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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 19, No. 11 (November 2013)


The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the November 2013 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue features viruses.

Due to the recent government shutdown, release of this highlight was delayed. As a result, there will be no embargo on these articles this month. We will return to our normal publication schedule for the December highlight, which will be sent out on November 12.

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.

Click here to visit the Emerging Infectious Disease journal page

1. Possible Association between Obesity and Clostridium difficile Infection, Jason Leung et al.

Clostridium difficile causes serious diarrheal infection, usually among patients in health care facilities and in those who have taken antimicrobial drugs. In the United States alone, C. difficile infections cause about 14,000 deaths every year. During the past decade, the annual number of hospital discharge diagnoses of C.difficile infection have doubled from approximately 139,000 to 336,600 and physicians are starting to see these infections in traditionally low risk patients without any healthcare or antibiotic exposure. This has raised the concern for whether there are yet unidentified risk factors increasing the probability of C.difficile infection in a subset of individuals. Knowing that patients with inflammatory bowel disease are at higher risk for these infections, researchers investigated whether patients with other conditions, such as obesity, which produce similar intestinal changes, are also at higher risk. A review of patient records indicated that obesity may indeed increase the risk C.difficile infection, even in the absence of other risk factors. Therefore, obese patients should be monitored more closely for C.difficile infections so that they can receive diagnosed and treatment as soon as possible. Given that one third of the population in the United States is obese; these findings may have wide ranging implications at the population level and on the economic costs of C.difficile infections to the healthcare system, currently estimated to range between $496 million to more than $1 billion annually.

Contact Dr. Nahid Bhadelia via:
Gina DiGravio
Media Relations Manager
Boston Medical Center
Boston University School of Medicine

2. CTX-M β-Lactamase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae in Suburban New York, New York, USA, G. Wang et al.

Antimicrobial drug resistance is increasing and extremely dangerous. World health leaders have described antimicrobial drug-resistant bacteria as “nightmare bacteria” that “pose a catastrophic threat” to humans. Among those infections that are classified as urgent threats are CTX-M β-lactamase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae. Until recently, infections with these drug-resistant Klebsiella have been rare in the United States. However, a study in one hospital in suburban New York City found that this form of drug-resistant Klebsiella infection has been rapidly emerging and spreading since the mid-2000s. This emergence increases the need for laboratory detection and careful treatment.

Guiqing Wang
Department of Pathology Clinical Laboratories, Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, NY
(914) 493-8914

3. Capture–Recapture Method for Estimating Annual Incidence of Imported Dengue, France, 2007-2010, Guy La Ruche et al.

Dengue fever is the most common mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. Each year, an estimated 50 million people become infected. Dengue fever used to be a disease of tropical countries, where the mosquito vectors are most common. However, recently, dengue fever has been found in other countries, among them the United States and France, mainly resulting from infections acquired by travelers returning from tropical countries. Information about how many such cases are being imported helps authorities know when, where, and how to set up appropriate prevention and control measures. When researchers analyzed the combined results of three existing tracking systems, they found that more than 8,300 cases of dengue fever were imported into France during 2007–2010; more than half of these cases, approximately 4,500, occurred in 2010 alone. When cases are imported into areas where the mosquito vector is abundant, such as in southeastern France, mosquitoes can become infected and transmit the virus locally to other residents who did not travel to a tropical area.

Guy La Ruche
Department of Infectious Diseases, French Institute for Public Health Surveillance


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