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Disease Outbreaks - Top 30 Publications

Update: Influenza Activity - United States, October 1-November 25, 2017.

Influenza activity in the United States was low during October 2017, but has been increasing since the beginning of November. Influenza A viruses have been most commonly identified, with influenza A(H3N2) viruses predominating. Several influenza activity indicators were higher than is typically seen for this time of year. The majority of influenza viruses characterized during this period were genetically or antigenically similar to the 2017-18 Northern Hemisphere cell-grown vaccine reference viruses. These data indicate that currently circulating viruses have not undergone significant antigenic drift; however, circulating A(H3N2) viruses are antigenically less similar to egg-grown A(H3N2) viruses used for producing the majority of influenza vaccines in the United States. It is difficult to predict which influenza viruses will predominate in the 2017-18 influenza season; however, in recent past seasons in which A(H3N2) viruses predominated, hospitalizations and deaths were more common, and the effectiveness of the vaccine was lower. Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged ≥6 months who do not have contraindications. Multiple influenza vaccines are approved and recommended for use during the 2017-18 season, and vaccination should continue to be offered as long as influenza viruses are circulating and unexpired vaccine is available. This report summarizes U.S. influenza activity* during October 1-November 25, 2017 (surveillance weeks 40-47).†.

Fractional-Dose Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine Campaign - Sindh Province, Pakistan, 2016.

Following the declaration of eradication of wild poliovirus (WPV) type 2 in September 2015, trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (tOPV) was withdrawn globally to reduce the risk for type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV2) transmission; all countries implemented a synchronized switch to bivalent OPV (type 1 and 3) in April 2016 (1,2). Any isolation of VDPV2 after the switch is to be treated as a potential public health emergency and might indicate the need for supplementary immunization activities (3,4). On August 9, 2016, VDPV2 was isolated from a sewage sample taken from an environmental surveillance site in Hyderabad, Sindh province, Pakistan. Possible vaccination activities in response to VDPV2 isolation include the use of injectable inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which poses no risk for vaccine-derived poliovirus transmission. Fractional-dose, intradermal IPV (fIPV), one fifth of the standard intramuscular dose, has been developed to more efficiently manage limited IPV supplies. fIPV has been shown in some studies to be noninferior to full-dose IPV (5,6) and was used successfully in response to a similar detection of a single VDPV2 isolate from sewage in India (7). Injectable fIPV was used for response activities in Hyderabad and three neighboring districts. This report describes the findings of an assessment of preparatory activities and subsequent implementation of the fIPV campaign. Despite achieving high coverage (>80%), several operational challenges were noted. The lessons learned from this campaign could help to guide the planning and implementation of future fIPV vaccination activities.

Committee Opinion No. 726: Hospital Disaster Preparedness for Obstetricians and Facilities Providing Maternity Care.

Large-scale catastrophic events and infectious disease outbreaks highlight the need for disaster planning at all community levels. Features unique to the obstetric population (including antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum and neonatal care) warrant special consideration in the event of a disaster. Pregnancy increases the risks of untoward outcomes from various infectious diseases. Trauma during pregnancy presents anatomic and physiologic considerations that often can require increased use of resources such as higher rates of cesarean delivery. Recent evidence suggests that floods and human-influenced environmental disasters increase the risks of spontaneous miscarriages, preterm births, and low-birth-weight infants among pregnant women. The potential surge in maternal and neonatal patient volume due to mass-casualty events, transfer of high-acuity patients, or redirection of patients because of geographic barriers presents unique challenges for obstetric care facilities. These circumstances require that facilities plan for additional increases in necessary resources and staffing. Although emergencies may be unexpected, hospitals and obstetric delivery units can prepare to implement plans that will best serve maternal and pediatric care needs when disasters occur. Clear designation of levels of maternal and neonatal care facilities, along with establishment of a regional network incorporating hospitals that provide maternity services and those that do not, will enable rapid transport of obstetric patients to the appropriate facilities, ensuring the right care at the right time. Using common terminology for triage and transfer and advanced knowledge of regionalization and levels of care will facilitate disaster preparedness.

Role of Urine Drug Testing in the Current Opioid Epidemic.

While the evidence for urine drug testing for patients on chronic opioid therapy is weak, the guidelines created by numerous medical societies and state and federal regulatory agencies recommend that it be included as one of the tools used to monitor patients for compliance with chronic opioid therapy. To get the most comprehensive results, clinicians should order both an immunoassay screen and confirmatory urine drug test. The immunoassay screen, which can be performed as an in-office point-of-care test or as a laboratory-based test, is a cheap and convenient study to order. Limitations of an immunoassay screen, however, include having a high threshold of detectability and only providing qualitative information about a select number of drug classes. Because of these restrictions, clinicians should understand that immunoassay screens have high false-positive and false-negative rates. Despite these limitations, though, the results can assist the clinician with making preliminary treatment decisions. In comparison, a confirmatory urine drug test, which can only be performed as a laboratory-based test, has a lower threshold of detectability and provides both qualitative and quantitative information. A urine drug test's greater degree of specificity allows for a relatively low false-negative and false-positive rate in contrast to an immunoassay screen. Like any other diagnostic test, an immunoassay screen and a confirmatory urine drug test both possess limitations. Clinicians must keep this in mind when interpreting an unexpected test result and consult with their laboratory when in doubt about the meaning of the test result to avoid making erroneous decisions that negatively impact both the patient and clinician.

A large outbreak of Hepatitis E virus genotype 1 infection in an urban setting in Chad likely linked to household level transmission factors, 2016-2017.

In September 2016, three acutely jaundiced (AJS) pregnant women were admitted to Am Timan Hospital, eastern Chad. We described the outbreak and conducted a case test-negative study to identify risk factors for this genotype of HEV in an acute outbreak setting.

The importance of thinking beyond the water-supply in cholera epidemics: A historical urban case-study.

Planning interventions to respond to cholera epidemics requires an understanding of the major transmission routes. Interrupting short-cycle (household, foodborne) transmission may require different approaches as compared long-cycle (environmentally-mediated/waterborne) transmission. However, differentiating the relative contribution of short- and long-cycle routes has remained difficult, and most cholera outbreak control efforts focus on interrupting long-cycle transmission. Here we use high-resolution epidemiological and municipal infrastructure data from a cholera outbreak in 1853 Copenhagen to explore the relative contribution of short- and long-cycle transmission routes during a major urban epidemic.

Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli Infections Associated with Flour.

In 2016, a multijurisdictional team investigated an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serogroup O121 and O26 infections linked to contaminated flour from a large domestic producer.

Emergency Department Utilization During Outbreaks of Influenza.

Tools to Drive Quality Improvement of Vector Control Services.

Water Quality Survey of Splash Pads After A Waterborne Salmonellosis Outbreak--Tennessee, 2014.

Waterborne outbreaks of salmonellosis are uncommon. The Tennessee Department of Health investigated a salmonellosis outbreak of 10 cases with the only common risk factor being exposure to a single splash pad. Risks included water splashed in the face at the splash pad and no free residual chlorine in the water system. We surveyed water quality and patron behaviors at splash pads statewide. Of the 29 splash pads participating in the water quality survey, 24 (83%) used a recirculating water system. Of the 24, 5 (21%) water samples were tested by polymerase chain reaction and found to be positive for E. coli, Giardia, norovirus, or Salmonella. Among 95 patrons observed, we identified common high-risk behaviors of sitting on the fountain or spray head and putting mouth to water. Water venue regulations and improved education of patrons are important to aid prevention efforts.

Cryptosporidiosis Outbreak Associated With a Single Hotel.

We investigated a gastrointestinal illness cluster among persons who attended a baseball tournament (>200 teams) during July 2015. We interviewed representatives of 19 teams; illness was reported among only the 9 (47%) teams that stayed at Hotel A (p < .01). We identified 55 primary cases. A case-control study demonstrated that pool exposure at Hotel A was significantly associated with illness (odds ratio: 7.3; 95% confidence interval: 3.6, 15.2). Eight out of nine (89%) stool specimens tested were positive for Cryptosporidium, with C. hominis IfA12G1 subtype identified in two specimens. The environmental health assessment detected a low free available chlorine level, and pool water tested positive for E. coli and total coliforms. A possible diarrheal contamination event, substantial hotel pool use, and use of cyanuric acid might have contributed to this outbreak and magnitude. Aquatic facilities practicing proper operation and maintenance (e.g., following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Model Aquatic Health Code) can protect the public’s health.

Shared Genomic Variants: Identification of Transmission Routes Using Pathogen Deep-Sequence Data.

Sequencing pathogen samples during a communicable disease outbreak is becoming an increasingly common procedure in epidemiologic investigations. Identifying who infected whom sheds considerable light on transmission patterns, high-risk settings and subpopulations, and the effectiveness of infection control. Genomic data shed new light on transmission dynamics and can be used to identify clusters of individuals likely to be linked by direct transmission. However, identification of individual routes of infection via single genome samples typically remains uncertain. We investigated the potential of deep sequence data to provide greater resolution on transmission routes, via the identification of shared genomic variants. We assessed several easily implemented methods to identify transmission routes using both shared variants and genetic distance, demonstrating that shared variants can provide considerable additional information in most scenarios. While shared-variant approaches identify relatively few links in the presence of a small transmission bottleneck, these links are highly accurate. Furthermore, we propose a hybrid approach that also incorporates phylogenetic distance to provide greater resolution. We applied our methods to data collected during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, identifying several likely routes of transmission. Our study highlights the power of data from deep sequencing of pathogens as a component of outbreak investigation and epidemiologic analyses.

Using the National Environmental Assessment Reporting System to Enhance Foodborne Illness Outbreak Investigations in New York City Restaurants.

Measles in Germany: An Epidemiological Analysis and First Measures for Containment.

Measles are one of the most contagious diseases of mankind. Measles incidence has declined worldwide since the introduction of vaccinations. Due to low numbers of measles cases in countries with high vaccination rates the population is not aware of possible complications of measles any more. Measles elimination is an important goal set by all regions of the World Health Organization. However, it remains a challenge for Germany and other European countries. Because of a high proportion of susceptibles in specific population and age groups outbreaks take place in Germany every year after importation of the virus. More than 50 % of measles cases are 20 years and older. However, the highest incidences have been seen in two-year-olds since several years. In addition to epidemiological findings such as case numbers and risk groups, genotyping permits e. g. an assessment of the endemic circulation of viruses. Suspicion of a measles case should result in immediate and consistent measures.

The use of ambient humidity conditions to improve influenza forecast.

Laboratory and epidemiological evidence indicate that ambient humidity modulates the survival and transmission of influenza. Here we explore whether the inclusion of humidity forcing in mathematical models describing influenza transmission improves the accuracy of forecasts generated with those models. We generate retrospective forecasts for 95 cities over 10 seasons in the United States and assess both forecast accuracy and error. Overall, we find that humidity forcing improves forecast performance (at 1-4 lead weeks, 3.8% more peak week and 4.4% more peak intensity forecasts are accurate than with no forcing) and that forecasts generated using daily climatological humidity forcing generally outperform forecasts that utilize daily observed humidity forcing (4.4% and 2.6% respectively). These findings hold for predictions of outbreak peak intensity, peak timing, and incidence over 2- and 4-week horizons. The results indicate that use of climatological humidity forcing is warranted for current operational influenza forecast.

Mumps epidemic in North America proves unusually stubborn.

Imminent health crises among the Rohingya people of Myanmar.

Direct From CDC/EHSB: CDC Takes Action to Improve the Reporting of Environmental Assessment Data During Foodborne Illness Outbreak Investigations.

Uganda grapples with new Marburg disease outbreak.

A model-based clustering method to detect infectious disease transmission outbreaks from sequence variation.

Clustering infections by genetic similarity is a popular technique for identifying potential outbreaks of infectious disease, in part because sequences are now routinely collected for clinical management of many infections. A diverse number of nonparametric clustering methods have been developed for this purpose. These methods are generally intuitive, rapid to compute, and readily scale with large data sets. However, we have found that nonparametric clustering methods can be biased towards identifying clusters of diagnosis-where individuals are sampled sooner post-infection-rather than the clusters of rapid transmission that are meant to be potential foci for public health efforts. We develop a fundamentally new approach to genetic clustering based on fitting a Markov-modulated Poisson process (MMPP), which represents the evolution of transmission rates along the tree relating different infections. We evaluated this model-based method alongside five nonparametric clustering methods using both simulated and actual HIV sequence data sets. For simulated clusters of rapid transmission, the MMPP clustering method obtained higher mean sensitivity (85%) and specificity (91%) than the nonparametric methods. When we applied these clustering methods to published sequences from a study of HIV-1 genetic clusters in Seattle, USA, we found that the MMPP method categorized about half (46%) as many individuals to clusters compared to the other methods. Furthermore, the mean internal branch lengths that approximate transmission rates were significantly shorter in clusters extracted using MMPP, but not by other methods. We determined that the computing time for the MMPP method scaled linearly with the size of trees, requiring about 30 seconds for a tree of 1,000 tips and about 20 minutes for 50,000 tips on a single computer. This new approach to genetic clustering has significant implications for the application of pathogen sequence analysis to public health, where it is critical to robustly and accurately identify clusters for the most cost-effective deployment of outbreak management and prevention resources.

Impact of the Ebola outbreak on Trypanosoma brucei gambiense infection medical activities in coastal Guinea, 2014-2015: A retrospective analysis from the Guinean national Human African Trypanosomiasis control program.

The 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak massively hit Guinea. The coastal districts of Boffa, Dubreka and Forecariah, three major foci of Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT), were particularly affected. We aimed to assess the impact of this epidemic on sleeping sickness screening and caring activities.

Botulism outbreak causes high mortality in Scottish cattle.

SAc C VS disease Surveillance report for july 2017 Botulism in finishing cattleSeasonal dermatitis in Cheviot ewesStreptococcus suis type 2 meningitis and septicaemia in pigletsRodenticide toxicity in chickens.

A large ongoing outbreak of hepatitis A predominantly affecting young males in Lazio, Italy; August 2016 - March 2017.

The hepatitis A virus (HAV) is mainly transmitted through the faecal-oral route. In industrialized countries HAV infection generally occurs as either sporadic cases in travelers from endemic areas, local outbreak within closed/semi-closed population and as foodborne community outbreak. Recently, an increasing number of HAV infection clusters have been reported among young men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM). The Lazio Regional Service for the epidemiology and control for infectious diseases (SeRESMI) has noticed an increase of acute hepatitis A (AHA) since September 2016. Temporal analysis carried out with a discrete Poisson model using surveillance data between January 2016 and March 2017 evidenced an ongoing outbreak of AHA that started at the end of August. Molecular investigation carried out on 130 out of 513 cases AHA reported until March 2017 suggests that this outbreak is mainly supported by an HAV variant which is currently spreading within MSM communities across Europe (VRD_521_2016). The report confirms that AHA is an emerging issue among MSM. In addition through the integration of standard (case based) surveillance with molecular investigation we could discriminate, temporally concomitant but epidemiologically unrelated, clusters due to different HAV variants. As suggested by the WHO, in countries with low HAV circulation, vaccination programmes should be tailored on the local epidemiological patterns to prevent outbreaks among high risk groups and eventual spillover of the infection in the general population.

Knowledge Gained and Retained from a Video-Centered, Community-Based Intervention for Ebola Prevention, Congo.

There are few effective communication interventions to respond to Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreaks, and their development is a continuing challenge. The largest outbreak of EVD was first recognized in 2014 and once again highlighted the need for health education communication campaigns. EVD emergence and transmission are associated with behaviors that increase exposure to infected individuals and infected wildlife. In 2008-2009, an educational video-centered intervention consisting of a film followed by a structured discussion was developed to improve EVD knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors (KABs) for prevention of EVD and care of infected people. The film was produced for a Congolese audience in local languages and features doctors and residents from the region. The objective of the study was to assess the effectiveness of this intervention to change KABs related to EVD. The intervention was conducted over 12 months and reached >60,000 people; 220 individuals were sampled before and immediately after the intervention, and a subsample of 53 who had received the intervention 1 year earlier were interviewed to assess changes in KABs related to EVD. Statistically significant improvements in EVD recognition, transmission, and mitigation of risk after the intervention were observed. This study also demonstrates significant retention of knowledge one year after the intervention. Overall, the intervention was effective in improving KABs among a limited literacy population and knowledge was retained for more than one year. The materials and approaches developed were used in 2014 as part of a social mobilization strategy in response to an Ebola outbreak in the Congo Basin.

Seasonal recurrence of cowpox virus outbreaks in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).

Cowpox virus infections in captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with high morbidity and mortality have already been reported in the UK and Russia in the 1970s. However, most of the reported cases have been singular events. Here, we report a total of five cowpox virus outbreaks in cheetahs in the same safari park in Denmark between 2010 and 2014. Nine cheetahs showed varying severity of clinical disease; two of them died (22%). All episodes occurred between August and October of the respective year. No other carnivores kept at the same institution nor the keepers taking care of the animals were clinically affected. The clinical picture of cowpox was confirmed by extensive laboratory investigations including histopathological and molecular analyses as well as cell culture isolation of a cowpox virus. High anti-orthopoxvirus antibody titers were detected in all 9 diseased cheetahs compared to seven contact cheetahs without clinical signs and 13 cheetahs not in direct contact. Additionally, whole genome sequencing from one sample of each cluster with subsequent phylogenetic analysis showed that the viruses from different outbreaks have individual sequences but clearly form a clade distinct from other cowpox viruses. However, the intra-clade distances are still larger than those usually observed within clades of one event. These findings indicate multiple and separate introductions of cowpox virus, probably from wild rodent populations, where the virus keeps circulating naturally and is only sporadically introduced into the cheetahs. Sero-positivity of voles (Arvicola amphibious) caught in zoo grounds strengthens this hypothesis. As a consequence, recommendations are given for medical and physical management of diseased cheetahs, for hygienic measures as well as for pre-shipment isolation before cheetah export from zoo grounds.

Remembering the 1918 influenza pandemic: national survey of memorials and scope for enhancing educational value around pandemic preparedness.

To systematically identify physical memorials to the 1918 influenza pandemic in an entire country.

Epidemic spreading in multiplex networks influenced by opinion exchanges on vaccination.

Through years, the use of vaccines has always been a controversial issue. People in a society may have different opinions about how beneficial the vaccines are and as a consequence some of those individuals decide to vaccinate or not themselves and their relatives. This attitude in face of vaccines has clear consequences in the spread of diseases and their transformation in epidemics. Motivated by this scenario, we study, in a simultaneous way, the changes of opinions about vaccination together with the evolution of a disease. In our model we consider a multiplex network consisting of two layers. One of the layers corresponds to a social network where people share their opinions and influence others opinions. The social model that rules the dynamic is the M-model, which takes into account two different processes that occurs in a society: persuasion and compromise. This two processes are related through a parameter r, r < 1 describes a moderate and committed society, for r > 1 the society tends to have extremist opinions, while r = 1 represents a neutral society. This social network may be of real or virtual contacts. On the other hand, the second layer corresponds to a network of physical contacts where the disease spreading is described by the SIR-Model. In this model the individuals may be in one of the following four states: Susceptible (S), Infected(I), Recovered (R) or Vaccinated (V). A Susceptible individual can: i) get vaccinated, if his opinion in the other layer is totally in favor of the vaccine, ii) get infected, with probability β if he is in contact with an infected neighbor. Those I individuals recover after a certain period tr = 6. Vaccinated individuals have an extremist positive opinion that does not change. We consider that the vaccine has a certain effectiveness ω and as a consequence vaccinated nodes can be infected with probability β(1 - ω) if they are in contact with an infected neighbor. In this case, if the infection process is successful, the new infected individual changes his opinion from extremist positive to totally against the vaccine. We find that depending on the trend in the opinion of the society, which depends on r, different behaviors in the spread of the epidemic occurs. An epidemic threshold was found, in which below β* and above ω* the diseases never becomes an epidemic, and it varies with the opinion parameter r.

Surveillance for Waterborne Disease Outbreaks Associated with Drinking Water - United States, 2013-2014.

Provision of safe water in the United States is vital to protecting public health (1). Public health agencies in the U.S. states and territories* report information on waterborne disease outbreaks to CDC through the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) ( During 2013-2014, 42 drinking water-associated† outbreaks were reported, accounting for at least 1,006 cases of illness, 124 hospitalizations, and 13 deaths. Legionella was associated with 57% of these outbreaks and all of the deaths. Sixty-nine percent of the reported illnesses occurred in four outbreaks in which the etiology was determined to be either a chemical or toxin or the parasite Cryptosporidium. Drinking water contamination events can cause disruptions in water service, large impacts on public health, and persistent community concern about drinking water quality. Effective water treatment and regulations can protect public drinking water supplies in the United States, and rapid detection, identification of the cause, and response to illness reports can reduce the transmission of infectious pathogens and harmful chemicals and toxins.

Meeting Summary: State and Local Implementation Strategies for Increasing Access to Contraception During Zika Preparedness and Response - United States, September 2016.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly and other serious brain abnormalities (1). To support state and territory response to the threat of Zika, CDC's Interim Zika Response Plan outlined activities for vector control; clinical management of exposed pregnant women and infants; targeted communication about Zika virus transmission among women and men of reproductive age; and primary prevention of Zika-related adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes by prevention of unintended pregnancies through increased access to contraception.* The most highly effective,† reversible contraception includes intrauterine devices and implants, known as long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). On September 28, 2016, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) and CDC facilitated a meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, of representatives from 15 states to identify state-led efforts to implement seven CDC-published strategies aimed at increasing access to contraception in the context of Zika virus (2). Qualitative data were collected from participating jurisdictions. The number of states reporting implementation of each strategy ranged from four to 11. Participants identified numerous challenges, particularly for strategies implemented less frequently. Examples of barriers were discussed and presented with corresponding approaches to address each barrier. Addressing these barriers could facilitate increased access to contraception, which might decrease the number of unintended pregnancies affected by Zika virus.

Waterborne Disease Outbreaks Associated With Environmental and Undetermined Exposures to Water - United States, 2013-2014.

Waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States are associated with a wide variety of water exposures and are reported annually to CDC on a voluntary basis by state and territorial health departments through the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS). A majority of outbreaks arise from exposure to drinking water (1) or recreational water (2), whereas others are caused by an environmental exposure to water or an undetermined exposure to water. During 2013-2014, 15 outbreaks associated with an environmental exposure to water and 12 outbreaks with an undetermined exposure to water were reported, resulting in at least 289 cases of illness, 108 hospitalizations, and 17 deaths. Legionella was responsible for 63% of the outbreaks, 94% of hospitalizations, and all deaths. Outbreaks were also caused by Cryptosporidium, Pseudomonas, and Giardia, including six outbreaks of giardiasis caused by ingestion of water from a river, stream, or spring. Water management programs can effectively prevent outbreaks caused by environmental exposure to water from human-made water systems, while proper point-of-use treatment of water can prevent outbreaks caused by ingestion of water from natural water systems.