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


These articles of interest will appear in the June 2010 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue features emerging viral infections. The articles are embargoed until 12 p.m. ET on May 12, 2010.

1. Transfer of Carbapenem-Resistant Plasmid from Klebsiella pneumoniae to Escherichia coli in a Patient
Moran G. Goren et al. et al.

Antibiotic resistance in certain germs is already a problem.  But could the problem get worse if resistance can be passed from one germ to another? According to this study, this can – and did - happen in one patient. Klebsiella pneumoniae is a germ that usually infects hospitalized patients, causing severe disease that is difficult to treat because it can be resistant to drugs. Its drug resistance is carried genetically on a piece of DNA called a plasmid. So when this same plasmid was found in a different, more common germ, Escherichia coli (E. coli) in a hospitalized patient, researchers were concerned. They believe that the plasmid jumped from one germ to the other (interspecies transfer) within this patient. E. coli is commonly found in people and many types are harmless; others cause mild to severe symptoms, even death. If E. coli began to acquire this new type of drug resistance, it could become a major problem. It could infect people who are sick or healthy, inside or outside of hospitals. Since E. coli is much more common than Klebsiella pneumonia, the clinical and public health consequences could be severe.

Contact Shiri Navon-Venezia, PhD, via:
Aviva Shemer
Molecular Epidemiology and Antimicrobial Resistance Laboratory, Division of Epidemiology, Tel Aviv Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel


2. Rhinovirus and Worsening Respiratory Condition in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis
Marina B. de Almeida et al.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects many organ systems, but especially the lungs of babies and children. Breathing can be difficult for these children, and when they get a lung infection (which they often do), breathing becomes even harder. So, when a new virus that by itself causes breathing problems in children was discovered (rhinovirus C), researchers wanted to know how seriously it would affect children with cystic fibrosis. They looked for viruses in cystic fibrosis patients who were and were not having disease flare-ups and found that rhinovirus C was indeed associated with flare-ups.

Contact Luiz Vicente Ferreira da Silva Filho, MD, PhD via:
Instituto da Criança - University of São Paulo Medical School
São Paulo, Brazil
+55 11 8182-5220 (mobile)


3. Vaccine-Associated Paralytic Poliomyelitis in Primary Immunodeficiencies, Iran, 1995–2008,
Shohreh Shahmahmoodi et al.

Eradicating polio is a worldwide goal, one that the world is well on its way to achieving, thanks in part to oral polio vaccine. The oral vaccine contains live virus that has been treated to make it so that it can’t infect the recipient; however, a rare side effect is the live virus’s ability to mutate back to being harmful. Although the chances are extremely low, some people given the oral vaccine, especially those with a weak immune system, can get polio or spread it to others. A study in Iran documented six such cases of vaccine-associated polio in children with weak immune systems. These researchers believe that polio will not be eradicated as long as a live vaccine is used and that worldwide polio eradication will be possible only if with a vaccine that contains inactivated (killed) virus, as has been done in the United States and many other countries where polio has already been eradicated.

Contact Nima Parvaneh, MD via:
Department of Pediatrics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences
Tehran, Iran


4. Imported mollusks and Dissemination of Human Enteric Viruses
David Polo et al.

Imported mollusks can spread diarrhea-causing viruses internationally. Shellfish, including clams, are often imported from developing countries where these viruses are common. This study showed that these viruses can hitch a ride in the shellfish, potentially infecting people all over the world who eat them. Of clams that met health standards for bacteria content, 40 percent of those imported into Spain were contaminated with at least one diarrhea-causing virus. Tracking the source of a foodborne virus after an outbreak has occurred is time-consuming and expensive. Therefore, inexpensive methods are needed for developing countries to test food for viruses before it is shipped internationally.

Contact Jesús L. Romaldes via:
Departmento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
+34 981563100 ext. 16098


5. Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis for Salmonella Infection Surveillance, Texas, USA
Stephen G. Long et al.

Just as crime scene investigators use human fingerprints to solve crimes, public health scientists use genetic fingerprints to solve disease outbreaks.  To stop the spread of an outbreak, public health scientists need to know where it began. In the case of salmonellosis, a common foodborne disease, scientists interview the patients about what they ate and do a laboratory test called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).  The PFGE pattern represents the DNA fingerprint of Salmonella; if the fingerprints (PFGE patterns) of Salmonella infecting two or more people match, then the Salmonella that infected them may have come from the same source. In this study, researchers examined whether PFGE was as useful for detecting a common source in local clusters of Salmonella cases as it has been shown to be during national outbreaks. They concluded that PFGE is a useful tool for identifying the source of local outbreaks and that it can be used to compare the source of local clusters with the source of state or national outbreaks. 

Contact Dr. Stephen Long via:
Public Information Officer Porfirio Villarreal
Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Houston, Texas




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