April 2020

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 26, No.4, April 2020

The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the April 2020 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. The articles are embargoed until March 11, 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.     Knowledge of Infectious Disease Specialists Regarding Aspergillosis Complicating Influenza, United States, Mitsuru Toda et al.

Aspergillosis is an infection (usually of the lungs) caused by the common mold (a type of fungus) Aspergillus. Although most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day without getting sick, inhalation of these spores can cause fatal aspergillosis in people with weakened immune systems. Aspergillosis has only been rarely reported in previously healthy people with severe influenza, but a recent European study detected aspergillosis in 20% of such patients, suggesting it may be more common than expected. This phenomenon has rarely been reported in the United States, and it is unclear whether it is truly rare or if it is underdetected. Bronchoalveolar lavage and galactomannan testing can detect this serious and lethal infection. To determine how often this testing is performed for U.S. patients with severe influenza, researchers surveyed infectious disease specialists. Among those who responded, most were unaware of concerns about aspergillosis in patients with severe influenza, and fewer than 10% routinely ordered galactomannan testing for those patients. Clinicians should consider the possibility that patients with severe influenza who do not improve with treatment, even those who are not immunocompromised, may have aspergillosis.

Contact: CDC Media Relations; phone: 404-639-3286 or email: media@cdc.gov

2.   Stemming the Rising Tide of Human-Biting Ticks and Tickborne Diseases, United States, Lars Eisen

Ticks and tickborne diseases are increasingly problematic. New strategies and tools to suppress tick populations and prevent human tick bites have emerged in recent decades but their potential to reduce tickborne disease remains unclear. At the root of the growing problem with ticks and tickborne diseases lies the thorny problem of who will be responsible for implementing emerging solutions. The current model of individual responsibility for tick control dates back to the 1990s, when the focus was very strongly on preventing exposure to blacklegged ticks carrying Lyme disease bacteria in and around the suburban backyards of the northeastern United States. Today, the threat posed by human-biting ticks is both more widespread across the eastern United States. The problem is increasingly complex because it involves multiple tick species and more than 10 tickborne disease agents that pose a danger to humans and their pets. Tick-bite risk also is understood to be more spatially diffuse, including not only backyards but also neighborhood green spaces and public recreation areas. An increasing number of public health experts advocate shifting the responsibility for tick control to include both individuals and professionally staffed local tick-management programs to more effectively mitigate tick-associated societal effects in the United States.

Contact: CDC Media Relations; phone: 404-639-3286 or email: media@cdc.gov


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