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Highlights: Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 16, No. 5 May, 2010


These articles of interest will appear in the May 2010 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. The articles are embargoed until April 14, 2010, at 12 p.m. ET..

1. Schistosomiasis among Recreational Users of the Upper Nile River, Uganda, 2007
Oliver W. Morgan et al.

White-water adventure travelers, beware! Travelers who go rafting or kayaking in some foreign countries may think they’re safe from a parasite disease that causes a disease called schistosomiasis or Bilharzia, but an outbreak in Uganda proved they’re not.  Some rafting company operators in Uganda believe that risk for getting this disease in fast-moving white water is low, but researchers found otherwise. And although there is medicine that can be taken to prevent this disease, researchers also found that many travelers take it too soon for it to work. Travelers often take it right after their trip, rather than waiting 4 to 6 weeks as they should. Medication timing is more important for travelers who have never been exposed to the worms than for locals who are continually exposed. Travelers should therefore seek prevention advice from their own countries.

Contact Dr. Oliver Morgan via:
CDC Division of News and Electronic Media

2. Vitamin D Deficiency and Tuberculosis Progression
Najeeha Talat et al.

The association between vitamin D and tuberculosis (TB) has long been known. Specifically, in TB patients, low levels of vitamin D are associated with the activation of the disease. But what about in those who are healthy? A study of people in Pakistan who were healthy but in close contact with TB patients found a similar association. Those with low levels of vitamin D, especially women, were five times more likely to get tuberculosis. Thus, low levels of vitamin D may be a risk factor for tuberculosis. However, the value of vitamin D supplements for preventing TB infection is still unknown.

Contact Dr. Rabia Hussain via:
Hassaan Akhter
Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan

3. Nosocomial Outbreak of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, Sudan
Imadeldin E. Aradaib et al.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a severe disease that kills 30 percent of its victims and is on the United States list of potential bioterrorism agents. So when in 2008, a man in rural Sudan and nine others, most of whom came in contact with him while he was in the hospital, got sick with bleeding and fever, researchers were concerned. Laboratory testing confirmed CCHF in the man and seven other people. That the disease would spread in a rural hospital is not surprising because, in rural Sudan, doctors and nurses rarely have the gloves, masks, or other supplies they need to protect themselves from contagious diseases. Also at risk are family members, for whom care-giving is a social obligation in Sudan. In fact, family members are expected to help with personal details such as changing the patient’s clothing and bedding, helping with nursing care, and even sleeping next to the sick family member. Doctors in Sudan need to consider CCHF in their diagnoses, and care-giving staff and families need access to personal protection supplies to help prevent future outbreaks.

Contact Dr. Stuart T.  Nichol via:
CDC Division of News and Electronic Media

4. Spread of Adenovirus to Geographically Dispersed Military Installations, May–October 2007, Jill S. Trei et al.

It's bad enough when a respiratory infection spreads on a military base, but what happens when recruits from this base are sent to other locations? A recent study found that as recruits from a large military base in Texas were sent to other states and countries, the respiratory virus adenovirus traveled with them.  Because of the critical nature of military operations, training could not be halted.  Respiratory outbreaks have long been a challenge for the highly mobile military population. Fortunately, unlike the civilian community, rigorous surveillance and preventive measures can be applied with some control.  During this adenovirus outbreak, preventive measures such as early identification of ill recruits and subsequent isolation enabled health officials to mitigate the impact on overall operations.  While such preventive measures help slow the spread of adenovirus, an effective vaccine would prove more useful.  A vaccine designed to protect troops against adenovirus types 4 and 7 is under development.

Contact Dr. Natalie Johns via:
Betty Anne Mauger
Chief, Media, Plans and Programs
Congressional and Public Affairs Directorate Office of the Air Force Surgeon General

5. Latent Tuberculosis among Persons at Risk for Infection with HIV, Tijuana, Mexico Richard S. Garfein, et al.

Hidden populations in Tijuana, Mexico are at risk for an HIV/TB epidemic. A study of drug users, female sex workers, and homeless people in Tijuana found that more than half had latent TB infection. Given Tijuana’s emerging HIV epidemic, these people are also at risk for HIV infection. The danger of having both TB and HIV is that HIV can activate an otherwise latent, symptom-less TB infection. In fact, active TB is a leading cause of death among people who also have HIV. Transmission of TB from Mexico (where levels of TB are moderate to high) to the United States (where TB levels are low) poses a major public health concern. To prevent an HIV/TB epidemic in this Mexico/US border region, these hidden populations need more HIV and TB testing and education on how to protect themselves and others from these infections. Continuing and strengthening collaborations between health officials, doctors and researchers on both sides of the border should be a top priority for controlling TB in the region.

Contact Dr. Richard Garfein via:
Debra Kain
University of California San Diego Media Relations




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