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Volume 9, Number 12—December 2003

Volume 9, Number 12—December 2003   PDF Version [PDF - 12.45 MB - 163 pages]


  • Emerging Infectious Diseases in Mongolia PDF Version [PDF - 188 KB - 7 pages]
    J. R. Ebright et al.
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    Since 1990, Mongolia’s health system has been in transition. Impressive gains have been accomplished through a national immunization program, which was instituted in 1991. Nevertheless, the country continues to confront four major chronic infections: hepatitis B and C, brucellosis, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). As of 2001, only two cases of HIV infections had been detected in Mongolia, but concern grows that the rate will increase along with the rising rates of STDs and increase in tourism. Other infectious diseases of importance in Mongolia include echinococcus, plague, tularemia, anthrax, foot-and-mouth, and rabies.


  • Raccoon Roundworm Eggs near Homes and Risk for Larva Migrans Disease, California Communities PDF Version [PDF - 518 KB - 7 pages]
    G. P. Roussere et al.
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    The raccoon roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis, is increasingly recognized as a cause of serious or fatal larva migrans disease in humans and animals. We assessed the potential for infection in three northern California communities by determining the density and distribution of raccoon latrines, where transmission primarily occurs, and the prevalence of eggs at private residences. We collected fecal samples from 215 latrines and found that 44%-53% of the latrines contained B. procyonis eggs and that 16% to 32% contained infective eggs. Among the properties surveyed, 28%-49% harbored at least one latrine that was positive for B. procyonis eggs. The latrine densities in these communities were higher than any previously reported. The presence of B. procyonis eggs in raccoon latrines was common, widespread, and closely associated with human habitation. Where raccoon densities are high, education of the public and removal of raccoons may be necessary.

  • Global Distribution of Rubella Virus Genotypes PDF Version [PDF - 393 KB - 8 pages]
    D. Zheng et al.
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    Phylogenetic analysis of a collection of 103 E1 gene sequences from rubella viruses isolated from 17 countries from 1961 to 2000 confirmed the existence of at least two genotypes. Rubella genotype I (RGI) isolates, predominant in Europe, Japan, and the Western Hemisphere, segregated into discrete subgenotypes; intercontinental subgenotypes present in the 1960s and 1970s were replaced by geographically restricted subgenotypes after ~1980. Recently, active subgenotypes include one in the United States and Latin America, one in China, and a third that apparently originated in Asia and spread to Europe and North America, starting in 1997, indicating the recent emergence of an intercontinental subgenotype. A virus that potentially arose as a recombinant between two RGI subgenotypes was discovered. Rubella genotype II (RGII) showed greater genetic diversity than did RGI and may actually consist of multiple genotypes. RGII viruses were limited to Asia and Europe; RGI viruses were also present in most of the countries where RGII viruses were isolated.

  • Risk Factors for Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever, Democratic Republic of the Congo PDF Version [PDF - 308 KB - 7 pages]
    D. G. Bausch et al.
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    We conducted two antibody surveys to assess risk factors for Marburg hemorrhagic fever in an area of confirmed Marburg virus transmission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Questionnaires were administered and serum samples tested for Marburg-specific antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Fifteen (2%) of 912 participants in a general village cross-sectional antibody survey were positive for Marburg immunoglobulin G antibody. Thirteen (87%) of these 15 were men who worked in the local gold mines. Working as a miner (odds ratio [OR] 13.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.1 to 62.1) and receiving injections (OR 7.4, 95% CI 1.6 to 33.2) were associated with a positive antibody result. All 103 participants in a targeted antibody survey of healthcare workers were antibody negative. Primary transmission of Marburg virus to humans likely occurred via exposure to a still unidentified reservoir in the local mines. Secondary transmission appears to be less common with Marburg virus than with Ebola virus, the other known filovirus.

  • Intensity of Rainfall and Severity of Melioidosis, Australia PDF Version [PDF - 209 KB - 5 pages]
    B. J. Currie and S. P. Jacups
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    In a 12-year prospective study of 318 culture-confirmed cases of melioidosis from the Top End of the Northern Territory of Australia, rainfall data for individual patient locations were correlated with patient risk factors, clinical parameters, and outcomes. Median rainfall in the 14 days before admission was highest for those dying with melioidosis (211 mm), in comparison to 110 mm for those surviving (p = 0.0002). Median 14-day rainfall was also significantly higher for those admitted with pneumonia. On univariate analysis, a prior 14-day rainfall of ≥125 mm was significantly correlated with pneumonia (odds ratio [OR] 1.70 [confidence interval [CI] 1.09 to 2.65]), bacteremia (OR 1.93 [CI 1.24 to 3.02]), septic shock (OR 1.94 [CI 1.14 to 3.29]), and death (OR 2.50 [CI 1.36 to 4.57]). On multivariate analysis, rainfall in the 14 days before admission was an independent risk factor for pneumonia (p = 0.023), bacteremic pneumonia (p = 0.001), septic shock (p = 0.005), and death (p < 0.0001). Heavy monsoonal rains and winds may cause a shift towards inhalation of Burkholderia pseudomallei.

  • Comparative Molecular and Microbiologic Diagnosis of Bacterial Endocarditis PDF Version [PDF - 317 KB - 5 pages]
    I. Podglajen et al.
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    Sequencing of 16S rDNA, and of sodAint and rpoBint in some cases, was applied to DNA from heart valves of 46 patients (36 with definite and 10 with possible endocarditis). Sequence-based identifications were compared with those obtained with conventional methods. Among the 36 definite cases, 30 had positive blood cultures and 6 had negative cultures. Among the 30 positive cases, sequencing of 16S rDNA permitted identification of species (18), genus (8), or neither (4); sodAint and rpoBint sequencing was necessary for species identification in 8 cases. Species identifications were identical in only 61.5%, when conventional techniques and DNA sequencing were used. In five of the six blood culture–negative endocarditis cases, sequencing identified Bartonella quintana (3), B. henselae (1), and Streptococcus gallolyticus (1). Our results demonstrate a clear benefit of molecular identification, particularly in cases of blood culture–negative endocarditis and of possible endocarditis, to confirm or invalidate the diagnosis. Moreover, in 19.4% of the definite cases, the improvement in species identification by sequencing led to improved patient management.

  • Emerging Genotype (GGIIb) of Norovirus in Drinking Water, Sweden
    K. Nygård et al.
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    From May through June 2001, an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis that affected at least 200 persons occurred in a combined activity camp and conference center in Stockholm County. The source of illness was contaminated drinking water obtained from private wells. The outbreak appears to have started with sewage pipeline problems near the kitchen, which caused overflow of the sewage system and contaminated the environment. While no pathogenic bacteria were found in water or stools specimens, norovirus was detected in 8 of 11 stool specimens and 2 of 3 water samples by polymerase chain reaction. Nucleotide sequencing of amplicons from two patients and two water samples identified an emerging genotype designated GGIIb, which was circulating throughout several European countries during 2000 and 2001. This investigation documents the first waterborne outbreak of viral gastroenteritis in Sweden, where nucleotide sequencing showed a direct link between contaminated water and illness.

  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis Beijing Genotype
    T. Lillebaek et al.
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    Molecular epidemiologic studies of strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are currently conducted worldwide. The genetically distinct Beijing family of strains has been associated with large outbreaks of tuberculosis, increased virulence, and multidrug resistance. However, in this first population-based search for Beijing strains in the Danish DNA fingerprint database, analysis of 97% of all culture-positive tuberculosis patients in 1992 to 2001, showed that 2.5% of 3,844 patients, 1.0% of Danish-born patients and 3.6% of immigrants (from 85 countries) had Beijing strains. No Beijing strains were found among 201 strains from Danish-born patients sampled in the 1960s, and no evidence of an increase in Beijing strains was found over time. The true prevalence of Beijing strains worldwide is unknown because only a fraction of global strains have been analyzed.

  • Trypanosoma cruzi in Persons without Serologic Evidence of Disease, Argentina PDF Version [PDF - 408 KB - 5 pages]
    O. A. Salomone et al.
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    Current diagnosis of chronic Chagas disease relies on serologic detection of specific immunoglobulin G against Trypanosoma cruzi. However, the presence of parasites detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in patients without positive conventional serologic testing has been observed. We determined the prevalence and clinical characteristics of persons with seronegative results for T. cruzi DNA detected by PCR in a population at high risk for chronic American trypanosomiasis. We studied a total of 194 persons from two different populations: 110 patients were recruited from an urban cardiology clinic, and 84 persons were nonselected citizens from a highly disease-endemic area. Eighty (41%) of persons had negative serologic findings; 12 (15%) had a positive PCR. Three patients with negative serologic findings and positive PCR results had clinical signs and symptoms that suggested Chagas cardiomyopathy. This finding challenges the current recommendations for Chagas disease diagnosis, therapy, and blood transfusion policies.

  • Risk Factors for Norovirus, Sapporo-like Virus, and Group A Rotavirus Gastroenteritis PDF Version [PDF - 221 KB - 8 pages]
    M. A. de Wit et al.
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    Viral pathogens are the most common causes of gastroenteritis in the community. To identify modes of transmission and opportunities for prevention, a case-control study was conducted and risk factors for gastroenteritis attributable to norovirus (NV), Sapporo-like virus (SLV), and rotavirus were studied. For NV gastroenteritis, having a household member with gastroenteritis, contact with a person with gastroenteritis outside the household, and poor food-handling hygiene were associated with illness (population attributable risk fractions [PAR] of 17%, 56%, and 47%, respectively). For SLV gastroenteritis, contact with a person with gastroenteritis outside the household was associated with a higher risk (PAR 60%). For rotavirus gastroenteritis, contact with a person with gastroenteritis outside the household and food-handling hygiene were associated with a higher risk (PAR 86% and 46%, respectively). Transmission of these viral pathogens occurs primarily from person to person. However, for NV gastroenteritis, foodborne transmission seems to play an important role.

  • Multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis in HIV-Infected Persons, Peru PDF Version [PDF - 269 KB - 8 pages]
    P. E. Campos et al.
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    During 1999 to 2000, we identified HIV-infected persons with new episodes of tuberculosis (TB) at 10 hospitals in Lima-Peru and a random sample of other Lima residents with TB. Multidrug-resistant (MDR)-TB was documented in 35 (43%) of 81 HIV-positive patients and 38 (3.9%)of 965 patients who were HIV-negative or of unknown HIV status (p < 0.001). HIV-positive patients with MDR-TB were concentrated at three hospitals that treat the greatest numbers of HIV-infected persons with TB. Of patients with TB, those with HIV infection differed from those without known HIV infection in having more frequent prior exposure to clinical services and more frequent previous TB therapy or prophylaxis. However, MDR-TB in HIV-infected patients was not associated with previous TB therapy or prophylaxis. MDR-TB is an ongoing problem in HIV-infected persons receiving care in public hospitals in Lima and Callao; they represent sentinel cases for a potentially larger epidemic of nosocomial MDR-TB.

  • Human Monocytotropic Ehrlichiosis, Missouri PDF Version [PDF - 222 KB - 8 pages]
    J. P. Olano et al.
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    To determine the incidence, clinical and laboratory characteristics, and utility of molecular diagnosis of human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis (HME) in the primary care setting, we conducted a prospective study in an outpatient primary care clinic in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. One hundred and two patients with a history of fever for 3 days (>37.7°C), tick bite or exposure, and no other infectious disease diagnosis were enrolled between March 1997 and December 1999. HME was diagnosed in 29 patients by indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Clinical and laboratory manifestations included fever (100%), headache (72%), myalgia or arthralgia (69%), chills (45%), weakness (38%), nausea (38%), leukopenia (60%), thrombocytopenia (56%), and elevated aspartate aminotransferase level (52%). Hospitalization occurred in 41% of case-patients. PCR sensitivity was 56%; specificity, 100%. HME is a prevalent, potentially severe disease in southeastern Missouri that often requires hospitalization. Because clinical presentation of HME is nonspecific, PCR is useful in the diagnosis of acute HME.

  • Mycobacterium abscessus and Children with Cystic Fibrosis PDF Version [PDF - 206 KB - 5 pages]
    I. Sermet-Gaudelus et al.
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    We prospectively studied 298 patients with cystic fibrosis (mean age 11.3 years; range 2 months to 32 years; sex ratio, 0.47) for nontuberculous mycobacteria in respiratory samples from January 1, 1996, to December 31, 1999. Mycobacterium abscessus was by far the most prevalent nontuberculous mycobacterium: 15 patients (6 male, 9 female; mean age 11.9 years; range 2.5–22 years) had at least one positive sample for this microorganism (versus 6 patients positive for M. avium complex), including 10 with >3 positive samples (versus 3 patients for M. avium complex). The M. abscessus isolates from 14 patients were typed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis: each of the 14 patients harbored a unique strain, ruling out a common environmental reservoir or person-to-person transmission. Water samples collected in the cystic fibrosis center were negative for M. abscessus. This major mycobacterial pathogen in children and teenagers with cystic fibrosis does not appear to be acquired nosocomially.

  • The Rabbit as a New Reservoir Host of Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli PDF Version [PDF - 363 KB - 6 pages]
    A. García and J. G. Fox
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    We investigated the prevalence of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) in rabbits acquired from two commercial vendors and a local petting zoo. Fecal samples from 34 Dutch Belted (DB) and 15 New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits were cultured; and isolates were biotyped, serotyped, tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and genotyped by repetitive-element sequence–based PCR (Rep-PCR). Seven (25%) of 28 DB rabbits acquired from one commercial source were positive for EHEC, including O153:H- and O153:H7. One (9%) of 11 NZW rabbits from the same source was positive for eae-, stx1+ O153 strains. In contrast, six DB rabbits from another commercial source and four rabbits from a petting zoo were negative for EHEC. Rep-PCR demonstrated that the O153 EHEC and O145 enteropathogenic E. coli were two distinct clones. Our study indicates that rabbits are a new reservoir host of EHEC that may pose a zoonotic risk for humans.

Historical Review

  • Alexander the Great and West Nile Virus Encephalitis PDF Version [PDF - 214 KB - 5 pages]
    J. S. Marr and C. H. Calisher
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    Alexander the Great died in Babylon in 323 BC. His death at age 32 followed a 2-week febrile illness. Speculated causes of death have included poisoning, assassination, and a number of infectious diseases. One incident, mentioned by Plutarch but not considered by previous investigators, may shed light on the cause of Alexander’s death. The incident, which occurred as he entered Babylon, involved a flock of ravens exhibiting unusual behavior and subsequently dying at his feet. The inexplicable behavior of ravens is reminiscent of avian illness and death weeks before the first human cases of West Nile virus infection were identified in the United States. We posit that Alexander may have died of West Nile encephalitis.




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