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.
Introduction: Tularemia is a rare but potentially fatal disease that develops in numerous wild and domestic animals, including lagomorphs, rodents, cats, and humans. Francisella tularensis bacterium, the causative agent of tularemia, was identified by veterinary personnel at Fort Riley, Kansas during a routine post-mortum evaluation of a domestic feline. However, before formal diagnosis was confirmed, the sample was sent and prepared for rabies testing at the Department of Defense (DoD) U.S. Army Public Health Command Central (PHC-C), Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory (FADL). This case report provides insight on how veterinarian staff and laboratory personnel can clinically manage esoteric, unexplained, or post-mortum examinations. The epidemiologic characteristics of tularemia, F. tularensis as an organism of military interest, potential laboratory management of F. tularensis, and clinical findings on a case of feline tularemia are discussed. It further raises questions as to whether or not dead animals should be treated as sentinels and be pre-screened for select agents, especially in instances of dual diagnoses.
Methods: A necropsy was performed on the cat by the Fort Riley veterinarian, DNA extraction and PCR analyses were conducted by FADL microbiologists, histology and immunohistology analyses were conducted by the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and feline tissue and blood were sent to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) for confirmatory testing and strain identification of tularemia.
Results: Tularemia was identified in the spleen of the cat by the Fort Riley veterinarian and during the histological sampling of the spleen by the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. A specific subsequent real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in vitro diagnostic detection of target DNA sequences of F. tularensis was conducted by the FADL microbiologists using a Joint Biological Agent Identification and Diagnostic System (JBAIDS) Tularemia Detection Kit to detect a presumptive qualitative result to detect tularemia in feline and blood samples. USAMRIID also performed RT-PCR and identified genomic DNA from F. tularensis Type A, (SPL15.013.02), thus confirming the FADL’s initial presumptive result of F. tularensis. USAMRIID attempted to culture F. tularensis from three samples (swab, feline tissue, and transfer pipette tip), but no growth consistent with F. tularensis was observed on the cysteine heart agar with sheep blood and antibiotics (CHAB) and chocolate (CHOC) plates.
Discussions: Our case study of a dual diagnosis of presumptive F. tularensis and possible rabies exposure transmission from a pet cat to its owner provides insight on how veterinarian staff and laboratory personnel can clinically manage esoteric, unexplained, or post-mortum examinations. Our case study also demonstrates the obligation for cooperation between animal health, human health, and public health professionals in the management of zoonotic diseases.
Introduction: Seasonal influenza is responsible for a high disease burden in the United States and worldwide. Predicting outbreak size in advance can contribute to the timely control of seasonal influenza by informing health care and vaccination planning.
Methods: Recently, a process-based model was developed for forecasting incidence dynamics ahead of the season, with the approach validated by several statistical criteria, including an accurate real-time prediction for the past 2016-2017 influenza season before it started.
Results: Based on this model and data up to June 2017, a forecast for the upcoming 2017-2018 influenza season is presented here, indicating an above-average, moderately severe, outbreak dominated by the H3N2 subtype.
Discussion: The prediction is consistent with surveillance data so far, which already indicate the predominance of H3N2. The forecast for the upcoming 2017-2018 influenza season reinforces the importance of the on-going vaccination campaign.
The Zika virus has been the primary suspect in the large increase in incidence of microcephaly in 2015-6 in Brazil. While evidence for Zika being the cause of some of the cases is strong, its role as the primary cause of the large number of cases in Brazil has not been confirmed. Recently, the disparity between the incidences in different geographic locations has led to questions about the virus’s role. Here we consider the alternative possibility that the use of the insecticide pyriproxyfen for control of mosquito populations in Brazilian drinking water is the primary cause. Pyriproxifen is a juvenile hormone analog which has been shown to correspond in mammals to a number of fat soluble regulatory molecules including retinoic acid, a metabolite of vitamin A, with which it has cross-reactivity and whose application during development has been shown to cause microcephaly. Methoprene, another juvenile hormone analog that was approved as an insecticide based upon tests performed in the 1970s, has metabolites that bind to the mammalian retinoid X receptor, and has been shown to cause developmental disorders in mammals. Isotretinoin is another example of a retinoid causing microcephaly in human babies via maternal exposure and activation of the retinoid X receptor in developing fetuses. Moreover, tests of pyriproxyfen by the manufacturer, Sumitomo, widely quoted as giving no evidence for developmental toxicity, actually found some evidence for such an effect, including low brain mass and arhinencephaly—incomplete formation of the anterior cerebral hemispheres—in exposed rat pups. Finally, the pyriproxyfen use in Brazil is unprecedented—it has never before been applied to a water supply on such a scale. Claims that it is not being used in Recife, the epicenter of microcephaly cases, do not distinguish the metropolitan area of Recife, where it is widely used, and the municipality, and have not been adequately confirmed. Given this combination of information about molecular mechanisms and toxicological evidence, we strongly recommend that the use of pyriproxyfen in Brazil be suspended until the potential causal link to microcephaly is investigated further.
Introduction: The 2015-2017 Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic in the Americas has driven efforts to strengthen surveillance systems and to develop interventions, testing, and travel recommendations. In the continental U.S. and Hawaii, where limited transmission has been observed, detecting local transmission is a key public health objective. We assessed the effectiveness of three general surveillance strategies for this situation: testing all pregnant women twice during pregnancy, testing blood donations, and testing symptomatic people who seek medical care in an emergency department (ED).
Methods: We developed a simulation model for each surveillance strategy and simulated different transmission scenarios with varying population sizes and infection rates. We then calculated the probability of detecting transmission, the number of tests needed, and the number of false positive test results.
Results: The probability of detecting ZIKV transmission was highest for testing ED patients with Zika symptoms, followed by pregnant women and blood donors, in that order. The magnitude of the difference in probability of detection between strategies depended on the incidence of infection. Testing ED patients required fewer tests and resulted in fewer false positives than surveillance among pregnant women. The optimal strategy identified was to test ED patients with at least two Zika virus disease symptoms. This case definition resulted in a high probability of detection with relatively few tests and false positives.
Discussion: In the continental U.S. and Hawaii, where local ZIKV transmission is rare, optimizing the probability of detecting infections while minimizing resource usage is particularly important. Local surveillance strategies will be influenced by existing public health system infrastructure, but should also consider the effectiveness of different approaches. This analysis demonstrated differences across strategies and indicated that testing symptomatic ED patients is generally a more efficient strategy for detecting transmission than routine testing of pregnant women or blood donors.
Introduction: Chikungunya is an emerging arbovirus that reached the Western Hemisphere at the end of 2013. Studies in the Indian Ocean and India suggest that passive surveillance systems cannot recognize many of deaths associated with chikungunya, which can be inferred by an increase in the overall mortality observed during chikungunya epidemics.
Objective: We assess the mortality associated with chikungunya epidemics in the most affected states in Brazil, from 2015 and 2016.
Methods: We studied the monthly mortality by age group, comparing a period without epidemics to a chikungunya epidemic period, which we defined arbitrarily as consecutive months with incidences of more than 50 cases/100,000 persons.
Results: We obtained official data from the National System of Reported Diseases (SINAN) and the Mortality Information System (SIM), both maintained by the Ministry of Health. We identified a significant increase in the all-cause mortality rate during chikungunya epidemics, while there was no similar mortality in the previous years, even during dengue epidemics. We estimated an excess of 4,505 deaths in Pernambuco during the chikungunya epidemics (47.9 per 100,000 persons).The most affected age groups were the elderly and those under 1 year of age, and the same pattern occurred in all the states.
Discussion: Further studies at other sites are needed to confirm the association between increased mortality and chikungunya epidemics indifferent age groups. If these findings are confirmed, it will be necessary to revise the guidelines to recognize the actual mortality associated with chikungunya and to improve therapeutic approaches and protective measures in the most vulnerable groups.
Introduction: During the flare-ups of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Liberia, Sinoe County reactivated the multi-sectorial EVD control strategy in order to be ready to respond to the eventual reintroduction of cases. This paper describes the impacts of the interventions implemented in Sinoe County during the last flare-up in Monrovia, from April 1 to June 9, 2016, using the resources provided during the original outbreak that ended a year ago.
Methods: We conducted a descriptive study to describe the key interventions implemented in Sinoe County, the capacity available, the implications for the reactivation of the multi-sectoral EVD control strategy, and the results of the same. We also conducted a cross-sectional study to analyze the impact of the interventions on the surveillance and on infection prevention and control (IPC).
Results: The attrition of the staff trained during the original outbreak was low, and most of the supplies, equipment, and infrastructure from the original outbreak remained available. With an additional USD 1755, improvements were observed in the IPC indicators of triage, which increased from a mean of 60% at the first assessment to 77% (P=0.002). Additionally, personnel/staff training improved from 78% to 89% (P=0.04). The percentage of EVD death alerts per expected deaths investigated increased from 26% to 63% (P<0.0001).
Discussion: The low attrition of the trained staff and the availability of most supplies, equipment, and infrastructure made the reactivation of the multi-sectoral EVD control strategy fast and affordable. The improvement of the EVD surveillance was possibly affected by the community engagement activities, awareness and mentoring of the health workers, and improved availability of clinicians in the facilities during the flare-up. The community engagement may contribute to the report of community-based events, specifically community deaths. The mentoring of the staff during the supportive supervisions also contributed to improve the IPC indicators.
Outbreaks linked to cosmetic piercing are rare, but can cause significant illness. We report the investigation and management of a point-source outbreak that occurred during a Black Friday promotional event in North West England.
Outbreak investigation was led by Public Health England, and included active case finding among individuals pierced at a piercing premises between 25/11/2016 (Black Friday) and 7/12/2016. Detailed epidemiological, environmental (including inspection and sampling), and microbiological investigation was undertaken.
During the Black Friday event (25/11/2016), 45 people were pierced (13 by a newly-appointed practitioner). Eleven cases were identified (7 microbiologically-confirmed, 2 probable, and 2 possible). All cases had clinical signs of infection around piercing sites, and five required surgical intervention, with varying degrees of post-operative disfigurement. All confirmed and probable cases had a scaffold piercing placed with a guide bar by the newly-appointed practitioner. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, indistinguishable at nine-locus variable-number tandem repeat loci, was isolated from four of the confirmed cases, and from pre- and post-flush samples from five separate water taps (three sinks) in the premises. Water samples taken after remedial plumbing work confirmed elimination of Pseudomonas contamination.
Although high levels of Pseudomonas water contamination and some poor infection control procedures were identified, infection appeared to require additional exposure to an inexperienced practitioner, and the more invasive scaffold piercing. A proactive collaborative approach between piercers and health and environmental officials is required to reduce outbreak risk, particularly when unusually large events are planned
Introduction: Although cases were reported only in 2010 and 2011, cholera is probably endemic in Yemen. In the context of a civil war, a cholera outbreak was declared in different parts of the country October 6th, 2016. This paper describes the ACF outbreak response in Hodeidah city from October 28th, 2016 to February 28th, 2017 in order to add knowledge to this large outbreak.
Methods: The ACF outbreak response in Hodeidah city included a case management component and prevention measures in the community. In partnership with the Ministry of Public Health and Population of Yemen (MoPHP), the case management component included a Cholera Treatment Center (CTC) implemented in the Al Thoraw hospital, 11 Oral Rehydration Therapy Corners (ORTCs) and an active case finding system. In partnership with other stakeholders, prevention measures in the community, including access to safe water and hygiene promotion, were implemented in the most affected communities of the city.
Results: From October 28th, 2016 until February 28th, 2017, ACF provided care to 8,270 Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) cases, of which 5,210 (63%) were suspected cholera cases, in the CTC and the 11 ORTCs implemented in Hodeidah city. The attack rate was higher among people living in Al Hali district, with a peak in November 2016. At the CTC, 8% of children under 5 years-old also presented with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). The Case-Fatality Rate (CFR) was low (0.07%) but 15% of admitted cases defaulted for cultural and security reasons. Environmental management lacked the information to appropriately target affected areas. Financial resources did not allow complete coverage of the city.
Conclusion: Response to the first wave of a large cholera outbreak in Hodeidah city was successful in maintaining a CFR <1% in the CTC. However, considering the actual context of Yemen and its water infrastructure, much more efforts are needed to control the current outbreak resurgence.
Introduction: Although more than one billion people live at risk of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in areas of Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America, the degree to which they burden countries like the U.S. is unclear. Even though many NTDs such as dengue, leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease are typically not endemic to the U.S., the possibility of their emergence is noteworthy, especially in states like Texas with high levels of poverty, large immigrant populations, geographic proximity to endemic areas, and a climate amenable to the vectors for these diseases. Despite the health threat that emerging NTDs may pose, little is known about the prevalence of risk factors for NTDs in the U.S.
Methods: We tested the Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) method to assess the prevalence of risk factors for NTDs in Brazos County, Texas.
Results: We found relatively low prevalence of risk factors related to travel (5.2% of respondents visited an endemic area in the previous 3 months); however, few respondents reported adherence to mosquito prevention, such as wearing long sleeves and long pants (14.1%, 95% CI: 13.9,14.4) and repellant containing DEET (13.5%, 95% CI: 13.2,13.7). Between 5.4% and 35.8% of respondents had a visible container (e.g., pet water dishes, flower pots, bird baths) that could support mosquito breeding.
Discussion: CASPER findings present public health authorities with potential avenues for implementing health education and other interventions aimed at reducing exposure to risk factors for NTDs among Texas residents.
As of 13 July 2016, 13 countries have reported fetal Zika virus (ZIKV) infection. Here we report a case of fetal ZIKV infection that resulted from an infection originating in Vietnam.
Introduction: Uganda has reported eight outbreaks caused by filoviruses between 2000 to 2016, more than any other country in the world. We used species distribution modeling to predict where filovirus outbreaks are likely to occur in Uganda to help in epidemic preparedness and surveillance.
Methods: The MaxEnt software, a machine learning modeling approach that uses presence-only data was used to establish filovirus – environmental relationships. Presence-only data for filovirus outbreaks were collected from the field and online sources. Environmental covariates from Africlim that have been downscaled to a nominal resolution of 1km x 1km were used. The final model gave the relative probability of the presence of filoviruses in the study area obtained from an average of 100 bootstrap runs. Model evaluation was carried out using Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) plots. Maps were created using ArcGIS 10.3 mapping software.
Results: We showed that bats as potential reservoirs of filoviruses are distributed all over Uganda. Potential outbreak areas for Ebola and Marburg virus disease were predicted in West, Southwest and Central parts of Uganda, which corresponds to bat distribution and previous filovirus outbreaks areas. Additionally, the models predicted the Eastern Uganda region and other areas that have not reported outbreaks before to be potential outbreak hotspots. Rainfall variables were the most important in influencing model prediction compared to temperature variables.
Conclusions: Despite the limitations in the prediction model due to lack of adequate sample records for outbreaks, especially for the Marburg cases, the models provided risk maps to the Uganda surveillance system on filovirus outbreaks. The risk maps will aid in identifying areas to focus the filovirus surveillance for early detection and responses hence curtailing a pandemic. The results from this study also confirm previous findings that suggest that filoviruses are mainly limited by the amount of rainfall received in an area.
Background: A multi-provincial outbreak of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis was linked to newly hatched chicks and poults from a single hatchery during the spring of 2015. In total, there were 61 human cases that were epidemiologically confirmed to be linked to the chicks and poults and the outbreak was deemed to have ended in the summer of 2015.
Methods: PulseNet Canada, in coordination with the affected provinces, used genome sequencing of human and agricultural Salmonella Enteritidis isolates to aid in the epidemiological investigation, while also using traditional typing methods such as phagetyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).
Results: All human outbreak cases, except one, were Phage Type (PT) 13a. Single nucleotide variant analysis (SNV) was able to provide a level of resolution commensurate with the results of the epidemiological investigation. SNV analysis was also able to separate PT13a outbreak-related isolates from isolates not linked to chicks or poults, while clustering some non-PT13a agricultural strains with the outbreak cluster.
Conclusions: Based on conventional typing methods (phagetyping or PFGE), clinical and agricultural PT13a SE isolates would have been considered as part of a related cluster. In contrast, phagetyping would have led to the exclusion of several non- PT13a strains that clustered with the outbreak isolates using the genome sequence data. This study demonstrates the improved resolution of genome sequence analysis for coordinated surveillance and source attribution of both human and agricultural SE isolates.
Introduction: Infrequent natural human inhalational anthrax cases coupled with high bioterrorism risk have brought about use of animal models to serve as the basis for approval of novel treatments. For inhalational anthrax, protective antigen (PA) drives much of the mortality, and raxibacumab, an anti-PA monoclonal antibody, has been approved for therapeutic use using the Animal Rule. Given the paucity of human inhalational anthrax clinical data including PA kinetics, the post-exposure period for effective treatment of human disease remains unknown. The objective of this investigation was to extrapolate animal PA kinetics to a conceptual human model to estimate the post-exposure period for effective treatment of human inhalational anthrax.
Methods: Human PA kinetic parameters were extrapolated from reported rabbit and monkey data. PA profiles were simulated with and without antibiotic induced PA clearance to represent antibiotic-sensitive and -resistant infections, respectively. Antitoxin levels equimolar to or greater than concurrent PA levels were considered protective.
Results: For antibiotic sensitive infections, treatment with antibiotics alone ≤4 days after spore exposure prevents toxemia. Administration of raxibacumab together with antibiotics protects ≥ 80% of subjects for 3 additional days (7 days post exposure). In the setting of antibiotic resistance, raxibacumab would be protective for at least 6 days post exposure.
Conclusions: Although the animal model of disease does not reflect the potential impact of supportive care (e.g. fluid resuscitation received by critically ill patients) on PA kinetics and raxibacumab PK, the simulations suggest that administration of antitoxin in combination with antibiotics should provide a longer postexposure window for effective treatment than for antibiotics alone. In addition, raxibacumab administration soon after exposure to an antibiotic resistant strain should provide effective treatment.
Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is a bacterium widely distributed in nature and able to contaminate food processing environments, including those of dairy products. Lm is a primary public health issue, due to the very low infectious dose and the ability to produce severe outcomes, in particular in elderly, newborns, pregnant women and immunocompromised patients.
In the period between April and July 2015, an increased number of cases of listeriosis was observed in the area of Pavia, Northern Italy. An epidemiological investigation identified a cheesemaking small organic farm as the possible origin of the outbreak. In this work we present the results of the retrospective epidemiological study that we performed using molecular biology and genomic epidemiology methods. The strains sampled from patients and those from the target farm’s cheese were analyzed using PFGE and whole genome sequencing (WGS) based methods. The performed WGS based analyses included: a) in-silico MLST typing; b) SNPs calling and genetic distance evaluation; c) determination of the resistance and virulence genes profiles; d) SNPs based phylogenetic reconstruction.
Three of the patient strains and all the cheese strains resulted to belong to the same phylogenetic cluster, in Sequence Type 29. A further accurate SNPs analysis revealed that two of the three patient strains and all the cheese strains were highly similar (0.8 SNPs of average distance) and exhibited a higer distance from the third patient isolate (9.4 SNPs of average distance).
Despite the global agreement among the results of the PFGE and WGS epidemiological studies, the latter approach agree with epidemiological data in indicating that one the patient strains could have originated from a different source. This result highlights that WGS methods can allow to better
Introduction: Predicting the timing and locations of future mosquito-borne disease outbreaks has the potential to improve the targeting of mosquito control and disease prevention efforts. Here, we present and evaluate prospective forecasts made prior to and during the 2016 West Nile virus (WNV) season in South Dakota, a hotspot for human WNV transmission in the United States.
Methods: We used a county-level logistic regression model to predict the weekly probability of human WNV case occurrence as a function of temperature, precipitation, and an index of mosquito infection status. The model was specified and fitted using historical data from 2004-2015 and was applied in 2016 to make short-term forecasts of human WNV cases in the upcoming week as well as whole-year forecasts of WNV cases throughout the entire transmission season. These predictions were evaluated at the end of the 2016 WNV season by comparing them with spatial and temporal patterns of the human cases that occurred.
Results: There was an outbreak of WNV in 2016, with a total of 167 human cases compared to only 40 in 2015. Model results were generally accurate, with an AUC of 0.856 for short-term predictions. Early-season temperature data were sufficient to predict an earlier-than-normal start to the WNV season and an above-average number of cases, but underestimated the overall case burden. Model predictions improved throughout the season as more mosquito infection data were obtained, and by the end of July the model provided a close estimate of the overall magnitude of the outbreak.
Conclusions: An integrated model that included meteorological variables as well as a mosquito infection index as predictor variables accurately predicted the resurgence of WNV in South Dakota in 2016. Key areas for future research include refining the model to improve predictive skill and developing strategies to link forecasts with specific mosquito control and disease prevention activities.