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Volume 8, Number 7—July 2002

Volume 8, Number 7—July 2002   PDF Version [PDF - 12.41 MB - 109 pages]

Perspective

  • Anthrax of the Gastrointestinal Tract PDF Version [PDF - 237 KB - 3 pages]
    T. Sirisanthana and A. E. Brown
       View Abstract

    When swallowed, anthrax spores may cause lesions from the oral cavity to the cecum. Gastrointestinal anthrax is greatly underreported in rural disease-endemic areas of the world. The apparent paucity of this form of anthrax reflects the lack of facilities able to make the diagnosis in these areas. The spectrum of disease, ranging from subclinical infection to death, has not been fully recognized. In some community-based studies, cases of gastrointestinal anthrax outnumbered those of cutaneous anthrax. The oropharyngeal variant, in particular, is unfamiliar to most physicians. The clinical features of oropharyngeal anthrax include fever and toxemia, inflammatory lesion(s) in the oral cavity or oropharynx, enlargement of cervical lymph nodes associated with edema of the soft tissue of the cervical area, and a high case-fatality rate. Awareness of gastrointestinal anthrax in a differential diagnosis remains important in anthrax-endemic areas but now also in settings of possible bioterrorism.

Research

  • Emergence of Usutu virus, an African Mosquito-Borne Flavivirus of the Japanese Encephalitis Virus Group, Central Europe PDF Version [PDF - 942 KB - 5 pages]
    H. Weissenböck et al.
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    During late summer 2001 in Austria, a series of deaths in several species of birds occurred, similar to the beginning of the West Nile virus (WNV) epidemic in the United States. We necropsied the dead birds and examined them by various methods; pathologic and immunohistologic investigations suggested a WNV infection. Subsequently, the virus was isolated, identified, partially sequenced, and subjected to phylogenetic analysis. The isolates exhibited 97% identity to Usutu virus (USUV), a mosquito-borne Flavivirus of the Japanese encephalitis virus group; USUV has never previously been observed outside Africa nor associated with fatal disease in animals or humans. If established in central Europe, this virus may have considerable effects on avian populations; whether USUV has the potential to cause severe human disease is unknown.

  • First Human Isolate of Hantavirus (Andes virus) in the Americas PDF Version [PDF - 1018 KB - 5 pages]
    H. Galeno et al.
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    We isolated Andes virus (formal name: Andes virus [ANDV], a species in the genus Hantavirus), from serum of an asymptomatic 10-year-old Chilean boy who died 6 days later of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). The serum was obtained 12 days after his grandmother died from HPS and 2 days before he became febrile. No hantavirus immunoglobulin (Ig) G or IgM antibodies were detected in the serum sample. After three blind passages, ANDV antigens were detected in Vero E6 cells by immunofluorescence assay and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and ANDV RNA was detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. A fragment of the virus genome showed 96.2% nucleotide identity with that of prototype ANDV. To our knowledge, this is the first isolation of any agent of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome from a human and the first such isolation of hantavirus before symptoms of that syndrome or HPS began.

  • Ecologic Niche Modeling and Potential Reservoirs for Chagas Disease, Mexico. PDF Version [PDF - 1.30 MB - 6 pages]
    A. T. Peterson et al.
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    Ecologic niche modeling may improve our understanding of epidemiologically relevant vector and parasite-reservoir distributions. We used this tool to identify host relationships of Triatoma species implicated in transmission of Chagas disease. Associations have been documented between the protracta complex (Triatoma: Triatominae: Reduviidae) with packrat species (Neotoma spp.), providing an excellent case study for the broader challenge of developing hypotheses of association. Species pairs that were identified coincided exactly with those in previous studies, suggesting that local interactions between Triatoma and Neotoma species and subspecies have implications at a geographic level. Nothing is known about sylvatic associates of T. barberi, which are considered the primary Chagas vector in Mexico; its geographic distribution coincided closely with that of N. mexicana, suggesting interaction. The presence of the species was confirmed in two regions where it had been predicted but not previously collected. This approach may help in identifying Chagas disease risk areas, planning vector-control strategies, and exploring parasite-reservoir associations for other emerging diseases.

  • Ehrlichia ewingii Infection in White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
    M. J. Yabsley et al.
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    Two closely related zoonotic ehrlichiae, Ehrlichia chaffeensis and E. ewingii, are transmitted by Amblyomma americanum, the lone star tick. Because white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are critical hosts for all mobile stages of A. americanum and are important vertebrate reservoirs of E. chaffeensis, we investigated whether deer may be infected with E. ewingii, a cause of granulocytotropic ehrlichiosis in humans and dogs. To test for E. ewingii infection, we used polymerase chain reaction and inoculation of fawns with whole blood from wild deer. Of 110 deer tested from 20 locations in 8 U.S. states, 6 (5.5%) were positive for E. ewingii. In addition, natural E. ewingii infection was confirmed through infection of captive fawns. These findings expand the geographic distribution of E. ewingii, along with risk for human infection, to include areas of Kentucky, Georgia, and South Carolina. These data suggest that white-tailed deer may be an important reservoir for E. ewingii.

  • Time-Space Clustering of Human Brucellosis, California, 1973–1992 PDF Version [PDF - 431 KB - 7 pages]
    G. T. Fosgate et al.
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    Infection with Brucella spp. continues to pose a human health risk in California despite great strides in eradicating the disease from domestic animals. Clustering of human cases in time and space has important public health implications for understanding risk factors and sources of infection. Temporal-spatial clustering of human brucellosis in California for the 20-year period 1973–1992 was evaluated by the Ederer-Myers-Mantel, Moran’s I, and population-adjusted Moran’s I procedures. Cases were clustered in concentrated agricultural regions in the first 5-year interval (1973–1977). Time-space clustering of human brucellosis cases in California late in the 20-year study period may reflect the distribution of Hispanic populations. Public health programs in California should focus on educating Hispanic populations about the risk of consuming dairy products, such as soft cheeses, made from unpasteurized milk.

  • Persistent High Incidence of Tuberculosis in Immigrants in a Low-Incidence Country PDF Version [PDF - 216 KB - 6 pages]
    T. Lillebaek et al.
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    Immigration from areas of high incidence is thought to have fueled the resurgence of tuberculosis (TB) in areas of low incidence. To reduce the risk of disease in low-incidence areas, the main countermeasure has been the screening of immigrants on arrival. This measure is based on the assumption of a prompt decline in the incidence of TB in immigrants during their first few years of residence in a country with low overall incidence. We have documented that this assumption is not true for 619 Somali immigrants reported in Denmark as having TB. The annual incidence of TB declined only gradually during the first 7 years of residence, from an initial 2,000 per 100,000 to 700 per 100,000. The decline was described by an exponential function with a half-time of 5.7 (95% confidence interval 4.0 to 9.7) years. This finding seriously challenges the adequacy of the customary practice of screening solely on arrival.

  • Automatic Electronic Laboratory-Based Reporting of Notifiable Infectious Diseases PDF Version [PDF - 293 KB - 7 pages]
    A. A. Panackal et al.
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    Electronic laboratory-based reporting, developed by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Health System, was evaluated to determine if it could be integrated into the conventional paper-based reporting system. We reviewed reports of 10 infectious diseases from 8 UPMC hospitals that reported to the Allegheny County Health Department in southwestern Pennsylvania during January 1–November 26, 2000. Electronic reports were received a median of 4 days earlier than conventional reports. The completeness of reporting was 74% (95% confidence interval [CI] 66% to 81%) for the electronic laboratory-based reporting and 65% (95% CI 57% to 73%) for the conventional paper-based reporting system (p>0.05). Most reports (88%) missed by electronic laboratory-based reporting were caused by using free text. Automatic reporting was more rapid and as complete as conventional reporting. Using standardized coding and minimizing free text usage will increase the completeness of electronic laboratory-based reporting.

  • Infection by Ralstonia Species in Cystic Fibrosis Patients: Identification of R. pickettii and R. mannitolilytica by Polymerase Chain Reaction PDF Version [PDF - 367 KB - 5 pages]
    T. Coenye et al.
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    The frequency of respiratory tract infections caused by Ralstonia species in persons with cystic fibrosis (CF) and the role of these species in CF pulmonary disease are not well documented. In part, this lack of documentation may be attributed to the difficulty in accurately identifying Ralstonia species; R. mannitolilytica and R. pickettii in particular may be misidentified as other closely related species, particularly those of the Burkholderia cepacia complex. We used polyphasic analyses to identify 42 Ralstonia isolates from sputum cultures from 38 CF patients. Several isolates that could not be identified to the species level may belong to novel Ralstonia species. We demonstrated chronic colonization by using genotyping of serial isolates recovered from the same patient. To facilitate identification of R. mannitolilytica and R. pickettii, we developed 16S ribosomal DNA-based polymerase chain reaction assays that allow sensitive and specific identification of these species.

  • Temporal Changes in Prevalence of Antimicrobial Resistance in 23 U.S. Hospitals PDF Version [PDF - 215 KB - 5 pages]
    P. Hospitals et al.
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    Antimicrobial resistance is increasing in nearly all health-care–associated pathogens. We examined changes in resistance prevalence during 1996–1999 in 23 hospitals by using two statistical methods. When the traditional chi-square test of pooled mean resistance prevalence was used, most organisms appear to have increased in prevalence. However, when a more conservative test that accounts for changes within individual hospitals was used, significant increases in prevalence of resistance were consistently observed only for oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, ciprofloxacin-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and ciprofloxacin- or ofloxacin-resistant Escherichia coli. These increases were significant only in isolates from patients outside intensive-care units (ICU). The increases seen are of concern; differences in factors present outside ICUs, such as excessive quinolone use or inadequate infection-control practices, may explain the observed trends.

  • Monitoring Antimicrobial Use and Resistance: Comparison with a National Benchmark on Reducing Vancomycin Use and Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci PDF Version [PDF - 249 KB - 6 pages]
    S. K. Fridkin et al.
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    To determine if local monitoring data on vancomycin use directed quality improvement and decreased vancomycin use or vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), we analyzed data from 50 intensive-care units (ICUs) at 20 U.S. hospitals reporting data on antimicrobial-resistant organisms and antimicrobial agent use. We compared local data with national benchmark data (aggregated from all study hospitals). After data were adjusted for changes in prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, changes in specific prescriber practice at ICUs were associated with significant decreases in vancomycin use (mean decrease -48 defined daily doses per 1,000 patient days, p<0.001). These ICUs also reported significant decreases in VRE prevalence compared with those not using unit-specific changes in practice (mean decrease of 7.5% compared with mean increase of 5.7%, p<0.001). In this study, practice changes focused towards specific ICUs were associated with decreases in ICU vancomycin use and VRE prevalence.

  • Prevalence, Distribution, and Host Range of Peste des petits ruminants virus, Turkey PDF Version [PDF - 296 KB - 4 pages]
    A. Özkul et al.
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    Peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV, genus Morbillivirus), which causes a severe disease in sheep and goats, has only recently been officially declared to be present in Turkey. We carried out a study to determine the prevalence, distribution, and host range of PPRV in Turkey. A total of 1,607 animals, reared in 18 different locations, were monitored for the presence of antibodies to PPRV and the related virus of large ruminants, Rinderpest virus (RPV). Only two farms had animals that were free of antibody responses to either disease. Prevalence for PPRV infection varied (range 0.87%–82.6%) and was higher in sheep (29.2%) than in goats (20%). The overall antibody responses to PPRV and RPV were 22.4% and 6.28%, respectively. Two PPRVs of lineage 4, which comprises many other PPRVs whose origins are in the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, and southern Asia, were isolated from Turkish sheep.

  • Antibiotic Resistance of Gram-Negative Bacteria in Rivers, United States PDF Version [PDF - 207 KB - 4 pages]
    R. J. Ash et al.
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    Bacteria with intrinsic resistance to antibiotics are found in nature. Such organisms may acquire additional resistance genes from bacteria introduced into soil or water, and the resident bacteria may be the reservoir or source of widespread resistant organisms found in many environments. We isolated antibiotic-resistant bacteria in freshwater samples from 16 U.S. rivers at 22 sites and measured the prevalence of organisms resistant to β-lactam and non β-lactam antibiotics. Over 40% of the bacteria resistant to more than one antibiotic had at least one plasmid. Ampicillin resistance genes, as well as other resistance traits, were identified in 70% of the plasmids. The most common resistant organisms belonged to the following genera: Acinetobacter, Alcaligenes, Citrobacter, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, and Serratia.

  • Bear Canyon Virus: An Arenavirus Naturally Associated with the California Mouse (Peromyscus californicus) PDF Version [PDF - 230 KB - 5 pages]
    C. F. Fulhorst et al.
       View Abstract

    Thirty-four rodents captured in southern California were studied to increase our knowledge of the arenaviruses indigenous to the western United States. An infectious arenavirus was isolated from 5 of 27 California mice but none of the 7 other rodents. Analyses of viral nucleocapsid protein gene sequence data indicated that the isolates from the California mice are strains of a novel Tacaribe serocomplex virus (proposed name “Bear Canyon”) that is phylogenetically most closely related to Whitewater Arroyo and Tamiami viruses, the only other Tacaribe serocomplex viruses known to occur in North America. The discovery of Bear Canyon virus is the first unequivocal evidence that the virus family Arenaviridae is naturally associated with the rodent genus Peromyscus and that a Tacaribe serocomplex virus occurs in California.

  • Entomologic and Serologic Evidence of Zoonotic Transmission of Babesia microti, Eastern Switzerland PDF Version [PDF - 248 KB - 5 pages]
    I. M. Foppa et al.
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    We evaluated human risk for infection with Babesia microti at a site in eastern Switzerland where several B. microti–infected nymphal Ixodes ricinus ticks had been found. DNA from pooled nymphal ticks amplified by polymerase chain reaction was highly homologous to published B. microti sequences. More ticks carried babesial infection in the lower portion of the rectangular 0.7-ha grid than in the upper (11% vs. 0.8%). In addition, we measured seroprevalence of immunoglobulin (Ig) G antibodies against B. microti antigen in nearby residents. Serum from 1.5% of the 396 human residents of the region reacted to B. microti antigen (>1:64), as determined by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IgG). These observations constitute the first report demonstrating B. microti in a human-biting vector, associated with evidence of human exposure to this agent in a European site.

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