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EID News Synopsis for November 2009


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.

These articles will appear in the November 2009 edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal. The theme of this edition of EID is the emerging fields of travel and migration medicine. Articles describe how global travel - by both people and animals - is helping to spread infectious diseases around the world. The issue tries to answer the question: What can travelers’ behaviors, demographics or geographic origins tell us about the germs they may bring along with them? The articles are embargoed until Oct. 14, 2009, at 12 p.m. ET.

Population Mobility, Globalization, and Antimicrobial Drug Resistance

Douglas W. MacPherson, et al.

Given the public health developments in the past century such as better sanitation, vaccines, and drugs, it’s easy to be lulled into thinking that infectious diseases have been conquered. However, as people travel more often and more quickly around the world, germs can spread more easily too. Travelers can bring new germs to areas where they’ve never been, where the local population has no immunity to them. Travelers can also pick up new germs while traveling and bring them back home. To be successful, worldwide disease control approaches can no longer focus only on fighting individual germs. Newer control approaches must also take into account the traveling public.

Contact via:
Veronica McGuire
Media Relations, McMaster University
(905) 525-9140, ext. 22169

Epidemic of Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Involving Substandard Antimalarial Drugs, Pakistan, 2003

Toby Leslie, et al.

Conflict causes people to flee their homelands and seek shelter elsewhere, which often leads to a breakdown in healthcare services. Such a situation occurred in 2003 when a malaria epidemic sickened refugees who had fled from Afghanistan to Pakistan to escape drought and war.  More refugees than usual became sick with malaria and more had relapses. The epidemic was partially caused by increased numbers of mosquitoes, which had survived due to inadequate pesticide spraying and had thrived in pits the refugees created. The increased number of malaria relapses was due to poorly made drugs, obtained when the usual supplies ran low. Eliminating malaria will not be easy in areas of conflict and human relocation, and use of poorly made drugs will only make it more difficult.

Mark Rowland, PhD
Reader in Malaria Control and Public Health Entomology
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
(011) 44 20 7299 4719

Health Status of Visitors and Temporary Residents, United States

Emad A. Yanni, et al.

Human travel has always been associated with the spread of infection, and the number of people traveling to the United States to visit or live here for a short time is increasing. Yet experts still don’t have a good way to find out what diseases travelers may be bringing into the United States, and visitors don’t have a good way to learn how to get healthcare while here. Experts need to learn more about the health needs of these visitors so they can provide them with the care they need to protect their own health and Americans’ health.

Contact via:
CDC Division of Media Relations

Illness in Long-term Travelers Visiting GeoSentinel Clinics

Lin H. Chen, et al.
It’s a simple fact: the more time you spend traveling, the higher your chances of getting sick. But until this study, experts didn’t know much about the types and causes of illness that strike long-term travelers (people who travel for longer than 6 months). This study examines nearly 12 years of data from GeoSentinel clinics, which specialize in travel medicine. The authors found that long-term travelers are more susceptible to diseases carried by vectors like mosquitoes or ticks, diseases spread between people like the flu, and to psychological problems like depression. Better understanding the risks and causes of illness for this group can help doctors advise, diagnose, or treat their patients who are long-term travelers.

Contact via:
Kelly McDade, Director of Marketing
Mount Auburn Hospital

Pre-existing Immunity in Human Populations to the Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus

Zheng Xing et al.

Since the H1N1 pandemic emerged last spring, it’s caused about the same severity of disease as regular seasonal flu. Why haven’t more people gotten sick and died? And why do young people seem more susceptible? The answer lies partly in the type of immunity people have. Our bodies have two types of immune systems to fight disease, antibodies and cells. Although antibodies against seasonal flu won’t necessarily protect us from pandemic flu because they are different virus strains, researchers are learning that immunity produced by our cells may. Therefore, people who have either been sick with or vaccinated for seasonal flu (usually older people) may have some cell immunity protecting them from swine flu.

Contact via:
Patricia Bailey
New Service, University of California
(530) 752-9843




  • Historical Document: October 2009
  • Content source: Office of the Associate Director for Communication
  • Notice: Linking to a non-federal site does not constitute an endorsement by HHS, CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the site.
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