September 2016

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 22, No. 9, September 2016

The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the September 2016 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature antimicrobial resistance. The articles are embargoed until August 10, 2016, at 12 p.m. ET.

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 official positions of CDC or the institutions with which the authors are affiliated. EID requests that, when possible, you include a live link to the article in your stories. 

1. Elevated Risk for Antimicrobial Drug–Resistant Shigella Infection among Men Who Have Sex with Men, United States, 2011–2015, Anna Bowen et al.

Shigella bacteria cause nearly 500,000 illnesses in the United States each year, and resistance to the 3 antibiotics preferred for treating these infections (ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone, and azithromycin) is emerging. To assess the relative risk for infection from antibiotic-resistant Shigella bacteria among different populations, researchers investigated the associations between disease transmission route and antibiotic resistance among clusters of shigellosis cases reported throughout the United States during 2011–2015. Of the 32 clusters reported, 9 (28%) were caused by Shigella bacteria resistant to at least 1 of the 3 preferred antibiotics; 3 (9%) of the clusters were caused by Shigella bacteria resistant to 2 or more of these drugs. Most notably, the researchers observed antibiotic resistance in significantly more— between 3-77 times more— of the disease clusters occurring among men who have sex with men (MSM) than among clusters occurring in other populations. Surveillance and interventions for shigellosis among MSM could be strengthened by clinicians testing patients with diarrhea for shigellosis, discussing shigellosis prevention, and choosing treatment, when needed, according to the antimicrobial susceptibility of the Shigella bacteria, as well as through more intensive collaboration between intestinal disease and sexually transmitted disease programs within public health departments. Moreover, MSM might benefit from targeted health messages that include information about the risk for and prevention of shigellosis — especially drug-resistant shigellosis.

Contact:         CDC Press Office, or 404-639-3286.

2. Reduction of Healthcare-Associated Infections by Exceeding High Compliance with Hand Hygiene Practices, Emily E. Sickbert-Bennett et al. 

Hand hygiene (hand washing or sanitizing) is a simple, effective way to prevent infection. In healthcare facilities, compliance with hand hygiene is high (averages about 80%). However, researchers wanted to know if more would be better (that is, would an increase to about 95% compliance decrease healthcare-associated infections even more). To find out, they compared compliance before and after implementation of a new hand hygiene program at a hospital in North Carolina. The program involved improving hand hygiene of healthcare workers and having them monitor that of others. During the 17-month study period, hand hygiene compliance increased from high to very high and healthcare-associated infections decreased significantly, indicating that with regard to hand hygiene, more is indeed better.

Contact:         Zach Read, Communications Specialist, UNC Health Care, or 984-974-1145.

3. Testing for West Nile Virus and Other Arboviruses, Jakapat Vanichanan et al.

West Nile virus infection can sometimes result in serious brain and spinal cord infections (encephalitis, meningitis, acute flaccid paralysis) in children and adults. Infection is diagnosed mostly in areas where mosquitoes are abundant and when they are most active (WNV season, June–October). But how much WNV testing is being performed? A study of patients with encephalitis or meningitis in Houston, Texas, where WNV infection is common (endemic), showed that WNV testing was ordered for only 281 (37%) of 751 patients, 390 (52%) of whom became ill during WNV season. Testing was performed more frequently for patients with severe disease. Thus, the current extent of WNV infection in WNV-endemic areas might be underestimated because of inadequate or inappropriate testing. In WNV-endemic areas, patients who show signs of encephalitis or meningitis during the WNV season should have cerebrospinal fluid and blood samples submitted as soon as possible for WNV testing.

Contact:         Rob Cahill, McGovern Medical School at UT Health, Media Relations, Robert.Cahill@uth.tmc.eduexternal icon or 713-500-3030.


Page last reviewed: August 17, 2016