December 2021

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 27, No. 12, December 2021

The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the December 2021 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature zoonotic infections. The articles are embargoed until November 10, 2021, at noon Eastern time.

Important Note: Most articles that EID publishes do not represent work done at CDC or by CDC staff. In your stories, please use our suggested language to clarify whether a study was conducted by CDC (“a CDC study”) or by another institution (“a study published by ____ 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.

Please 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.

EID is publishing many articles on the COVID-19 pandemic. Because we publish those articles on an expedited track, and we have no embargo on their content, we do not include them in these monthly press notices. You may wish to subscribe to receive email notifications when EID publishes expedited articles as well as other types of articles.

Note that the most recent EID COVID-19 papers are at the top of the journal’s home page and also included in the Coronavirus Spotlight.

1. Salmonella Serotypes Associated with Illnesses after the Thanksgiving Holiday, United States, 1998–2018, Farrell Alicia Tobolowsky et al.

Thanksgiving brings together family and friends who eat traditional foods, most commonly turkey (consumed by 88% of the U.S. population). Proper preparation of this holiday favorite is important because eating undercooked turkey or touching raw turkey has been associated with Salmonella infections, which can cause serious illness and death. To determine which Salmonella serotypes cause foodborne illness soon after Thanksgiving, researchers used routine surveillance from 1998–2018 to conduct a case-crossover study (these studies measure the effects of short-term exposure on the risk for sudden illness). The Salmonella serotype most strongly associated with Thanksgiving was Reading, followed by serotypes Hadar, Schwarzengrund, and Heidelberg. This approach provides insights into the causes of sporadic illness using routine surveillance data. This may help industry, regulators, and public health officials guide monitoring and timing of interventions such as educational messages that prevent associated illnesses and deaths. While industry and regulators are putting new measures in place to improve poultry safety, consumers can protect themselves during the holiday season by cooking poultry to a safe internal temperatureexternal icon and following CDC’s steps to prevent cross contamination. Consumers should always consider raw poultry as possibly carrying pathogens that could make you sick.

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

2. Four Filoviruses, 1 Hantavirus, and 1 Rhabdovirus in Freshwater Fish, Switzerland, 2017, Melanie M. Hierweger et al.

Aquaculture is the fastest growing sector in food production worldwide and European perch are increasingly farmed as a human food source. To learn whether these fish are infected with viruses that could put fish farm populations at risk or pose a health hazard to people, researchers examined a sample of 11 diseased farmed fish in Switzerland. Using a process called metatranscriptomics (the study of gene expression in microbes), they identified 4 novel filoviruses (3 confirmed and 1 likely), 1 novel hantavirus, and 1 novel rhabdovirus. Those findings are concerning because rhabdoviruses are already known to cause fatal infections in fish and because filoviruses and hantavirus, which cause serious infections in humans, apparently now infect freshwater fish in Europe. These findings open the door for further research into understanding the threat to farmed fish and to human health from the expanding global distribution of these viruses and increasing species infected by them.

Contact: Torsten Seuberlich, Division of Neurological Sciences, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland; email: or phone: +41 31 684 2206, or Heike Schmidt-Posthaus, Institute for Fish and Wildlife Health, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Switzerland; email: or phone: +41 31 684 2461

3. Evaluation of Early Warning, Alert, and Response System for Ebola Virus Disease, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2018–2020, Mory Keita et al.

Ebola virus disease (EVD), if not detected and reported early, can rapidly spread and result in high rates of illness and death. To increase early detection of cases, the Democratic Republic of the Congo implemented an Early Warning, Alert and Response System (EWARS) during its tenth outbreak in 2018–2020. Under this system, provinces reported and investigated suspected cases and took early action (isolation, safe burial, or referral) as needed. During this outbreak, EWARS detected 801 confirmed and 3 probable cases in the three most conflict-affected zones in North Kivu province (Beni, Oicha and Mutwanga). Case detection was highly sensitive; case responses successfully interrupted virus transmission and prevented further spread; alerts adequately reflected the population demographics; and the system was cost-effective. The good performance of EWARS in a conflict zone can be attributed to having a variety of alert sources, a stable phone network, and decentralized investigation teams. Although the long-term sustainability of such systems remains unknown, EWARS was a useful and cost-effective component of the surveillance system in this setting.

Contact: Collins Boakye-Agyemang, Communications and Media Officer, email: or phone: +242 06 614 2401.


Page last reviewed: November 10, 2021