May 2015

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 21, No. 5, (May 2015)


The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the May 2015 issues of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature vectorborne infections. The articles are embargoed until April 15, 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.

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1. Comparative Sequence Analyses of La Crosse Virus Strain Isolated from Patient with Fatal Encephalitis, Tennessee, USA, Amy J. Lambert et al.

La Crosse virus is a mosquito-borne virus that causes a type of brain infection (encephalitis) in children. In recent years, La Crosse virus infections have increased in parts of the southeastern United States, but the reason(s) for this increase remain(s) unknown.  Possible causes include changes in the kinds of mosquitoes that carry/transmit the virus or the emergence of a particularly potent strain of La Crosse virus in those regions. In this study, the authors compared a La Crosse virus strain from the brain of a Tennessee boy who died from encephalitis to strains of the virus found in mosquitoes collected near his home just after the boy died. The authors also compared these strains to strains collected over a broad range of time (>40 years), hosts, and geographies. The study revealed that the strain of La Crosse virus found in the Tennessee patient’s brain and the mosquitoes near his home – lineage 1 – is associated with severe illness. Furthermore, the authors identified that a lineage 1 genotype strain was present in the pediatric Tennessee patient’s brain as well as in mosquitoes collected near his home just following his death. Future studies, designed to identify how the lineage 1 genotype is unique in terms of how it affects people and where it is found, will help guide future control and prevention measures.

Contact Amy Lambert via:
CDC Press Office
(404) 639-3286

2. Recent US Case of Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease—Global Implications, Atul Maheshwari et al.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a rare neurologic disease that has no cure and is always fatal. Onset of illness takes many years to develop after initial exposure to the infectious organism. Emergence of this disease has been linked to consumption of contaminated beef from the United Kingdom during 1980–1996. In the United States, only 4 cases are known to have occurred. The source of exposure for the first 3 patients was probably consumption of beef while in the United Kingdom or Saudi Arabia, but the source of the most recent infection, in 2012, is less clear. This patient had lived in the United States for 14 years before becoming ill, but the evidence indicates that this patient’s exposure to contaminated beef occurred outside the United States more than a decade before onset of his illness. He had never stayed in the United Kingdom, France, or Saudi Arabia. He had, however, lived in 3 countries (Kuwait, Russia, and Lebanon) where he was most likely infected given the number of years the patient spent there and the amount of British beef imported from the UK during that time. His case highlights the persistent risk for acquiring this illness in unsuspected geographic locations and the need for continued global tracking and awareness.

Contact Atul Maheshwari via:
Dipali Pathak
Baylor College of Medicine Press Office
Houston, TX
(713) 798-6826

3. Canine Infections with Onchocerca lupi Nematodes, United States, 2011–2014, Domenico Otranto et al.

Onchocerca lupi is a parasitic worm that causes a zoonotic infection of the eyes, mostly in dogs and cats and sometimes in people. It is spread by an unknown insects. In the United States, other species of this worm have been implicated in eye infections, but until now, only 6 cases (4 dogs, 2 cats) had been attributed to the species Onchocerca lupi. The occurrence of 8 more cases in dogs during 2011–2014 raises concern. The dogs were from Minnesota, New Mexico, Colorado, and Florida, indicating that the worm is more widespread than previously believed. Genetic analysis of the worms suggests that this species was recently introduced into this country from Europe. For the protection of other dogs, cats, and people, dogs being brought into the United States should be routinely screened for this parasite and given treatment if infection is found.

Domenico Otranto
Università degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano, Italy         


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