Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal
Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 20, No. 8, (August 2014)
The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the August 2014 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature vector-borne diseases. The articles are embargoed until July 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.
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1. Leptospirosis-Associated Hospitalizations, United States, 1998–2009, Rita M. Traxler et al.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial zoonotic (spread from animals to people) disease that usually affects people who work outdoors, with animals, or in wet environments contaminated with animal urine; it can also affect those who live in urban areas and/or participate in freshwater sports. For a small percentage of patients, leptospirosis can be severe and even fatal. Because this neglected disease is reemerging in the United States, researchers explored the extent of the problem. They used hospital discharge data to estimate the number of hospitalizations resulting from leptospirosis and compared that number with hospitalizations resulting from other infectious diseases. Although the number of number of hospitalizations for leptospirosis was low and did not increase over the study period, several notable comparisons did emerge: among leptospirosis patients the average age was lower, their average length of hospital stay was longer, and their hospital charges were higher. Educating clinicians on the signs and symptoms of leptospirosis might lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment and, thereby, reduced disease severity and hospitalization costs.
Contact Rita Traxler via:
CDC Press Office
2. Global and Local Persistence of Influenza A (H5N1) Virus, Xianbin Li, et al.
Since their emergence in China in 1996, avian influenza (bird flu) viruses have spread to most Eurasian and African countries, causing illness and death among humans. To prevent these infections in birds and people and to help with decisions about vaccines, we need to better understand how these viruses migrate around the world. A recent analysis of virus genetics indicated that the virus is found around the world (global persistence) and that all 9 regions in the analysis serve to some extent as sources. Specifically, the major hub from which the avian virus is dispersed is Siberia, a migration flyway intersection and breeding ground for large numbers of wild birds. The major sources of novel strains are Southeast Asia, Africa and China, where avian influenza viruses persist locally. This information could be useful for development of surveillance programs and vaccines specific for each region.
Institute of Pathogen Biology, School of Basic Medical Sciences,
Taishan Medical College, Shandong, China
3. Rapid Whole-Genome Sequencing for Surveillance of Salmonella enterica Serovar Enteritidis, Henk C. den Bakker et al.
Several different types of Salmonella bacteria can cause disease, and when looking for the source of outbreaks, identifying the specific type of Salmonella is crucial. Because commonly used techniques do not always differentiate among all Salmonella subtypes, researchers explored whether another technique, called whole-genome cluster analysis, would. Using that technique, they identified additional types of Salmonella responsible for past and ongoing outbreaks. They concluded that whole-genome cluster analysis might be a useful and practical technique for state public health laboratories.
Contact William Wolfgang via:
Director of Public Affairs
New York State Department of Health
518-474-7354 ext. 1
4. Role of Migratory Birds in Spreading Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, Turkey, Hakan Leblebicioglu et al.
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever first appeared in Turkey in 2002; since then, the annual number of cases has increased. What caused this disease to emerge in Turkey? The causative virus is found in several species of ticks. What, then, brought infected ticks into Turkey? Recent genetic analysis of ticks on migratory birds implicated birds as the carriers. By itself, however, transportation of infected ticks by birds might not be sufficient to be causing the epidemics in Turkey; additional factors might be climate changes, environmental changes, and increased numbers of sensitive animals. Nevertheless, knowledge of bird migration routes and the viruses that infect birds might help predict future epidemics in various countries and highlight the regions where disease might emerge.
Ondokuz Mayis University Medical School, Samsun, Turkey
5. Shelter Dogs as Sentinels for Trypanosoma cruzi Transmission across Texas, USA, Trevor D. Tenney et al.
Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi that is spread by blood-feeding vectors called kissing bugs. In the United States, an estimated 300,000 people or more are infected. While most were likely infected in Latin America, a growing number have been infected in the US. Disease symptoms range from none to fatal heart disease. There is no vaccination, and treatment options are limited and not readily available in the US. Because dogs can also be infected, researchers explored dog infection across a broad geographic area to provide information useful in assessing human disease risk. They conducted the study in Texas (where infected kissing bugs are common) and among shelter dogs (which are likely to have been exposed to kissing bugs). At all 7 shelters where testing was conducted, they found evidence of dog exposure to the parasite, regardless of dog breeds and ages. This finding indicates that Chagas disease is not uncommon among shelter dogs, and accordingly, human health practitioners should be aware of Chagas disease risk to people.
Sarah A. Hamer
Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX firstname.lastname@example.org