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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 19, No. 10 (October 2013)


The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the October 2013 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature fungal infections. The articles are embargoed until September 11, 2013, at 12 p.m. ET.

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.

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1. Cryptococcus gattii Infections in Multiple States outside the Pacific Northwest, USA, J.R. Harris et al.

Cryptococcus gattii is a soil fungus that can infect the lungs or nervous system and is transmitted when people inhale spores from the environment. Before 1999, infections were rare in the United States and Canada; but since 2004, an outbreak has been ongoing in the Pacific Northwest. As of June 2013, 171 cases have been reported to the CDC from both inside and outside of the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The outbreak strains of C. gattii usually cause lung infections in male and female patients with underlying medical conditions. Since 2009, however, infections in patients from eight U.S. states outside of the Pacific Northwest have been reported, most often associated with central nervous system disease. Nearly all of these infections have been caused by strains different from the outbreak strains, and have primarily affected previously healthy men, some of whom have died. Because early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent severe illness and death, health care providers outside the Pacific Northwest should be aware of C. gattii infections. 

CDC Press Office

2. Coccidioidomycosis-associated Hospitalizations, California, USA, 2000–2011, G. Sondermeyer et al.

Coccidioidomycosis, also called Valley Fever, is caused by a fungus found in soil. When soil is disrupted, by humans or nature, spores can be swept into the air and subsequently inhaled into the lungs.  Inhaled spores cause lung infections, usually mild.  However, when the infections are severe, the costs of health care and hospitalization are high. In the United States, this fungus is mostly limited to southwestern states, especially California and Arizona. Over the past 12 years, the annual rate of coccidioidomycosis hospitalizations in California has approximately doubled leading to hospital charges of more than $2 billion. Those most at risk were men, African Americans and Hispanics, and older people. Until a vaccine becomes available, the best way to minimize long-term illnesses and deaths is early diagnosis, close follow-up of patients, and appropriate treatment of those at risk for severe disease. Thus, efforts should be made to increase disease awareness and promote early recognition among health care providers and the public.

Contact Dr. Gail Sondermeyer via:
Anita Gore
Office of Public Affairs
California Department of Public Health

3. Emergence of Vaccine-Derived Polioviruses, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2004–2011, Nicksy Gumede et al.

Worldwide, we are coming closer to meeting our goal of polio eradication; however, in some countries,polio eradication remains a major challenge. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a vaccine-derived poliovirus has emerged; this particular virus can cause paralysis and can be spread from person to person. Possible causes for the emergence and circulation of this virus are poor hygiene, inadequate sanitation, tropical climate, and not enough vaccinated (immune) people. Because similar conditions exist elsewhere in Africa, switching to different types of vaccines, maintaining high-quality tracking (surveillance) of circulating polioviruses, and vaccinating a greater percentage of the population are needed before polio can be eliminated from this region.

Nicksy Gumede
National Institute for Communicable Diseases
A Division of the National Health Laboratory Services
Johannesburg, South Africa


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