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Volume 19, Number 9—September 2013

Volume 19, Number 9—September 2013   PDF Version [PDF - 11.46 MB - 207 pages]


  • Acute Encephalitis Syndrome Surveillance, Kushinagar District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2011–2012 PDF Version [PDF - 1.28 MB - 2 pages]
    M. Kakkar et al.
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    Low-quality data prevent informed policy making and implementation of prevention and control measures.

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    In India, quality surveillance for acute encephalitis syndrome (AES), including laboratory testing, is necessary for understanding the epidemiology and etiology of AES, planning interventions, and developing policy. We reviewed AES surveillance data for January 2011–June 2012 from Kushinagar District, Uttar Pradesh, India. Data were cleaned, incidence was determined, and demographic characteristics of cases and data quality were analyzed. A total of 812 AES case records were identified, of which 23% had illogical entries. AES incidence was highest among boys <6 years of age, and cases peaked during monsoon season. Records for laboratory results (available for Japanese encephalitis but not AES) and vaccination history were largely incomplete, so inferences about the epidemiology and etiology of AES could not be made. The low-quality AES/Japanese encephalitis surveillance data in this area provide little evidence to support development of prevention and control measures, estimate the effect of interventions, and avoid the waste of public health resources.


  • Detection of Diphtheritic Polyneuropathy by Acute Flaccid Paralysis Surveillance, India PDF Version [PDF - 484 KB - 6 pages]
    F. J. Mateen et al.
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    Throat examinations are useful for diagnosis of this disease.

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    Diphtheritic polyneuropathy is a vaccine-preventable illness caused by exotoxin-producing strains of Corynebacterium diphtheriae. We present a retrospective convenience case series of 15 children (6 girls) <15 years of age (mean age 5.2 years, case-fatality rate 53%, and 1 additional case-patient who was ventilator dependent at the time of last follow-up; median follow-up period 60 days) with signs and symptoms suggestive of diphtheritic polyneuropathy. All cases were identified through national acute flaccid paralysis surveillance, which was designed to detect poliomyelitis in India during 2002–2008. We also report data on detection of diphtheritic polyneuropathy compared with other causes of acute flaccid paralysis identified by this surveillance system.

  • Nodding Syndrome PDF Version [PDF - 561 KB - 11 pages]
    S. F. Dowell et al.
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    Identifying the cause of this unexplained epidemic epilepsy is a major challenge.

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    An epidemic illness characterized by head nodding associated with onchocerciasis has been described in eastern Africa since the early 1960s; we summarize published reports and recent studies. Onset of nodding occurs in previously healthy 5–15-year-old children and is often triggered by eating or cold temperatures and accompanied by cognitive impairment. Its incidence has increased in Uganda and South Sudan over the past 10 years. Four case–control studies identified modest and inconsistent associations. There were nonspecific lesions seen by magnetic resonance imaging, no cerebrospinal fluid inflammation, and markedly abnormal electroencephalography results. Nodding episodes are atonic seizures. Testing has failed to demonstrate associations with trypanosomiasis, cysticercosis, loiasis, lymphatic filariasis, cerebral malaria, measles, prion disease, or novel pathogens; or deficiencies of folate, cobalamin, pyridoxine, retinol, or zinc; or toxicity from mercury, copper, or homocysteine. There is a consistent enigmatic association with onchocerciasis detected by skin snip or serologic analysis. Nodding syndrome is an unexplained epidemic epilepsy.


  • Divergent Astrovirus Associated with Neurologic Disease in Cattle PDF Version [PDF - 587 KB - 8 pages]
    L. Li et al.
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    Cattle showing neurologic signs should be tested for BoAstV-NeuroS1.

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    Using viral metagenomics of brain tissue from a young adult crossbreed steer with acute onset of neurologic disease, we sequenced the complete genome of a novel astrovirus (BoAstV-NeuroS1) that was phylogenetically related to an ovine astrovirus. In a retrospective analysis of 32 cases of bovine encephalitides of unknown etiology, 3 other infected animals were detected by using PCR and in situ hybridization for viral RNA. Viral RNA was restricted to the nervous system and detected in the cytoplasm of affected neurons within the spinal cord, brainstem, and cerebellum. Microscopically, the lesions were of widespread neuronal necrosis, microgliosis, and perivascular cuffing preferentially distributed in gray matter and most severe in the cerebellum and brainstem, with increasing intensity caudally down the spinal cord. These results suggest that infection with BoAstV-NeuroS1 is a potential cause of neurologic disease in cattle.

  • Antigenic and Molecular Characterization of Avian Influenza A(H9N2) Viruses, Bangladesh PDF Version [PDF - 721 KB - 10 pages]
    K. Shanmuganatham et al.
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    Reassortant trends in these viruses indicate the potential for transmission to mammalian hosts.

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    Human infection with avian influenza A(H9N2) virus was identified in Bangladesh in 2011. Surveillance for influenza viruses in apparently healthy poultry in live-bird markets in Bangladesh during 2008–2011 showed that subtype H9N2 viruses are isolated year-round, whereas highly pathogenic subtype H5N1 viruses are co-isolated with subtype H9N2 primarily during the winter months. Phylogenetic analysis of the subtype H9N2 viruses showed that they are reassortants possessing 3 gene segments related to subtype H7N3; the remaining gene segments were from the subtype H9N2 G1 clade. We detected no reassortment with subtype H5N1 viruses. Serologic analyses of subtype H9N2 viruses from chickens revealed antigenic conservation, whereas analyses of viruses from quail showed antigenic drift. Molecular analysis showed that multiple mammalian-specific mutations have become fixed in the subtype H9N2 viruses, including changes in the hemagglutinin, matrix, and polymerase proteins. Our results indicate that these viruses could mutate to be transmissible from birds to mammals, including humans.

  • Protection by Face Masks against Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 Virus on Trans-Pacific Passenger Aircraft, 2009 PDF Version [PDF - 765 KB - 8 pages]
    L. Zhang et al.
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    Comprehensive studies are needed to assess this protective effect.

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    In response to several influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 infections that developed in passengers after they traveled on the same 2 flights from New York, New York, USA, to Hong Kong, China, to Fuzhou, China, we assessed transmission of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus on these flights. We defined a case of infection as onset of fever and respiratory symptoms and detection of virus by PCR in a passenger or crew member of either flight. Illness developed only in passengers who traveled on the New York to Hong Kong flight. We compared exposures of 9 case-passengers with those of 32 asymptomatic control-passengers. None of the 9 case-passengers, compared with 47% (15/32) of control-passengers, wore a face mask for the entire flight (odds ratio 0, 95% CI 0–0.71). The source case-passenger was not identified. Wearing a face mask was a protective factor against influenza infection. We recommend a more comprehensive intervention study to accurately estimate this effect.

  • Medscape CME Activity
    Mumps Postexposure Prophylaxis with a Third Dose of Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine, Orange County, New York, USA PDF Version [PDF - 544 KB - 7 pages]
    A. Fiebelkorn et al.
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    Mumps attack rates were 0% among third dose recipients and 5.2% among 2-dose recipients who had not received postexposure prophylaxis.

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    Although the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is not recommended for mumps postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), data on its effectiveness are limited. During the 2009–2010 mumps outbreak in the northeastern United States, we assessed effectiveness of PEP with a third dose of MMR vaccine among contacts in Orthodox Jewish households who were given a third dose within 5 days of mumps onset in the household’s index patient. We compared mumps attack rates between persons who received a third MMR dose during the first incubation period after onset in the index patient and 2-dose vaccinated persons who had not. Twenty-eight (11.7%) of 239 eligible household members received a third MMR dose as PEP. Mumps attack rates were 0% among third-dose recipients versus 5.2% among 2-dose recipients without PEP (p = 0.57). Although a third MMR dose administered as PEP did not have a significant effect, it may offer some benefits in specific outbreak contexts.

  • Continued Evolution of West Nile Virus, Houston, Texas, USA, 2002–2012 PDF Version [PDF - 878 KB - 10 pages]
    B. R. Mann et al.
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    Ongoing surveillance is needed to better understand transmission dynamics.

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    We investigated the genetics and evolution of West Nile virus (WNV) since initial detection in the United States in 1999 on the basis of continual surveillance studies in the Houston, Texas, USA, metropolitan area (Harris County) as a surrogate model for WNV evolution on a national scale. Full-length genomic sequencing of 14 novel 2010–2012 WNV isolates collected from resident birds in Harris County demonstrates emergence of 4 independent genetic groups distinct from historical strains circulating in the greater Houston region since 2002. Phylogenetic and geospatial analyses of the 2012 WNV isolates indicate closer genetic relationship with 2003–2006 Harris County isolates than more recent 2007–2011 isolates. Inferred monophyletic relationships of these groups with several 2006–2009 northeastern US isolates supports potential introduction of a novel WNV strain in Texas since 2010. These results emphasize the need to maintain WNV surveillance activities to better understand WNV transmission dynamics in the United States.

  • Underreporting of Viral Encephalitis and Viral Meningitis, Ireland, 2005–2008 PDF Version [PDF - 462 KB - 9 pages]
    T. A. Kelly et al.
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    New case definitions and other measures have been implemented to improve surveillance accuracy.

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    Viral encephalitis (VE) and viral meningitis (VM) have been notifiable infectious diseases under surveillance in the Republic of Ireland since 1981. Laboratories have reported confirmed cases by detection of viral nucleic acid in cerebrospinal fluid since 2004. To determine the prevalence of these diseases in Ireland during 2005–2008, we analyzed 3 data sources: Hospital In-patient Enquiry data (from hospitalized following patients discharge) accessed through Health Intelligence Ireland, laboratory confirmations from the National Virus Reference Laboratory, and events from the Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting surveillance system. We found that the national surveillance system underestimates the incidence of these diseases in Ireland with a 10-fold higher VE hospitalization rate and 3-fold higher VM hospitalization rate than the reporting rate. Herpesviruses were responsible for most specified VE and enteroviruses for most specified VM from all 3 sources. Recommendations from this study have been implemented to improve the surveillance of these diseases in Ireland.

  • High Rates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis among Socially Marginalized Immigrants in Low-Incidence Area, 1991–2010, Italy PDF Version [PDF - 724 KB - 9 pages]
    I. Baussano et al.
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    These populations may account for substantial ongoing transmission and should be prioritized for tuberculosis screening.

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    Migration from low- and middle-income countries to high-income countries increasingly determines the severity of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the adopted country. Socially marginalized groups, about whom little is known, may account for a reservoir of TB among the immigrant populations. We investigated the rates of and risk factors for Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission, infection, and disease in a cohort of 27,358 socially marginalized immigrants who were systematically screened (1991–2010) in an area of Italy with low TB incidence. Overall TB and latent TB infection prevalence and annual tuberculin skin testing conversion rates (i.e., incidence of new infection) were 2.7%, 34.6%, and 1.7%, respectively. Prevalence of both TB and latent TB infection and incidence of infection increased as a function of the estimated TB incidence in the immigrants’ countries of origin. Annual infection incidence decreased with time elapsed since immigration. These findings have implications for control policy and immigrant screening in countries with a low prevalence of TB.

  • Plasmodium falciparum Mutant Haplotype Infection during Pregnancy Associated with Reduced Birthweight, Tanzania PDF Version [PDF - 509 KB - 9 pages]
    D. Minja et al.
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    Suboptimal malaria treatments should urgently be replaced by screening and treatment with safe and effective drugs.

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    Intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy with sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) is a key strategy in the control of pregnancy-associated malaria. However, this strategy is compromised by widespread drug resistance from single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the Plasmodium falciparum dihydrofolate reductase and dihydropteroate synthetase genes. During September 2008–October 2010, we monitored a cohort of 924 pregnant women in an area of Tanzania with declining malaria transmission. P. falciparum parasites were genotyped, and the effect of infecting haplotypes on birthweight was assessed. Of the genotyped parasites, 9.3%, 46.3%, and 44.4% had quadruple or less, quintuple, and sextuple mutated haplotypes, respectively. Mutant haplotypes were unrelated to SP doses. Compared with infections with the less-mutated haplotypes, infections with the sextuple haplotype mutation were associated with lower (359 g) birthweights. Continued use of the suboptimal IPTp-SP regimen should be reevaluated, and alternative strategies (e.g., intermittent screening and treatment or intermittent treatment with safe and effective alternative drugs) should be evaluated.

  • New Estimates of Incidence of Encephalitis in England PDF Version [PDF - 406 KB - 8 pages]
    J. Granerod et al.
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    Early recognition and accurate diagnosis of this disease are necessary to reduce economic and societal costs.

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    Encephalitis causes high rates of illness and death, yet its epidemiology remains poorly understood. To improve incidence estimates in England and inform priority setting and treatment and prevention strategies, we used hospitalization data to estimate incidence of infectious and noninfectious encephalitis during 2005–2009. Hospitalization data were linked to a dataset of extensively investigated cases of encephalitis from a prospective study, and capture–recapture models were applied. Incidence was estimated from unlinked hospitalization data as 4.32 cases/100,000 population/year. Capture–recapture models gave a best estimate of encephalitis incidence of 5.23 cases/100,000/year, although the models’ indicated incidence could be as high as 8.66 cases/100,000/year. This analysis indicates that the incidence of encephalitis in England is considerably higher than previously estimated. Therefore, encephalitis should be a greater priority for clinicians, researchers, and public health officials.

  • Enzootic and Epizootic Rabies Associated with Vampire Bats, Peru PDF Version [PDF - 409 KB - 7 pages]
    R. Condori-Condori et al.
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    Three putative new virus lineages were found in hosts that may represent new reservoirs for this virus.

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    During the past decade, incidence of human infection with rabies virus (RABV) spread by the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) increased considerably in South America, especially in remote areas of the Amazon rainforest, where these bats commonly feed on humans. To better understand the epizootiology of rabies associated with vampire bats, we used complete sequences of the nucleoprotein gene to infer phylogenetic relationships among 157 RABV isolates collected from humans, domestic animals, and wildlife, including bats, in Peru during 2002–2007. This analysis revealed distinct geographic structuring that indicates that RABVs spread gradually and involve different vampire bat subpopulations with different transmission cycles. Three putative new RABV lineages were found in 3 non–vampire bat species that may represent new virus reservoirs. Detection of novel RABV variants and accurate identification of reservoir hosts are critically important for the prevention and control of potential virus transmission, especially to humans.

  • Use of Staged Molecular Analysis to Determine Causes of Unexplained Central Nervous System Infections PDF Version [PDF - 539 KB - 8 pages]
    C. Hsu et al.
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    MassTag PCR may identify causes even after other analyses have yielded negative results.

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    No agent is implicated in most central nervous system (CNS) infections. To investigate cerebrospinal fluid samples from patients with CNS infections of unknown cause in 1 hospital in Taiwan, we used a staged molecular approach, incorporating techniques including multiplex MassTag PCR, 16S rRNA PCR, DNA microarray, and high-throughput pyrosequencing. We determined the infectious agent for 31 (24%) of 131 previously negative samples. Candidate pathogens were identified for 25 (27%) of 94 unexplained meningitis cases and 6 (16%) of 37 unexplained encephalitis cases. Epstein-Barr virus (18 infections) accounted for most of the identified agents in unexplained meningitis cases, followed by Escherichia coli (5), enterovirus (2), human herpesvirus 2 (1), and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Herpesviruses were identified in samples from patients with unexplained encephalitis cases, including varicella-zoster virus (3 infections), human herpesvirus 1 (2), and cytomegalovirus (1). Our study confirms the power of multiplex MassTag PCR as a rapid diagnostic tool for identifying pathogens causing unexplained CNS infections.

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