Background. Wisconsin was severely affected by pandemic waves of 2009 influenza A H1N1 infection during the period 15 April through 30 August 2009 (wave 1) and 31 August 2009 through 2 January 2010 (wave 2).
Methods. To evaluate differences in epidemiologic features and outcomes during these pandemic waves, we examined prospective surveillance data on Wisconsin residents who were hospitalized ≥24 h with or died of pandemic H1N1 infection.
Results. Rates of hospitalizations and deaths from pandemic H1N1 infection in Wisconsin increased 4- and 5-fold, respectively, from wave 1 to wave 2; outside Milwaukee, hospitalization and death rates increased 10- and 8-fold, respectively. Hospitalization rates were highest among racial and ethnic minorities and children during wave 1 and increased most during wave 2 among non-Hispanic whites and adults. Times to hospital admission and antiviral treatment improved between waves, but the overall hospital course remained similar, with no change in hospitalization duration, intensive care unit admission, requirement for mechanical ventilation, or mortality.
Conclusions. We report broader geographic spread and marked demographic differences during pandemic wave 2, compared with wave 1, although clinical outcomes were similar. Our findings emphasize the importance of using comprehensive surveillance data to detect changing characteristics and impacts during an influenza pandemic and of vigorously promoting influenza vaccination and other prevention efforts.
Diagnosis of Seoul virus-associated hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) cases among United States residents is rare. We describe confirmation of a Seoul virus infection in a 36-year-old scientist who worked with laboratory rats in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but most likely acquired the infection during a trip to Shenyang, China.
Following a 2005 report of chromosomal damage in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who were treated with the commonly prescribed medication methylphenidate (MPH), numerous studies have been conducted to clarify the risk for MPH-induced genetic damage. Although most of these studies reported no changes in genetic damage endpoints associated with exposure to MPH, one recent study (Andreazza et al. 2007) reported an increase in DNA damage detected by the Comet assay in blood and brain cells of Wistar rats treated by intraperitoneal injection with 1, 2, or 10 mg/kg MPH; no increases in micronucleated lymphocyte frequencies were observed in these rats. To clarify these findings, we treated adult male Wistar Han rats with 0, 2, 10, or 25 mg/kg MPH by gavage once daily for 28 consecutive days and measured micronucleated reticulocyte (MN-RET) frequencies in blood, and DNA damage in blood, brain, and liver cells 4 hr after final dosing. Flow cytometric evaluation of blood revealed no significant increases in MN-RET. Comet assay evaluations of blood leukocytes and cells of the liver, as well as of the striatum, hippocampus, and frontal cortex of the brain showed no increases in DNA damage in MPH-treated rats in any of the three treatment groups. Thus, the previously reported observations of DNA damage in blood and brain tissue of rats exposed to MPH for 28 days were not confirmed in this study. Additionally, no histopathological changes in brain or heart, or elevated serum biomarkers of cardiac injury were observed in these MPH-exposed rats.
genotoxicity; ADHD; chromosomal damage; Comet assay; micronuclei; troponin
Zoonotic infections with swine influenza A viruses are reported sporadically. Triple reassortant swine influenza viruses have been isolated from pigs in the United States since 1998. We report a human case of upper respiratory illness associated with swine influenza A (H1N1) triple reassortant virus infection that occurred during 2005 following exposure to freshly killed pigs.
influenza; swine influenza virus; zoonoses; dispatch
Infection is associated with proximity to virus-infected animals and their excretions and secretions.
For the 2003 monkeypox virus (MPXV) outbreak in the United States, interhuman transmission was not documented and all case-patients were near or handled MPXV-infected prairie dogs. We initiated a case–control study to evaluate risk factors for animal-to-human MPXV transmission. Participants completed a questionnaire requesting exposure, clinical, and demographic information. Serum samples were obtained for analysis of immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM to orthopoxvirus. When data were adjusted for smallpox vaccination, case-patients were more likely than controls to have had daily exposure to a sick animal (odds ratio [OR] 4.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–13.4), cleaned cages and bedding of a sick animal (OR 5.3, 95% CI 1.4–20.7), or touched a sick animal (OR 4.0, 95% CI 1.2–13.4). These findings demonstrate that human MPXV infection is associated with handling of MPXV-infected animals and suggest that exposure to excretions and secretions of infected animals can result in infection.
Monkeypox; epidemiology; risk factor; smallpox vaccination; zoonotic; subclinical infection; research
Veterinary staff were at high risk; standard veterinary infection-control guidelines should be followed.
We determined factors associated with occupational transmission in Wisconsin during the 2003 outbreak of prairie dog–associated monkeypox virus infections. Our investigation included active contact surveillance, exposure-related interviews, and a veterinary facility cohort study. We identified 19 confirmed, 5 probable, and 3 suspected cases. Rash, headache, sweats, and fever were reported by >80% of patients. Occupationally transmitted infections occurred in 12 veterinary staff, 2 pet store employees, and 2 animal distributors. The following were associated with illness: working directly with animal care (p = 0.002), being involved in prairie dog examination, caring for an animal within 6 feet of an ill prairie dog (p = 0.03), feeding an ill prairie dog (p = 0.002), and using an antihistamine (p = 0.04). Having never handled an ill prairie dog (p = 0.004) was protective. Veterinary staff used personal protective equipment sporadically. Our findings underscore the importance of standard veterinary infection-control guidelines.
occupational diseases; veterinary medicine; monkeypox; domestic animals; commerce; infection control; research
We document the second known case of Cache Valley virus disease in a human. Cache Valley virus disease is rarely diagnosed in North America, in part because laboratories rarely test for it. Its true incidence, effect on public health, and full clinical spectrum remain to be determined.
Cache Valley virus; arbovirus; orthobunyavirus; Bunyamwera serogroup virus; meningitis; encephalitis
The Wisconsin Antibiotic Resistance Network (WARN) was launched in 1999 to educate physicians and the public about judicious antimicrobial drug use. Public education included radio and television advertisements, posters, pamphlets, and presentations at childcare centers. Physician education included mailings, susceptibility reports, practice guidelines, satellite conferences, and presentations. We analyzed antimicrobial prescribing data for primary care physicians in Wisconsin and Minnesota (control state). Antimicrobial prescribing declined 19.8% in Minnesota and 20.4% in Wisconsin from 1998 to 2003. Prescribing by internists declined significantly more in Wisconsin than Minnesota, but the opposite was true for pediatricians. We conclude that the secular trend of declining antimicrobial drug use continued through 2003, but a large-scale educational program did not generate greater reductions in Wisconsin despite improved knowledge. State and local organizations should consider a balanced approach that includes limited statewide educational activities with increasing emphasis on local, provider-level interventions and policy development to promote careful antimicrobial drug use.
Keywords: Drug resistance; drug utilization/trends; health education; outcome and process assessment; respiratory tract infections/drug therapy; physician
In 1991, most physicians in Minnesota and Wisconsin managed patients concerns about anthrax without dispensing prophylactic antimicrobial agents.
Media reports suggested increased public demand for anthrax prophylaxis after the intentional anthrax cases in 2001, but the magnitude of anthrax-related prescribing in unaffected regions was not assessed. We surveyed a random sample of 400 primary care clinicians in Minnesota and Wisconsin to assess requests for and provision of anthrax-related antimicrobial agents. The survey was returned by 239 (60%) of clinicians, including 210 in outpatient practice. Fifty-eight (28%) of those in outpatient practice received requests for anthrax-related antimicrobial agents, and 9 (4%) dispensed them. Outpatient fluoroquinolone use in both states was also analyzed with regression models to compare predicted and actual use in October and November 2001. Fluoroquinolone use as a proportion of total antimicrobial use was not elevated, and anthrax concerns accounted for an estimated 0.3% of all fluoroquinolone prescriptions. Most physicians in Minnesota and Wisconsin managed anthrax-related requests without dispensing antimicrobial agents.
research, anthrax, fluoroquinolone, prophylaxis; drug resistance; bioterrorism
To assess the total medical costs and productivity losses associated with the 1993 waterborne outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, including the average cost per person with mild, moderate, and severe illness, we conducted a retrospective cost-of-illness analysis using data from 11 hospitals in the greater Milwaukee area and epidemiologic data collected during the outbreak. The total cost of outbreak-associated illness was $96.2 million: $31.7 million in medical costs and $64.6 million in productivity losses. The average total costs for persons with mild, moderate, and severe illness were $116, $475, and $7,808, respectively. The potentially high cost of waterborne disease outbreaks should be considered in economic decisions regarding the safety of public drinking water supplies.
cost of illness; costs and cost analysis; healthcare costs; hospital costs; disease outbreaks; Cryptosporidium parvum; cryptosporidiosis; drinking water; research
This report describes the investigation of a ground-beef-associated outbreak that involved five genetically distinct patient strains of Escherichia coli O157:H7. Human and product isolates were evaluated by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) with two endonucleases. The multiple-strain etiology of this outbreak underscores the importance of isolating and evaluating multiple colonies from outbreak-related products and comparing two endonuclease PFGE patterns of all product and human isolates identified during outbreak periods. This investigation emphasizes the importance of interviewing all confirmed and suspected case patients during the outbreak period, regardless of the PFGE pattern of their isolate, to confirm or rule out an epidemiologic link to the outbreak.
We conducted a case-control study in Wisconsin to determine whether some patients have long-term adverse health outcomes after antibiotic treatment for human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE). A standardized health status questionnaire was administered to patients and controls matched by age group and sex. Consenting patients provided blood samples for serologic testing. Among the 85 previously treated patients, the median interval since onset of illness was 24 months. Compared with 102 controls, patients were more likely to report recurrent or continuous fevers, chills, fatigue, and sweats. Patients had lower health status scores than controls for bodily pain and health relative to 1 year earlier, but there was no significant difference in physical functioning, role limitations, general health, or vitality measures. The HGE antibody titer remained elevated in one patient; two had elevated aspartate aminotransferase levels. HGE may cause a postinfectious syndrome characterized by constitutional symptoms without functional disability or serologic evidence of persistent infection.
ehrlichiosis; granulocytes; tick-borne diseases; human; health status; treatment outcome
During September 1999, a multistate outbreak of Salmonella serovar Muenchen infection associated with eating raw alfalfa sprouts was identified in Wisconsin. Despite use of a calcium hypochlorite sanitizing procedure to pretreat seeds before sprouting, at least 157 outbreak-related illnesses were identified in seven states having sprouters who received alfalfa seed from a specific lot. The continued occurrence of sprout-related outbreaks despite presprouting disinfection supports the concern that no available treatment will eliminate pathogens from seeds before sprouting and reinforces the need for additional safeguards to protect the public. A lack of consumer knowledge regarding exposure to sprouts documented in this investigation suggests that more-targeted outreach to high-risk individuals may be needed to reduce their risk.
Ehrlichiosis is a clinically important, emerging zoonosis. Only Ehrlichia chaffeensis and E. ewingii have been thought to cause ehrlichiosis in humans in the United States. Patients with suspected ehrlichiosis routinely undergo testing to ensure proper diagnosis and to ascertain the cause.
We used molecular methods, culturing, and serologic testing to diagnose and ascertain the cause of cases of ehrlichiosis.
On testing, four cases of ehrlichiosis in Minnesota or Wisconsin were found not to be from E. chaffeensis or E. ewingii and instead to be caused by a newly discovered ehrlichia species. All patients had fever, malaise, headache, and lymphopenia; three had thrombocytopenia; and two had elevated liver-enzyme levels. All recovered after receiving doxycycline treatment. At least 17 of 697 Ixodes scapularis ticks collected in Minnesota or Wisconsin were positive for the same ehrlichia species on polymerase-chain-reaction testing. Genetic analyses revealed that this new ehrlichia species is closely related to E. muris.
We report a new ehrlichia species in Minnesota and Wisconsin and provide supportive clinical, epidemiologic, culture, DNA-sequence, and vector data. Physicians need to be aware of this newly discovered close relative of E. muris to ensure appropriate testing, treatment, and regional surveillance. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
The first year experience with the development and use of a Computer Assisted Disease Surveillance System (CASS) has been successful at meeting the initial needs of the State epidemiologists in Wisconsin. The user epidemiologists are impressed with the flexibility of the system to easily compensate for the design changes and crisis needs. Acceptance by the user has been aided by the orientation of the software. The potential for enhancing the epidemiologists' capacity to monitor and control disease has not yet been reached. Enhanced efforts to educate users and to utilize graphics and communications capabilities of the system are under way.