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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 19, No. 8 (August 2013)


The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the August 2013 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature enteric viruses. The articles are embargoed until Wednesday, July 10, 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. Impact of State Regulation on Raw Oyster–associated Vibrio vulnificus Illnesses and Deaths, California, USA, Duc J. Vugia et al.

Foodborne infection due to Vibrio vulnificus bacteria is usually contracted by eating contaminated raw oysters and is potentially fatal.  Oysters harvested from the U.S. Gulf Coast during the summer often have high levels of these bacteria.  In 2003, the state of California responded to increasing numbers of Vibrio vulnificus cases by enacting an emergency regulation that restricted the sale of unprocessed raw oysters harvested from the Gulf of Mexico during the summer.  A recent study examined the effectiveness of this regulation and found that the number of cases in California declined after 2003 while the number of cases in states without such a regulation continued to rise. This finding strongly suggests that the 2003 regulation substantially reduced illnesses and deaths associated with eating raw oysters in California. A similar regulation implemented nationally might decrease the overall number of illnesses and deaths in the United States that result from eating unprocessed raw oysters.

California Department of Public Health
Office of Public Affairs


2. Outbreak-associated Salmonella enterica Serotypes and Food Commodities, United States, 1998–2008, Brendan R. Jackson et al.

Salmonella enterica is the leading cause of hospitalizations and deaths from foodborne disease in the United States. There are many types of these bacteria, called serotypes, and the number of reported infections caused by some serotypes has increased while those caused by other serotypes have decreased over the past 10 years.  To learn what foods are associated with which serotypes, researchers analyzed data on foodborne illness outbreaks reported from 1998 through 2008. They found that, of the 10 serotypes causing the most outbreaks in the study, three were most commonly associated with eggs or poultry, one was most commonly linked to fruits and vegetables, and others were linked to a variety of animal- and plant-based foods that likely reflect their reservoirs in food animals or the environment.  Armed with this knowledge, public health officials might be able to more quickly determine the cause and source of salmonellosis outbreaks and prevent more cases.

Brendan Jackson via CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

3. Norovirus Disease in the United States, Aron J. Hall, et al.

A new CDC study provides a more complete picture of the burden of norovirus disease in the U.S. Norovirus is the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis, leading to vomiting and diarrhea, The researchers analyze the methods and results of past norovirus studies and determined disease estimates by age groups and disease outcomes. They found that norovirus causes an average of 570 to 800 deaths, 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations, 400,000 emergency room visits, 1.7 to 1.9 million outpatient visits, and 19 to 21 million illnesses each year in the United States. Young children and older adults are most likely to suffer from severe norovirus illness. Also, adults 65 years of age or older have the highest risk of dying from this illness, Norovirus cases peak during winter, and can increase by almost 50 percent when new strains emerge. This study helps to identify groups that would benefit most from norovirus prevention strategies. It also provides information that supports efforts to develop interventions, such as norovirus vaccines.

Aron J. Hall via CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

4. Acute Gastroenteritis Surveillance through the National Outbreak Reporting System, United States, Aron J. Hall, et al.

Norovirus rises to the top in data collected through the CDC’s National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS). Started in 2009, NORS provides information on acute gastroenteritis (AGE) outbreaks in the United States caused by various modes of transmission. The researchers analyzed two years of data and found that norovirus is the leading cause of reported AGE outbreaks and also AGE outbreak-associated hospitalizations and deaths. Other contributors to AGE outbreaks were Salmonella, Shigella, and a toxin-producing type of E. coli. AGE outbreaks were reported most frequently in health care facilities, particularly nursing homes, and most often involved transmission directly from person to person. NORS will continue to provide information for identifying trends and gaps as well as inform and assess interventions for preventing future AGE outbreaks.

Aron J. Hall via CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286


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