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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 19, No. 5, (May 2013)

Disclaimer

The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the May 2013 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature zoonoses. The articles are embargoed until April 10, 2013, at 12 p.m. EDT.

Note: Not all articles published in EID represent work done at CDC. In your stories, please clarify whether a study was conducted by CDC (“a CDC study”) or by another institution (“a study published by CDC”). The opinions expressed by authors contributing to EID do not necessarily reflect the opinions of CDC or the institutions with which the authors are affiliated.

1.Targeting Surveillance for Zoonotic Virus Discovery Jordan Levinson, et al.

Of all the emerging infectious diseases of humans, almost 66 percent came from animals, and almost 75 percent of these are wild animals. These statistics are only for those diseases we know about. Many yet-unknown organisms, potentially harmful to humans, are lurking and sometimes causing illness in both wild and other animals. Currently, we monitor mostly rodents and bats for signs of illness. However, a recent study found that these species, when harboring a potentially harmful virus, are less likely than others to show outward signs of illness. Obviously, monitoring and testing all species of wild animals, healthy and sick, would be time and cost prohibitive. So, how can we make our surveillance “smarter”? That is, how can we focus our resources on those animals most likely to be harboring organisms potentially dangerous for humans? Analysis of a newly created database indicated that a mixed approach is best, one that tests apparently healthy rodents and bats while also monitoring illness and deaths in these and other species. Monitoring healthy animals should focus on areas where novel infectious diseases are most likely to emerge (areas where wildlife are likely to contact humans or domestic animals).

Contact:
Peter Daszak
EcoHealth Alliance, New York, NY
daszak@ecohealthalliance.org

2. Contaminated Ventilator Air Flow Sensor Linked to Bacillus cereus Colonization of Newborns, George Turabelidze et al.

Bacillus bacteria are found so commonly in the environment that sometimes finding them in medical specimens is considered routine and of no concern. However, certain types of these bacteria can cause serious, sometimes fatal, disease in newborns, especially those born prematurely. So when a higher than usual amount of Bacillus cereus was detected in the airways of newborns breathing through mechanical ventilators at a Missouri hospital, the state health department investigated. The source was traced to a reusable part of the ventilator called an air flow sensor. The problem was resolved after new methods were used to disinfect and sterilize the sensors. Fortunately, none of the newborns had become ill from this infection, probably because they were already receiving antimicrobial drugs for other reasons. In the future, detection of Bacillus in the airways should not be considered routine; rather, it should be followed with further testing to determine the exact strain. Proper disinfection of the entire ventilator is crucial for avoiding potentially lethal infections with these bacteria.

Contact:
Gena Terlizzi, Communications Director/ Press Officer
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Gena.Terlizzi@health.mo.gov

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