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December 2014

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 20, No. 12, (December 2014)


The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the December 2014 issues of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature zoonotic infections. The articles are embargoed until November 12, 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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1.Bacterial Pathogens Associated with Hidradenitis Suppurativa, France, Hélène Guet-Revillet et al.

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a distressing skin condition with no satisfactory medical treatment that can cause recurrent inflammatory nodules or painful lesions that can persist for years. The cause of this condition is presumed to be an unknown inflammatory disease of the hair follicle, but these lesions often respond well to antibiotic treatments. A recent study found that hidradenitis suppurativa lesions contain some of the same bacteria that cause soft tissue and skin infections. Whether these bacteria are the actual cause of the lesions or are secondary invaders remains to be determined. However, this study suggests that Hidradenitis suppurativa lesions are triggered by bacterial factors, providing a rationale for antibiotic treatments of Hidradenitis suppurativa.


Dr Hélène Guet-Revillet
Laboratoire de Microbiologie
Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris, France
Olivier Join-Lambert
INSERM, Paris, France

2. Effects of Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices of Primary Care Providers on Antibiotic Drug Selection, United States, Guillermo V. Sanchez et al.

Determining whether an antibiotic is needed and, if so, selecting the right one, is crucial for limiting antibiotic resistance. Recommendations for appropriate antibiotic use have been published, but are they being followed?  Interviews of 36 physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants indicated that these providers are generally familiar with recommendations but do not always follow them. Reasons for not following recommendations include the belief that antibiotics other than those recommended are more likely to work for a given patient, concern over patient or parent dissatisfaction, and fear of infectious complications. Providers indicated that although they worry about antibiotic resistance, such concern does not usually affect their choice of drug. Although awareness of antibiotic resistance seems to be improving, this knowledge may be slow to translate into more judicious prescribing behaviors, and more compelling education efforts may be needed.

Contact Guillermo V. Sanchez via:
CDC Press Office

3. Seroconversion for Infectious Pathogens among UK Military Personnel Deployed to Afghanistan, 2008–2011, Edmund N.C. Newman et al.

Military personnel are typically exposed to infectious agents (e.g., viruses, bacteria) during overseas deployments, and many of the agents are not common in their home country.  The nature of their work increases their exposure to infectious agents. Troops often patrol through vegetation and farm land where populations of infectious agents and their vectors (e.g., insects) are high. Some exposures result in infection, but not all infections result in illness.  However, the immune systems of the personnel respond to the infections. These immune responses can be measured in medical laboratories and indicate which infectious disease agents might be encountered by visitors (military as well as civilians) to the area. Thus, military personnel can serve as “disease sentinels.” Blood testing of military personnel returning from Afghanistan revealed exposure, albeit low, to the agents that cause rickettsial disease, Q fever, sandfly fever, and hantavirus infection.  Most personnel showed no signs of illness, which means there could be potential for spreading of the infections. These findings reinforce the need for continued disease tracking, rapid field testing, and educating health care providers to identify disease early and help prevent costly outbreaks.

Roger Hewson
World Health Organization Collaborative Centre for VHF & Arbovirus Reference & Research, Microbiology Services–Research, Public Health England

4. Transmission Characteristics of Variably Protease-Sensitive Prionopathy, Silvio Notari et al.

Prions are agents that cause disease in humans and animals; probably the best known examples are “mad cow” and chronic wasting disease of animals and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Prion disease can arise sporadically (for unknown reasons), can be inherited, or can be transmitted from one animal or person to another. Until now, cases of a specific kind of prion disease called variably protease-sensitive prionopathy were presumed to be sporadic. However, laboratory testing reported in this issue of EID revealed that the prions that cause this disease can be experimentally transmitted among mice, albeit in a limited fashion. Therefore, although much more needs to be learned about this prion, this disease is now considered transmissible.

Pierluigi Gambetti or Wenquan Zou
Institute of Pathology
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH or