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Volume 6, Number 4—August 2000

Volume 6, Number 4—August 2000   PDF Version [PDF - 2.25 MB - 128 pages]

Perspective

  • Migratory Birds and Spread of West Nile Virus in the Western Hemisphere PDF Version [PDF - 142 KB - 10 pages]
    J. H. Rappole et al.
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    West Nile virus, an Old World flavivirus related to St. Louis encephalitis virus, was first recorded in the New World during August 1999 in the borough of Queens, New York City. Through October 1999, 62 patients, 7 of whom died, had confirmed infections with the virus. Ornithophilic mosquitoes are the principal vectors of West Nile virus in the Old World, and birds of several species, chiefly migrants, appear to be the major introductory or amplifying hosts. If transovarial transmission or survival in overwintering mosquitoes were the principal means for its persistence, West Nile virus might not become established in the New World because of aggressive mosquito suppression campaigns conducted in the New York area. However, the pattern of outbreaks in southern Europe suggests that viremic migratory birds may also contribute to movement of the virus. If so, West Nile virus has the potential to cause outbreaks throughout both temperate and tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere.

  • Male-Killing Bacteria in Insects: Mechanisms, Incidence, and Implications PDF Version [PDF - 79 KB - 8 pages]
    G. D. Hurst and F. M. Jiggins
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    Bacteria that are vertically transmitted through female hosts and kill male hosts that inherit them were first recorded in insects during the 1950s. Recent studies have shown these "male-killers" to be diverse and have led to a reappraisal of the biology of many groups of bacteria. Rickettsia, for instance, have been regarded as human pathogens transmitted by arthropods. The finding of a male-killing Rickettsia obligately associated with an insect suggests that the genus' members may be primarily associated with arthropods and are only sometimes pathogens of vertebrates. We examined both how killing of male hosts affects the dynamics of inherited bacteria and how male-killing bacteria affect their host populations. Finally, we assessed the potential use of these microorganisms in the control of insect populations.

  • Communicating the Threat of Emerging Infections to the Public PDF Version [PDF - 474 KB - 11 pages]
    V. Freimuth et al.
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    Communication theory and techniques, aided by the electronic revolution, provide new opportunities and challenges for the effective transfer of laboratory, epidemiologic, surveillance, and other public health data to the public who funds them. We review the applicability of communication theory, particularly the audience-source-message-channel meta-model, to emerging infectious disease issues. Emergence of new infectious organisms, microbial resistance to therapeutic drugs, and increased emphasis on prevention have expanded the role of communication as a vital component of public health practice. In the absence of cure, as in AIDS and many other public health problems, an effectively crafted and disseminated prevention message is the key control measure. Applying communication theory to disease prevention messages can increase the effectiveness of the messages and improve public health.

Research

  • Reemergence of Pertussis in the Highly Vaccinated Population of The Netherlands: Observations on Surveillance Data PDF Version [PDF - 104 KB - 10 pages]
    H. E. de Melker et al.
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    We analyzed pertussis reporting, death, hospitalization, and serodiagnostic data from 1976 to 1998 to help explain the cause of the 1996 pertussis outbreak in the Netherlands. The unexpected outbreak was detected by an increase in pertussis reporting and by other surveillance methods. In 1996, according to reporting and serologic data, the increase in pertussis incidence among (mostly unvaccinated) children less than 1 year of age was similar to the increase in hospital admissions. Among older (mostly vaccinated) persons, the increase in hospital admissions was relatively small. The increase in pertussis incidence was higher among vaccinated than among unvaccinated persons of all ages. This resulted in lower estimates of vaccine effectiveness. The proportion of pertussis infections resulting in recognizable symptoms may have increased among vaccinated persons because of a mismatch of the vaccine strain and circulating Bordetella pertussis strains. The small immunogenicity profile of the Dutch vaccine may have resulted in greater vulnerability to antigenic changes in B. pertussis.

  • Seroprevalence of West Nile, Rift Valley, and Sandfly Arboviruses in Hashimiah, Jordan PDF Version [PDF - 52 KB - 5 pages]
    A. Batieha et al.
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    We conducted a serosurvey among patients of a health center in Hashimiah, a Jordanian town of 30,000 inhabitants located near a wastewater treatment plant and its effluent channel. Serum samples from 261 patients 5 years of age were assessed for immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM antibodies against West Nile, sandfly Sicilian, sandfly Naples, and Rift Valley viruses; the seroprevalence of IgG antibodies was 8%, 47%, 30%, and 0%, respectively. Female participants were more likely to have been infected than male. Persons living within 2 km of the treatment plant were more likely to have been infected with West Nile (p=0.016) and sandfly Sicilian (p=0.010) viruses. Raising domestic animals within the house was a risk factor for sandfly Sicilian (p=0.003) but not for sandfly Naples virus (p=0.148). All serum samples were negative for IgM antibodies against the tested viruses. Our study is the first documentation of West Nile and sandfly viruses in Jordan and calls attention to the possible health hazards of living close to wastewater treatment plants and their effluent channels.

  • Dual Captures of Colorado Rodents: Implications for Transmission of Hantaviruses PDF Version [PDF - 62 KB - 7 pages]
    C. H. Calisher et al.
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    We analyzed dual-capture data collected during longitudinal studies monitoring transmission and persistence of Sin Nombre virus in rodents in Colorado.Our data indicate that multiple captures (two or more rodents captured in a single trap) may not be random, as indicated in previous studies, but rather the result of underlying, species-specific social behavior or cohesiveness. In the pairs we captured, most often, rodents were of the same species, were male, and could be recaptured as pairs. Therefore, dual captures of rodents, which are unusual but not rare, tend to occur among certain species, and appear to be nonrandom, group-foraging encounters. These demographic and ecological characteristics may have implications for the study of the transmission of hantavirus.

Dispatches

Commentaries

Letters

About the Cover

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