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Volume 9, Number 11—November 2003

Volume 9, Number 11—November 2003   PDF Version [PDF - 16.17 MB - 151 pages]


  • Risks and Benefits of Preexposure and Postexposure Smallpox Vaccination PDF Version [PDF - 700 KB - 8 pages]
    M. I. Meltzer
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    This article presents a model and decision criteria for evaluating a person’s risk of pre- or postexposure smallpox vaccination in light of serious vaccine-related adverse events (death, postvaccine encephalitis and progressive vaccinia). Even at a 1-in-10 risk of 1,000 initial smallpox cases, a person in a population of 280 million has a greater risk for serious vaccine-related adverse events than a risk for smallpox. For a healthcare worker to accept preexposure vaccination, the risk for contact with an infectious smallpox case-patient must be >1 in 100, and the probability of 1,000 initial cases must be >1 in 1,000. A member of an investigation team would accept preexposure vaccination if his or her anticipated risk of contact is 1 in 2.5 and the risk of attack is assumed to be >1 in 16,000. The only circumstances in which postexposure vaccination would not be accepted are the following: if vaccine efficacy were <1%, the risk of transmission were <1%, and (simultaneously) the risk for serious vaccine-related adverse events were >1 in 5,000.


  • Toxoplasma gondii Infection in the United States, 1999–2000 PDF Version [PDF - 183 KB - 4 pages]
    J. L. Jones et al.
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    Infection with Toxoplasma gondii can lead to congenital and acquired disease, resulting in loss of vision and neurologic illness. We tested sera collected in the National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999–2000 for T. gondii–specific immunoglobulin G antibodies and compared these results with results from sera obtained in the NHANES III survey (1988–1994). NHANES collects data on a nationally representative sample of the U.S. civilian population. Of 4,234 persons 12–49 years of age in NHANES 1999–2000, 15.8% (age-adjusted, 95% confidence limits [CL] 13.5, 18.1) were antibody positive; among women (n=2,221) 14.9% (age-adjusted, 95% CL 12.5, 17.4) were antibody positive. T. gondii antibody prevalence was higher among non-Hispanic black persons than among non-Hispanic white persons (age-adjusted prevalence 19.2% vs. 12.1%, p=0.003) and increased with age. No statistically significant differences were found between T. gondii antibody prevalence in NHANES 1999–2000, and NHANES III. T. gondii antibody prevalence has remained stable over the past 10 years in the United States.

  • Toxoplasma gondii and Schizophrenia PDF Version [PDF - 370 KB - 6 pages]
    E. F. Torrey and R. H. Yolken
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    Recent epidemiologic studies indicate that infectious agents may contribute to some cases of schizophrenia. In animals, infection with Toxoplasma gondii can alter behavior and neurotransmitter function. In humans, acute infection with T. gondii can produce psychotic symptoms similar to those displayed by persons with schizophrenia. Since 1953, a total of 19 studies of T. gondii antibodies in persons with schizophrenia and other severe psychiatric disorders and in controls have been reported; 18 reported a higher percentage of antibodies in the affected persons; in 11 studies the difference was statistically significant. Two other studies found that exposure to cats in childhood was a risk factor for the development of schizophrenia. Some medications used to treat schizophrenia inhibit the replication of T. gondii in cell culture. Establishing the role of T. gondii in the etiopathogenesis of schizophrenia might lead to new medications for its prevention and treatment.


  • Coronavirus-positive Nasopharyngeal Aspirate as Predictor for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Mortality
    O. T. Tsang et al.
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    Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has caused a major epidemic worldwide. A novel coronavirus is deemed to be the causative agent. Early diagnosis can be made with reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of nasopharyngeal aspirate samples. We compared symptoms of 156 SARS-positive and 62 SARS-negative patients in Hong Kong; SARS was confirmed by RT-PCR. The RT-PCR–positive patients had significantly more shortness of breath, a lower lymphocyte count, and a lower lactate dehydrogenase level; they were also more likely to have bilateral and multifocal chest radiograph involvement, to be admitted to intensive care, to need mechanical ventilation, and to have higher mortality rates. By multivariate analysis, positive RT-PCR on nasopharyngeal aspirate samples was an independent predictor of death within 30 days.

  • West Nile Virus Infection in Nonhuman Primate Breeding Colony, Concurrent with Human Epidemic, Southern Louisiana PDF Version [PDF - 430 KB - 7 pages]
    M. S. Ratterree et al.
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    During the summer of 2002, an epidemic of West Nile meningoencephalitis occurred in southern Louisiana. Following the outbreak, blood samples were collected from 1,692 captive rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta), pigtail macaques (M. nemestrina), and baboons (Papio spp.) that were permanently housed outdoors at a nonhuman primate breeding facility in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The serum samples were examined for antibodies to West Nile virus (WNV). Overall, 36% of the captive nonhuman primates had WNV antibodies; comparison of these samples with banked serum samples from previous blood collections indicated that the animals were infected subclinically from February to August 2002. WNV activity was demonstrated in surveillance at the nonhuman primate-breeding colony and in the neighboring community during this same period. The high infection rate in this captive nonhuman primate population illustrates the intensity of WNV transmission that can occur silently in nature among other susceptible vertebrates during epidemic periods.

  • Human Hantavirus Infections, Sweden PDF Version [PDF - 669 KB - 6 pages]
    G. E. Olsson et al.
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    The prevalent human hantavirus disease in Sweden is nephropathia epidemica, which is caused by Puumala virus and shed by infected bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus). To evaluate temporal and spatial patterns of this disease, we studied 2,468 reported cases from a highly disease-endemic region in northern Sweden. We found that, in particular, middle-aged men living in rural dwellings near coastal areas were overrepresented. The case-patients were most often infected in late autumn, when engaged in activities near or within manmade rodent refuges. Of 862 case-patients confident about the site of virus exposure, 50% were concentrated within 5% of the study area. The incidence of nephropathia epidemica was significantly correlated with bank vole numbers within monitored rodent populations in part of the region. Understanding this relationship may help forestall future human hantavirus outbreaks.

  • Fatal Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis, Minas Gerais, Brazil PDF Version [PDF - 252 KB - 4 pages]
    M. A. Galvão et al.
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    The emergence and reemergence of a serious infectious disease are often associated with a high case-fatality rate because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate or delayed treatment. The current reemergence of spotted fever rickettsiosis caused by Rickettsia rickettsii in Brazil has resulted in a high proportion of fatal cases. We describe two familial clusters of Brazilian spotted fever in the state of Minas Gerais, involving six children 9 months to 15 years of age; five died. Immunohistochemical investigation of tissues obtained at necropsy of a child in each location, Novo Cruzeiro and Coronel Fabriciano municipalities, established the diagnosis by demonstration of disseminated endothelial infection with spotted fever group rickettsiae. The diagnosis in the two fatal cases from Coronel Fabriciano and the surviving patient from Novo Cruzeiro was further supported by immunofluorescence serologic tests.

  • Rapid Antigen-Capture Assay To Detect West Nile Virus in Dead Corvids PDF Version [PDF - 325 KB - 5 pages]
    R. Lindsay et al.
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    The utility of the VecTest antigen-capture assay to detect West Nile virus (WNV) in field-collected dead corvids was evaluated in Manitoba and Ontario, Canada, in 2001 and 2002. Swabs were taken from the oropharynx, cloaca, or both of 109 American Crows, 31 Blue Jays, 6 Common Ravens, and 4 Black-billed Magpies from Manitoba, and 255 American Crows and 28 Blue Jays from Ontario. The sensitivity and specificity of the antigen-capture assay were greatest for samples from American Crows; oropharyngeal swabs were more sensitive than cloacal swabs, and interlaboratory variation in the results was minimal. The sensitivity and specificity of the VecTest using oropharyngeal swabs from crows were 83.9% and 93.6%, respectively, for Manitoba samples and 83.3% and 95.8%, respectively, for Ontario birds. The VecTest antigen-capture assay on oropharyngeal secretions from crows is a reliable and rapid diagnostic test that appears suitable for incorporation into a WNV surveillance program.

  • Serologic Evidence of Dengue Infection before Onset of Epidemic, Bangladesh PDF Version [PDF - 287 KB - 4 pages]
    M. Hossain et al.
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    Dengue fever emerged in Bangladesh in 2000. We tested 225 serum and plasma samples from febrile patients and 184 blood donors in 1996 and 1997 for dengue antibodies; 55 (24.4%) febrile patients had dengue antibodies (65.5% with secondary infection pattern), compared with one (0.54%) donor (p < 0.001), suggesting that dengue transmission was ongoing well before 1996.

  • Fluoroquinolones and the Risk for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Hospitalized Patients
    S. G. Weber et al.
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    To determine whether fluoroquinolone exposure is a risk factor for the isolation of Staphylococcus aureus and whether the effect is different for methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) versus methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA), we studied two case groups. The first case group included 222 patients with nosocomially acquired MRSA. The second case group included 163 patients with nosocomially acquired MSSA. A total of 343 patients admitted concurrently served as controls. Outcome measures were the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for isolation of MRSA and MSSA after fluoroquinolone exposure. Exposure to both levofloxacin (OR 5.4; p < 0.0001) and ciprofloxacin (OR 2.2; p < 0.003) was associated with isolation of MRSA but not MSSA. After adjustment for multiple variables, both drugs remained risk factors for MRSA (levofloxacin OR 3.4; p < 0.0001; ciprofloxacin OR 2.5; p = 0.005) but not MSSA. Exposure to levofloxacin or ciprofloxacin is a significant risk factor for the isolation of MRSA, but not MSSA.

  • Genetic Variation among Temporally and Geographically Distinct West Nile Virus Isolates, United States, 2001, 2002 PDF Version [PDF - 222 KB - 7 pages]
    C. Davis et al.
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    Analysis of partial nucleotide sequences of 22 West Nile virus (WNV) isolates collected during the summer and fall of 2001 and 2002 indicated genetic variation among strains circulating in geographically distinct regions of the United States and continued divergence from isolates collected in the northeastern United States during 1999 and 2000. Sequence analysis of a 2,004-nucleotide region showed that 14 isolates shared two nucleotide mutations and one amino acid substitution when they were compared with the prototype WN-NY99 strain, with 10 of these isolates sharing an additional nucleotide mutation. In comparison, isolates collected from coastal regions of southeast Texas shared the following differences from WN-NY99: five nucleotide mutations and one amino acid substitution. The maximum nucleotide divergence of the 22 isolates from WN-NY99 was 0.35% (mean = 0.18%). These results show the geographic clustering of genetically similar WNV isolates and the possible emergence of a dominant variant circulating across much of the United States during 2002.

  • Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Transmission and Risk Factors of Contacts, Uganda PDF Version [PDF - 254 KB - 8 pages]
    P. Francesconi et al.
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    From August 2000 through January 2001, a large epidemic of Ebola hemorrhagic fever occurred in Uganda, with 425 cases and 224 deaths. Starting from three laboratory-confirmed cases, we traced the chains of transmission for three generations, until we reached the primary case-patients (i.e., persons with an unidentified source of infection). We then prospectively identified the other contacts in whom the disease had developed. To identify the risk factors associated with transmission, we interviewed both healthy and ill contacts (or their proxies) who had been reported by the case-patients (or their proxies) and who met the criteria set for contact tracing during surveillance. The patterns of exposure of 24 case-patients and 65 healthy contacts were defined, and crude and adjusted prevalence proportion ratios (PPR) were estimated for different types of exposure. Contact with the patient’s body fluids (PPR = 4.61%, 95% confidence interval 1.73 to 12.29) was the strongest risk factor, although transmission through fomites also seems possible.

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Southern Chile PDF Version [PDF - 191 KB - 6 pages]
    R. Riquelme et al.
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    We analyzed data from 25 consecutive patients with hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) admitted to the Puerto Montt and Osorno Regional Hospitals, southern Chile, from 1997 to 2001, emphasizing epidemiologic, clinical, radiographic, treatment, and laboratory aspects. Hemorrhage was frequent (64%), and 48% of patients showed alterations in renal function. Ten patients died (40%). We identified three groups of patients, which included the following: 1) those with the least severe form who had prodromic symptoms without pulmonary involvement; 2) those with moderate illness who had interstitial pulmonary infiltrates, usually needed supplemental nasal oxygen, were hemodynamically stable, and had an APACHE II <12 (none of whom died); and 3) those with the severe form who required mechanical ventilation, frequently had hemodynamic instability (93%), experienced a high mortality rate (77%), and had an APACHE II >12. Mild forms of HPS also exist, which are poorly known; the symptoms could be confounded with those of other viral diseases, leading to underdiagnosis.

  • Triosephosphate Isomerase Gene Characterization and Potential Zoonotic Transmission of Giardia duodenalis PDF Version [PDF - 396 KB - 9 pages]
    I. M. Sulaiman et al.
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    To address the source of infection in humans and public health importance of Giardia duodenalis parasites from animals, nucleotide sequences of the triosephosphate isomerase (TPI) gene were generated for 37 human isolates, 15 dog isolates, 8 muskrat isolates, 7 isolates each from cattle and beavers, and 1 isolate each from a rat and a rabbit. Distinct genotypes were found in humans, cattle, beavers, dogs, muskrats, and rats. TPI and small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA) gene sequences of G. microti from muskrats were also generated and analyzed. Phylogenetic analysis on the TPI sequences confirmed the formation of distinct groups. Nevertheless, a major group (assemblage B) contained most of the human and muskrat isolates, all beaver isolates, and the rabbit isolate. These data confirm that G. duodenalis from certain animals can potentially infect humans and should be useful in the detection, differentiation, and taxonomy of Giardia spp.




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