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Surveillance of newly acquired hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is crucial for understanding the epidemiology of HCV and informing public health practice. However, monitoring such infections via surveillance systems is challenging because they are commonly asymptomatic. A literature review was conducted to identify methodologies used by HCV surveillance systems to identify newly acquired infections; relevant surveillance systems in 15 countries were identified. Surveillance systems used three main strategies to identify newly acquired infections: (1) asking physicians to classify cases; (2) identifying symptomatic cases or cases with elevated alanine aminotransferases; and (3) identifying cases with documented evidence of anti-HCV antibody seroconversion within a specific time-frame. Case-ascertainment methods varied with greater completeness of data in enhanced compared to passive surveillance systems. Automated systems that extract and link testing data from multiple laboratory and clinic databases may provide an opportunity for collecting testing histories for individuals that is less resource intensive than enhanced surveillance.
Toxoplasmosis caused by the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, is a worldwide zoonosis. In this paper published information on toxoplasmosis in humans and other animals in Ethiopia is reviewed. Limited data indicate that the prevalence of T. gondii in humans in Ethiopia is very high, up to 41% of children aged 1–5 years were reported to be seropositive. There is little information on seroprevalence data in pregnant women and no data on congenital toxoplasmosis in children. About 1 million adults in Ethiopia are considered to be infected with HIV with less than one-third likely receive highly active antiviral therapy. Based on a conservative T. gondii seroprevalence of 50%, thousands might die of concurrent opportunistic infections, including toxoplasmosis. However, exact figures are not available, and most serological surveys are not current. Serological surveys indicate up to 79% of goats and sheep have T. gondii antibodies. However, there is no information on losses due to toxoplasmosis in livestock or the presence of viable T. gondii in any host in Ethiopia.
Animal losses due to abortion and weak offspring during a lambing period amounted up to 25% in a goat flock and up to 18% in a sheep flock kept at an experimental station on the Swabian Alb, Germany. Fifteen out of 23 employees and residents on the farm tested positive for Coxiella burnetii antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and indirect immunofluorescence assay. Ninety-four per cent of the goats and 47% of the sheep were seropositive for C. burnetii by ELISA. Blood samples of 8% of goats and 3% of sheep were PCR positive. C. burnetii was shed by all tested animals through vaginal mucus, by 97% of the goats and 78% of the sheep through milk, and by all investigated sheep through faeces (PCR testing). In this outbreak human and animal infection were temporally related suggesting that one was caused by the other.
We investigated the positive predictive value (PPV) of a solitary positive immunoglobulin M (IgM) phase II response for the serodiagnosis of acute Q fever detected with either an indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) or an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Initial and follow-up sera from patients suspected of acute Q fever were included if initially only IgM phase II tested positive with IFA in 2008 (n=92), or ELISA in 2009 (n=85). A seroconversion for Q fever was defined as an initial sample being IgG phase II negative but positive in the follow-up sample. The PPV of an initial isolated IgM phase II result detected by IFA or ELISA was 65% and 51%, respectively, and therefore appeared not to adequately predict acute Q fever. For this reason it cannot be used as a diagnostic criterion nor should it be included in public health notification without confirmation with other markers or a follow-up serum sample.
Histoplasma capsulatum was sampled in lungs from 87 migratory Tadarida brasiliensis bats captured in Mexico (n=66) and Argentina (n=21). The fungus was screened by nested-PCR using a sensitive and specific Hcp100 gene fragment. This molecular marker was detected in 81·6% [95% confidence interval (CI) 73·4–89·7] of all bats, representing 71 amplified bat lung DNA samples. Data showed a T. brasiliensis infection rate of 78·8% (95% CI 68·9–88·7) in bats captured in Mexico and of 90·4% (95% CI 75·2–100) in those captured in Argentina. Similarity with the H. capsulatum sequence of a reference strain (G-217B) was observed in 71 Hcp100 sequences, which supports the fungal findings. Based on the neighbour-joining and maximum parsimony Hcp100 sequence analyses, a high level of similarity was found in most Mexican and all Argentinean bat lung samples. Despite the fact that 81·6% of the infections were molecularly evidenced, only three H. capsulatum isolates were cultured from all samples tested, suggesting a low fungal burden in lung tissues that did not favour fungal isolation. This study also highlighted the importance of using different tools for the understanding of histoplasmosis epidemiology, since it supports the presence of H. capsulatum in T. brasiliensis migratory bats from Mexico and Argentina, thus contributing new evidence to the knowledge of the environmental distribution of this fungus in the Americas.
Rabies is a major public health problem in Bangladesh, where most of the population live in rural areas. However, there is little epidemiological information on rabies in rural Bangladesh. This study was conducted in 30 upazilas (subdistricts) covering all six divisions of the country, to determine the levels of rabies and animal bites in Bangladesh. The total population of these upazilas was 6 992 302. A pretested questionnaire was used and data were collected by interviewing the adult members of families. We estimated that in Bangladesh, 166 590 [95% confidence interval (CI) 163 350–170 550] people per year are bitten by an animal. The annual incidence of rabies deaths in Bangladesh was estimated to be 1·40 (95% CI 1·05–1·78)/100 000 population. By extrapolating this, we estimated that 2100 (95% CI 1575–2670) people die annually from rabies in Bangladesh. More than three-quarters of rabies patients died at home. This community-based study provides new information on rabies epidemiology in Bangladesh.
Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is a major tool for the management of introduced, wild rabbits in Australia. However, new evidence suggests that rabbits may be developing resistance to the disease. Rabbits sourced from wild populations in central and southeastern Australia, and domestic rabbits for comparison, were experimentally challenged with a low 60 ID50 oral dose of commercially available Czech CAPM 351 virus – the original strain released in Australia. Levels of resistance to infection were generally higher than for unselected domestic rabbits and also differed (0–73% infection rates) between wild populations. Resistance was lower in populations from cooler, wetter regions and also low in arid regions with the highest resistance seen within zones of moderate rainfall. These findings suggest the external influences of non-pathogenic calicivirus in cooler, wetter areas and poor recruitment in arid populations may influence the development rate of resistance in Australia.
Prior to the recent outbreak of equine encephalosis in Israel in 2009, equine encephalosis virus (EEV) had only been isolated from equids in South Africa. In this study we show the first evidence for the circulation of EEV beyond South Africa in Ethiopia, Ghana and The Gambia, indicating that EEV is likely to be freely circulating and endemic in East and West Africa. Sequence analysis revealed that the EEV isolate circulating in The Gambia was closely related to an EEV isolate that was isolated from a horse from Israel during the EEV outbreak in 2009, indicating that the two viruses have a common ancestry. Interestingly horses in Morocco tested negative for EEV antibodies indicating that the Sahara desert may be acting as a geographical barrier to the spread to the virus to North African countries. This evidence for EEV circulation in countries in East and West Africa sheds light on how the virus may have reached Israel to cause the recent outbreak in 2009.
Lungs exposed to occupational dust may be especially vulnerable to fatal infections. We followed up asbestos-exposed workers (n=590) originally screened for lung cancer with computed tomography and scored for pleuropulmonary fibrosis. We checked these workers' influenza and pneumonia mortality data (ICD-10 codes J10–J18) in the national register. In total, 191 deaths, including 43 deaths from infectious pneumonia, occurred in 6158 person-years of follow-up (mean follow-up time 10·44 years). ‘Some interstitial fibrosis’ [hazard ratio (HR) 2·26, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·98–5·19, P=0·06] and ‘definite interstitial fibrosis’ (HR 3·70, 95% CI 1·22–11·23, P=0·02) were associated with an increased risk of death from pneumonia compared to no fibrosis. Asbestosis patients, i.e. those with both asbestos exposure and lung fibrosis, therefore appear to be particularly at risk for death from pneumonia. These patients should be vaccinated against influenza and Pneumococcus.
Travel is a risk factor for Legionnaires' disease. In 2008, two cases were reported in condominium guests where we investigated a 2001 outbreak. We reinvestigated to identify additional cases and determine whether ongoing transmission resulted from persistent colonization of potable water. Exposures were assessed by matched case-control analyses (2001) and case-series interviews (2008). We sampled potable water and other water sources. Isolates were compared using sequence-based typing. From 2001 to 2008, 35 cases were identified. Confirmed cases reported after the cluster in 2001–2002 were initially considered sporadic, but retrospective case-finding identified five additional cases. Cases were more likely than controls to stay in tower 2 of the condominium [matched odds ratio (mOR) 6·1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·6–22·9]; transmission was associated with showering duration (mOR 23·0, 95% CI 1·4–384). We characterized a clinical isolate as sequence type 35 (ST35) and detected ST35 in samples of tower 2's potable water in 2001, 2002, and 2008. This prolonged outbreak illustrates the importance of striving for permanent Legionella eradication from potable water.
Despite US sanitation advancements, millions of waterborne disease cases occur annually, although the precise burden of disease is not well quantified. Estimating the direct healthcare cost of specific infections would be useful in prioritizing waterborne disease prevention activities. Hospitalization and outpatient visit costs per case and total US hospitalization costs for ten waterborne diseases were calculated using large healthcare claims and hospital discharge databases. The five primarily waterborne diseases in this analysis (giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, Legionnaires' disease, otitis externa, and non-tuberculous mycobacterial infection) were responsible for over 40 000 hospitalizations at a cost of $970 million per year, including at least $430 million in hospitalization costs for Medicaid and Medicare patients. An additional 50 000 hospitalizations for campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis, shigellosis, haemolytic uraemic syndrome, and toxoplasmosis cost $860 million annually ($390 million in payments for Medicaid and Medicare patients), a portion of which can be assumed to be due to waterborne transmission.
Cryptosporidium and Giardia are intestinal parasites of humans and of many other species of animals. Water constitutes an important route of transmission for human infections in both developed and developing countries. In Poland, contamination of water sources with oocysts/cysts is not routinely monitored and scientific research in this field is scarce. Our aim was to compare the contamination of surface and treated water and thus the success of water treatment processes. Water samples (n=94) of between 30 l (surface water) to over 1000 l for tap water, were taken in the period of 2008–2009 using specially constructed equipment with cartridge filtration (Filta-Max; IDEXX, USA). Immunofluorescent assay, and nested polymerase chain reaction were used for the detection of parasites. Cryptosporidium oocysts were found in 85% of surface water and in 59% of raw (intake) water samples. Oocysts were also detected in treated water (16%) but were absent in samples of swimming pool water. The highest mean number of Cryptosporidium oocysts [geometric mean (GM)=61/10 l] was found in samples of rinsing water. Giardia cysts were observed in 61% of surface water samples, in 6% of raw water and in 19% of treated water, with the highest number of cysts noted in rinsing water samples (GM=70 cysts/10 l). Our study highlights the frequent occurrence of parasites in surface waters in Poland and the effectiveness of water treatment for the removal of parasites from drinking water.
The assemblages of Giardia duodenalis in 25 children with and 25 children without diarrhoea and 24 adults with gastrointestinal symptoms in South India were determined. Polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR–RFLP) targeting the glutamate dehydrogenase (gdh), β-giardin and triosephosphate isomerase (tpi) genes was used. The tpi PCR was the most sensitive and detected G. duodenalis in all 74 microscopy-positive samples, while gdh and β-giardin PCR were positive in 62·2% and 56·8% of the samples. Assemblage B was predominant in both children and adults (82·4%) followed by assemblage AII (9·4%); assemblage AI was not detected. Infections with both assemblages A and B (detected by tpi PCR–RFLP) were seen exclusively in children and the mixed assemblage BIII and BIV (detected by gdh PCR–RFLP) was more common in children than adults (P=0·058).
We analysed two large national surveys conducted in 2001 and 2008 to examine incidence and outcomes of gastroenteritis in older Australians. A case was someone reporting ⩾3 loose stools or ⩾1 episode of vomiting in 24 h, excluding non-infectious causes. We compared cases arising in the elderly (⩾65 years) and in other adults (20–64 years). Elderly people experienced 0·33 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0·24–0·42] episodes of gastroenteritis/person per year, compared to 0·95 (95% CI 0·74–1·15) in other adults. Elderly cases reported less stomach cramps, fever and myalgia than younger cases, and were more likely to be hospitalized, although this was not statistically significant. In multivariable analysis, gastroenteritis in elderly people was associated with travelling within the state (odds ratio 1·35, 95% CI 1·07–1·71). Elderly people were less concerned about food safety than other adults. Older Australians were less likely to report gastroenteritis and experienced different symptoms and outcomes from other adults.
Non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) is a common pathogen causing foodborne infections, bacteraemia, and extra-intestinal focal infections (EFIs) in humans. The study compares the clinical characteristics of elderly patients with NTS bacteraemia with those of young adults. Of 272 adults with NTS bacteraemia identified in this study, 162 (59·6%) were aged ⩾55 years. EFIs were observed in 36% of the 162 patients. The most common EFIs in the elderly patients (⩾55 years) was mycotic aneurysm, followed by pulmonary infections and bone/joint infections. Elderly patients more often had chronic heart, lung, renal and malignant diseases, had more EFIs, and a higher 30-day mortality rate. Independent factors of 30-day mortality in elderly patients were solid-organ tumour [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 4·4, P=0·003], mycotic aneurysm (aOR 3·7, P=0·023) and shock (aOR 12·1, P<0·0001). HIV infection, autoimmune diseases, and receipt of immunosuppressive therapy were more often observed in young patients.
Laboratory data are the cornerstone in surveillance of infectious disease. We investigated whether changes in reported incidence of Campylobacter and Salmonella infection might be explained by changes in stool sampling rates. Data were extracted from a national database on 585 843 patient stool samples tested by microbiology laboratories in Wales between 1998 and 2008. Salmonella incidence fell from 43 to 19 episodes/100 000 population but Campylobacter incidence after declining from 111/100 000 in 1998 to 84/100 000 in 2003 rose to 119/100 000 in 2008. The proportion of the population sampled rose from 2·0% in 1998 to 2·8% in 2008, mostly due to increases in samples from hospital patients and older adults. The proportion of positive samples declined for both Salmonella and Campylobacter from 3·1% to 1·1% and from 8·9% to 7·5%, respectively. The decline in Salmonella incidence is so substantial that it is not masked even by increased stool sampling, but the recent rise in Campylobacter incidence may be a surveillance artefact largely due to the increase in stool sampling in older people.
Multiple salmonellosis outbreaks have been linked to contaminated tomatoes. We investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections among 190 cases. For hypothesis generation, review of patients' food histories from four restaurant-associated clusters in four states revealed that large tomatoes were the only common food consumed by patients. Two case-control studies were conducted to identify food exposures associated with infections. In a study conducted in nine states illness was significantly associated with eating raw, large, round tomatoes in a restaurant [matched odds ratio (mOR) 3·1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·3–7·3]. In a Minnesota study, illness was associated with tomatoes eaten at a restaurant (OR 6·3, mid-P 95% CI 1·05–50·4, P=0·046). State, local and federal regulatory officials traced the source of tomatoes to Ohio tomato fields, a growing area not previously identified in past tomato-associated outbreaks. Because tomatoes are commonly eaten raw, prevention of tomato contamination should include interventions on the farm, during packing, and at restaurants.
Salmonella is the second most commonly reported human foodborne pathogen in England and Wales, and antimicrobial-resistant strains of Salmonella are an increasing problem in both human and veterinary medicine. In this work we used a generalized linear spatial model to estimate the spatial and temporal patterns of antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella Typhimurium in England and Wales. Of the antimicrobials considered we found a common peak in the probability that an S. Typhimurium incident will show resistance to a given antimicrobial in late spring and in mid to late autumn; however, for one of the antimicrobials (streptomycin) there was a sharp drop, over the last 18 months of the period of investigation, in the probability of resistance. We also found a higher probability of resistance in North Wales which is consistent across the antimicrobials considered. This information contributes to our understanding of the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella.
This study determined the prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility of Salmonella isolated from broiler flocks in Japan. Caecal dropping samples were collected from 288 broiler flocks between November 2007 and February 2010. Salmonella was prevalent in 248 (86·1%) broiler flocks. The top three serovars were S. Infantis, S. Manhattan and S. Schwarzengrund. S. Infantis was found in all regions tested in this study. However, S. Manhattan and S. Schwarzengrund were frequently found only in the western part of Japan. High antimicrobial resistance rates were observed against oxytetracycline (90·2%), dihydrostreptomycin (86·7%) and ampicillin (36·5%), and 258 (90·5%) of 285 isolates were resistant to two or more antimicrobial agents. Interestingly, 26·3% of isolates were resistant to ceftiofur, especially 38·1% of S. Infantis isolates, although its use in broilers has not been approved in Japan. This study showed that Salmonella is highly prevalent (86·1%) in Japanese broiler flocks, that 90·5% of Salmonella isolates were multidrug-resistant, and that S. Infantis frequently exhibited resistance to cephalosporin antimicrobial agents.
Historically, Shigella sonnei has dominated other Shigella species infection in men who have sex with men (MSM) in Montréal. In early 2010, Toronto reported increased proportions of the more pathogenic S. flexneri, HIV co-infection and MSM in shigellosis cases since 2009. Analytical methods were used to assess whether S. flexneri had dominated Montréal's MSM cases since 2009 and whether changes had occurred in notifications in MSM and HIV-co-infected MSM. S. flexneri increased by 6·7% per month since 2007 and predominated in MSM since 2009 without changes in HIV co-infection or similar shifts in the general population. The results suggest that the surveillance of Shigella species in order to detect species shifts is beneficial for surveillance, given the potential for increased transmission and severity of S. flexneri in HIV-positive MSM.