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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 19, No. 4, (April 2013)


The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the April 2013 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature emerging viruses. The articles are embargoed until March 13, 2013, 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. Serotype IV and Invasive Group B Streptococcus Disease in Neonates, Minnesota, 2000–2010, Patricia Ferrieri, et al.

In the United States, group B Strep is a major cause of severe infections, including those that damage vital organs like the brain or lungs, among newborns during their first month of life. Babies get GBS from their mothers, and transmission is preventable with good prenatal care. But despite frequently updated measures to prevent this disease, rates of infection remain high. An analysis of samples collected over 11 years in Minnesota indicated that a previously uncommon serotype (serotype IV) is becoming more common, is associated with resistance to the antimicrobial drug clindamycin, and is infecting older infants, as well as newborn infants. The sharpest increase in cases caused by this serotype occurred most recently, in 2010. The concern is that this serotype might follow the path of another serotype (serotype V), causing more treatment-resistant infections in infants and older patients. Continued monitoring of serotypes is needed to stay on top of trends that could affect prevention strategies.

Patricia Ferrieri
University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN

2. Predicting Hotspots for Influenza Virus Reassortment, Trevon L. Fuller et al.

The influenza pandemics of 1957 and 1968 were deadly; each killed about 1 million people. Both pandemics resulted from the mixing of genetic material of 2 types of closely related flu viruses, called reassortment. This occurs when both viruses infected the same host at the same time. This mixing produced a virus that was more lethal than either alone. This mixing could also happen again. Studies in mice have raised the possibility that mixing of the human seasonal flu virus and the bird flu virus could produce a novel virus that could spread rapidly and kill many people. To determine where such mixing is most likely to occur, researchers evaluated livestock densities and agricultural practices (looking for areas with human and bird flu viruses and high concentrations of pigs). They concluded that the areas at highest risk for a future flu pandemic are coastal and central China and the Nile Delta region of Egypt.

Trevon L. Fuller
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles

3. Dengue Viruses in Key West, Florida, USA, 2009–2010, Jorge L. Munoz Jordan et al.

Dengue—the word conjures up visions of an exotic disease, acquired during travel to places like the Caribbean, South America, and Asia.  Until recently, that was true. But, now U.S. residents can be infected with this mosquito-borne virus without leaving the country. Investigation of a dengue outbreak in 2009 and 2010 in Key West, Florida, identified a specific strain of the virus in patients who had not recently traveled outside the country. This strain was found only in Key West and differed from strains in patients elsewhere in Florida who had recently traveled. As long as travelers continue to bring in the virus from other parts of the world and as long as the United States offers a growing mosquito population to support the virus, dengue virus might eventually take up permanent residence in this country. Genetic fingerprinting has proved to be a useful tool capable of discerning endemic dengue viruses from imported ones. So it will be important going forward to detect new cases of dengue being brought into the country and to try to prevent it from becoming established in the United States.

Contact Dr. Jorge L. Munoz-Jordan via:
CDC Press Office

4. Promising New Mosquito Control Approach in Brazil, Kim M. Pepin, et al.

Economically, dengue fever is very expensive and there is no vaccine available. So, in addition to the costs of health care and lost worker productivity, dengue requires mosquito control for prevention. A good way to keep mosquito control costs down is to concentrate efforts in areas where biting mosquito populations are highest. But traditional approaches have been labor-intensive such as measuring all mosquito populations, including mosquitoes in immature stages, which might never grow up to be biting (and infective) adults.  A new approach in Brazil uses GPS and websites in real time to focus on trapping egg-carrying adult mosquitoes, which are most likely to bite humans and spread disease.  This approach can decrease the number of cases by providing officials with daily updates on where these biting mosquito populations are highest so that they can quickly and efficiently target those areas for mosquito control. When considering only 21 cities (~2 million people total), this new approach can save approximately $364,517 in direct costs (health care and mosquito control) and more than $7 million each year in lost wages.

Alvaro E. Eiras
Chemical Ecology of Insect Vector Laboratory
Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

5. MRSA Infection Risk among HIV-infected Adults, Philip J. Peters et al.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections has emerged as an important public health problem. HIV-infected persons are at increased risk for infection and colonization (carrying the bacteria without signs of infection).  Because colonization increases risk for MRSA infection, prevention should be aimed at decreasing colonization. But where and how?  To learn where on the body these bacteria are most likely to colonize, researchers collected samples from HIV-infected patients and monitored these patients over time. Although the nose is consid­ered the primary reservoir of S. aureus, in this study the groin was also frequently colonized with MRSA, and those with groin colonization were more susceptible to developing active MRSA infection later. These data suggest that to prevent active MRSA infections, HIV-infected persons should maintain good general hygiene which includes groin hygiene and take steps to avoid potential MRSA exposures (e.g., by not sharing personal items that may become MRSA contaminated such as towels, bedding, and razors and by keeping cuts and scrapes clean and covered).

Contact Dr. Philip J. Peters via:
CDC NCHHSTP Media Office


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