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Volume 17, Number 5—May 2011

Volume 17, Number 5—May 2011   PDF Version [PDF - 6.16 MB - 199 pages]

Perspective

Synopses

  • Intravenous Artesunate for Severe Malaria in Travelers, Europe PDF Version [PDF - 294 KB - 7 pages]
    T. Zoller et al.
       View Abstract

    Multicenter trials in Southeast Asia have shown better survival rates among patients with severe malaria, particularly those with high parasitemia levels, treated with intravenous (IV) artesunate than among those treated with quinine. In Europe, quinine is still the primary treatment for severe malaria. We conducted a retrospective analysis for 25 travelers with severe malaria who returned from malaria-endemic regions and were treated at 7 centers in Europe. All patients survived. Treatment with IV artesunate rapidly reduced parasitemia levels. In 6 patients at 5 treatment centers, a self-limiting episode of unexplained hemolysis occurred after reduction of parasitemia levels. Five patients required a blood transfusion. Patients with posttreatment hemolysis had received higher doses of IV artesunate than patients without hemolysis. IV artesunate was an effective alternative to quinine for treatment of malaria patients in Europe. Patients should be monitored for signs of hemolysis, especially after parasitologic cure.

  • Medscape CME Activity
    Lessons Learned about Pneumonic Plague Diagnosis from 2 Outbreaks, Democratic Republic of the Congo PDF Version [PDF - 245 KB - 7 pages]
    E. Bertherat et al.
       View Abstract

    Pneumonic plague is a highly transmissible infectious disease for which fatality rates can be high if untreated; it is considered extremely lethal. Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, disease management can be problematic. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2 outbreaks of pneumonic plague occurred during 2005 and 2006. In 2005, because of limitations in laboratory capabilities, etiology was confirmed only through retrospective serologic studies. This prompted modifications in diagnostic strategies, resulting in isolation of Yersinia pestis during the second outbreak. Results from these outbreaks demonstrate the utility of a rapid diagnostic test detecting F1 antigen for initial diagnosis and public health management, as well as the need for specialized sampling kits and trained personnel for quality specimen collection and appropriate specimen handling and preservation for plague confirmation and Y. pestis isolation. Efficient frontline management and a streamlined diagnostic strategy are essential for confirming plague, especially in remote areas.

Research

  • Evolution of New Genotype of West Nile Virus in North America PDF Version [PDF - 497 KB - 9 pages]
    A. R. McMullen et al.
       View Abstract

    Previous studies of North American isolates of West Nile virus (WNV) during 1999–2005 suggested that the virus had reached genetic homeostasis in North America. However, genomic sequencing of WNV isolates from Harris County, Texas, during 2002–2009 suggests that this is not the case. Three new genetic groups have been identified in Texas since 2005. Spread of the southwestern US genotype (SW/WN03) from the Arizona/Colorado/northern Mexico region to California, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, and the Texas Gulf Coast demonstrates continued evolution of WNV. Thus, WNV continues to evolve in North America, as demonstrated by selection of this new genotype. Continued surveillance of the virus is essential as it continues to evolve in the New World.

  • Transstadial Transmission of Francisella tularensis holarctica in Mosquitoes, Sweden PDF Version [PDF - 625 KB - 6 pages]
    J. O. Lundström et al.
       View Abstract

    In Sweden, human cases of tularemia caused by Francisella tularensis holarctica are assumed to be transmitted by mosquitoes, but how mosquito vectors acquire and transmit the bacterium is not clear. To determine how transmission of this bacterium occurs, mosquito larvae were collected in an area where tularemia is endemic, brought to the laboratory, and reared to adults in their original pond water. Screening of adult mosquitoes by real-time PCR demonstrated F. tularensis lpnA sequences in 14 of the 48 mosquito pools tested; lpnA sequences were demonstrated in 6 of 9 identified mosquito species. Further analysis confirmed the presence of F. tularensis holarctica–specific 30-bp deletion region sequences (FtM19inDel) in water from breeding containers and in 3 mosquito species (Aedes sticticus, Ae. vexans, and Ae. punctor) known to take blood from humans. Our results suggest that the mosquitoes that transmit F. tularensis holarctica during tularemia outbreaks acquire the bacterium already as larvae.

  • Molecular Epidemiology of Oropouche Virus, Brazil PDF Version [PDF - 360 KB - 7 pages]
    H. B. Vasconcelos et al.
       View Abstract

    Oropouche virus (OROV) is the causative agent of Oropouche fever, an urban febrile arboviral disease widespread in South America, with >30 epidemics reported in Brazil and other Latin American countries during 1960–2009. To describe the molecular epidemiology of OROV, we analyzed the entire N gene sequences (small RNA) of 66 strains and 35 partial Gn (medium RNA) and large RNA gene sequences. Distinct patterns of OROV strain clustered according to N, Gn, and large gene sequences, which suggests that each RNA segment had a different evolutionary history and that the classification in genotypes must consider the genetic information for all genetic segments. Finally, time-scale analysis based on the N gene showed that OROV emerged in Brazil ≈223 years ago and that genotype I (based on N gene data) was responsible for the emergence of all other genotypes and for virus dispersal.

  • Medscape CME Activity
    Severe Imported Plasmodium falciparum Malaria, France, 1996–2003 PDF Version [PDF - 206 KB - 7 pages]
    E. Seringe et al.
    View Summary

    All travelers should receive pretravel advice on risk factors and antimalarial chemoprophylaxis.asdf

       View Abstract

    Little is known about severe imported Plasmodium falciparum malaria in industrialized countries where the disease is not endemic because most studies have been case reports or have included <200 patients. To identify factors independently associated with the severity of P. falciparum, we conducted a retrospective study using surveillance data obtained from 21,888 P. falciparum patients in France during 1996–2003; 832 were classified as having severe malaria. The global case-fatality rate was 0.4% and the rate of severe malaria was ≈3.8%. Factors independently associated with severe imported P. falciparum malaria were older age, European origin, travel to eastern Africa, absence of chemoprophylaxis, initial visit to a general practitioner, time to diagnosis of 4 to 12 days, and diagnosis during the fall–winter season. Pretravel advice should take into account these factors and promote the use of antimalarial chemoprophylaxis for every traveler, with a particular focus on nonimmune travelers and elderly persons.

  • Plasmodium knowlesi Malaria in Children PDF Version [PDF - 233 KB - 7 pages]
    B. E. Barber et al.
       View Abstract

    Plasmodium knowlesi can cause severe malaria in adults; however, descriptions of clinical disease in children are lacking. We reviewed case records of children (age <15 years) with a malaria diagnosis at Kudat District Hospital, serving a largely deforested area of Sabah, Malaysia, during January–November 2009. Sixteen children with PCR-confirmed P. knowlesi monoinfection were compared with 14 children with P. falciparum monoinfection diagnosed by microscopy or PCR. Four children with knowlesi malaria had a hemoglobin level at admission of <10.0 g/dL (minimum lowest level 6.4 g/dL). Minimum level platelet counts were lower in knowlesi than in falciparum malaria (median 76,500/µL vs. 156,000/μL; p = 0.01). Most (81%) children with P. knowlesi malaria received chloroquine and primaquine; median parasite clearance time was 2 days (range 1–5 days). P. knowlesi is the most common cause of childhood malaria in Kudat. Although infection is generally uncomplicated, anemia is common and thrombocytopenia universal. Transmission dynamics in this region require additional investigation.

  • Travel-related Dengue Virus Infection, the Netherlands, 2006–2007 PDF Version [PDF - 227 KB - 8 pages]
    G. G. Baaten et al.
       View Abstract

    To assess the incidence of and risk factors for clinical and subclinical dengue virus (DENV) infection, we prospectively studied 1,207 adult short-term travelers from the Netherlands to dengue-endemic areas. Participants donated blood samples for serologic testing before and after travel. Blood samples were tested for antibodies against DENV. Seroconversion occurred in 14 (1.2%) travelers at risk. The incidence rate was 14.6 per 1,000 person-months. The incidence rate was significantly higher for travel during the rainy months. Dengue-like illness occurred in 5 of the 14 travelers who seroconverted. Seroconversion was significantly related to fever, retro-orbital pain, myalgia, arthralgia, and skin rash. The risk for DENV infection for short-term travelers to dengue-endemic areas is substantial. The incidence rate for this study is comparable with that in 2 other serology-based prospective studies conducted in the 1990s.

  • Experimental Infection of Amblyomma aureolatum Ticks with Rickettsia rickettsii PDF Version [PDF - 223 KB - 6 pages]
    M. B. Labruna et al.
       View Abstract

    We experimentally infected Amblyomma aureolatum ticks with the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii, the etiologic agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF). These ticks are a vector for RMSF in Brazil. R. rickettsii was efficiently conserved by both transstadial maintenance and vertical (transovarial) transmission to 100% of the ticks through 4 laboratory generations. However, lower reproductive performance and survival of infected females was attributed to R. rickettsii infection. Therefore, because of the high susceptibility of A. aureolatum ticks to R. rickettsii infection, the deleterious effect that the bacterium causes in these ticks may contribute to the low infection rates (<1%) usually reported among field populations of A. aureolatum ticks in RMSF-endemic areas of Brazil. Because the number of infected ticks would gradually decrease after each generation, it seems unlikely that A. aureolatum ticks could sustain R. rickettsii infection over multiple successive generations solely by vertical transmission.

  • Genotypic Profile of Streptococcus suis Serotype 2 and Clinical Features of Infection in Humans, Thailand PDF Version [PDF - 453 KB - 8 pages]
    A. Kerdsin et al.
       View Abstract

    To examine associations between clinical features of Streptococcus suis serotype 2 infections in humans in Thailand and genotypic profiles of isolates, we conducted a retrospective study during 2006–2008. Of 165 patients for whom bacterial cultures of blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or both were positive for S. suis serotype 2, the major multilocus sequence types (STs) found were ST1 (62.4%) and ST104 (25.5%); the latter is unique to Thailand. Clinical features were examined for 158 patients. Infections were sporadic; case-fatality rate for adults was 9.5%, primarily in northern Thailand. Disease incidence peaked during the rainy season. Disease was classified as meningitis (58.9%) or nonmeningitis (41.1%, and included sepsis [35.4%] and others [5.7%]). Although ST1 strains were significantly associated with the meningitis category (p<0.0001), ST104 strains were significantly associated with the nonmeningitis category (p<0.0001). The ST1 and ST104 strains are capable of causing sepsis, but only the ST1 strains commonly cause meningitis.

  • Babesiosis in Lower Hudson Valley, New York, USA PDF Version [PDF - 258 KB - 5 pages]
    J. T. Joseph et al.
       View Abstract

    Although Lyme disease has been endemic to parts of the Lower Hudson Valley of New York, United States, for >2 decades, babesiosis has emerged there only since 2001. The number of Lower Hudson Valley residents in whom babesiosis was diagnosed increased 20-fold, from 6 to 119 cases per year during 2001–2008, compared with an ≈1.6-fold increase for the rest of New York. During 2002–2009, a total of 19 patients with babesiosis were hospitalized on 22 occasions at the regional tertiary care center. Concurrent conditions included advanced age, malignancies, splenectomy, and AIDS. Two patients acquired the infection from blood transfusions and 1 from perinatal exposure, rather than from a tick bite. One patient died. Clinicians should consider babesiosis in persons with fever and hemolytic anemia who have had tick exposure or have received blood products.

  • Experimental Oral Transmission of Atypical Scrapie to Sheep PDF Version [PDF - 543 KB - 7 pages]
    M. M. Simmons et al.
       View Abstract

    To investigate the possibility of oral transmission of atypical scrapie in sheep and determine the distribution of infectivity in the animals’ peripheral tissues, we challenged neonatal lambs orally with atypical scrapie; they were then killed at 12 or 24 months. Screening test results were negative for disease-specific prion protein in all but 2 recipients; they had positive results for examination of brain, but negative for peripheral tissues. Infectivity of brain, distal ileum, and spleen from all animals was assessed in mouse bioassays; positive results were obtained from tissues that had negative results on screening. These findings demonstrate that atypical scrapie can be transmitted orally and indicate that it has the potential for natural transmission and iatrogenic spread through animal feed. Detection of infectivity in tissues negative by current surveillance methods indicates that diagnostic sensitivity is suboptimal for atypical scrapie, and potentially infectious material may be able to pass into the human food chain.

Historical Review

  • Evidence of Tungiasis in Pre-Hispanic America PDF Version [PDF - 666 KB - 8 pages]
    V. Maco et al.
       View Abstract

    Ancient parasites of the genus Tunga originated in America and, during the first half of the 19th century, were transported to the Eastern Hemisphere on transatlantic voyages. Although they were first documented by Spanish chroniclers after the arrival of Columbus, little is known about their presence in pre-Hispanic America. To evaluate the antiquity of tungiasis in America, we assessed several kinds of early documentation, including written evidence and pre-Incan earthenware reproductions. We identified 17 written documents and 4 anthropomorphic figures, of which 3 originated from the Chimu culture and 1 from the Maranga culture. Tungiasis has been endemic to Peru for at least 14 centuries. We also identified a pottery fragment during this study. This fragment is the fourth representation of tungiasis in pre-Hispanic America identified and provides explicit evidence of disease endemicity in ancient Peru.

Dispatches

Another Dimension

  • The Crab Hole Mosquito Blues PDF Version [PDF - 206 KB - 5 pages]
    K. M. Johnson et al.
       View Abstract

    Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis (VEE) epizoodemics were reported at 6–10-year intervals in northern South America beginning in the 1920s. In 1937, epizootic VEE virus was isolated from infected horse brain and shown as distinct from the North American equine encephalomyelitis viruses. Subsequently, epizootic and sylvatic strains were isolated in distinct ecosystems; isolates were characterized serologically as epizootic subtype I, variants A/B and C; or sylvatic (enzootic) subtype I, variants D, E, and F, and subtypes II, III, and IV. In 1969, variant I-A/B virus was transported from a major outbreak in northern South America to the borders of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This musical poem describes the history and ecology of VEE viruses and the epidemiology of an unprecedented 1969 movement of VEE viruses from South America to equids and humans in Central America from Costa Rica to Guatemala and Belize and in Mexico and the United States that continued until 1972.

Letters

About the Cover

Etymologia

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