March 2020

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 26, No.3, March 2020

The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the March 2020 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID), CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. The articles are embargoed until February 12, 2020, at noon Eastern time.

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 link directly to the actual journal article in your stories. Once the embargo lifts, this month’s articles will be found in the Early Release section of the EID website at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/early-release.


1.     Three New Cases of Melioidosis, Guadeloupe, French West Indies, Bénédicte Melot et al.

Melioidosis is a bacterial disease that predominately occurs in tropical climates, especially Southeast Asia and northern Australia. The disease can be severe and even fatal. It is spread to people and animals through direct contact with contaminated water and soil. Melioidosis has occurred in the Caribbean only rarely (two cases in the past 20 years) until 2016–2017, when it was diagnosed in three patients in Guadeloupe over just six months. All three patients died. Those cases indicate an increasing threat for melioidosis in Guadeloupe, where the tropical environment is favorable for the causative bacteria and where high rates of alcoholism and diabetes can cause weakened immunity that could increase risk for infection. Because none of the three patients had traveled to other areas where melioidosis is common, investigators assume that they acquired the infection locally and recommend investigation of local soil samples to identify the most likely sources of infection.

Contact: Bénédicte Melot, Delocalized Centers for Prevention and Care, Hospital of Cayenne, email: melotb@gmail.com


2.   Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bloodstream Infections and Injection Drug Use, Tennessee, USA, 2015–2017, Meghana P. Parikh et al.

The State of Tennessee has seen an increase in the use of commonly injected drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl. Injection drug use (IDU) practices can lead to life-threatening disease, including bloodstream infections (BSIs) that are resistant to antibiotics, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). To characterize MRSA BSIs associated with IDU, researchers in Tennessee matched MRSA BSIs identified through the National Healthcare Safety Network to those reported in the Tennessee Hospital Discharge Data System. Nearly 1 in 4 of the MRSA BSIs identified during 2015–2017 were IDU-related (1,839 of 7646 [24.1%]). The annual number of IDU-related BSIs more than doubled during the study period (increasing by 118.9%). Infections identified in emergency department settings roughly tripled (increasing by 197.4%). Persons engaging in IDU were significantly more likely to be white, female, 18–49 years old, and without health insurance. The great majority (84.2%) of the patients with IDU-related BSIs had at least one additional IDU-related medical diagnosis (e.g., hepatitis C infection and skin and soft tissue infection). The findings suggest that strategies designed to reduce health hazards faced by persons who inject drugs might help reduce MRSA BSIs in acute care settings.

Contact: Elizabeth Hart, Tennessee Department of Health, phone: 615-741-3446 or email: Elizabeth.Hart@tn.gov

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