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Volume 17, Number 6—June 2011

Volume 17, Number 6—June 2011   PDF Version [PDF - 6.04 MB - 203 pages]


  • Reality Check of Laboratory Service Effectiveness during Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, Victoria, Australia PDF Version [PDF - 239 KB - 6 pages]
    M. Catton et al.
       View Abstract

    In Australia, the outbreak of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 began in Melbourne, Victoria; in the first 17 days, the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory detected 977 cases. Although the laboratory had a pandemic plan in place, a retrospective evaluation found 3 major variations from plan assumptions: 1) higher peak demand not limited by a case definition, 2) prolonged peak demand because containment attempts continued despite widespread influenza, and 3) unexpected influence of negative test results on public health actions. Although implementation of the plan was generally successful, the greatest challenges were limited availability of skilled staff and test reagents. Despite peak demand of 1,401 tests per day, results were provided within the usual 24 hours of specimen receipt; however, turnaround time seemed slower because of slow transport times (>3 days for 45% of specimens). Hence, effective laboratory capability might be enhanced by speeding transport of specimens and improving transmission of clinical data.


  • Multiple Introductions of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis into Households, Lima, Peru PDF Version [PDF - 189 KB - 7 pages]
    T. Cohen et al.
       View Abstract

    Two cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) in a household are assumed to reflect within-household transmission. However, in high-incidence areas of MDR TB, secondary cases may arise through exposure to MDR TB in the community. To estimate the frequency of multiple introductions of MDR TB into households, we used spoligotyping and 24-loci mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit–variable number tandem repeats to classify isolates from 101 households in Lima, Peru, in which >1 MDR TB patient received treatment during 1996–2004. We found different MDR TB strains in >10% of households. Alternate approaches for classifying matching strains produced estimates of multiple introductions in <38% of households. At least 4% of MDR TB patients were reinfected by a second strain of MDR Mycobacterium tuberculosis. These findings suggest that community exposure to MDR TB in Lima occurs frequently. Rapid drug sensitivity testing of strains from household contacts of known MDR TB patients is needed to identify optimal treatment regimens.

  • Binary Toxin and Death after Clostridium difficile Infection PDF Version [PDF - 173 KB - 7 pages]
    S. Bacci et al.
       View Abstract

    We compared 30-day case-fatality rates for patients infected with Clostridium difficile possessing genes for toxins A and B without binary toxin (n = 212) with rates for patients infected with C. difficile possessing genes for A, B, and binary toxin. The latter group comprised patients infected with strains of PCR ribotype 027 (CD027, n = 193) or non-027 (CD non-027, n = 72). Patients with binary toxin had higher case-fatality rates than patients without binary toxin, in univariate analysis (relative risk [RR] 1.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–2.7) and multivariate analysis after adjustment for age, sex, and geographic region (RR 1.6, 95% CI 1.0–2.4). Similar case-fatality rates (27.8%, 28.0%) were observed for patients infected with CD027 or CD non-027. Binary toxin either is a marker for more virulent C. difficile strains or contributes directly to strain virulence. Efforts to control C. difficile infection should target all virulent strains irrespective of PCR ribotype.

  • Invasive Group A Streptococcal Infection and Vaccine Implications, Auckland, New Zealand PDF Version [PDF - 165 KB - 7 pages]
    A. Safar et al.
       View Abstract

    We aimed to assess the effect of invasive group A streptococcal (GAS) infection and the potential effects of a multivalent GAS vaccine in New Zealand. During January 2005–December 2006, we conducted prospective population-based laboratory surveillance of Auckland residents admitted to all public hospitals with isolation of GAS from normally sterile sites. Using emm typing, we identified 225 persons with confirmed invasive GAS infection (median 53 years of age; range 0–97 years). Overall incidence was 8.1 cases per 100,00 persons per year (20.4/100,000/year for Maori and Pacific Islanders; 24.4/100,000/year for persons >65 years of age; 33/100,000/year for infants <1 year of age). Nearly half (49%) of all cases occurred in Auckland’s lowest socioeconomic quintile. Twenty-two persons died, for an overall case-fatality rate of 10% (63% for toxic shock syndrome). Seventy-four percent of patients who died had an underlying condition. To the population in our study, the proposed 26-valent vaccine would provide limited benefit.

  • Use of Antiviral Drugs to Reduce Household Transmission of Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, United Kingdom PDF Version [PDF - 341 KB - 7 pages]
    R. G. Pebody et al.
       View Abstract

    The United Kingdom implemented a containment strategy for pandemic (H1N1) 2009 through administering antiviral agents (AVs) to patients and their close contacts. This observational household cohort study describes the effect of AVs on household transmission. We followed 285 confirmed primary cases in 259 households with 761 contacts. At 2 weeks, the confirmed secondary attack rate (SAR) was 8.1% (62/761) and significantly higher in persons <16 years of age than in those >50 years of age (18.9% vs. 1.2%, p<0.001). Early (<48 hours) treatment of primary case-patients reduced SAR (4.5% vs. 10.6%, p = 0.003). The SAR in child contacts was 33.3% (10/30) when the primary contact was a woman and 2.9% (1/34) when the primary contact was a man (p = 0.010). Of 53 confirmed secondary case-patients, 45 had not received AV prophylaxis. The effectiveness of AV prophylaxis in preventing infection was 92%.

  • Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Risk for Frontline Health Care Workers PDF Version [PDF - 216 KB - 7 pages]
    C. Marshall et al.
       View Abstract

    To determine whether frontline health care workers (HCWs) are at greater risk for contracting pandemic (H1N1) 2009 than nonclinical staff, we conducted a study of 231 HCWs and 215 controls. Overall, 79 (17.7%) of 446 had a positive antibody titer by hemagglutination inhibition, with 46 (19.9%) of 231 HCWs and 33 (15.3%) of 215 controls positive (OR 1.37, 95% confidence interval 0.84–2.22). Of 87 participants who provided a second serum sample, 1 showed a 4-fold rise in antibody titer; of 45 patients who had a nose swab sample taken during a respiratory illness, 7 had positive results. Higher numbers of children in a participant’s family and working in an intensive care unit were risk factors for infection; increasing age, working at hospital 2, and wearing gloves were protective factors. This highly exposed group of frontline HCWs was no more likely to contract pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza infection than nonclinical staff, which suggests that personal protective measures were adequate in preventing transmission.

  • Marked Campylobacteriosis Decline after Interventions Aimed at Poultry, New Zealand PDF Version [PDF - 335 KB - 9 pages]
    A. Sears et al.
       View Abstract

    Beginning in the 1980s, New Zealand experienced rising annual rates of campylobacteriosis that peaked in 2006. We analyzed notification, hospitalization, and other data to explore the 2007–2008 drop in campylobacteriosis incidence. Source attribution techniques based on genotyping of Campylobacter jejuni isolates from patients and environmental sources were also used to examine the decline. In 2008, the annual campylobacteriosis notification rate was 161.5/100,000 population, representing a 54% decline compared with the average annual rate of 353.8/100,000 for 2002–2006. A similar decline was seen for hospitalizations. Source attribution findings demonstrated a 74% (95% credible interval 49%–94%) reduction in the number of cases attributed to poultry. These reductions coincided with the introduction of a range of voluntary and regulatory interventions to reduce Campylobacter spp. contamination of poultry. The apparent success of these interventions may inform approaches other countries could consider to help control foodborne campylobacteriosis.

  • Wild Birds and Increased Transmission of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1) among Poultry, Thailand PDF Version [PDF - 737 KB - 7 pages]
    J. Keawcharoen et al.
       View Abstract

    Since the outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 virus, wild birds have been suspected of transmitting this virus to poultry. On January 23, 2004, the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand informed the World Health Organization of an avian influenza A (H5N1) outbreak. To determine the epidemiology of this viral infection and its relation to poultry outbreaks in Thailand from 2004 through 2007, we investigated how wild birds play a role in transmission. A total of 24,712 serum samples were collected from migratory and resident wild birds. Reverse transcription PCR showed a 0.7% HPAI (H5N1) prevalence. The highest prevalence was observed during January–February 2004 and March–June 2004, predominantly in central Thailand, which harbors most of the country’s poultry flocks. Analysis of the relationship between poultry and wild bird outbreaks was done by using a nonhomogeneous birth and death statistical model. Transmission efficiency among poultry flocks was 1.7× higher in regions with infected wild birds in the given or preceding month. The joint presence of wild birds and poultry is associated with increased spread among poultry flocks.

  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Samoa, 2007–2008 PDF Version [PDF - 182 KB - 7 pages]
    J. Alesana-Slater et al.
       View Abstract

    Little is known about the epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in most Pacific Island nations. Relatively high rates of MRSA have been reported in Polynesian people living outside the Pacific Islands. To determine the prevalence and characteristics of MRSA, we assessed wound swabs from 399 persons with skin and soft tissue infection living in Samoa. MRSA was isolated from 9% of study participants; 34 of the 196 S. aureus isolates were MRSA. Five MRSA genotypes were identified; the 3 most common were USA300, the Queensland clone, and a sequence type 1 MRSA strain that shares <85% homology with the sequence type 1 MRSA strain common in the region (WA MRSA-1). The Southwest Pacific MRSA clone was identified but accounted for only 12% of MRSA isolates. The high prevalence of MRSA in Samoa provides impetus for initiatives to improve antimicrobial drug resistance surveillance, infection control, and antimicrobial drug use in Pacific Island nations.

  • Medscape CME Activity
    Taenia solium Tapeworm Infection, Oregon, 2006–2009 PDF Version [PDF - 108 KB - 7 pages]
    S. O’Neal et al.
       View Abstract

    Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a parasitic infection of the central nervous system caused by Taenia solium larval cysts. Its epidemiology in cysticercosis-nonendemic regions is poorly understood, and the role of public health institutions is unclear. To determine the incidence of NCC and to pilot screening of household contacts for tapeworms, we conducted population-based active surveillance in Oregon. We screened for T. solium infection by examining hospital billing codes and medical charts for NCC diagnosed during January 1, 2006–December 31, 2009 and collecting fecal and blood samples from household contacts of recent case-patients. We identified 87 case-patients, for an annual incidence of 0.5 cases per 100,000 general population and 5.8 cases per 100,000 Hispanics. In 22 households, we confirmed 2 additional NCC case-patients but no current adult intestinal tapeworm infections. NCC is of clinical and public health concern in Oregon, particularly among Hispanics. Public health intervention should focus on family members because household investigations can identify additional case-patients.

  • Medscape CME Activity
    Cefepime-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa PDF Version [PDF - 155 KB - 7 pages]
    E. Akhabue et al.
       View Abstract

    Resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins complicates treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections. To elucidate risk factors for cefepime-resistant P. aeruginosa and determine its association with patient death, we conducted a case–control study in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Among 2,529 patients hospitalized during 2001–2006, a total of 213 (8.4%) had cefepime-resistant P. aeruginosa infection. Independent risk factors were prior use of an extended-spectrum cephalosphorin (p<0.001), prior use of an extended-spectrum penicillin (p = 0.005), prior use of a quinolone (p<0.001), and transfer from an outside facility (p = 0.01). Among those hospitalized at least 30 days, mortality rates were higher for those with cefepime-resistant than with cefepime-susceptible P. aeruginosa infection (20.2% vs. 13.2%, p = 0.007). Cefepime-resistant P. aeruginosa was an independent risk factor for death only for patients for whom it could be isolated from blood (p = 0.001). Strategies to counter its emergence should focus on optimizing use of antipseudomonal drugs.

    1Current affiliation: Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

Historical Review

  • Reflections on 30 Years of AIDS PDF Version [PDF - 64 KB - 5 pages]
    K. M. De Cock et al.
    View Summary

    Although the end of the epidemic is not yet in sight, the remarkable response has improved health around the world.

       View Abstract

    June 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the first description of what became known as HIV/AIDS, now one of history’s worst pandemics. The basic public health tools of surveillance and epidemiologic investigation helped define the epidemic and led to initial prevention recommendations. Features of the epidemic, including the zoonotic origin of HIV and its spread through global travel, are central to the concept of emerging infectious diseases. As the epidemic expanded into developing countries, new models of global health and new global partnerships developed. Advocacy groups played a major role in mobilizing the response to the epidemic, having human rights as a central theme. Through the commitments of governments and private donors, modern HIV treatment has become available throughout the developing world. Although the end of the epidemic is not yet in sight and many challenges remain, the response has been remarkable and global health has changed for the better.



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