Risk for transfusion-transmitted infectious diseases in Central and South America.
Schmunis GA. Zicker F. Pinheiro F. Brandling-Bennett D.
Pan American Health Organization, Washington, D.C., USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
We report the potential risk for an infectious disease through tainted transfusion in 10 countries of South and Central America in 1993 and in two countries of South America in 1994, as well as the cost of reagents as partial estimation of screening costs. Of the 12 countries included in the study, nine screened all donors for HIV; three screened all donors for hepatitis B virus (HBV); two screened all donors for Trypanosoma cruzi; none screened all donors for hepatitis C virus (HCV); and six screened some donors for syphilis. Estimates of the risk of acquiring HIV through blood transfusion were much lower than for acquiring HBV, HCV, or T. cruzi because of significantly higher screening and lower prevalence.rates for HIV. An index of infectious disease spread through blood transfusion was calculated for each country. The highest value was obtained for Bolivia (233 infections per 10,000 transfusions); in five other countries, it was 68 to 103 infections per 10,000. The risks were lower in Honduras (nine per 10,000), Ecuador (16 per 10,000), and Paraguay (19 per 10,000). While the real number of potentially infected units or infected persons is probably lower than our estimates because of false positives and already infected recipients, the data reinforce the need for an information system to assess the level of screening for infectious diseases in the blood supply. Since this information was collected, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Venezuela have made HCV screening mandatory; serologic testing for HCV has increased in those countries, as well as in El Salvador and Honduras. T. cruzi screening is now mandatory in Colombia, and the percentage of screened donors increased not only in Colombia, but also in Ecuador, El Salvador, and Paraguay. Laws to regulate blood transfusion practices have been enacted in Bolivia, Guatemala, and Peru. However, donor screening still needs to improve for one or more diseases in most countries.
Agricultural use of Burkholderia (Pseudomonas) cepacia: a threat to human health?
Holmes A. Govan J. Goldstein R.
Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom. email@example.com
In the past 2 decades, Burkholderia cepacia has emerged as a human pathogen causing numerous outbreaks, particularly among cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. One highly transmissible strain has spread across North America and Britain, and another between hospitalized CF and non-CF patients. Meanwhile, the organism has been developed as a biopesticide for protecting crops against fungal diseases and has potential as a bioremediation agent for breaking down recalcitrant herbicides and pesticides. However, B. cepacia is inherently resistant to multiple antibiotics; selection of strains "safe" for environmental application is not at present possible phenotypically or genotypically; molecular epidemiology and phylogenetic studies demonstrate that highly transmissible strains emerge randomly; and the organism has a capacity for rapid mutation and adaptation (facilitated by numerous insertion sequences), and a large, complex genome divided into separate chromosomes. Therefore, the widespread agricultural use of B. cepacia should be approached with caution.
Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli.
Nataro JP. Steiner T. Guerrant RL.
University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore 21201, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC), an increasingly recognized cause of diarrhea in children in developing countries, has been particularly associated with persistent diarrhea (more than 14 days), a major cause of illness and death. Recent outbreaks implicate EAEC as a cause of foodborne illness in industrialized countries. The pathogenesis of EAEC infection is not well understood, but a model can be proposed in which EAEC adhere to the intestinal mucosa and elaborate enterotoxins and cytotoxins, which result in secretory diarrhea and mucosal damage. EAEC's ability to stimulate the release of inflammatory mediators may also play a role in intestinal illness.
New vectors of Rift Valley fever in West Africa.
Fontenille D. Traore-Lamizana M. Diallo M. Thonnon J. Digoutte JP. Zeller HG.
Laboratoire de zoologie medicale, Institut Pasteur, Dakar, Senegal. email@example.com
After an outbreak of Rift Valley fever in Southern Mauritania in 1987, entomologic studies were conducted in a bordering region in Senegal from 1991 to 1996 to identify the sylvatic vectors of Rift Valley fever virus. The virus was isolated from the floodwater mosquitoes Aedes vexans and Ae. ochraceus. In 1974 and 1983, the virus had been isolated from Ae. dalzieli. Although these vectors differ from the main vectors in East and South Africa, they use the same type of breeding sites and also feed on cattle and sheep. Although enzootic vectors have now been identified in West Africa, the factors causing outbreaks remain unclear.
Using nurse hot line calls for disease surveillance.
Rodman JS. Frost F. Jakubowski W.
Southwest Center of Managed Care Research, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, USA.
Nurse hot line calls are a potential source of public health surveillance data and may help identify epidemics of emerging infectious diseases. In this study, nurse hot line data from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, showed more than a 17-fold increase in calls for diarrhea during the 1993 Milwaukee cryptosporidiosis outbreak. Moreover, consistent patterns of seasonal variation in diarrhea- and vomiting-related calls were detected from the Baltimore, Maryland, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, hot lines. Analysis of nurse hot line calls may provide an inexpensive and timely method for improving disease surveillance.