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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: EID, Vol. 17, No. 1 (January 2011)


These articles of interest will appear in the January 2011 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC's monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature foodborne diseases. The articles are embargoed until December 15, 2010, at 12:00pm ET.

1. Concurrent Conditions and Human Listeriosis, England and Wales, 1999–2009

Piers Mook, et al.

Listeriosis is a rare but potentially fatal foodborne disease. Pregnant women, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems are at highest risk. A new study in England and Wales found that over the past 10 years, the number of new cases has been increasing, among those at risk who also had cancer, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, alcoholism, and a number of other conditions. A third of the new listeriosis cases were in cancer patients. Listeriosis can be prevented by educating those at risk, particularly cancer patients, about infection risk from certain foods known to carry listeria, such as soft cheeses, deli meats and unpasteurized milk.

Piers Mook
Gastrointestinal, Emerging and Zoonotic Infections Department
Centre for Infections, Health Protection Agency, London, England

2. Endurance, Refuge, and Reemergence of Dengue Virus Type 2, Puerto Rico, 1986–2007

Kate L. McElroy, et al.

Dengue is on the rise and has been causing a severe epidemic in Puerto Rico. The mosquito-borne dengue virus has four variations (serotypes), which are typically found in different geographic areas including Puerto Rico. The serotype 2 of dengue virus has persisted for more than 22 years in Puerto Rico and it is still being transmitted, whereas the other serotypes haven't always been transmitted on the island. Recent genetic analysis showed that serotype 2 has resisted evolutionary change and competition from other serotype 2 viruses. This Puerto Rican serotype 2 virus evolves forming geographical and temporal lineages and apparently in response to the presence of the other three serotypes. This fit and resilient virus matters because a first episode of dengue fever, or breakbone fever is bad enough, but disease following reinfection with another serotype of dengue virus is often worse. Reinfection can trigger the immune system to overreact, causing even more severe, hemorrhagic disease and death. Having one serotype of dengue virus persist in Puerto Rico for a long time puts those who live there at risk for reinfection and serious consequences when another of the four dengue virus serotypes reemerges.

Contact Dr. Jorge L. Muñoz-Jordán via:
CDC Press Office
(404) 639-3286

3. Reducing Baylisascaris procyonis Larvae in Raccoon Latrines

Kristen Page

Not in my backyard! Raccoons like to create latrines, often in residential neighborhoods. Although this may sound like a sanitary practice, it actually creates a human health hazard because concentrated piles of feces contain concentrated loads of potentially deadly roundworm eggs. Children are especially at risk while playing in the dirt in their backyards. Fortunately, researchers have found a low-cost way to minimize this risk. First, latrines are located and cleaned, and then medicated bait is placed there. When the raccoons visit the latrines, they eat the bait, thereby deworming themselves and reducing their ability to spread this serious disease.

Kristen Page
Biology Department, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

4. Zoonotic Cryptosporidiosis at Petting Farms, England and Wales, 1992–2009

Fraser J. Gormley, et al.

Petting farms are fun and educational, but they can carry risks. Several diseases, including cryptosporidiosis, can be spread from animals to people. Cryptosporidiosis mostly affects children under age 5 and can be life-threatening for those with weak immune systems. In outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis at petting farms in the United Kingdom, risk factors were contact with baby animals (including bottle feeding), contact with animal feces (often on the animals' skin or hair), thumb sucking, and inadequate hand washing. Because petting farm visitors, usually young children, are encouraged to touch and pet the animals, hand washing is crucial. Washing with soap and water is important because alcohol-based hand gels and sanitizers are not effective against cryptosporidiosis.

Fraser J. Gormley
Health Protection Agency–Gastrointestinal, Emerging & Zoonotic Infections, Centre for Infections, London

5. Foreign Travel and Decreased Ciprofloxacin Susceptibility in Salmonella enterica Infections

Manar N. Al-Mashhadani, et al.

World travelers can pick up more foreign culture than they bargained for—bacterial culture, that is. One such bacterium is nontyphoidal Salmonella, which is commonly spread in food and can cause mild to fatal disease. The drug ciprofloxacin (cipro) is often used to treat severe infections. However, in some countries, these salmonellae are not completely susceptible to cipro, so the drug doesn't work well. This infection was acquired by people who traveled to 36 countries in Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. Countries most commonly implicated were Spain, Egypt, Turkey, India, and Thailand. World travelers are at risk for becoming infected with these salmonellae and thus having limited treatment options.

Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool
Tropical & Infectious Disease Unit (3Z)

Dr. Manar Al-Mashhadani
Mobile: +44 (0) 770 435 2530

Dr. Nick Beeching
Mobile: +44 (0) 781 632 0607
+44 (0) 151 706 3835

6. Clostridium sphenoides Bloodstream Infection in Humans

Theodoros Kelesidis, et al.

Clostridia bacteria, typically opportunists that look for easy targets, are expanding their horizons. These bacteria thrive on dead or dying (necrotic) tissue. Recently, however, a rare Clostridium species infected a healthy man a day after abdominal surgery for injuries received from a car accident. The rare species, Clostridium sphenoides, started in healthy intestine and moved to the bloodstream. This species does not commonly infect humans; and in the few human cases that have occurred, infection was probably acquired from food and was localized to specific tissues. This case is unique because it was acquired in a hospital, the infection started in healthy tissue, and the organism circulated in the patient's blood.

Theodoros Kelesidis, M.D.
Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

The opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.



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