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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 19, No. 1, (January 2013)


The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the January 2013 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. The articles are embargoed until December 12, 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. Listeriosis Outbreaks and Associated Food Vehicles, United States, 1998–2008, Emily J. Cartwright et al.

Listeriosis (Listeria infection) is a rare but life-threatening foodborne disease. A review of the 24 outbreaks reported to CDC from 1998 to 2008 highlights major successes in the control of listeriosis and points toward work that still needs to be done. Outbreaks reported more recently were generally smaller and shorter. Ready-to-eat meats (frankfurters and deli meats), the most common source of outbreaks early in the study period, were associated with only one outbreak late in the study period. New food vehicles have been identified in recent outbreak investigations. These trends reflect better outbreak detection through PulseNet, a national molecular subtyping network for outbreak detection, and enhanced surveillance and outbreak investigation through CDC’s Listeria Initiative. Although most listeriosis cases are not part of outbreaks, overall rates of listeriosis have declined by a quarter since 1996. This decrease likely resulted from enhanced regulatory and industry efforts stemming from outbreak investigations, including interventions to prevent contamination of ready-to-eat meats.

Benjamin Silk or Barbara Mahon via
CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

2. Staphylococcal Infections in Children, California, USA, 1985–2009, Kathleen Gutierrez et al.

Staphylococcal infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), have become a major public health problem. An analysis of 25-year trends among children in California found that infection risk was highest for children under 3 years of age, black children, and children who were not privately insured. Compared with children hospitalized with other health care conditions, children hospitalized with Staphylococcus aureus infections remained in the hospital longer and were at higher risk for death. During the last 3 years of the study, hospitalizations with Staphylococcal infection, mostly MRSA infections, declined. Although the reasons for this decline are unknown, possibilities include changes in the Staphylococcal organism itself, changes in outpatient management of MRSA skin and soft tissue infections, and effectiveness of local health department educational efforts.

Ruthann Richter
Stanford University School of Medicine
Office of Communications and Public Affairs
(650) 725-8047

3. Klebsiella pneumoniae Antimicrobial Resistance, United States, 1998–2010, Guillermo V. Sanchez

Hospitalized patients are at risk for infection from organisms such as Klebsiella spp. These bacteria are increasingly becoming resistant to a class of drugs called carbepenems. Drug resistance causes increased illness, death, and cost to the health care system. A recent study among U.S. inpatients found increased Klebsiella pneumoniae resistance to all drug classes tested, except tetracyclines. Newer tetracyclines might be useful for such drug-resistant infections.

Jose M. Bordon, M.D., Ph.D.
Providence Hospital
Department of Medicine
Section of Infectious Diseases
Washington, DC 

4. Novel Polyomavirus associated with Brain Tumors in Free-Ranging Raccoons, Western United States

Raccoons rarely get cancer.  Therefore, a recent outbreak of brain tumors among raccoons has drawn a lot of attention. Researchers suspect that a virus, raccoon polyomavirus, is the cause of the outbreak and that sewer and storm drains might be the source. These types of viruses are known to cause cancer under laboratory conditions, but less is known about their ability to cause cancer under natural conditions among people because this process often takes decades.  Raccoons, with their short lifespans (2–3 years), can provide a model for studying how these viruses are spread outside the laboratory, how they cause cancer, and how easily they can jump from species to species.

Dr. Patricia Pesavento, DVM, PhD, dip ACVP
Associate Professor
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California at Davis
One Shields Avenue, 4206 VM3A
Davis, CA 95616-5270
(530) 752-1166

Dr. Eric Delwart. PhD
Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
270 Masonic Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 923-5763


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