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May 2014

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 20, No. 5, (May 2014)


The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the May 2014 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature infectious diseases and cancer. The articles are embargoed until April 16, 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.

Click here to visit the Emerging Infectious Disease journal page

1. Factors Associated with Antimicrobial Drug Use in Medicaid Programs, Pengxiang Li, et al.

For treatment of sudden-onset short-term (acute) respiratory tract infections such as colds, upper respiratory tract infections, and bronchitis, antibiotics are usually not needed. Antibiotics rarely help patients with those infections and, in fact, can do more harm than good by encouraging growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A recent study found that despite their well-known lack of effectiveness for treating these conditions, in 2007 antibiotics were prescribed for more than half of adult Medicaid patients with these infections. The number of people impacted by this problem will increase as coverage under Medicaid and other insurance programs expands unless clinicians, public health officials and policy makers intervene.

Pengxiang (Alex) Li
Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

2. Human Papillomavirus Prevalence in Oropharyngeal Cancer Cells before Vaccine Introduction, United States, Martin Steinau, et al. 

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is usually associated with cervical cancer and other genital infections, but it can also infect the mouth and throat (oropharyngeal region). So if HPV vaccines help prevent cervical cancer, do they also help prevent oropharyngeal cancers? A U.S. study analyzing oropharyngeal cancers that were diagnosed between 1995 and 2005 found HPV in a high percentage (75%) of these tumors. However, the percentage varied according to patients’ sex and race/ethnicity; it was lower among women and non-Hispanic blacks. Although more research is needed to explain these differences, it is clear that in the United States, HPV vaccination has significant potential to prevent many oropharyngeal cancers.

Contact Martin Steinau via:
CDC Press Office

3. Bat Flight and Zoonotic Viruses, T.J. O’Shea et al.

Infections that are transmitted directly or indirectly to humans from other animals are called zoonotic infections. Examples include SARS coronavirus, Ebola, Marburg, Nipah, and Hendra virus infections. Many animal reservoirs of viruses are bats, but why are bats able to transport these deadly agents without themselves getting sick or dying? In the May issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers present a hypothesis: bats are the only mammals that fly. More specifically, the high metabolic rate and high body temperatures generated by flying may have protected bats from viral infections similar to the way in which fever protects humans and other mammals from disease: by stimulating the immune system. In this way, flight may have allowed bats to evolve a co-existence with their viruses without becoming sick. Some challenging and creative experiments are needed to test this flight-as-fever hypothesis.

Thomas J. O’Shea

Paul Cryan

U.S. Geological Survey
Fort Collins Science Center, Fort Collins, Colorado