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Volume 6, Number 3—June 2000

Volume 6, Number 3—June 2000   PDF Version [PDF - 4.65 MB - 106 pages]


  • Remote Sensing and Human Health: New Sensors and New Opportunities PDF Version [PDF - 811 KB - 11 pages]
    L. R. Beck et al.
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    Since the launch of Landsat-1 28 years ago, remotely sensed data have been used to map features on the earth's surface. An increasing number of health studies have used remotely sensed data for monitoring, surveillance, or risk mapping, particularly of vector-borne diseases. Nearly all studies used data from Landsat, the French Système Pour l'Observation de la Terre, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer. New sensor systems are in orbit, or soon to be launched, whose data may prove useful for characterizing and monitoring the spatial and temporal patterns of infectious diseases. Increased computing power and spatial modeling capabilities of geographic information systems could extend the use of remote sensing beyond the research community into operational disease surveillance and control. This article illustrates how remotely sensed data have been used in health applications and assesses earth-observing satellites that could detect and map environmental variables related to the distribution of vector-borne and other diseases.

  • A Dynamic Transmission Model for Predicting Trends in Helicobacter pylori and Associated Diseases in the United States PDF Version [PDF - 211 KB - 10 pages]
    M. F. Rupnow et al.
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    To assess the benefits of intervention programs against Helicobacter pylori infection, we estimated the baseline curves of its incidence and prevalence. We developed a mathematical (compartmental) model of the intrinsic dynamics of H. pylori, which represents the natural history of infection and disease progression. Our model divided the population according to age, infection status, and clinical state. Case-patients were followed from birth to death. A proportion of the population acquired H. pylori infection and became ill with gastritis, duodenal ulcer, chronic atrophic gastritis, or gastric cancer. We simulated the change in transmissibility consistent with the incidence of gastric cancer and duodenal ulcer over time, as well as current H. pylori prevalence. In the United States, transmissibility of H. pylori has decreased to values so low that, should this trend continue, the organism will disappear from the population without targeted intervention; this process, however, will take more than a century.


  • Using Remotely Sensed Data To Identify Areas at Risk for Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome PDF Version [PDF - 81 KB - 10 pages]
    G. E. Glass et al.
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    The 1993 U.S. hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) outbreak was attributed to environmental conditions and increased rodent populations caused by unusual weather in 1991-92. In a case-control study to test this hypothesis, we estimated precipitation at 28 HPS and 170 control sites during the springs of 1992 and 1993 and compared it with precipitation during the previous 6 years by using rainfall patterns at 196 weather stations. We also used elevation data and Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite imagery collected the year before the outbreak to estimate HPS risk by logistic regression analysis. Rainfall at case sites was not higher during 1992-93 than in previous years. However, elevation, as well as satellite data, showed association between environmental conditions and HPS risk the following year. Repeated analysis using satellite imagery from 1995 showed substantial decrease in medium- to high-risk areas. Only one case of HPS was identified in 1996.

  • Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems: Charting Sin Nombre Virus Infections in Deer Mice PDF Version [PDF - 1.85 MB - 11 pages]
    J. D. Boone et al.
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    We tested environmental data from remote sensing and geographic information system maps as indicators of Sin Nombre virus (SNV) infections in deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) populations in the Walker River Basin, Nevada and California. We determined by serologic testing the presence of SNV infections in deer mice from 144 field sites. We used remote sensing and geographic information systems data to characterize the vegetation type and density, elevation, slope, and hydrologic features of each site. The data retroactively predicted infection status of deer mice with up to 80% accuracy. If models of SNV temporal dynamics can be integrated with baseline spatial models, human risk for infection may be assessed with reasonable accuracy.

  • Potential Human Exposure to Australian Bat Lyssavirus, Queensland, 1996-1999 PDF Version [PDF - 53 KB - 6 pages]
    B. J. McCall et al.
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    Two human deaths caused by Australian bat lyssavirus (ABL) infection have been reported since 1996. Information was obtained from 205 persons (mostly adults from south Brisbane and the South Coast of Queensland), who reported potential ABL exposure to the Brisbane Southside Public Health Unit from November 1,1996, to January 31, 1999. Volunteer animal handlers accounted for 39% of potential exposures, their family members for 12%, professional animal handlers for 14%, community members who intentionally handled bats for 31%, and community members with contacts initiated by bats for 4%. The prevalence of Lyssavirus detected by fluorescent antibody test in 366 sick, injured, or orphaned bats from the area was 6%. Sequelae of exposure, including the requirement for expensive postexposure prophylaxis, may be reduced by educating bat handlers and the public of the risks involved in handling Australian bats.

  • Genetic Variation in Pneumocystis carinii Isolates from Different Geographic Regions: Implications for Transmission PDF Version [PDF - 61 KB - 8 pages]
    C. B. Beard et al.
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    To study transmission patterns of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) in persons with AIDS, we evaluated P. carinii isolates from patients in five U.S. cities for variation at two independent genetic loci, the mitochondrial large subunit rRNA and dihydropteroate synthase. Fourteen unique multilocus genotypes were observed in 191 isolates that were examined at both loci. Mixed infections, accounting for 17.8% of cases, were associated with primary PCP. Genotype frequency distribution patterns varied by patients' place of diagnosis but not by place of birth. Genetic variation at the two loci suggests three probable characteristics of transmission: that most cases of PCP do not result from infections acquired early in life, that infections are actively acquired from a relatively common source (humans or the environment), and that humans, while not necessarily involved in direct infection of other humans, are nevertheless important in the transmission cycle of P. carinii f. sp. hominis.

  • Rhinosporidium seeberi: A Human Pathogen from a Novel Group of Aquatic Protistan Parasites PDF Version [PDF - 289 KB - 10 pages]
    D. N. Fredricks et al.
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    Rhinosporidium seeberi, a microorganism that can infect the mucosal surfaces of humans and animals, has been classified as a fungus on the basis of morphologic and histochemical characteristics. Using consensus polymerase chain reaction (PCR), we amplified a portion of the R. seeberi 18S rRNA gene directly from infected tissue. Analysis of the aligned sequence and inference of phylogenetic relationships showed that R. seeberi is a protist from a novel clade of parasites that infect fish and amphibians. Fluorescence in situ hybridization and R. seeberi-specific PCR showed that this unique 18S rRNA sequence is also present in other tissues infected with R. seeberi. Our data support the R. seeberi phylogeny recently suggested by another group. R. seeberi is not a classic fungus, but rather the first known human pathogen from the DRIPs clade, a novel clade of aquatic protistan parasites (Ichthyosporea).

  • High Prevalence of Penicillin-Nonsusceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae at a Community Hospital in Oklahoma PDF Version [PDF - 34 KB - 7 pages]
    R. L. Moolenaar et al.
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    During 1997, Oklahoma City's Hospital A reported penicillin-nonsusceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae in almost 67% of isolates. To confirm this finding, all Hospital A S. pneumoniae isolates from October 23, 1997, through February 19, 1998, were tested for antibiotic susceptibility and repeat-tested at two other hospital laboratories. Medical records of Hospital A patients with invasive S. pneumoniae infections during 1994 through 1997 were also reviewed. These data were compared with 1998 statewide sentinel hospital surveillance data for invasive S. pneumoniae. Of 48 S. pneumoniae isolates from Hospital A during October 23, 1997, through February 19, 1998, 31 (65%) were penicillin-nonsusceptible S. pneumoniae, and 23 (48%) were highly penicillin resistant. Similar prevalences were confirmed at the other hospital laboratories; however, significant interlaboratory differences were noted in the determination of third-generation cephalosporin susceptibility. During 1994 through 1997, a trend toward increasing penicillin nonsusceptibility (p <0.05) was noted among S. pneumoniae isolates from nursing home patients. During 1998, 85 (30%) of 282 invasive isolates reported to the state surveillance system were penicillin-nonsusceptible S. pneumoniae; 33 (12%) were highly resistant. The increase in resistance observed is notable; the interlaboratory discrepancies are unexplained. To respond, a vaccination program was implemented at Hospital A, and vaccination efforts were initiated at nursing homes.



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