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Volume 6, Number 6—December 2000

Volume 6, Number 6—December 2000   PDF Version [PDF - 2.31 MB - 106 pages]


  • International Editor's Update PDF Version [PDF - 29 KB - 1 page]
    T. Kurata
  • Recent Trends in Tuberculosis, Japan PDF Version [PDF - 25 KB - 3 pages]
    T. Mori
       View Abstract

    Despite a decline after World War II, the rate of tuberculosis in Japan remains high. Infection is heavily concentrated in the >60-year age group, and 82% of patients are >40 years of age. The success rate for treatment of smear-positive patients is 78%. Multidrug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are rare.

  • Trends in Flavivirus Infections in Japan PDF Version [PDF - 20 KB - 3 pages]
    I. Kurane et al.
       View Abstract

    Although Japanese encephalitis has declined as an important cause of illness and death in Japan, infection with other flaviviruses has become a public health concern. Recently, reports of imported dengue cases, as well as isolations of tick-borne encephalitis virus, have increased.

  • Trends in Antimicrobial-Drug Resistance in Japan PDF Version [PDF - 29 KB - 4 pages]
    Y. Arakawa et al.
       View Abstract

    Multidrug resistance in gram-positive bacteria has become common worldwide. In Japan until recently, gram-negative bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Serratia marcescens were controlled by carbapenems, fluoroquinolones, and aminoglycosides. However, several of these microorganisms have recently developed resistance against many antimicrobial drugs.

  • Developing National Epidemiological Capacity to Meet the Challenges of Emerging Infections in Germany PDF Version [PDF - 55 KB - 9 pages]
    L. R. Petersen et al.
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    In January 1996, the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s national public health institute, began strengthening its epidemiologic capacity to respond to emerging and other infectious diseases. Six integrated strategies were initiated: developing employee training, outbreak investigation, and epidemiologic research programs; strengthening surveillance systems; improving communications to program partners and constituents; and building international collaborations. By December 1999, five employees had completed a 2-year applied epidemiology training program, 186 health department personnel had completed a 2-week training course, 27 outbreak investigations had been completed, eight short-term research projects had been initiated, major surveillance and epidemiologic research efforts for foodborne and nosocomial infections had begun, and 16 scientific manuscripts had been published or were in press. The German experience indicates that, with a concerted effort, considerable progress in building a national applied infectious disease program can be achieved in a short time frame.

  • Evidence Against Rapid Emergence of Praziquantel Resistance in Schistosoma haematobium, Kenya PDF Version [PDF - 222 KB - 9 pages]
    C. H. King et al.
       View Abstract

    We examined the long-term efficacy of praziquantel against Schistosoma haematobium, the causative agent of urinary schistosomiasis, during a school-based treatment program in the Msambweni area of Coast Province, Kenya, where the disease is highly endemic. Our results, derived from treating 4,031 of 7,641 children from 1984 to 1993, indicate substantial year-to-year variation in drug efficacy. However, the pattern of this variation was not consistent with primary or progressive emergence of praziquantel resistance. Mathematical modeling indicated that, at current treatment rates, praziquantel resistance will likely take 10 or more years to emerge.

  • Investigating Disease Outbreaks under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention PDF Version [PDF - 33 KB - 6 pages]
    M. Wheelis
       View Abstract

    The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention prohibits the development, production, and stockpiling of biological weapons agents or delivery devices for anything other than peaceful purposes. A protocol currently in the final stages of negotiation adds verification measures to the convention. One of these measures will be international investigation of disease outbreaks that suggest a violation of the convention, i.e., outbreaks that may be caused by use of biological weapons or release of harmful agents from a facility conducting prohibited work. Adding verification measures to the current Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention will affect the international public health and epidemiology communities; therefore, active involvement of these communities in planning the implementation details of the protocol will be important.


  • Hemophagocytic Syndromes and Infection PDF Version [PDF - 59 KB - 8 pages]
    D. N. Fisman
       View Abstract

    Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is an unusual syndrome characterized by fever, splenomegaly, jaundice, and the pathologic finding of hemophagocytosis (phagocytosis by macrophages of erythrocytes, leukocytes, platelets, and their precursors) in bone marrow and other tissues. HLH may be diagnosed in association with malignant, genetic, or autoimmune diseases but is also prominently linked with Epstein-Barr (EBV) virus infection. Hyperproduction of cytokines, including interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α, by EBV-infected T lymphocytes may play a role in the pathogenesis of HLH. EBV-associated HLH may mimic T-cell lymphoma and is treated with cytotoxic chemotherapy, while hemophagocytic syndromes associated with nonviral pathogens often respond to treatment of the underlying infection.


  • Predominance of HIV-1 Subtype A and D Infections in Uganda PDF Version [PDF - 76 KB - 7 pages]
    D. J. Hu et al.
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    To better characterize the virus isolates associated with the HIV-1 epidemic in Uganda, 100 specimens from HIV-1-infected persons were randomly selected from each of two periods from late 1994 to late 1997. The 200 specimens were classified into HIV-1 subtypes by sequence-based phylogenetic analysis of the envelope (env) gp41 region; 98 (49%) were classified as env subtype A, 96 (48%) as D, 5 (2.5%) as C, and 1 was not classified as a known env subtype. Demographic characteristics of persons infected with the two principal HIV-1 subtypes, A and D, were very similar, and the proportion of either subtype did not differ significantly between early and later periods. Our systematic characterization of the HIV-1 epidemic in Uganda over an almost 3-year period documented that the distribution and degree of genetic diversity of the HIV subtypes A and D are very similar and have not changed appreciably over that time.

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome Associated with Monongahela Virus, Pennsylvania PDF Version [PDF - 68 KB - 6 pages]
    L. V. Rhodes et al.
       View Abstract

    The first two recognized cases of rapidly fatal hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in Pennsylvania occurred within an 8-month period in 1997. Illness in the two patients was confirmed by immunohistochemical techniques on autopsy material. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis of tissue from one patient and environmentally associated Peromyscus leucopus (white-footed mouse) identified the Monongahela virus variant. Physicians should be vigilant for such Monongahela virus-associated cases in the eastern United States and Canada, particularly in the Appalachian region.

  • Risk Factors for Otitis Media and Carriage of Multiple Strains of Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae PDF Version [PDF - 109 KB - 9 pages]
    J. St. Sauver et al.
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    We studied genetic diversity in Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae in throat culture isolates from 38 children attending two day-care centers in Michigan. Culture specimens were collected weekly; 184 S. pneumoniae and 418 H. influenzae were isolated from the cultures. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis identified 29 patterns among the S. pneumoniae isolates and 87 among the H. influenzae isolates. Of the cultures, 5% contained multiple genetic types of S. pneumoniae, and 43% contained multiple types of H. influenzae. Carriage of multiple H. influenzae isolates, which was associated with exposure to smoking, history of allergies, and age 36 to 47 months, may increase risk for otitis media in children.

  • Molecular Evidence of Clonal Vibrio parahaemolyticus Pandemic Strains PDF Version [PDF - 189 KB - 6 pages]
    N. R. Chowdhury et al.
       View Abstract

    The upsurge in worldwide incidence of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection in the last 5 years has been attributed to the recent appearance of three serotypes with pandemic potential: O3:K6, O4:K68, and O1:K untypeable (KUT). Thirty-five strains of these serotypes, isolated from different countries over 4 years, were characterized by ribotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to determine their origin. The ribotypes of the strains of these serotypes were indistinguishable, except for a Japanese tdh- negative O3:K6 strain and a U.S. clinical O3:K6 isolate, which had slightly different profiles. The migration patterns of the NotI-digest of the total DNA of the strains were similar, and only slight variations were observed between the serotypes. By contrast, the O3:K6 and O1:KUT strains isolated before 1995 and strains of other serotypes had markedly different profiles. The O4:K68 and O1:KUT strains most likely originated from the pandemic O3:K6 clone.



  • Lessons Learned from a Full-Scale Bioterrorism Exercise PDF Version [PDF - 17 KB - 2 pages]
    R. E. Hoffman and J. E. Norton
       View Abstract

    During May 20-23, 2000, local, state, and federal officials, and the staff of three hospitals in metropolitan Denver, participated in a bioterrorism exercise called Operation Topoff. As a simulated bioterrorist attack unfolded, participants learned that a Yersinia pestis aerosol had been covertly released 3 days earlier at the city’s center for the performing arts, leading to >2,000 cases of pneumonic plague, many deaths, and hundreds of secondary cases. The exercise provided an opportunity to practice working with an infectious agent and to address issues related to antimicrobial prophylaxis and infection control that would also be applicable to smallpox or pandemic influenza.


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