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Volume 9, Number 5—May 2003

Volume 9, Number 5—May 2003   PDF Version [PDF - 11.58 MB - 107 pages]


  • Planning against Biological Terrorism: Lessons from Outbreak Investigations PDF Version [PDF - 165 KB - 5 pages]
    D. A. Ashford et al.
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    We examined outbreak investigations conducted around the world from 1988 to 1999 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. In 44 (4.0%) of 1,099 investigations, identified causative agents had bioterrorism potential. In six investigations, intentional use of infectious agents was considered. Healthcare providers reported 270 (24.6%) outbreaks and infection control practitioners reported 129 (11.7%); together they reported 399 (36.3%) of the outbreaks. Health departments reported 335 (30.5%) outbreaks. For six outbreaks in which bioterrorism or intentional contamination was possible, reporting was delayed for up to 26 days. We confirmed that the most critical component for bioterrorism outbreak detection and reporting is the frontline healthcare profession and the local health departments. Bioterrorism preparedness should emphasize education and support of this frontline as well as methods to shorten the time between outbreak and reporting.


  • Endemic Gastrointestinal Anthrax in 1960s Lebanon: Clinical Manifestations and Surgical Findings PDF Version [PDF - 521 KB - 6 pages]
    Z. Kanafani et al.
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    Anthrax is an ancient disease caused by the gram-positive Bacillus anthracis; recently, it has gained much attention because of its potential use in biologic warfare. Anthrax infection occurs in three forms: cutaneous, inhalational, and gastrointestinal. The last type results from ingestion of poorly cooked contaminated meat. Intestinal anthrax was widely known in Lebanon in the 1960s, when a series of >100 cases were observed in the Bekaa Valley. We describe some of these cases, introduce the concept of the surgical management of advanced intestinal anthrax, and describe some of the approaches for treatment.


  • Vero Cytotoxin–Producing Escherichia coli O157 Gastroenteritis in Farm Visitors, North Wales PDF Version [PDF - 231 KB - 5 pages]
    C. J. Payne et al.
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    An outbreak of Vero cytotoxin–producing Escherichia coli O157 (VTEC O157) gastroenteritis in visitors to an open farm in North Wales resulted in 17 primary and 7 secondary cases of illness. E. coli O157 Vero cytotoxin type 2, phage type 2 was isolated from 23 human cases and environmental animal fecal samples. A case-control study of 16 primary case-patients and 36 controls (all children) showed a significant association with attendance on the 2nd day of a festival, eating ice cream or cotton candy (candy floss), and contact with cows or goats. On multivariable analysis, only the association between illness and ice cream (odds ratio [OR]=11.99, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.04 to 137.76) and cotton candy (OR=51.90, 95% CI 2.77 to 970.67) remained significant. In addition to supervised handwashing, we recommend that foods on open farms only be eaten in dedicated clean areas and that sticky foods be discouraged.

  • Pandemic Influenza and Healthcare Demand in the Netherlands: Scenario Analysis PDF Version [PDF - 257 KB - 8 pages]
    M. L. van Genugten et al.
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    In accordance with World Health Organization guidelines, the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports designed a national plan to minimize effects of pandemic influenza. Within the scope of the Dutch pandemic preparedness plan, we were asked to estimate the magnitude of the problem in terms of the number of hospitalizations and deaths during an influenza pandemic. Using scenario analysis, we also examined the potential effects of intervention options. We describe and compare the scenarios developed to understand the potential impact of a pandemic (i.e., illness, hospitalizations, deaths), various interventions, and critical model parameters. Scenario analysis is a helpful tool for making policy decisions about the design and planning of outbreak control management on a national, regional, or local level.

  • Estimating the Incidence of Typhoid Fever and Other Febrile Illnesses in Developing Countries PDF Version [PDF - 198 KB - 6 pages]
    J. A. Crump et al.
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    To measure the incidence of typhoid fever and other febrile illnesses in Bilbeis District, Egypt, we conducted a household survey to determine patterns of health seeking among persons with fever. Then we established surveillance for 4 months among a representative sample of health providers who saw febrile patients. Health providers collected epidemiologic information and blood (for culture and serologic testing) from eligible patients. After adjusting for the provider sampling scheme, test sensitivity, and seasonality, we estimated that the incidence of typhoid fever was 13/100,000 persons per year and the incidence of brucellosis was 18/100,000 persons per year in the district. This surveillance tool could have wide applications for surveillance for febrile illness in developing countries.

  • Human Milk Secretory Antibodies against Attaching and Effacing Escherichia coli Antigens PDF Version [PDF - 230 KB - 7 pages]
    M. Noguera-Obenza et al.
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    Secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) is a primary factor responsible for preventing attachment of enteropathogens to gut epithelium in breastfeeding infants. We compared the frequency of sIgA to major surface antigens of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) in milk of 123 women from the United States and Mexico to determine whether regional differences existed in the frequency of antibodies to these surface antigens. In both groups of women, milk commonly has sIgA against various EHEC lipopolysaccharides, EspA, EspB, intimin, and less frequently against Shiga toxin. The study suggests that persons living in the U.S. are exposed to attaching/effacing enteropathogens more frequently than is generally assumed. The low frequency of antibodies to Stx1 (in 12% of Mexican and in 22% of U.S. samples) suggests that the rare appearance of hemolytic uremic syndrome in adults is not due to neutralization of toxin at the gut level. Only anti-EspA is found in most milk samples from both populations of women. EspA may represent a useful target for an immunization strategy to prevent EHEC disease in humans.

  • Endemic, Notifiable Bioterrorism-Related Diseases, United States, 1992–1999 PDF Version [PDF - 291 KB - 9 pages]
    M. Chang et al.
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    Little information is available in the United States regarding the incidence and distribution of diseases caused by critical microbiologic agents with the potential for use in acts of terrorism. We describe disease-specific, demographic, geographic, and seasonal distribution of selected bioterrorism-related conditions (anthrax, botulism, brucellosis, cholera, plague, tularemia, and viral encephalitides) reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System in 1992–1999. Tularemia and brucellosis were the most frequently reported diseases. Anthrax, plague, western equine encephalitis, and eastern equine encephalitis were rare. Higher incidence rates for cholera and plague were noted in the western United States and for tularemia in the central United States. Overall, the incidence of conditions caused by these critical agents in the United States is low. Individual case reports should be considered sentinel events. For potential bioterrorism-related conditions that are endemic and have low incidence, the use of nontraditional surveillance methods and complementary data sources may enhance our ability to rapidly detect changes in disease incidence.

  • Global Illness and Deaths Caused by Rotavirus Disease in Children PDF Version [PDF - 328 KB - 8 pages]
    U. D. Parashar et al.
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    To estimate the global illness and deaths caused by rotavirus disease, we reviewed studies published from 1986 to 2000 on deaths caused by diarrhea and on rotavirus infections in children. We assessed rotavirus-associated illness in three clinical settings (mild cases requiring home care alone, moderate cases requiring a clinic visit, and severe cases requiring hospitalization) and death rates in countries in different World Bank income groups. Each year, rotavirus causes approximately 111 million episodes of gastroenteritis requiring only home care, 25 million clinic visits, 2 million hospitalizations, and 352,000–592,000 deaths (median, 440,000 deaths) in children <5 years of age. By age 5, nearly every child will have an episode of rotavirus gastroenteritis, 1 in 5 will visit a clinic, 1 in 60 will be hospitalized, and approximately 1 in 293 will die. Children in the poorest countries account for 82% of rotavirus deaths. The tremendous incidence of rotavirus disease underscores the urgent need for interventions, such as vaccines, to prevent childhood deaths in developing nations.

  • Seasonal Patterns of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease PDF Version [PDF - 739 KB - 6 pages]
    S. F. Dowell et al.
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    Pneumococcal infections increase each winter, a phenomenon that has not been well explained. We conducted population-based active surveillance for all cases of invasive pneumococcal disease in seven states; plotted annualized weekly rates by geographic location, age, and latitude; and assessed correlations by time-series analysis. In all geographic areas, invasive pneumococcal disease exhibited a distinct winter seasonality, including an increase among children in the fall preceding that for adults and a sharp spike in incidence among adults each year between December 24 and January 7. Pneumococcal disease correlated inversely with temperature (r –0.82 with a 1-week lag; p<0.0001), but paradoxically the coldest states had the lowest rates, and no threshold temperature could be identified. The pattern of disease correlated directly with the sinusoidal variations in photoperiod (r +0.85 with a 5-week lag; p<0.0001). Seemingly unrelated seasonal phenomena were also somewhat correlated. The reproducible seasonal patterns in varied geographic locations are consistent with the hypothesis that nationwide seasonal changes such as photoperiod-dependent variation in host susceptibility may underlie pneumococcal seasonality, but caution is indicated in assigning causality as a result of such correlations.

  • Entamoeba moshkovskii Infections in Children in Bangladesh PDF Version [PDF - 359 KB - 5 pages]
    I. K. Ali et al.
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    Entamoeba moshkovskii cysts are morphologically indistinguishable from those of the disease-causing species E. histolytica and the nonpathogenic E. dispar. Although sporadic cases of human infection with E. moshkovskii have been reported, the organism is considered primarily a free-living ameba. No simple molecular detection tool is available for diagnosing E. moshkovskii infections. We used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect E. moshkovskii directly in stool. We tested 109 stool specimens from preschool children in Bangladesh by PCR; 17 were positive for E. histolytica (15.6%) and 39 were positive for E. dispar (35.8%). In addition, we found that 23 (21.1%) were positive for E. moshkovskii infection, and 17 (73.9%) of these also carried E. histolytica or E. dispar. The high association of E. moshkovskii with E. histolytica and E. dispar may have obscured its identification in previous studies. The high prevalence found in this study suggests that humans may be a true host for this ameba.

  • Variant Salmonella Genomic Island 1 Antibiotic Resistance Gene Cluster in Salmonella enterica Serovar Albany PDF Version [PDF - 527 KB - 7 pages]
    B. Doublet et al.
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    Salmonella genomic island 1 (SGI1) contains an antibiotic resistance gene cluster and has been previously identified in multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica serovars Typhimurium DT104, Agona, and Paratyphi B. We identified a variant SGI1 antibiotic-resistance gene cluster in a multidrug-resistant strain of S. enterica serovar Albany isolated from food fish from Thailand and imported to France. In this strain, the streptomycin resistance aadA2 gene cassette in one of the SGI1 integrons was replaced by a dfrA1 gene cassette, conferring resistance to trimethoprim and an open reading frame of unknown function. Thus, this serovar Albany strain represents the fourth S. enterica serovar in which SGI1 has been identified and the first SGI1 example where gene cassette replacement took place in one of its integron structures. The antibiotic resistance gene cluster of serovar Albany strain 7205.00 constitutes a new SGI1 variant; we propose a name of SGI1-F.

  • Aeromonas spp. and Traveler’s Diarrhea: Clinical Features and Antimicrobial Resistance PDF Version [PDF - 249 KB - 4 pages]
    J. Vila et al.
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    Traveler’s diarrhea is the most common health problem of international travelers. We determined the prevalence of Aeromonas spp. associated with traveler’s diarrhea and analyzed the geographic distribution, clinical features, and antimicrobial susceptibility. Aeromonas spp. were isolated as a cause of traveler’s diarrhea in 18 (2%) of 863 patients. A. veronii biotype sobria was isolated in nine patients, A. caviae in seven patients, and A. jandai and A. hydrophila in one patient each. Aeromonas spp. were isolated with a similar prevalence in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Watery and persistent diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps were common complaints. All strains were resistant to ampicillin; showed variable resistance to chloramphenicol, tetracycline, and cotrimoxazole; and were susceptible to cefotaxime, ciprofloxacin, and nalidixic acid. The persistence of symptoms made antimicrobial treatment necessary.



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