July 2021

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 27, No. 7, July 2021

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 https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/ahead-of-print.

The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the July 2021 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature Emerging Viruses. The articles are embargoed until June 16, 2021, at 12 p.m. EDT.

1.    Trypanosoma cruzi in Nonischemic Cardiomyopathy Patients, Houston, Texas, USA, Melissa S. Nolan et al.

Trypanosoma cruzi is a parasite that causes Chagas disease, which affects the heart in approximately one-third of patients. Early diagnosis and treatment are imperative; however, for some patients, the heart disease progresses undetected over a long time (sometimes decades) and is advanced at the time of diagnosis and treatment. Researchers in Houston, Texas, found that among Latin American patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy (decreased heart function not caused by heart attack or blocked arteries), the most common cause was T. cruzi infection. However, many of those infections were undiagnosed because of lack of testing or conflicting laboratory test results. Therefore, the researchers concluded that Latin American heart patients in the United States, as well as their at-risk family members, would benefit from early screening with highly specific diagnostic tests for T. cruzi infection.

Contact: Melissa Nolan, University of South Carolina, via Erin Bluvas, Public Information Director, phone: 843-302-1681 or email: bluvase@sc.edu.

2.  Fatal Human Infection with Evidence of Intrahost Variation of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus, Alabama, USA, 2019, Holly R. Hughes et al.

In North America, eastern equine encephalitis virus causes disease in horses (and other equids), domestic birds, and humans. Although disease in humans is rare, its effects on the central nervous system can be severe (death rate 30%). In 2019, researchers investigated the genetic sequences of eastern equine encephalitis virus from an infected patient in Alabama, where genetic information about this virus is limited. They found that the virus was genetically similar to that detected in Florida during 2010–2014, indicating Florida as the most likely source of seasonal circulation in the region. However, the genetic sequences of the virus differed within the patient between the blood and the cerebrospinal fluid. More genetic variants were found in the blood. The higher concentration of virus variants in the blood suggests the blood maintains virus diversity and variants capable of invading and replicating within the central nervous system.

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

3.  Cluster of Oseltamivir-Resistant and Antigenically Drifted Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 Viruses, Texas, USA, January 2020, Teena Mohan et al.

Resistance to the antiviral drugs used to treat influenza is an ongoing public health concern. Oseltamivir is the most prescribed antiviral drug for controlling influenza. However, during 2007–2009, oseltamivir-resistant influenza A subtype H1N1 viruses spread rapidly worldwide. Those oseltamivir-resistant influenza A(H1N1) viruses were later displaced by novel influenza viruses of animal origin, A(H1N1)pdm09, which caused an influenza pandemic in 2009-2010. The emergence and transmission of oseltamivir-resistant A(H1N1)pdm09 carrying the NA-H275Y mutation (which confers resistance to oseltamivir) was first reported early in the 2009 pandemic, but widespread circulation of these oseltamivir-resistant viruses has yet to occur. During the 2019–2020 influenza season, CDC detected four cases of oseltamivir-resistant influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 infection among inhabitants of a border detention center in Texas, which indicated limited transmission of drug-resistant viruses in this facility. Although no evidence of further transmission outside the detention center was found, this event is concerning because the detected oseltamivir-resistant viruses belong to an antigenically drifted group. This means these viruses have changed enough so immunity from previous infection and vaccination might be less protective against infection, making it easier for oseltamivir-resistant viruses to spread during future influenza seasons. These latest findings underscore the importance of continually monitoring drug resistance and antigenic drift of influenza viruses circulating worldwide.

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



Page last reviewed: June 14, 2021