June 2015

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 21, No. 6, (June 2015)


The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the June 2015 issues of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature bacterial/fungal infections. The articles are embargoed until May 14, 2015, at 12 p.m. ED.

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. Histoplasmosis in Idaho and Montana, USA, 2012–2013, Randall J. Nett et al. 

Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection that can cause mild or severe illness; it is caused by inhaling fungal spores released into the air when contaminated soil is disturbed. In the United States, histoplasmosis is common in the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys, so the recent occurrence of 6 cases west of these regions (in Idaho and Montana) triggered a public health investigation.  Although each patient had traveled to the areas where the disease is common, none had done so within the past 3 years. Thus, these infections were probably newly acquired in Idaho and Montana. Health care providers in these states should consider a diagnosis of histoplasmosis for patients with symptoms of the disease, regardless of their travel history. A urine test is a noninvasive way to confirm the diagnosis. 

Contact Randall J. Nett via:
CDC Press Office

2. Invasion Dynamics of White-Nose Syndrome Fungus, Midwestern United States, 2012–2014, Kate E. Langwig et al.

White-nose syndrome is a fungal infection that has devastated bat populations in the eastern United States and is spreading south, west, and north. Bats become infected during winter hibernation and the disease causes many of them to arouse too frequently from hibernation, exhaust their fat stores, and die. Reduced bat populations could negatively affect humans because bats play a useful role by consuming insects that spread disease and endanger forests and agricultural crops.

Little is known about which bat species are initially infected when the fungus invades a new area, and why mortality is often more severe one or more years after the fungus is detected at a site. To address these questions, researchers measured infection in five species of hibernating bats and their environment during the first two winters after the fungus arrived in Illinois. Transmission was especially intense in two species and contamination of the environment in the first year led to widespread and rapid infection in the second year and severe population declines. Thus, to prevent bat population collapse, interventions to stop the spread of infection must be started soon after fungus invasion.

Marm Kilpatrick
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
(845) 596 7474

3. Salmonella enterica Paratyphi A Infections in Travelers Returning from Cambodia, United States, Michael C. Judd et al. 

An outbreak of paratyphoid fever is ongoing in Cambodia. In the United States, between January 2013 and late August 2014, the number of cases in patients returning from Southeast Asia (19 cases) nearly doubled from that of the past 5 years (10 cases). Six of these patients had visited Southeast Asian countries other than Cambodia. Antibiotics were effective against more than 90 percent of these infections, but the presence of drug resistance in this strain of Salmonella in nearby southern Asia causes concern over the possible spread of drug resistance to Southeast Asia. Although typhoid fever vaccines exist, they do not protect against paratyphoid fever; people living in and visiting regions where this illness is common have no alternative to relying exclusively on food and water safety to minimize their risk of infection. This outbreak highlights the urgent need for a paratyphoid fever vaccine and more comprehensive tracking to monitor drug resistance and determine which drugs remain effective for treatment.

Contact Michael C. Judd via: 
CDC Press Office


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