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1.  Q Fever Is Underestimated in the United States: A Comparison of Fatal Q Fever Cases from Two National Reporting Systems 
Two national surveillance systems capturing reports of fatal Q fever were compared with obtained estimates of Q fever underreporting in the United States using capture–recapture methods. During 2000–2011, a total of 33 unique fatal Q fever cases were reported through case report forms submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and through U.S. death certificate data. A single case matched between both data sets, yielding an estimated 129 fatal cases (95% confidence interval [CI] = 62–1,250) during 2000–2011. Fatal cases of Q fever were underreported through case report forms by an estimated factor of 14 and through death certificates by an estimated factor of 5.2.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.14-0502
PMCID: PMC4347323  PMID: 25404074
2.  Viability of Leptospira Isolates from a Human Outbreak in Thailand in Various Water Types, pH, and Temperature Conditions 
Leptospira spp. isolated from patients during a multiyear outbreak in Thailand were genotyped using multilocus sequence typing and a majority were identified as ST34, especially in earlier years. We tested whether ST34 isolates were better adapted to survive in various pH levels, temperatures, and water sources. Motility and growth were monitored over a 12-week period. Early year ST34 isolates did not appear to have a significant fitness advantage over non-ST34, however, this may have been because a majority of the isolates survived to the termination of the study, with the exception being at high temperature (37°C) and/or basic pH (8.65). Failure to detect a significant fitness advantage of ST34 may be a result of the length of the study or the small sample size. Lengthening the study and looking at virulence and maintenance in the host could yield additional information about this outbreak.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.13-0748
PMCID: PMC4228868  PMID: 25200260
3.  An Investigation of a Cluster of Parapoxvirus Cases in Missouri, Feb–May 2006: Epidemiologic, Clinical and Molecular Aspects 
Simple Summary
In the spring of 2006, four human cases of parapoxvirus infections in Missouri residents were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We conducted surveys of herders and veterinarians, performed animal and environmental sampling and obtained sera from potential case-patients. We determined that, in general, infected persons may seek advice from veterinarians rather than physicians, thereby giving physicians less clinical experience. The initial perception of increased incidence in Missouri was likely due to reporting bias due to misdiagnosis and increased awareness due to recent publications. Basic personal protective measures are not being routinely utilized. Asymptomatic parapoxvirus infections in livestock may be common and warrants further investigation.
Abstract
In the spring of 2006, four human cases of parapoxvirus infections in Missouri residents were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two of which were initially diagnosed as cutaneous anthrax. This investigation was conducted to determine the level of recognition of zoonotic parapoxvirus infections and prevention measures, the degree to which veterinarians may be consulted on human infections and what forces were behind this perceived increase in reported infections. Interviews were conducted and clinical and environmental sampling was performed. Swab and scab specimens were analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), whereas serum specimens were evaluated for parapoxvirus antibodies. Three case patients were found to have fed ill juvenile animals without using gloves. Forty-six percent of veterinarians reported having been consulted regarding suspected human orf infections. Orf virus DNA was detected from five of 25 asymptomatic sheep. Analysis of extracellular envelope gene sequences indicated that sheep and goat isolates clustered in a species-preferential fashion. Parapoxvirus infections are common in Missouri ruminants and their handlers. Infected persons often do not seek medical care; some may seek advice from veterinarians rather than physicians. The initial perception of increased incidence in Missouri may have arisen from a reporting artifact stemming from heightened concern about anthrax. Asymptomatic parapoxvirus infections in livestock may be common and further investigation warranted.
doi:10.3390/ani3010142
PMCID: PMC4495517  PMID: 26487314
parapoxvirus; orf virus; pseudocowpox virus; transmission; diagnostics; occupational exposure
4.  Increasing trend in the rate of infectious disease hospitalisations among Alaska Native people 
International Journal of Circumpolar Health  2013;72:10.3402/ijch.v72i0.20994.
Objectives
To examine the epidemiology of infectious disease (ID) hospitalisations among Alaska Native (AN) people.
Methods
Hospitalisations with a first-listed ID diagnosis for American Indians and ANs residing in Alaska during 2001–2009 were selected from the Indian Health Service direct and contract health service inpatient data. ID hospitalisations to describe the general US population were selected from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. Annual and average annual (2007–2009) hospitalization rates were calculated.
Results
During 2007–2009, IDs accounted for 20% of hospitalisations among AN people. The 2007–2009 average annual age-adjusted ID hospitalisation rate (2126/100,000 persons) was higher than that for the general US population (1679/100,000; 95% CI 1639–1720). The ID hospitalisation rate for AN people increased from 2001 to 2009 (17%, p<0.001). Although the rate during 2001–2009 declined for AN infants (<1 year of age; p=0.03), they had the highest 2007–2009 average annual rate (15106/100,000), which was 3 times the rate for general US infants (5215/100,000; 95% CI 4783–5647). The annual rates for the age groups 1–4, 5–19, 40–49, 50–59 and 70–79 years increased (p<0.05). The highest 2007–2009 age-adjusted average annual ID hospitalisation rates were in the Yukon-Kuskokwim (YK) (3492/100,000) and Kotzebue (3433/100,000) regions; infant rates were 30422/100,000 and 26698/100,000 in these regions, respectively. During 2007–2009, lower respiratory tract infections accounted for 39% of all ID hospitalisations and approximately 50% of ID hospitalisations in YK, Kotzebue and Norton Sound, and 74% of infant ID hospitalisations.
Conclusions
The ID hospitalisation rate increased for AN people overall. The rate for AN people remained higher than that for the general US population, particularly in infants and in the YK and Kotzebue regions. Prevention measures to reduce ID morbidity among AN people should be increased in high-risk regions and for diseases with high hospitalisation rates.
doi:10.3402/ijch.v72i0.20994
PMCID: PMC3753132  PMID: 23984284
Alaska Native; infectious disease; hospitalisations; Alaska; lower respiratory tract infection
5.  Changing Trends in Viral Hepatitis-Associated Hospitalizations in the American Indian/Alaska Native Population, 1995–2007 
Public Health Reports  2011;126(6):816-825.
SYNOPSIS
Objective
We described the changing epidemiology of viral hepatitis among the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) population that uses Indian Health Service (IHS) health care.
Methods
We used hospital discharge data from the IHS National Patient Information Reporting System to determine rates of hepatitis A-, B-, and C-associated hospitalization among AI/ANs using IHS health care from 1995–2007 and summary periods 1995–1997 and 2005–2007.
Results
Hepatitis A-associated hospitalization rates among AI/AN people decreased from 4.9 per 100,000 population during 1995–1997 to 0.8 per 100,000 population during 2005–2007 (risk ratio [RR] = 0.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.1, 0.2). While there was no significant change in the overall hepatitis B-associated hospitalization rate between time periods, the average annual rate in people aged 45–64 years increased by 109% (RR=2.1, 95% CI 1.4, 3.2). Between the two time periods, the hepatitis C-associated hospitalization rate rose from 13.0 to 55.0 per 100,000 population (RR=4.2, 95% CI 3.8, 4.7), an increase of 323%. The hepatitis C-associated hospitalization rate was highest among people aged 45–64 years, males, and those in the Alaska region.
Conclusions
Hepatitis A has decreased to near-eradication levels among the AI/AN population using IHS health care. Hepatitis C-associated hospitalizations increased significantly; however, there was no significant change in hepatitis B-associated hospitalizations. Emphasis should be placed on continued universal childhood and adolescent hepatitis B vaccination and improved vaccination of high-risk adults. Prevention and education efforts should focus on decreasing hepatitis C risk behaviors and identifying people with hepatitis C infection so they may be referred for treatment.
PMCID: PMC3185317  PMID: 22043097
6.  Human Prion Diseases in the United States 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8521.
Background
Prion diseases are a family of rare, progressive, neurodegenerative disorders that affect humans and animals. The most common form of human prion disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), occurs worldwide. Variant CJD (vCJD), a recently emerged human prion disease, is a zoonotic foodborne disorder that occurs almost exclusively in countries with outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
This study describes the occurrence and epidemiology of CJD and vCJD in the United States.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Analysis of CJD and vCJD deaths using death certificates of US residents for 1979–2006, and those identified through other surveillance mechanisms during 1996–2008. Since CJD is invariably fatal and illness duration is usually less than one year, the CJD incidence is estimated as the death rate. During 1979 through 2006, an estimated 6,917 deaths with CJD as a cause of death were reported in the United States, an annual average of approximately 247 deaths (range 172–304 deaths). The average annual age-adjusted incidence for CJD was 0.97 per 1,000,000 persons. Most (61.8%) of the CJD deaths occurred among persons ≥65 years of age for an average annual incidence of 4.8 per 1,000,000 persons in this population. Most deaths were among whites (94.6%); the age-adjusted incidence for whites was 2.7 times higher than that for blacks (1.04 and 0.40, respectively). Three patients who died since 2004 were reported with vCJD; epidemiologic evidence indicated that their infection was acquired outside of the United States.
Conclusion/Significance
Surveillance continues to show an annual CJD incidence rate of about 1 case per 1,000,000 persons and marked differences in CJD rates by age and race in the United States. Ongoing surveillance remains important for monitoring the stability of the CJD incidence rates, and detecting occurrences of vCJD and possibly other novel prion diseases in the United States.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008521
PMCID: PMC2797136  PMID: 20049325

Results 1-6 (6)