Introduction : Since the identification of ZIKV in Brazil in May 2015, the virus has spread extensively throughout the Americas. Cases of ZIKV infection have been reported in Suriname since October 2, 2015. Methods : A laboratory-based surveillance system was quickly implemented according to previous experience with the emergence of chikungunya. General practitioners and public health centers located in different districts of Suriname were asked to send blood samples from suspicious cases to Academic Hospital for molecular diagnosis of Zika virus infection. We investigated Zika-related laboratory data collected during surveillance and response activities to provide the first outbreak report in Suriname in terms of time, location and person. Results : A total of 791 molecularly confirmed cases were reported during a 48-week interval from October 2015 to August 2016. The majority of ZIKV-positive cases involved women between 20 and 39 years of age, reflecting concern about Zika infection during pregnancy. The outbreak peaked in mid-January and gradually spread from the district of Paramaribo to western coastal areas. Discussion : This report provides a simple and comprehensive description of the outbreak in Suriname and demonstrates the utility of laboratory data to highlight the spatiotemporal dynamics of the outbreak in that country.
Background: Zika virus (ZIKV) infection is a public health concern. The first ZIKV outside Africa was detected in mosquito in Malaysia. More than six decades ago, serological surveys indicated the presence of human infection with ZIKV in the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah. It has also been demonstrated that orangutans in Sabah have antibodies against ZIKV. Several years ago, a case of human ZIKV infection was reported in a traveler who visited Sabah. Therefore, it is thought that ZIKV is endogenous to Sabah and is widely distributed. During the recent global epidemic of ZIKV, the first autochthonous case and two subsequent autochthonous cases were detected in Sabah. Because ZIKV infection is mainly asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, the extent of ZIKV infection in the population of Sabah is not known. Furthermore, the presence of ZIKV in vector mosquitoes and animals has not been investigated. Therefore, the present study was performed to analyze the outbreak cases of ZIKV infection and to determine their relationship with the burden of ZIKV infection in the local population, mosquitoes, and wild nonhuman primates in Sabah.
Methods: Serum and urine samples were collected from two local patients with ZIKV infection, their household members, and those who resided within 400m of the patients’ residences. Serum samples were also collected from four wild Maca fascicularis. Mosquito samples, mostly female Aedes albopictus, were collected from 30 sites in Kota Kinabalu. The presence of ZIKV was assessed by RT-qPCR and RT-PCR. Phylogenetic analysis was performed using the neighbor-joining method.
Results: Two cases of ZIKV infection were identified by reverse-transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) in residents of Kota Kinabalu, and the Taiwanese health authorities reported one case in an individual who visited Kota Kinabalu during the study period. All household members of both local patients and people living within a 400 m radius of the patients were negative for ZIKV. Furthermore, mosquitoes collected from the surroundings of the residences and places visited by the patients and four serum samples from M. fascicularis were also negative for ZIKV. A phylogenetic tree constructed using the nucleotide sequences of the envelope genes of ZIKV showed that the strains from Sabah formed a cluster with strains from Thailand and Cambodia, and belong to the Asian lineage.
Conclusions: Our study revealed that ZIKVs in Sabah is of Asian lineage and are not related to the recent outbreak strains in the Americas and Singapore. ZIKV infection in Sabah is sporadic, possibly because of limited transmission of the virus. Further studies are needed to characterize the evolutionary history of ZIKV in Sabah to understand the epidemiology of this infection in Borneo.
Introduction: On 14th August 2015 an office manager informed Public Health England of five employees known to have been diagnosed with pneumonia over the previous three weeks. We investigated to establish whether an outbreak occurred and to identify and control the source of infection.
Methods: We undertook case finding for self-reported pneumonia cases at local businesses (July-August 2015). Clinical samples from a hospitalised case were tested for common respiratory pathogens, but returned negative results. Further testing confirmed Chlamydia psittaci infection in this case (serology and PCR). We subsequently undertook C. psittaci testing for all cases, redefining them as confirmed (C. psittaci PCR or high antibody titre via serology) or probable (inconclusive C. psittaci serology). Twenty-eight day exposure histories informed descriptive epidemiological analysis. We conducted an environmental investigation at the office to identify potential sources of exposure.
Results: We identified six office workers with pneumonia; four met case definitions (three confirmed, one probable) with symptom onset between 29th July and 4th August 2015. Workplace was the only epidemiological link and only one case reported limited, indirect bird contact. Environmental investigations identified pigeons roosting near the office which were being fed by workers (none cases).
Discussion: This was a probable outbreak of psittacosis with no direct bird-to-human contact reported. Cases recovered after receiving appropriate antibiotics. Feeding of pigeons was stopped. A deep clean of office ventilation systems was conducted and workers were advised to avoid bird contact. We hypothesised that indirect environmental exposure to infected pigeons was to the source of this outbreak. This work provides evidence that health professionals should consider psittacosis in the differential diagnosis of cases of severe or atypical respiratory illness even without overt bird contact.
Introduction: Malaria still is a public health problem in the Americas. In 2015, Brazil accounted for 37% of all cases in the Americas, and of these cases, 99.5% were located in the Brazilian Amazon. Despite the mobilization of resources from the Brazilian National Plan for Malaria Control, too many municipalities have high transmission levels. The objective of this study is to evaluate the local epidemiological profile of malaria and its trend between 2010 and 2015 in the Brazilian Amazon. This study also aims to recognize the epidemiological differences in the local temporo-spatial dynamics of malaria.
Methods: Malaria data were stratified by the annual parasite incidence (API) over the six-year period and by municipality. We used the method of seasonal decomposition by Loess smoothing to capture trend, seasonal and irregular components. A generalized linear model was applied to quantify trends, and the Kruskal-Wallis Rank Sum was applied to test for seasonality significance.
Results: The malaria API declined by 61% from 2010 to 2015, and there was a 40% reduction of municipalities with high transmission (determined as an API higher than 50). In 2015, 9.4% of municipalities had high transmission and included 62.8% of the total cases. The time-series analyses showed different incidence patterns by region after 2012; several states have minimized the effect of the seasonality in their incidence rates, thus achieving low rates of incidence. There were 13 municipalities with sustained high transmission that have become the principal focus of malaria control; these municipalities contained 40% of the cases between 2013 and 2015.
Discussion: Brazil has achieved advances, but more sustained efforts are necessary to contain malaria resurgence. The use of malaria stratification has been demonstrated as a relevant tool to plan malaria programs more efficiently, and spatiotemporal analysis corroborates the idea that implementing any intervention in malaria should be stratified by time to interpret tendencies and by space to understand the local dynamics of the disease.
Introduction: For effective public communication during major disease outbreaks like the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic, health information needs of the population must be adequately assessed. Through content analysis of social media data, like tweets, public health information needs can be effectively assessed and in turn provide appropriate health information to address such needs. The aim of the current study was to assess health information needs about Ebola, at distinct epidemic time points, through longitudinal tracking.
Methods: Natural language processing was applied to explore public response to Ebola over time from July 2014 to March 2015. A total 155,647 tweets (unique 68,736, retweet 86,911) mentioning Ebola were analyzed and visualized with infographics.
Results: Public fear, frustration, and health information seeking regarding Ebola-related global priorities were observed across time. Our longitudinal content analysis revealed that due to ongoing health information deficiencies, resulting in fear and frustration, social media was at times an impediment and not a vehicle to support health information needs.
Discussion: Content analysis of tweets effectively assessed Ebola information needs. Our study also demonstrates the use of Twitter as a method for capturing real-time data to assess ongoing information needs, fear, and frustration over time.
Introduction: Several orthobunyaviruses are important arthropod-borne pathogens, responsible for a variety of diseases in humans, from acute febrile illness to encephalitis.
Methods: We collected serum samples from a series of dengue suspected cases in Tefé, a mid-size city located in the interior of the Amazonas state, Brazil. Viral RNA extraction was performed, and specimens were tested for dengue virus using RT-PCR. Thirty dengue negative samples were further tested for Mayaro virus (MAYV) and Oropouche virus (OROV) using an RT-qPCR protocol previously described. Positive samples were characterized by MegaBLAST analysis over the entire nucleotide collection of the main public databases, and also by maximum likelihood phylogenetic reconstruction of the S genome segment.
Results: We detected nine OROV or OROV-like positive cases among 30 patients reporting fever and headache, as the most common symptoms. The closest nucleotide sequence returned from the MegaBLAST analysis belongs to an OROV isolated in Peru 2008. Moreover, all Tefé samples grouped in the same clade with the OROV reference sequence and other closely-related OROV-like viruses.
Discussion: Dengue viruses are still the most important arbovirus worldwide, causing hundreds of millions of infections every year. Nonetheless, other arboviruses like chikungunya virus, Zika virus, and yellow fever virus have emerged in the last few years and are now a public health concern in several countries. OROV is believed to have caused more than 500,000 febrile infections in Brazil over recent decades. Therefore, the results described in this study strengthen that this arbovirus, and its closely-related recombinants, should be under continuous surveillance, at least in the endemic countries of Latin America.
Between July 2014 and September 2015, a neonatal care unit (NCU) in Port Au Prince, Haiti, experienced an outbreak of sepsis, most probably due to nosocomial transmission of Extended Beta Lactamase (ESBL) producing gram negative bacteria, included Klebsiella pneumoniae.
We describe the epidemiological and microbiological activities performed as part of the outbreak investigation and the control measures implemented throughout this period.
During the study period 257 cases of sepsis were reported, of which 191 died. The case fatality decreased from 100% in July 2014 to 24% in September 2015 and could be attributed to an improvement in clinical management and strengthened infection prevention and control measures. Risk factors identified to be associated with having late onset sepsis (sepsis onset >48 hours after birth)(n=205/257, 79. included: all categories of birthweight lower than <2500g (p=<0.0001) and all categories of gestational age younger than 36 weeks (p=0.0002). Microbiological investigations confirmed that out of 32 isolates (N=55; 58%) that were positive for gram negative bacteria, 27 (89%) were due to K. pneumoniae and most of these were from single MLST type (ST37).
This outbreak highlighted the importance of epidemiological and microbiological surveillance during an outbreak of sepsis in a NCU in a low resource setting, including regular point prevalence surveys.
Background: The first Ebola virus disease (EVD) case in the United States (US) was confirmed September 30, 2014 in a man 45 years old. This event created considerable media attention and there was fear of an EVD outbreak in the US.
Methods: This study examined whether emergency department (ED) visits changed in metropolitan Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas (DFW) after this EVD case was confirmed. Using Texas Health Services Region 2/3 syndromic surveillance data and focusing on DFW, interrupted time series analyses were conducted using segmented regression models with autoregressive errors for overall ED visits and rates of several chief complaints, including fever with gastrointestinal distress (FGI). Date of fatal case confirmation was the “event.”
Results: Results indicated the event was highly significant for ED visits overall (P<0.05) and for the rate of FGI visits (P<0.0001). An immediate increase in total ED visits of 1,023 visits per day (95% CI: 797.0, 1,252.8) was observed, equivalent to 11.8% (95% CI: 9.2%, 14.4%) increase ED visits overall. Visits and the rate of FGI visits in DFW increased significantly immediately after confirmation of the EVD case and remained elevated for several months even adjusting for seasonality both within symptom specific chief complaints as well as overall.
Conclusions: These results have implications for ED surge capacity as well as for public health messaging in the wake of a public health emergency.
Introduction: The Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in the island nation of Cabo Verde was of unprecedented magnitude in Africa and the first to be associated with microcephaly in the continent.
Methods: Using a simple mathematical framework we present a first epidemiological assessment of attack and observation rates from 7,580 ZIKV notified cases and 18 microcephaly reports between July 2015 and May 2016.
Results: In line with observations from the Americas and elsewhere, the single-wave Cabo Verdean ZIKV epidemic was characterized by a basic reproductive number of 1.85 (95% CI, 1.5 – 2.2), with overall the attack rate of 51.1% (range 42.1 – 61.1) and observation rate of 2.7% (range 2.29 – 3.33).
Conclusion: Current herd-immunity may not be sufficient to prevent future small-to-medium epidemics in Cabo Verde. Together with a small observation rate, these results highlight the need for rapid and integrated epidemiological, molecular and genomic surveillance to tackle forthcoming outbreaks of ZIKV and other arboviruses.
Background: The current triple epidemic caused by dengue, zika and chikungunya constitutes a serious health problem in Brazil. The aim of this study was to investigate acute samples (up to the 7 days of symptoms) from patients presenting acute fever syndrome suspected as arboviral infection and characterize the clinical and laboratorial profile during the co-circulation of dengue, zika and chikungunya in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), midwest region of Brazil. Methods: All suspected cases (n=134) were tested by using serological and molecular diagnostic tests including DENV, ZIKV and CHIKV RT-PCR, Dengue nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) antigen capture ELISA, anti- DENV IgM ELISA and anti-CHIKV IgM ELISA. In addition, clinical, hematological and biochemical parameters of infected patients were analyzed. Results: It was observed that 79.1% of the blood samples were confirmed for ZIKV and/or DENV infection Of those, 38.0% patients were DENV monoinfected, 26.8% were ZIKV monoinfected and 13.4% were DENV/ZIKV co-infected. Seven patients presented Chikungunya IgM antibodies indicating a previous CHIKV infection. Common symptoms included fever, rash, arthralgia, myalgia, prostration, headache and conjunctivitis. Statistical analysis showed that pruritus and edema were associated with ZIKV infection while prostration and vomiting were more associated with dengue. Additionally, total protein and ALT levels were significantly different in DENV patients compared to ZIKV ones. Some DENV infected patients as well as co-infected needed hospitalization and venous hydration. Otherwise, most ZIKV infected patients presented mild clinical course. Among the pregnant women studied (n=11), three were ZIKV monoinfected while four were DENV monoinfected and two were DENV-1/ZIKV coinfected. In general, normal birth outcomes were observed except for the death due to respiratory insufficiency of one baby born to a mother coinfected with DENV-1/ZIKV. Conclusions: Herein, we provide evidence of the co-circulation of DENV, ZIKV and CHIKV infections in the Campo Grande, MS, Brazil, with a high frequency of DENV-1/ZIKV coinfection. Laboratorial diagnosis poses a challenge where those arboviruses are endemic and differential diagnosis proved to imperative for cases characterization. The knowledge about disease severity during arbovirus coinfections is still scarce and there are several issues emphasizing the importance of adequate management of patients at risk areas.