October 2015

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 21, No. 10, October 2015

The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the October 2015 issues of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue focuses on parasitic diseases. The articles are embargoed until September 16, 2015, 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. Induction of Multidrug Tolerance in Plasmodium falciparum by Extended Artemisinin Pressure, Sandie Ménard et al. 

During the past decade, increased commitment and investments in malaria control have markedly reduced malaria-related illness and death in many areas. This progress, however, is threatened by emergence of resistance to artemisinins, plant-based drugs usually given in combination with other drugs to treat uncomplicated malaria. This resistance is especially widespread across Southeast Asia and raises the question of whether extended exposure to high doses of artemisinin will lead to resistance in the other drugs as well. Laboratory testing of malaria parasites indicates that, yes, artemisinin-induced quiescence enables the parasites to survive exposure to unrelated antimalarial drugs including partner drugs of combination therapies. This novel resistance is not detectable by current tests and represents a major threat to malaria treatment protocols.


Françoise Benoit-Vical

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Laboratoire de Chimie de Coordination, Toulouse France



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2. Heartland Virus Neutralizing Antibodies in Vertebrate Wildlife, United States, 2009–2014, Kasen K. Riemersma and Nicholas Komar

Since its discovery in 2009, Heartland virus has caused nine people in the United States to become sick; two have died. The nine cases occurred in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, but is this virus limited to the U.S. “heartland”? To answer this question, researchers tested the blood of wildlife from the central and eastern United States, where the disease’s tick vector, the lone star tick, can be found. Evidence of virus exposure in animals in 13 states indicates that Heartland virus is widespread and occurs also in northern New England, a region where the lone star tick is not typically found.

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3. Cluster of Cryptococcus neoformans Infections in Intensive Care Unit, Arkansas, USA, 2013, Snigdha Vallabhaneni et al. 

Cryptococcus neoformans is a type of yeast found in soil throughout the world.  It usually causes symptoms in people with HIV and history of organ or stem cell transplant. However, during April–December 2013, this fungus infected six patients, none of whom had HIV or a transplant, in a hospital in Arkansas. A study of possible risk factors found that four of those patients had received corticosteroids (which can weaken the immune system) for a short time while in the intensive care unit. Although long-term use of these steroids is a known risk factor for cryptococcosis, the relationship found in this study between short-term use and this disease warrants further investigation. Meanwhile, physicians should carefully assess the need for steroid use in patients admitted to an intensive care unit and for each patient should weigh the benefits of steroid use against the possible risk for cryptococcosis.

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