May 2019

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 25, No. 5, May 2019

Important Note: Not all articles that EID publishes represent work done at CDC or by CDC staff. In your stories, please clarify whether a study was conducted by CDC (“a CDC study”) or by another institution (“a study published by CDC in the EID journal”). Opinions expressed by authors contributing to EID do not necessarily reflect the opinions of CDC or the institutions with which the authors are affiliated. EID requests that, when possible, you include a live link to the actual journal article in your stories. Once the embargo lifts, this month’s articles will be found in the Ahead of Print section of the EID website at

The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the May 2019 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. The articles are embargoed until April 10, 2019, at noon Eastern time.

1.   Novel Method for Rapid Detection of Spatiotemporal HIV Clusters Potentially Warranting Intervention, Arthur G. Fitzmaurice et al.

Despite innovations in HIV prevention and treatment, HIV outbreaks still occur in the United States. Early detection enables state and local health departments to intervene and prevent new infections. Clusters of new HIV infections can be detected through analysis of partial virus sequences. However, reporting of sequences can be delayed or incomplete. Therefore, to better detect HIV clusters as they occur, researchers developed a systematic method for analyzing National HIV Surveillance System data that enabled them to determine in almost real time where and when (spatiotemporally) there were more HIV diagnoses than expected. This method complements information from sequence analysis, enabling early identification of clusters of new HIV infections at state and local (county) levels, including clusters among specific risk groups, such as people who inject drugs. Routine use of this spatiotemporal method for identifying increases in HIV diagnoses can help public health officials control outbreaks early and prevent further transmission. It would be especially useful for identifying increased HIV transmission associated with injection drug use, given the increasing use of opioids and the potential for HIV to spread among at-risk populations.

Contact: CDC Media Relations; phone: 404-639-3286 or email:

2.   Risk Factors for MERS-CoV Seropositivity among Animal Market and Slaughterhouse Workers, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 2014–2017, Ahmed Khudhair et al.

Contact with camels is a major risk factor for acquiring infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which can lead to serious and often fatal illness. To learn more about the specific kinds of camel exposures that pose the highest risk for infection, a team of researchers assessed the seroprevalence of MERS-CoV (i.e., the rate at which persons test positive for the presence of antibodies to the virus) among workers in 2 slaughterhouses and 1 live-animal market in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, during 2014–2017. They also administered an epidemiologic survey in 2016 and 2017. The team found that among all workers, working as a camel salesman, handling live camels or their waste, and having diabetes were associated with MERS-CoV seropositivity. Additionally, among market workers, either administering medications or cleaning equipment was associated with seropositivity. Characterizing these high-risk exposures is critical for informing preventive measures, such as the use of personal protective equipment and hand hygiene among the occupational groups most at risk for MERS-CoV infection.

Contact: CDC Media Relations; phone: 404-639-3286 or email:

3.   Anthrax Epizootic in Wildlife, Bwabwata National Park, Namibia, 2017, Caitlin M. Cossaboom et al.

In late September 2017, Bwabwata National Park in Namibia experienced a sudden die-off of hippopotamuses and Cape buffalo. A subsequent response involving several ministries within Namibia and CDC identified the cause as anthrax. Anthrax, caused by the soil-dwelling bacterium Bacillus anthracis, is a deadly disease affecting livestock and wild grazing animals that can “spill over” into human populations if it is not controlled. Human infections related to wildlife anthrax typically result from eating meat from infected carcasses, causing ingestion anthrax, or direct contact, causing cutaneous anthrax (infection through the skin). About 1,000 persons were identified as having contact with or eating meat from the animals that died of anthrax and were immediately provided with postexposure prophylaxis, which included 2 weeks of treatment with an antibiotic. In the meantime, field workers swiftly and safely disposed of the carcasses, teams were dispatched to educate local communities about the risks and prevention of anthrax, and the response oversaw the mass vaccination of livestock in and around Bwabwata National Park to prevent spillover of anthrax into susceptible domestic animals and humans. Thanks in part to this swift multiorganization response, no human anthrax cases were associated with the outbreak.

Contact: CDC Media Relations; phone: 404-639-3286 or email:



Page last reviewed: July 26, 2019