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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 18, No. 4, April 2012


The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the April 2012 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature vector-borne diseases. The articles are embargoed until March 14, 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. Influenza-associated Hospitalizations by Industry, 2009–10 Influenza Season, USA, Sara E. Luckhaupt, et al.

Since the 2009 flu pandemic, questions have been raised about the risk for flu to health care workers. But what about other workers? Does having a job put a person at risk for flu? And does the type of job influence this risk? According to a CDC study, having a job is actually associated with a lower risk for hospitalization for flu, possibly because workers are generally young and healthy. But among workers who are hospitalized for flu, certain industries of employment were more common than others. Not surprisingly, the industry posing the highest risk was healthcare. Others included transportation and warehousing, administrative and support services, waste management and remediation services, and accommodation and food services. In the event of another pandemic, this information can be used to prioritize who should receive vaccine, and to decide who needs personal protective equipment like face masks or respirators.

Sara E. Luckhaupt, MD, MPH via:
CDC Press Office

2. Bartonella spp. in Rats and Zoonoses, Los Angeles, California, USA, Vijay A.K.B. Gundi et al.

To catch a disease carried by animals, you have to be out in the country or near a farm or zoo, right? Wrong. In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, California, a type of bacteria called Bartonella have been found in urban rats. Finding these bacteria in rodents living in a densely populated urban area is a public health concern and might explain many human cases of fever, for which the cause was never determined. 

Michael Kosoy via:
CDC Press Office

3. De Novo Daptomycin-nonsusceptible Enterococcal Infections, Theodoros Kelesidis et al.

Because infections caused by organisms resistant to antibiotics are hard to treat, efforts have been made to use these drugs only when they are absolutely needed. But what if resistance occurs even when antibiotics are not used? This is exactly what happened to nine patients infected with a type of bacteria (enterococci)not susceptible to standard treatment with the drug daptomycin. None of the patients had taken this drug for at least 3 months before the not susceptible bacteria were found, and 4 died. Although the source of resistance in these cases remains unknown, one possibility is the agricultural food chain. Of the nine patients, six had been exposed to livestock or had often eaten beef. Regardless of the source of infection, clinicians should be aware of the possibility that this serious infection can develop in patients who may never have taken daptomycin.

Theodoros Kelesidis, MD
Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California
(310) 825-7225

4. Neuroinvasive Disease and West Nile Virus Infection, North Dakota, USA, 1999–2008, Paul J. Carson et al.

Symptoms of West Nile virus infection can vary from none at all, to fever and aches, to brain infection or paralysis caused by invasion of the nervous system. The vast majority of infections go unrecognized and unreported.  Because the virus can spread during blood transfusion or by organ transplants, knowing the odds of virus spread during these procedures is crucial. A study in North Dakota found that approximately 1 in 12 residents had been infected by West Nile virus, especially those who were male or young. Those at highest risk for nervous system invasion were male or older than 65. This information can be used to help prevent transfusion- and transplant-associated infections and to inform groups at high risk about prevention measures, especially during the summer, when West Nile virus is transmitted.

Paul J Carson, MD, FACP
Chairman, Department of Infectious Disease
Director of Clinical Research, Sanford Health, Fargo, ND
701 234-2353

Michael P. Busch, MD, PhD
Director, Blood Systems Research Institute
Professor of Laboratory Medicine, UCSF, San Francisco CA
(415) 407-2328

5. Vector Blood Meals and Chagas Disease Transmission Potential, United States, Lori Stevens et al.

Chagas disease most commonly occurs in Central and South America, where the parasite that causes the disease is spread by specific kinds of blood-sucking bugs (sometimes called kissing bugs). In the United States, only seven cases of Chagas disease are known to have been transmitted by these bugs, but the numbers could increase. The bugs are already here. But do they carry the parasite, do they feed on people, and could they transmit the disease? A study in Arizona and California answered these questions with yes, yes, and yes. Some of these bugs do carry the parasite and others have fed on people; thus, the potential for Chagas disease in the United States might be higher than previously thought.

Lori Stevens
Department of Biology, University of Vermont
Burlington, Vermont



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