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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 19, No. 9 (September 2013)

Disclaimer

The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the September 2013 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature central nervous system and neurologic infections. The articles are embargoed until August 14, 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.

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1. Gastroenteritis Outbreak Associated with Unpasteurized Tempeh, North Carolina, USA, Stephanie E. Griese, et al.

Salmonella infections are most often associated with contaminated poultry or eggs, but sometimes animal products are not the cause.  In North Carolina, an outbreak was caused by contaminated tempeh, an increasingly popular meat substitute made of fermented beans. The contamination had originated in the culture used in the fermentation process. Because the tempeh was not pasteurized, the Salmonella organisms were not killed. Not every patient in this outbreak had eaten the tempeh; therefore, some probably acquired the infection through cross-contamination (contamination of other foods prepared on the same surface as the tempeh or touched by unwashed hands that had touched the tempeh).  Thus, safe handling of all uncooked, nonpasteurized foods, not just animal products, is crucial for preventing foodborne illness.

Contact:
Julie Henry
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Raleigh, NC
919-855-4840

2. Continued Evolution of West Nile Virus, Houston, Texas, USA, 2002–2012, Brian R. Mann et al.

Since 1999, when West Nile virus was first detected in the United States, evolution of the virus has been continually tracked by examination of dead birds. Recently, this tracking (surveillance) revealed that genetic changes have been occurring in the virus.  During 2010–2012, four new genetic groups of the virus were found in Texas. These genetic groups were more closely related to viruses from the northeastern United States than to those previously found in Texas. There was no evidence in a change in virulence for the virus in 2012. For any virus, genetic changes can affect such factors as how efficiently the virus is spread, the degree of illness it can cause (virulence), and whether a vaccine would be effective. Therefore, prevention and control of West Nile virus infection depends on continued tracking of the virus evolution.

Contact:
James Kelly
University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
jpkelly@utmb.edu

3. Nodding Syndrome, Scott F. Dowell et al.

Over the past 10 years, an epidemic of nodding syndrome has affected young children in Uganda and South Sudan.  The cause of nodding syndrome is unknown, but it is now recognized as a form of epidemic epilepsy with characteristic rhythmic head nodding.  The syndrome occurs in previously healthy children between the ages of 5 and 15 years; the nodding episodes are often triggered by eating or cold temperatures. The effects can be devastating as affected children drop out of school, lose the ability to eat, and require constant oversight lest they fall into a cooking fire or wander into water and drown.  A comprehensive review of published reports and ongoing investigations aimed at determining the cause of nodding syndrome, looked for associations with infectious organisms, toxins, and nutritional deficiencies.  The most consistent association found was with onchocerciasis, a tropical disease caused by a parasitic worm.  However, why nodding syndrome is more common among children with onchocerciasis and what exactly causes nodding syndrome remain elusive questions.

Contact Dr. Scott F. Dowell via:
CDC Press Office
404-639-3286
media@cdc.gov

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