Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal
Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 20, No. 10, (October 2014)
The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the October 2014 issues of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature emerging pathogens. The articles are embargoed until September 10, 2014, 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.
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Marburgvirus Resurgence in Kitaka Mine Bat Population after Extermination Attempts, Uganda, Brian R. Amman et al.
Marburg virus causes a rare but often fatal disease called Marburg hemorrhagic fever. The disease is similar to that caused by the genetically related Ebola virus currently circulating in West Africa. In nature, Marburg virus is carried by a specific species of cave-dwelling fruit bat common throughout sub-Saharan Africa. In these bats, the virus seems to cause no signs of illness, but in humans, infection can be fatal. In 2007, several people working in a mine in Uganda contracted the disease. Soon after, efforts were initiated to rid the mine of bats, and by November 2008, they appeared successful. However, in 2012, another Marburg hemorrhagic fever outbreak occurred in a town near the mine. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the same species of fruit bat had re-inhabited the mine, and genetic testing of the virus linked these bats to the outbreak. Although the number of bats in the cave was substantially lower than it had been in 2008, the prevalence of Marburg virus infection among those bats was substantially higher. The reason for the increase is not clear, but researchers speculate that after the bat extermination attempt, a population of susceptible bats developed over time. Once exposed, levels of Marburg virus infection within the colony quickly increased, and with it the potential for spillover to humans. As other bat species are thought to be the natural source of Ebola virus, avoiding contact with fruit bats in general is one way to prevent these deadly outbreaks.
Contact Dr. Jonathan S. Towner via:
CDC Press Office
Risk Factors for Human Lice and Bartonellosis among the Homeless, San Francisco, California, USA, Denise L. Bonilla et al.
Body lice are not just an annoyance; they also pose a health risk. One of the diseases that lice can spread is bartonellosis (also called trench fever), and it can lead to life-threatening complications. Homeless people are especially at risk for lice (and thus bartonellosis) because of poor clothing hygiene, lack of resources, exposure to cold weather, and environments that promote transmission of lice (such as crowding). The extent of this risk was more precisely defined by a recent study in San Francisco. Among homeless people who reported itching, 30% had lice; and of lice tested, 16% carried the bartonellosis organism. Risk factors for lice infestation were being male, being African American and sleeping outdoors. Directing prevention information to these populations might help decrease transmission of lice. For example, those who sleep outside might benefit from learning about the importance of clean bedding and how to clean their bedding.
Contact Denise Bonilla via:
California Department of Public Health
Office of Public Affairs
Rapidly Growing Mycobacteria Associated with Laparoscopic Gastric Banding, Australia, 2005–2011, Hugh L. Wright et al.
Rapidly growing mycobacteria are a type of bacteria that can be found most anywhere in the environment, such as soil, dust, and water. They have been associated with postsurgical infections, especially after cosmetic surgery; some infections are hard to treat. Over the past 6 years in Australia, 18 patients became infected with 2 types of rapidly growing mycobacteria after gastric banding, a weight-reduction procedure that involves a placing a band around the stomach and an access port under the skin. For 10 patients, the primary site of infection was thought to be the port. Among all patients, complications included peritonitis (infection of the lining of the abdomen), band erosion into the stomach, and irritation at the port site. Rapidly growing mycobacteria can occur soon after surgery or a long time later. Treatment consists of appropriate antibiotics and removal of the device. Gastric banding is generally safe and effective; but to prevent postoperative infections, doctors should follow good infection control practices such as thoroughly cleaning instruments and not using tap water (which is not sterile) for medical procedures.
Hugh L. Wright
Department of Infectious Diseases, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Herston, Australia
Prevalence of Borrelia miyamotoi in Ixodes Ticks in Europe and the United States, Chris D. Crowder et al.
Ticks of the genus Ixodes carrya number of organisms known to cause disease in humans. Among these organisms are Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. It has been recently discovered that another species of Borrelia (called Borrelia miyamotoi) causes a relapsing fever type of disease in humans as well. In the United States, Borrelia miyamotoi has been found anywhere from the Northeast to California and as far south as Tennessee. But knowing where it exists is only a piece of the puzzle; another piece is knowing how prevalent it in each region. A recent study found that Borrelia miyamotoi is widespread worldwide and that three distinct genetic types exist in North America, Europe, and Japan. Borrelia miyamotoi may be present anywhere that Ixodes ticks reside, but the rate of tick infection varies greatly for each region and location. Information about regional rates of tick infection will help doctors asses exposure risks for their patients and be better prepared to diagnose the illness caused by this organism.
Contact Mark Eshoo via:
Diagnostics Public Affairs, Abbott
Knemidocoptic Mange in Wild Golden Eagles, California, USA, Aslı Mete et al.
Knemidocoptidae are mange mites that cause severe skin disease, itching, and sometimes death in birds, especially those that are older, injured, sick, stressed, or malnourished. Outbreaks have occurred among wild birds but not usually among birds of prey except for those in captivity. Thus, finding this type of mange in 3 wild eagles in 1 area of California was unusual. Of these 3 birds, 1 died soon after being found grounded, 1 was rehabilitated, and 1 was euthanized because of the severity of the mange. This euthanized bird had lost feathers, its eyes and ears were crusted over, and its skin was almost half an inch thick in some places. This extent of feather loss and crusting could interfere with a bird’s ability to regulate its body temperature and to eat. Although eagles do sometimes get mites, such debilitating disease in otherwise healthy animals and in the wild is highly unusual. Possible causes for these cases of mange include effects of environmental and climate change on bird–mite relationships or emergence of a more pathogenic highly virulent mite. The population of golden eagles in this area of California is notably high, and these cases might reflect habitat changes bringing eagles into closer contact with each other or increasing stress. Researchers will be keeping a close eye on this possibly emerging fatal disease among golden eagles.
California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory (CAHFS)
University of California Davis, Davis, CA
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- Page last updated: September 9, 2014
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