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Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases April 2010

Disclaimer

These articles of interest will appear in the April 2010 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. The articles are embargoed until March 10, 2010, at 12:00 p.m. ET.

1. Household Transmission of Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) 2009, San Antonio, Texas

Oliver Morgan, et al

During a flu pandemic, one way to prevent the spread of the flu is to have those who are sick stay home. But what happens at home?  Does flu spread there and, if so, who is most at risk? Researchers explored these questions this past spring in Texas, the second state to have confirmed person-to-person spread of pandemic H1N1 2009 flu. The study showed that within a household, H1N1 flu spreads more slowly than seasonal flu and is also more likely to affect children. This information will help public health officials with planning for future pandemics.

Contact Dr. Oliver Morgan via:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Press Office
404-639-3286
media@cdc.gov

2. Clostridium difficile Infection among Hospitalized Children, United States, 1997–2006

Marya Zilberberg, et al

During the past decade in the United States and abroad, the diarrhea-causing bacterium Clostridium difficile has been getting increasingly more severe and complicating many hospitalizations. The disease has been thought to affect primarily those who are elderly or seriously ill, not otherwise healthy children. In this study, researchers investigated how the disease is affecting children in the United States. They found that between 1997 and 2006, the rates of hospitalization for C. difficile in children nearly doubled, similar to what has been reported for adults. The available data did not allow the researchers to determine whether the C. difficile infection was present when children were first admitted or developed while they were hospitalized. Nevertheless, this study shows that a better understanding of how this germ affects children is urgently needed.

Contact:
Marya Zilberberg, MD, MPH
(413)-268-3415
Marya@evimedgroup.org 

Or Contact Dr. L. Clifford McDonald via:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Press Office
404-639-3286
media@cdc.gov

3. Use of Norovirus Genotype Profiles to Differentiate Origins of Foodborne Outbreaks

L. Verhoef, et al.

When people get sick from eating contaminated food, they shouldn’t be too quick to blame the cook. Researchers recently found that 25 percent of food contamination blamed on food handlers occurred long before it reached their hands. Food can be contaminated at many stages: early (growing, processing and shipping) or late (cooking and serving), and each stage can occur in a different part of the world. How an outbreak is controlled depends on where along the chain the contamination occurred, so it’s important to find out--and quickly. This study of the genetic make-up of norovirus helped researchers determine whether contamination occurred early or late in the food chain, expanding the understanding of the web of causation. Knowledge like this can potentially help health experts assess future outbreaks and take measures to prevent infections or ensure prompt treatment of those exposed if necessary.

Contact:
Linda PB Verhoef, MSc
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the Netherlands
+31-30-274-26-05
linda.verhoef@rivm.nl

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