycosis (Mucormycosis), France, 1997–2006 PDF Version [PDF - 484 KB - 7 pages]
    D. Bitar et al.
        View Abstract

    We analyzed hospital records to provide a population-based estimate of zygomycosis incidence and trends over a 10-year period at a national level in France. Data showed an increasing incidence from 0.7/million in 1997 to 1.2/million in 2006 (p<0.001). We compared our data with those from the French Mycosis Study Group, a recently established voluntary network of French mycologists coordinated by the National Reference Center for Mycoses and Antifungals. We documented that incidence of zygomycosis increased, particularly in patients with hematologic malignancies or bone marrow transplants. The role of previous exposure to antifungal drugs lacking activity against zygomycetes could explain this increase but does not appear exclusive. Incidence also increased in the population of patients with diabetes mellitus. We conclude that observed trends reflect a genuine increase of zygomycosis cases in at-risk populations.

  • Chicken Consumption and Use of Acid-Suppressing Medications as Risk Factors for Campylobacter Enteritis, England PDF Version [PDF - 539 KB - 7 pages]
    C. C. Tam et al.
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    In a case–control study of Campylobacter spp. risk factors in England during 2005–2006, we identified recent consumption of commercially prepared chicken as an important risk factor. The risk for illness associated with recent chicken consumption was much lower for persons who regularly ate chicken than in those who did not, which suggests that partial immunologic protection may follow regular chicken preparation or consumption. Chicken-related risk factors accounted for 41% of cases; acid-suppressing medication, for 10%; self-reported past Campylobacter enteritis, 2%; and recent acquisition of a pet dog, 1%. Understanding the risks associated with chicken from different sources will benefit strategies to reduce Campylobacter infections. Better characterization of immune correlates for Campylobacter infection is necessary to assess the relative importance of immunity and behavioral factors in determining risk.

  • Genetic Characterization of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Viruses, Ethiopia, 1981–2007 PDF Version [PDF - 679 KB - 9 pages]
    G. Ayelet et al.
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    Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. To further understand its complex epidemiology, which involves multiple virus serotypes and host species, we characterized the viruses recovered from FMD outbreaks in Ethiopia during 1981–2007. We detected 5 of the 7 FMDV serotypes (O, A, C, Southern African Territories [SAT] 1, and SAT 2). Serotype O predominated, followed by serotype A; type C was not recognized after 1983. Phylogenetic analysis of virus protein 1 sequences indicated emergence of a new topotype within serotype O, East Africa 4. In 2007, serotype SAT 1 was detected in Ethiopia and formed a new distinct topotype (IX), and serotype SAT 2 reappeared after an apparent gap of 16 years. The diversity of viruses highlights the role of this region as a reservoir for FMD virus, and their continuing emergence in Ethiopia will greatly affect spread and consequent control strategy of the disease on this continent.

  • Clinical and Epidemiologic Characteristics of 3 Early Cases of Influenza A Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Virus Infection, People’s Republic of China, 2009 PDF Version [PDF - 463 KB - 5 pages]
    C. Bin et al.
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    On May 7, 2009, a national network was organized in the People’s Republic of China for the surveillance, reporting, diagnosis, and treatment of influenza A pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus infection (pandemic [H1N1] 2009). Persons with suspected cases are required to report to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ministry of Health within 24 hours; the patient’s close contacts are then traced and placed in quarantine for 7 days. We report 3 confirmed early cases of pandemic (H1N1) 2009. Two cases were imported from United States; the other was imported from Canada. The patients exhibited fever and signs and other symptoms that were indistinguishable from those of seasonal influenza. Serial virologic monitoring of pharyngeal swabs showed that they were negative for pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus by real-time reverse transcription–PCR 4–6 days after onset of illness. One close contact whose sample tested positive for pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus had no symptoms during quarantine. A national network is essential for controlling pandemic (H1N1) 2009.

  • Clinical Assessment and Improved Diagnosis of Bocavirus-induced Wheezing in Children, Finland PDF Version [PDF - 522 KB - 8 pages]
    M. Söderlund-Venermo et al.
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    Human bocavirus (HBoV) is a widespread respiratory virus. To improve diagnostic methods, we conducted immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM enzyme immunoassays with recombinant virus–like particles of HBoV as antigen. Acute-phase and follow-up serum samples from 258 wheezing children and single serum samples from 115 healthy adults in Finland were examined. Our assays had a sensitivity of 97% and a specificity of 99.5%. Of adults, 96% had immunity; none had an acute infection. Of 48 children with serologically diagnosed acute HBoV infections, 45 were viremic and 35 had virus in nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPAs). Of 39 HBoV NPA PCR–positive children co-infected with another virus, 64% had a serologically verified HBoV infection. HBoV caused illness of longer duration than rhinovirus and of equal severity to that of respiratory syncytial virus. Among children with bronchiolitis, >25% had acute HBoV infections. Accurate HBoV diagnosis requires serologic analysis or PCR of serum; PCR of NPAs alone is insufficient.

  • Recent Ancestry of Kyasanur Forest Disease Virus PDF Version [PDF - 553 KB - 7 pages]
    R. Mehla et al.
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    Kyasanur Forest disease virus (KFDV) is enzootic to India and maintained in ticks, mammals, and birds. It causes severe febrile illness in humans and was first recognized in 1957 associated with a high number of deaths among monkeys in Kyasanur Forest. Genetic analysis of 48 viruses isolated in India during 1957–2006 showed low diversity (1.2%). Bayesian coalescence analysis of these sequences and those of KFDVs from Saudi Arabia and the People’s Republic of China estimated that KFDVs have evolved at a mean rate of ≈6.4 × 10–4 substitutions/site/year, which is similar to rates estimated for mosquito-borne flaviviruses. KFDVs were estimated to have shared a common ancestor in ≈1942, fifteen years before identification of the disease in India. These data are consistent with the view that KFD represented a newly emerged disease when first recognized. Recent common ancestry of KFDVs from India and Saudi Arabia, despite their large geographic separation, indicates long-range movement of virus, possibly by birds.

  • Nurses’ Contacts and Potential for Infectious Disease Transmission PDF Version [PDF - 500 KB - 7 pages]
    H. Bernard et al.
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    Nurses’ contacts with potentially infectious persons probably place them at higher risk than the general population for infectious diseases. During an influenza pandemic, illness among nurses might result in staff shortage. We aimed to show the value of individual data from the healthcare sector for mathematical modeling of infectious disease transmission. Using a paper diary approach, we compared nurses’ daily contacts (2-way conversation with >2 words or skin-to-skin contact) with those of matched controls from a representative population survey. Nurses (n = 129) reported a median of 40 contacts (85% work related), and controls (n = 129) reported 12 contacts (33% work related). For nurses, 51% of work-related contacts were with patients (74% involving skin-to-skin contact, and 63% lasted <15 minutes); 40% were with staff members (29% and 36%, respectively). Our data, used with simulation models, can help predict staff availability and provide information for pandemic preparedness planning.

  • Genetics and Pathogenesis of Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus PDF Version [PDF - 610 KB - 8 pages]
    M. A. Brown et al.
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    Feline coronavirus (FCoV) is endemic in feral cat populations and cat colonies, frequently preceding outbreaks of fatal feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). FCoV exhibits 2 biotypes: the pathogenic disease and a benign infection with feline enteric coronavirus (FECV). Uncertainty remains regarding whether genetically distinctive avirulent and virulent forms coexist or whether an avirulent form mutates in vivo, causing FIP. To resolve these alternative hypotheses, we isolated viral sequences from FCoV-infected clinically healthy and sick cats (8 FIP cases and 48 FECV-asymptomatic animals); 735 sequences from 4 gene segments were generated and subjected to phylogenetic analyses. Viral sequences from healthy cats were distinct from sick cats on the basis of genetic distances observed in the membrane and nonstructural protein 7b genes. These data demonstrate distinctive circulating virulent and avirulent strains in natural populations. In addition, 5 membrane protein amino acid residues with functional potential differentiated healthy cats from cats with FIP. These findings may have potential as diagnostic markers for virulent FIP-associated FCoV.

  • Avian Bornaviruses in Psittacine Birds from Europe and Australia with Proventricular Dilatation Disease PDF Version [PDF - 523 KB - 7 pages]
    H. Weissenböck et al.
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    To determine whether avian bornaviruses (ABVs) were a factor in proventricular dilatation disease (PDD), we used immunohistochemistry, reverse transcription–PCR, and nucleotide sequence analysis to examine paraffin wax–embedded or frozen tissue samples of 31 psittacine birds with this disease. PDD is a fatal disease of psittacine birds associated with nonsuppurative encephalitis and ganglioneuritis of the upper intestinal tract. Tissue samples had been collected from 1999 through 2008 in Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, and Australia. Immunohistochemical demonstration of viral antigen within the brain and vegetative nerve system of the gastrointestinal tract provides strong evidence for a causative role of ABVs in this condition. Partial sequences of nucleoprotein (p40) and matrix protein (gp18) genes showed that virus in most of our cases belonged to the ABV-2 and ABV-4 groups among the 5 genogroups described so far. Viral sequences of 2 birds did not match any of the described sequences and clustered together in a new branch termed ABV-6.

Historical Review

  • Program to Eradicate Malaria in Sardinia, 1946–1950 PDF Version [PDF - 680 KB - 7 pages]
    E. Tognotti
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    During 1946–1950, the Rockefeller Foundation conducted a large-scale experiment in Sardinia to test the feasibility of indigenous vector species eradication. The interruption of malaria transmission did not require vector eradication, but with a goal of developing a new strategy to fight malaria, the choice was made to wage a rapid attack with a powerful new chemical. Costing millions of dollars, 267 metric tons of DDT were spread over the island. Although malaria was eliminated, the main objective, complete eradication of the vector, was not achieved. Despite its being considered almost eradicated in the mid-1940s, malaria 60 years later is still a major public health problem throughout the world, and its eradication is back on the global health agenda.


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