Planning for a future influenza pandemic should include considerations specific to pregnant women. First, pregnant women are at increased risk for influenza-associated illness and death. The effects on the fetus of maternal influenza infection, associated fever, and agents used for prophylaxis and treatment should be taken into account. Pregnant women might be reluctant to comply with public health recommendations during a pandemic because of concerns regarding effects of vaccines or medications on the fetus. Guidelines regarding nonpharmaceutical interventions (e.g., voluntary quarantine) also might present special challenges because of conflicting recommendations about routine prenatal care and delivery. Finally, healthcare facilities need to develop plans to minimize exposure of pregnant women to ill persons, while ensuring that women receive necessary care.
pregnancy; women; influenza; H5N1; avian influenza; pandemic influenza; antiviral medications; influenza vaccine; perspective
Clinical recommendations for the prevention and treatment of anthrax among pregnant women are updated.
In August 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, convened a meeting of national subject matter experts to review key clinical elements of anthrax prevention and treatment for pregnant, postpartum, and lactating (P/PP/L) women. National experts in infectious disease, obstetrics, maternal fetal medicine, neonatology, pediatrics, and pharmacy attended the meeting, as did representatives from professional organizations and national, federal, state, and local agencies. The meeting addressed general principles of prevention and treatment for P/PP/L women, vaccines, antimicrobial prophylaxis and treatment, clinical considerations and critical care issues, antitoxin, delivery concerns, infection control measures, and communication. The purpose of this meeting summary is to provide updated clinical information to health care providers and public health professionals caring for P/PP/L women in the setting of a bioterrorist event involving anthrax.
Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; antibacterial agents; antimicrobial drugs; pregnancy; postpartum period; lactation; breast-feeding; bacteria; women; treatment; antibiotics; antitoxins; PEP; postexposure prophylaxis; vaccine; vaccination; Suggested citation for this article: Meaney-Delman D, Zotti ME, Creanga AA, Misegades LK, Wako E, Treadwell TA, et al; Workgroup on Anthrax in Pregnant and Postpartum Women. Special considerations for prophylaxis for and treatment of anthrax in pregnant and postpartum women. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 2014 Feb [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2002.130611
In spite of the eradication of smallpox over 30 years ago; orthopox viruses such as smallpox and monkeypox remain serious public health threats both through the possibility of bioterrorism and the intentional release of smallpox and through natural outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases such as monkeypox. The eradication effort was largely made possible by the availability of an effective vaccine based on the immunologically cross-protective vaccinia virus. Although the concept of vaccination dates back to the late 1800s with Edward Jenner, it is only in the past decade that modern immunologic tools have been applied toward deciphering poxvirus immunity. Smallpox vaccines containing vaccinia virus elicit strong humoral and cellular immune responses that confer cross-protective immunity against variola virus for decades after immunization. Recent studies have focused on: establishing the longevity of poxvirus-specific immunity, defining key immune epitopes targeted by T and B cells, developing subunit-based vaccines, and developing genotypic and phenotypic immune response profiles that predict either vaccine response or adverse events following immunization.
We examined outbreak investigations conducted around the world from 1988 to 1999 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. In 44 (4.0%) of 1,099 investigations, identified causative agents had bioterrorism potential. In six investigations, intentional use of infectious agents was considered. Healthcare providers reported 270 (24.6%) outbreaks and infection control practitioners reported 129 (11.7%); together they reported 399 (36.3%) of the outbreaks. Health departments reported 335 (30.5%) outbreaks. For six outbreaks in which bioterrorism or intentional contamination was possible, reporting was delayed for up to 26 days. We confirmed that the most critical component for bioterrorism outbreak detection and reporting is the frontline healthcare profession and the local health departments. Bioterrorism preparedness should emphasize education and support of this frontline as well as methods to shorten the time between outbreak and reporting.
Bioterrorism; Preparedness; Outbreak; Anthrax; perspective
Immunologic changes of pregnancy may increase susceptibility to certain intracellular pathogens.
A key component of the response to emerging infections is consideration of special populations, including pregnant women. Successful pregnancy depends on adaptation of the woman's immune system to tolerate a genetically foreign fetus. Although the immune system changes are not well understood, a shift from cell-mediated immunity toward humoral immunity is believed to occur. These immunologic changes may alter susceptibility to and severity of infectious diseases in pregnant women. For example, pregnancy may increase susceptibility to toxoplasmosis and listeriosis and may increase severity of illness and increase mortality rates from influenza and varicella. Compared with information about more conventional disease threats, information about emerging infectious diseases is quite limited. Pregnant women's altered response to infectious diseases should be considered when planning a response to emerging infectious disease threats.
emerging infectious diseases; pregnancy; immunology; synopsis
Health emergency planning for preparedness and response against acts of terrorism, including the malfeasant threat or actual release of biological agents designed to harm others, has assumed a higher level of concern for most western nations, including Canada, following the explosive attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. These terrorist attacks were followed by an outbreak of anthrax infections. The Bacillus anthracis spores in these attacks were dispersed by using regular postal services in the United States. In addition to the unsettling sense of social vulnerability that resulted from these attacks, a greater appreciation that the integration of public health, emergency health and social services with security activities was required to fully address the need to protect the health and other interests of the citizens. Collaborative work among regional, provincial, territorial, federal and international authorities within these domains is emerging as an effective response to the risk management of bioterrorism. The following is a brief description of the health framework for preparedness and response, and the biological agents of major concern in terrorism.
Bioterrorism; Health emergency
Since the 2006 Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan according to the World Health Organization’s recommendation, the Republic of Korea has prepared and periodically evaluated the plan to respond to various public health crises including pandemic influenza. Korea has stockpiled 13,000,000 doses of antiviral drugs covering 26% of the Korean population and runs 519 isolated beds in 16 medical institutions. The division of public health crisis response in Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in charge of responding to public health crises caused by emerging infectious diseases including severe acute respiratory syndrome, avian influenza human infection, and pandemic influenza. Its job description includes preparing for emerging infectious diseases, securing medical resources during a crisis, activating the emergency response during the crisis, and fortification of capabilities of public health personnel. It could evolve into a comprehensive national agency to deal with public health crisis based on the experience of previous national emerging infectious diseases.
avian influenza; emerging infectious diseases; pandemic influenza; public health crisis
The Syndromic Surveillance Information Collection (SSIC) system aims to facilitate early detection of bioterrorism attacks (with such agents as anthrax, brucellosis, plague, Q fever, tularemia, smallpox, viral encephalitides, hemorrhagic fever, botulism toxins, staphylococcal enterotoxin B, etc.) and early detection of naturally occurring disease outbreaks, including large foodborne disease outbreaks, emerging infections, and pandemic influenza. This is accomplished using automated data collection of visit-level discharge diagnoses from heterogeneous clinical information systems, integrating those data into a common XML (Extensible Markup Language) form, and monitoring the results to detect unusual patterns of illness in the population. The system, operational since January 2001, collects, integrates, and displays data from three emergency department and urgent care (ED/UC) departments and nine primary care clinics by automatically mining data from the information systems of those facilities. With continued development, this system will constitute the foundation of a population-based surveillance system that will facilitate targeted investigation of clinical syndromes under surveillance and allow early detection of unusual clusters of illness compatible with bioterrorism or disease outbreaks.
Biological warfare; Bioterrorism; Data collection; Database; Informatics; Information systems; Sentinel surveillance
The recent public health risks arising from bioterrorist threats and outbreaks of infectious diseases like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) highlight the challenges of effectively communicating accurate health information to an alarmed public.
To evaluate use of the Internet in accessing information related to the anthrax scare in the United States in late 2001, and to strategize about the most effective use of this technology as a communication vehicle during times of public health crises.
A paper-based survey to assess how individuals obtained health information relating to bioterrorism and anthrax during late 2001.We surveyed 500 randomly selected patients from two ambulatory primary care clinics affiliated with the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
The response rate was 42%. While traditional media provided the primary source of information on anthrax and bioterrorism, 21% (95% CI, 15% - 27%) of respondents reported searching the Internet for this information during late 2001. Respondents reported trusting information from physicians the most, and information from health websites slightly more than information from any traditional media source. Over half of those searching the Internet reported changing their behavior as a result of information found online.
Many people already look to the Internet for information during a public health crisis, and information found online can positively influence behavioral responses to such crises. However, the potential of the Internet to convey accurate health information and advice has not yet been realized. In order to enhance the effectiveness of public-health communication, physician practices could use this technology to pro-actively e-mail their patients validated information. Still, unless Internet access becomes more broadly available, its benefits will not accrue to disadvantaged populations.
bioterrorism; public health; communication; electronic mail; inequality; behavior
The threat of bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases has prompted various public health agencies to recommend enhanced surveillance activities to supplement existing surveillance plans. The majority of emerging infectious diseases and bioterrorist agents are zoonotic. Animals are more sensitive to certain biological agents, and their use as clinical sentinels, as a means of early detection, is warranted.
This article provides design methods for a local integrated zoonotic surveillance plan and materials developed for veterinarians to assist in the early detection of bioevents. Zoonotic surveillance in the U.S. is currently too limited and compartmentalized for broader public health objectives. To rapidly detect and respond to bioevents, collaboration and cooperation among various agencies at the federal, state, and local levels must be enhanced and maintained. Co-analysis of animal and human diseases may facilitate the response to infectious disease events and limit morbidity and mortality in both animal and human populations.
Cases of emerging infectious diseases, including H5N1 influenza, H7N9 influenza, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, have been reported in recent years, and the threat of pandemic outbreaks persists. In Japan, primary care is the frontline against emerging infectious diseases in communities. Although the importance of pandemic preparedness in primary care has been highlighted previously, few studies have thus far investigated the preparedness among primary care practices (PCPs) or differences in the preparedness of different institutional settings. We examined PCP preparedness and response to the 2009 influenza pandemic in Japan, and explored the role of a pandemic preparedness plan during the pandemic.
We used a survey questionnaire to assess how well individual PCPs in Okinawa, Japan, were prepared for the 2009 influenza pandemic. The questionnaire was mailed to all eligible PCPs (N = 465) in Okinawa, regardless of their institutional setting. In addition, we assessed the differences in the preparedness of clinics and hospitals and determined whether the national preparedness plan affected individual preparedness and response. Data were analyzed using descriptive and logistic regression analyses.
A total of 174 (37.4%) PCPs responded to our survey. In general, high-level personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 masks (45.4%), gowns (30.5%), and eye protection (21.3%) was stocked at a low rate. Clinic-based PCPs were significantly less prepared than hospital-based PCPs to provide N95 masks (OR 0.34), gowns (OR 0.15), and eye protection (OR 0.18). In addition, only 32.8% of PCPs adopted an adequate business continuity plan (BCP). After controlling for institutional setting, reading the national preparedness plan was significantly associated with establishment of a BCP (OR 5.86), and with knowledge of how to transfer a swab specimen to a local medical laboratory (OR 5.60).
With regard to PPE availability, PCPs (especially clinic-based PCPs) were not adequately prepared for the influenza pandemic. Awareness of the national pandemic preparedness plan is likely to promote prefecture-wide implementation of BCPs and surveillance activity.
Primary care practice; Primary care; Preparedness; Response; Pandemic preparedness plan; Personal protective equipment; Business continuity plan; Pandemic influenza
Introduction: Many medical disciplines, such as emergency medicine, trauma surgery, dermatology, psychiatry, family practice, and dentistry have documented attempts at assessing the level of bioterrorism preparedness in their communities. Currently, there is neither such an assessment nor an existing review of potential bioterrorism agents as they relate to plastic surgery. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to present plastic surgeons with a review of potential bioterrorism agents. Methods: A review of the literature on bioterrorism agents and online resources of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was conducted. Category A agents were identified and specific attention was paid to the management issues that plastic surgeons might face in the event that these agents are used in an attack. Results: Disease entities reviewed were smallpox, anthrax, plague, viral hemorrhagic fever, tularemia, and botulism. For each agent, we presented the microbiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, potential for weaponization, medical management, and surgical issues related to the plastic surgeon. Conclusion: This article is the first attempt at addressing preparedness for bioterrorism in the plastic surgery community. Many other fields have already started a similar process. This article represents a first step in developing evidence-based consensus guidelines and recommendations for the management of biological terrorism for plastic surgeons.
Pregnant women with prior venous thromboembolism (VTE) are at risk of recurrence. Low molecular weight heparin (LWMH) reduces the risk of pregnancy-related VTE. LMWH prophylaxis is, however, inconvenient, uncomfortable, costly, medicalizes pregnancy, and may be associated with increased risks of obstetrical bleeding. Further, there is uncertainty in the estimates of both the baseline risk of pregnancy-related recurrent VTE and the effects of antepartum LMWH prophylaxis. The values and treatment preferences of pregnant women, crucial when making recommendations for prophylaxis, are currently unknown. The objective of this study is to address this gap in knowledge.
We will perform a multi-center cross-sectional interview study in Canada, USA, Norway and Finland. The study population will consist of 100 women with a history of lower extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE), and who are either pregnant, planning pregnancy, or may in the future consider pregnancy (women between 18 and 45 years). We will exclude individuals who are on full dose anticoagulation or thromboprophylaxis, who have undergone surgical sterilization, or whose partners have undergone vasectomy. We will determine each participant's willingness to receive LMWH prophylaxis during pregnancy through direct choice exercises based on real life and hypothetical scenarios, preference-elicitation using a visual analog scale (“feeling thermometer”), and a probability trade-off exercise. The primary outcome will be the minimum reduction (threshold) in VTE risk at which women change from declining to accepting LMWH prophylaxis. We will explore possible determinants of this choice, including educational attainment, the characteristics of the women’s prior VTE, and prior experience with LMWH. We will determine the utilities that women place on the burden of LMWH prophylaxis, pregnancy-related DVT, pregnancy-related PE and pregnancy-related hemorrhage. We will generate a “personalized decision analysis” using participants’ utilities and their personalized risk of recurrent VTE as inputs to a decision analytic model. We will compare the personalized decision analysis to the participant’s stated choice.
The preferences of pregnant women at risk of VTE with respect to the use of antithrombotic therapy remain unexplored. This research will provide explicit, quantitative expressions of women's valuations of health states related to recurrent VTE and its prevention with LMWH. This information will be crucial for both guideline developers and for clinicians.
Placental immune response and its tropism for specific viruses and pathogens affect the outcome of the pregnant woman’s susceptibility to and severity of certain infectious diseases. The generalization of pregnancy as a condition of immune suppression or increased risk is misleading and prevents the determination of adequate guidelines for treating pregnant women during pandemics. There is a need to evaluate the interaction of each specific pathogen with the fetal/placental unit and its responses to design the adequate prophylaxis or therapy. The complexity of the immunology of pregnancy and the focus, for many years, on the concept of immunology of pregnancy as an organ transplantation have complicated the field and delayed the development of new guidelines with clinical implications that could help to answer these and other relevant questions. Our challenge as scientists and clinicians interested in the field of reproductive immunology is to evaluate many of the ‘classical concepts’ to define new approaches for a better understanding of the immunology of pregnancy that will benefit mothers and fetuses in different clinical scenarios.
Cytokines; inflammation; macrophages; placenta; pregnancy; TLR
Three decades after the eradication of smallpox, the threat of bioterrorism and outbreaks of emerging diseases such as monkeypox have renewed interest in the development of safe and effective next-generation poxvirus vaccines and biodefense research. Current smallpox vaccines contain live virus and are contraindicated for a large percentage of the population. Safer, yet still effective inactivated and subunit vaccines are needed, and epitope identification is an essential step in the development of these subunit vaccines. In this study we focused on 4 vaccinia membrane proteins known to be targeted by humoral responses in vaccinees. In spite of the narrow focus of the study we identified 36 T cell epitopes, and provide additional support for the physical linkage between T and B epitopes. This information may prove useful in peptide and protein-based subunit vaccine development as well as in the study of CD4 responses to poxviruses.
Vaccinia virus; smallpox vaccine; cellular immunity; T cell epitopes; CD4+ T cells
With the emergence of H1N1 pandemic (pH1N1) influenza, the CDC recommended that pregnant women be one of five initial target groups to receive the 2009 monovalent H1N1 vaccine, regardless of prior infection with this influenza strain. We sought to compare the immune response of pregnant women to H1N1 infection versus vaccination and to determine the extent of passive immunity conferred to the newborn.
During the 2009-2010 influenza season, we enrolled a cohort of women who either had confirmed pH1N1 infection during pregnancy, did not have pH1N1 during pregnancy but were vaccinated against pH1N1, or did not have illness or vaccination. Maternal and umbilical cord venous blood samples were collected at delivery. Hemagglutination inhibition assays (HAI) for pH1N1 were performed. Data were analyzed using linear regression analyses. HAIs were performed for matched maternal/cord blood pairs for 16 women with confirmed pH1N1 infection, 14 women vaccinated against pH1N1, and 10 women without infection or vaccination. We found that pH1N1 vaccination and wild-type infection during pregnancy did not differ with respect to (1) HAI titers at delivery, (2) HAI antibody decay slopes over time, and (3) HAI titers in the cord blood.
Vaccination against pH1N1 confers a similar HAI antibody response as compared to pH1N1 infection during pregnancy, both in quantity and quality. Illness or vaccination during pregnancy confers passive immunity to the newborn.
While awareness of bioterrorism threats and emerging infectious diseases has resulted in an increased sense of urgency to improve the knowledge base and response capability of physicians, few medical schools and residency programs have curricula in place to teach these concepts. Public health agencies are an essential component of a response to these types of emergencies. Public health education during medical school is usually limited to the non-clinical years. With collaboration from our local public health agency, the Emory University School of Medicine developed a curriculum in bioterrorism and emerging infections. By implementing this curriculum in the clinical years of medical school and residency programs, we seek to foster improved interactions between clinicians and their local public health agencies.
The goal of this study was to investigate the willingness of Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers to participate in public health emergency–related activities by assessing their attitudes and beliefs. MRC volunteers responded to an online survey organized around the Extended Parallel Process Model (EPPM). Respondents reported agreement with attitude/belief statements representing perceived threat, perceived efficacy, and personal/organizational preparedness in 4 scenarios: a weather-related disaster, a pandemic influenza emergency, a radiological (“dirty bomb”) emergency, and an inhalational anthrax bioterrorism emergency. Logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate predictors of volunteer response willingness. In 2 response contexts (if asked and regardless of severity), self-reported willingness to respond was higher among those with a high perceived self-efficacy than among those with low perceived self-efficacy. Analyses of the association between attitude/belief statements and the EPPM profiles indicated that, under all 4 scenarios and with few exceptions, those with a perceived high threat/high efficacy EPPM profile had statistically higher odds of agreement with the attitude/belief statements than those with a perceived low threat/low efficacy EPPM profile. The radiological emergency consistently received the lowest agreement rates for the attitude/belief statements and response willingness across scenarios. The findings suggest that enrollment with an MRC unit is not automatically predictive of willingness to respond in these types of scenarios. While MRC volunteers' self-reported willingness to respond was found to differ across scenarios and among different attitude and belief statements, the identification of self-efficacy as the primary predictor of willingness to respond regardless of severity and if asked highlights the critical role of efficacy in an organized volunteer response context.
This study investigated the willingness of Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers to participate in public health emergency–related activities by assessing their attitudes and beliefs. MRC volunteers responded to an online survey and reported agreement with attitude/belief statements in 4 scenarios: a weather-related disaster, a pandemic influenza emergency, a radiological (“dirty bomb”) emergency, and an inhalational anthrax bioterrorism emergency. The volunteers' willingness to respond was found to differ across scenarios and among different attitude/belief statements, with self-efficacy being the primary predictor of willingness to respond.
Vaccinia virus (VACV) was used as the vaccine strain to eradicate smallpox. VACV is still administered to healthcare workers or researchers who are at risk of contracting the virus, and to military personnel. Thus, VACV represents a weapon against outbreaks, both natural (e.g., monkeypox) or man-made (bioterror). This virus is also used as a vector for experimental vaccine development (cancer/infectious disease). As a prototypic poxvirus, VACV is a model system for studying host–pathogen interactions. Until recently, little was known about the targets of host immune responses, which was likely owing to VACVs large genome (>200 open reading frames). However, the last few years have witnessed an explosion of data, and VACV has quickly become a useful model to study adaptive immune responses. This review summarizes and highlights key findings based on identification of VACV antigens targeted by the immune system (CD4, CD8 and antibodies) and the complex interplay between responses.
adaptive immunity; epitopes; immunodominant; protection; vaccinia virus
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has played a critical lead role over the past two years in fostering activities associated with the medical and public health response to bioterrorism. Based on a charge from Secretary Donna Shalala in 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is leading public health efforts to strengthen the nation's capacity to detect and respond to a bioterrorist event. As a result of our efforts, federal, state, and local communities are improving their public health capacities to respond to these types of emergencies. For many of us in public health, developing plans and capacities to respond to acts of bioterrorism is an extension of our long-standing roles and responsibilities. These are stated in the CDC Mission Statement: to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability, and the Bioterrorism Mission: to lead the public health effort in enhancing readiness to detect and respond to bioterrorism. CDC's infectious diseases control efforts are summarized below: --Initially formed to address malaria control in 1946; --Established the epidemic Intelligence Service in 1951; --Participated in global smallpox eradication and other immunization programs; --Estimated 800-1,000 + field investigations/year since late 1990s; --New diseases: Legionnaire's Disease, toxic shock syndrome, Lyme disease, HIV, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, West Nile, etc. -- Today: focus on emerging infections and bioterrorism. Over the past 50 years, CDC has seen a decline in the incidence of some infectious diseases and an increase in some, whereas others continue to present on a more unpredictable basis (i.e., hantavirus). Outbreak identification, investigation, and control have been an integral part of what we do for more than 50 years. We estimate that 800 to 1,000 field investigations have occurred every year since the late 1990s. Today, however, we have a new focus on emerging infectious diseases and bioterrorism.
Filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg viruses) are among the deadliest viruses known to mankind, with mortality rates nearing 90%. These pathogens are highly infectious through contact with infected body fluids and can be easily aerosolized. Additionally, there are currently no licensed vaccines available to prevent filovirus outbreaks. Their high mortality rates and infectious capabilities when aerosolized and the lack of licensed vaccines available to prevent such infectious make Ebola and Marburg viruses serious bioterrorism threats, placing them both on the category A list of bioterrorism agents. Here we describe a panfilovirus vaccine based on a complex adenovirus (CAdVax) technology that expresses multiple antigens from five different filoviruses de novo. Vaccination of nonhuman primates demonstrated 100% protection against infection by two species of Ebola virus and three Marburg virus subtypes, each administered at 1,000 times the lethal dose. This study indicates the feasibility of vaccination against all current filovirus threats in the event of natural hemorrhagic fever outbreak or biological attack.
Cardiac arrest during pregnancy is a dedicated chapter in the American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care; however, a robust maternal cardiac arrest knowledge translation strategy and emergency response plan is not usually the focus of institutional emergency preparedness programs. Although maternal cardiac arrest is rare, the emergency department is a high-risk area for receiving pregnant women in either prearrest or full cardiac arrest. It is imperative that institutions review and update emergency response plans for a maternal arrest. This review highlights the most recent science, guidelines, and recommended implementation strategies related to a maternal arrest. The aim of this paper is to increase the understanding of the important physiological differences of, and management strategies for, a maternal cardiac arrest, as well as provide institutions with the most up-to-date literature on which they can build emergency preparedness programs for a maternal arrest.
The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a newly discovered infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus, which can readily spread in the healthcare setting. A recent community outbreak in Hong Kong infected a significant number of pregnant women who subsequently required emergency caesarean section for deteriorating maternal condition and respiratory failure. As no neonatal clinician has any experience in looking after these high risk infants, stringent infection control measures for prevention of cross infection between patients and staff are important to safeguard the wellbeing of the work force and to avoid nosocomial spread of SARS within the neonatal unit. This article describes the infection control and patient triage policy of the neonatal unit at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong. We hope this information is useful in helping other units to formulate their own infection control plans according to their own unit configuration and clinical needs.
The emergence of a new subtype of the influenza virus in 2009 generated interest in the international medical community, the media, and the general population. Pregnant women are considered to be a group at risk of serious complications related to the H1N1 influenza virus. The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcomes and teratogenic effects of pregnancies exposed to the H1N1 virus during the Influenza A epidemic that occurred in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in 2009.
This is an uncontrolled prospective cohort study of pregnant women with suspected symptoms of Influenza A who were reported in the Information System for Notifiable Diseases – Influenza (SINAN-Influenza) during the epidemic of 2009 (database from the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil). There were 589 cases of pregnant women with suspected infection. Among these, 243 were tested by PCR and included in the analysis. The main outcome measures were: maternal deaths, pregnancy outcome, stillbirths, premature births, low birth weight, congenital malformations, and odds ratios for H1N1+ and non-H1N1 pregnant women.
There were one hundred and sixty-three (67%) confirmed cases of H1N1, 34 cases (14%) of seasonal Influenza A and 46 (19%) who were negative for Influenza A. There was no difference between the three groups in clinical parameters of the disease. There were 24 maternal deaths — 18 of them had H1N1. There were 8 stillbirths — 5 were children of H1N1 infected mothers. There were no differences in perinatal outcomes.
The present data do not indicate an increase in teratogenic risk from exposure to the influenza A (H1N1) virus. These results will help to strengthen the data and clarify the health issues that arose after the pandemic.
Bacillus anthracis infection is rare in developed countries. However, recent outbreaks in the United States and Europe and the potential use of the bacteria for bioterrorism have focused interest on it. Furthermore, although anthrax was known to typically occur as one of three syndromes related to entry site of (i.e., cutaneous, gastrointestinal, or inhalational), a fourth syndrome including severe soft tissue infection in injectional drug users is emerging. Although shock has been described with cutaneous anthrax, it appears much more common with gastrointestinal, inhalational (5 of 11 patients in the 2001 outbreak in the United States), and injectional anthrax. Based in part on case series, the estimated mortalities of cutaneous, gastrointestinal, inhalational, and injectional anthrax are 1%, 25 to 60%, 46%, and 33%, respectively. Nonspecific early symptomatology makes initial identification of anthrax cases difficult. Clues to anthrax infection include history of exposure to herbivore animal products, heroin use, or clustering of patients with similar respiratory symptoms concerning for a bioterrorist event. Once anthrax is suspected, the diagnosis can usually be made with Gram stain and culture from blood or surgical specimens followed by confirmatory testing (e.g., PCR or immunohistochemistry). Although antibiotic therapy (largely quinolone-based) is the mainstay of anthrax treatment, the use of adjunctive therapies such as anthrax toxin antagonists is a consideration.
Bacillus anthracis; diagnosis; pathogenesis; treatment