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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: EID, Vol. 17, No. 2 (February 2011)


These articles of interest will appear in the February 2011 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC's monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. CDC's weather-related closure earlier this week delayed sending of this highlight. As a result, there is no embargo period for this month's articles.

1. Zoonoses in the Bedroom

Bruno B. Chomel and Ben Sun

How close is too close? Pets are part of our lives, sharing our houses, our bedrooms, and even our beds. However, along with the benefits of this closeness (stress relief and exercise) comes risk for illness. Seemingly healthy pets can carry parasites, bacteria, or viruses that cause mild to life-threatening illness in their owners. For example, a man whose dog slept under the covers with him and licked his hip replacement wound came down with meningitis, and a 9-year-old boy whose flea-infested cat slept with him got plague. The risk of getting sick from sleeping with, kissing, or being licked by pets is real, but the risk can be reduced by keeping pets healthy. Regular veterinary care is key to having a healthy pet and enjoying the benefits of pet ownership.

Bruno B. Chomel, DVM, PhD
Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California, Davis
(530) 752-8112

2. Next-Generation Sequencing of Coccidioides immitis Isolated during Cluster Investigation

D.M. Engelthale, et al.

When the same infection occurs in several people (a cluster of cases), knowing the source of that infection is crucial so that additional cases can be prevented. Recently, a rare but deadly fungal infection (Coccidioidomycosis, or Valley fever) was identified in a cluster of three patients. Because all three patients had received organs from the same donor who had valley fever, the logical assumption was that the infection came from that donor (epidemiologic link). But to verify this assumption, the entire genetic structure of the infecting fungus from each patient had to be similar (genetic link). Until now, laboratories have been able to match most but not all of a given genetic structure. A new technique, called next-generation sequencing, matches the entire structure. For this cluster, this new technique confirmed that the infections in the three organ recipients came from the same organ donor, furthering future public health investigations.

Contact Dr. Arunmozhi Balajee via:
CDC Press Office
(404) 639-3286

3. Blastomycosis in Man after Kinkajou Bite

J.R. Harris, et al.

Blastomycosis is caused by a fungus that usually spreads in the air and infects the lungs. Rarely, animal bites - usually from a dog or cat – have caused infection. Recently, this fungal infection occurred in a man who had been bitten by his pet kinkajou. Because the infection was not immediately diagnosed as fungal in nature, the man became severely ill and was hospitalized; the diagnosis of blastomycosis occurred over a month after he first visited a physician. The kinkajou, which had been sick when he bit the man, died. This case highlights several points: when treating an animal bite, doctors should consider that infections may be fungal rather than bacterial; when an animal bite does not heal quickly, the biting animal should be examined; when an animal dies after biting a person, an autopsy should be performed on that animal.

Contact Dr. Julie R. Harris via:
CDC Press Office
(404) 639-3286

4. No Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus-related Virus Detected in Fibromyalgia Patients

Luczkowiak, et al.

Fibromyalgia is a painful and debilitating condition of unknown cause. It shares enough features with chronic fatigue syndrome to raise the question about whether they could have overlapping causes. Because a virus called XMRV has been proposed as a possible cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, researchers explored whether XMRV may be a cause of fibromyalgia. However, DNA testing of blood from 15 patients with fibromyalgia indicated no association between fibromyalgia and XMRV.

Contact :
Dr. Rafael Delgado
Servicio de Microbiología, October 12th University Hopsital, Madrid, Spain
+34 913908428

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.



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