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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 18, No. 11, November 2012


The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the November 2012 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature analysis of large datasets and World Pneumonia Day. The articles are embargoed until October 10, 2012, 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.

1. Coccidioidomycosis-associated Deaths, United States, 1990–2008, Jennifer Y. Huang et al.

Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal disease that is contracted by inhaling spores, which are carried in dust. Therefore, the disease, which typically affects the lungs, occurs most commonly in dry areas and in persons who work in dusty conditions (such as agricultural workers, ranchers, construction workers, military personnel, and archeological site workers, especially those located near deserts). Dust storms can stir up the spores from desert regions and spread them to populated areas. Because a substantial number of people die of this disease each year, researchers examined what other factors increase the risk for death. They found that risk was highest among men, elderly persons (>65 years), Hispanics, Native Americans, residents of California and Arizona, and those who also had HIV or other immune-suppressive conditions. Physicians should be aware of which patients are at increased risk and should ask patients about their travel history or occupation to determine possible sources of exposure.

Shira Shafir
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Los Angeles, CA

2. Pneumonia after Earthquake, Japan, 2011, Hiroshi Takahashi et al.

The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 left thousands of people out in the cold without utilities, food, water, or transportation. Cases of pneumonia increased dramatically. Did these harsh conditions change the characteristics of pneumonia before and after the disaster? Researchers found no differences in rapidity of illness onset, illness severity, patient ages, death rates, underlying conditions, or drug resistance. They did, however, find that the type of bacteria responsible varied by region (flooded versus not flooded). Cold shock might have increased susceptibility to certain bacteria. Overall, researchers concluded that pneumonia after the disaster occurred in small regional outbreaks rather than one large widespread outbreak.

Shigeru Fujimura, PhD., Professor
Division for Clinical Infectious Diseases & Chemotherapy,
Tohoku Pharmaceutical University, Japan

3. Livestock-associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Humans, the Netherlands, Beth J. Feingold et al.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) causes potentially fatal infections in animals and humans. Because certain strains are associated with livestock, those who work with animals (farmers, veterinarians, and slaughterhouse workers) are especially at risk. However, a recent study in the Netherlands found that risk stems not only from what you do but also from where you live. Those who lived near large numbers of farm animals, even if they had no direct contact with the animals, were at higher risk than those who lived farther away. This finding might apply also to the United States, where farming operations are larger and more intensive. Control efforts should include those who live near farm animals, not only those who work with them.

Tim Parsons
Director, Public Affairs
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, MD


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