The immense molecular diversity of neurons challenges our ability to understand the genetic and cellular etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. Leveraging knowledge from neurobiology may help parse the genetic complexity: identifying genes important for a circuit that mediates a particular symptom of a disease may help identify polymorphisms that contribute to risk for the disease as a whole. The serotonergic system has long been suspected in disorders that have symptoms of repetitive behaviors and resistance to change, including autism. We generated a bacTRAP mouse line to permit translational profiling of serotonergic neurons. From this, we identified several thousand serotonergic-cell expressed transcripts, of which 174 were highly enriched, including all known markers of these cells. Analysis of common variants near the corresponding genes in the AGRE collection implicated the RNA binding protein CELF6 in autism risk. Screening for rare variants in CELF6 identified an inherited premature stop codon in one of the probands. Subsequent disruption of Celf6 in mice resulted in animals exhibiting resistance to change and decreased ultrasonic vocalization as well as abnormal levels of serotonin in the brain. This work provides a reproducible and accurate method to profile serotonergic neurons under a variety of conditions and suggests a novel paradigm for gaining information on the etiology of psychiatric disorders.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in Southeast Asia, but regional data is limited. Updated burden estimates are critical as pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) is highly effective, but not yet included in the Expanded Program on Immunization of Thailand or neighboring countries.
We implemented automated blood culture systems in two rural Thailand provinces as part of population-based surveillance for bacteremia. Blood cultures were collected from hospitalized patients as clinically indicated.
From May 2005– March 2010, 196 cases of pneumococcal bacteremia were confirmed in hospitalized patients. Of these, 57% had clinical pneumonia, 20% required mechanical ventilation, and 23% (n = 46) died. Antibiotic use before blood culture was confirmed in 25% of those with blood culture. Annual incidence of hospitalized pneumococcal bacteremia was 3.6 per 100,000 person-years; rates were higher among children aged <5 years at 11.7 and adults ≥65 years at 14.2, and highest among infants <1 year at 33.8. The median monthly case count was higher during December–March compared to the rest of the year 6.0 vs. 1.0 (p<0.001). The most common serotypes were 23F (16%) and 14 (14%); 61% (74% in patients <5 years) were serotypes in the 10-valent PCV (PCV 10) and 82% (92% in <5 years) in PCV 13. All isolates were sensitive to penicillin, but non-susceptibility was high for co-trimoxazole (57%), erythromycin (30%), and clindamycin (20%).
We demonstrated a high pneumococcal bacteremia burden, yet underestimated incidence because we captured only hospitalized cases, and because pre-culture antibiotics were frequently used. Our findings together with prior research indicate that PCV would likely have high serotype coverage in Thailand. These findings will complement ongoing cost effectiveness analyses and support vaccine policy evaluation in Thailand and the region.
The first human infections with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus were confirmed in April 2009. We describe the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09-associated pneumonia deaths in Thailand from May 2009-January 2010.
We identified influenza A(H1N1)pdm09-associated pneumonia deaths from a national influenza surveillance system and performed detailed reviews of a subset.
Of 198 deaths reported, 49% were male and the median age was 37 years; 146 (73%) were 20–60 years. Among 90 deaths with records available for review, 46% had no identified risk factors for severe influenza. Eighty-eight patients (98%) received antiviral treatment, but only 16 (18%) initiated therapy within 48 hours of symptom onset.
Most influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 pneumonia fatalities in Thailand occurred in adults aged 20–60 years. Nearly half lacked high-risk conditions. Antiviral treatment recommendations may be especially important early in a pandemic before vaccine is available. Treatment should be considered as soon as influenza is suspected.
Data on the burden of the 2009 influenza pandemic in Asia are limited. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was first reported in Thailand in May 2009. We assessed incidence and epidemiology of influenza-associated hospitalizations during 2009–2010.
We conducted active, population-based surveillance for hospitalized cases of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) in all 20 hospitals in two rural provinces. ALRI patients were sampled 1∶2 for participation in an etiology study in which nasopharyngeal swabs were collected for influenza virus testing by PCR.
Of 7,207 patients tested, 902 (12.5%) were influenza-positive, including 190 (7.8%) of 2,436 children aged <5 years; 86% were influenza A virus (46% A(H1N1)pdm09, 30% H3N2, 6.5% H1N1, 3.5% not subtyped) and 13% were influenza B virus. Cases of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 first peaked in August 2009 when 17% of tested patients were positive. Subsequent peaks during 2009 and 2010 represented a mix of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, H3N2, and influenza B viruses. The estimated annual incidence of hospitalized influenza cases was 136 per 100,000, highest in ages <5 years (477 per 100,000) and >75 years (407 per 100,000). The incidence of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was 62 per 100,000 (214 per 100,000 in children <5 years). Eleven influenza-infected patients required mechanical ventilation, and four patients died, all adults with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 (1) or H3N2 (3).
Influenza-associated hospitalization rates in Thailand during 2009–10 were substantial and exceeded rates described in western countries. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 predominated, but H3N2 also caused notable morbidity. Expanded influenza vaccination coverage could have considerable public health impact, especially in young children.
Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, is endemic in northeastern Thailand. Population-based disease burden estimates are lacking and limited data on melioidosis exist from other regions of the country. Using active, population-based surveillance, we measured the incidence of bacteremic melioidosis in the provinces of Sa Kaeo (eastern Thailand) and Nakhon Phanom (northeastern Thailand) during 2006–2008. The average annual incidence in Sa Kaeo and Nakhon Phanom per 100,000 persons was 4.9 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.9–6.1) and 14.9 (95% CI = 13.3–16.6). The respective population mortality rates were 1.9 (95% CI = 1.3–2.8) and 4.4 (95% CI = 3.6–5.3) per 100,000. The case-fatality proportion was 36% among those with known outcome. Our findings document a high incidence and case fatality proportion of bacteremic melioidosis in Thailand, including a region not traditionally considered highly endemic, and have potential implications for clinical management and health policy.
The strengths and weaknesses of this response can inform planning for pandemics and other prolonged public health emergencies.
In 2009, Thailand experienced rapid spread of the pandemic influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus. The national response came under intense public scrutiny as the number of confirmed cases and associated deaths increased. Thus, during July–December 2009, the Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organization jointly reviewed the response efforts. The review found that the actions taken were largely appropriate and proportionate to need. However, areas needing improvement were surveillance, laboratory capacity, hospital infection control and surge capacity, coordination and monitoring of guidelines for clinical management and nonpharmaceutical interventions, risk communications, and addressing vulnerabilities of non-Thai displaced and migrant populations. The experience in Thailand may be applicable to other countries and settings, and the lessons learned may help strengthen responses to other pandemics or comparable prolonged public health emergencies.
national response; surveillance; in-bound screening; influenza-like illness; risk communications; vaccine; pandemic; influenza; Thailand; influenza A(H1N1)pdm09; pH1N1 virus; lessons learned; pandemic planning; viruses
We identified Bartonella vinsonii subsp. arupensis in pre-enriched blood of 4 patients from Thailand. Nucleotide sequences for transfer-messenger RNA gene, citrate synthase gene, and the 16S–23S rRNA internal transcribed spacer were identical or closely related to those for the strain that has been considered pathogenic since initially isolated from a human in Wyoming, USA.
Bartonella vinsonii subsp. arupensis; animal hosts; Thailand; undiagnosed diseases; bacteria; zoonoses
The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) project is a 7-country, standardized, comprehensive evaluation of the etiologic agents causing severe pneumonia in children from developing countries. During previous etiology studies, between one-quarter and one-third of patients failed to yield an obvious etiology; PERCH will employ and evaluate previously unavailable innovative, more sensitive diagnostic techniques. Innovative and rigorous epidemiologic and analytic methods will be used to establish the causal association between presence of potential pathogens and pneumonia. By strategic selection of study sites that are broadly representative of regions with the greatest burden of childhood pneumonia, PERCH aims to provide data that reflect the epidemiologic situation in developing countries in 2015, using pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccines. PERCH will also address differences in host, environmental, and/or geographic factors that might determine pneumonia etiology and, by preserving specimens, will generate a resource for future research and pathogen discovery.
Among approximately 163.5 million foreign-born persons admitted to the United States annually, only 500,000 immigrants and refugees are required to undergo overseas tuberculosis (TB) screening. It is unclear what extent of the unscreened nonimmigrant visitors contributes to the burden of foreign-born TB in the United States.
We defined foreign-born persons within 1 year after arrival in the United States as “newly arrived”, and utilized data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and World Health Organization to estimate the incidence of TB among newly arrived foreign-born persons in the United States. During 2001 through 2008, 11,500 TB incident cases, including 291 multidrug-resistant TB incident cases, were estimated to occur among 20,989,738 person-years for the 1,479,542,654 newly arrived foreign-born persons in the United States. Of the 11,500 estimated TB incident cases, 41.6% (4,783) occurred among immigrants and refugees, 36.6% (4,211) among students/exchange visitors and temporary workers, 13.8% (1,589) among tourists and business travelers, and 7.3% (834) among Canadian and Mexican nonimmigrant visitors without an I-94 form (e.g., arrival-departure record). The top 3 newly arrived foreign-born populations with the largest estimated TB incident cases per 100,000 admissions were immigrants and refugees from high-incidence countries (e.g., 2008 WHO-estimated TB incidence rate of ≥100 cases/100,000 population/year; 235.8 cases/100,000 admissions, 95% confidence interval [CI], 228.3 to 243.3), students/exchange visitors and temporary workers from high-incidence countries (60.9 cases/100,000 admissions, 95% CI, 58.5 to 63.3), and immigrants and refugees from medium-incidence countries (e.g., 2008 WHO-estimated TB incidence rate of 15–99 cases/100,000 population/year; 55.2 cases/100,000 admissions, 95% CI, 51.6 to 58.8).
Newly arrived nonimmigrant visitors contribute substantially to the burden of foreign-born TB in the United States. To achieve the goals of TB elimination, direct investment in global TB control and strategies to target nonimmigrant visitors should be considered.
Glucocorticoids (GCs) such as dexamethasone (DEX) or betamethasone are repeatedly administered for up to a month to prematurely born infants as a treatment for chronic lung dysfunction. Results of clinical trials have shown that the use of GCs in these infants induces long-term deficits in neuromotor function and cognition. We have previously shown that a single exposure to clinically relevant doses of DEX or other GCs in the mouse during a period corresponding to the human perinatal period produces a dramatic increase in apoptotic cell death of neural progenitor cells in the developing cerebellum. To provide a model approximating more chronic clinical dosing regimens, we evaluated possible behavioral effects resulting from repeated exposures to DEX and subsequent GC-induced neuronal loss where neonatal mouse pups were injected with 3.0 mg/kg DEX or saline on postnatal days 7, 9, and 11 (DEX3 treatment). Adult, DEX3-treated mice exhibited long-term, possibly permanent, neuromotor deficits on a complex activity wheel task, which requires higher-order motor co-ordination skills. DEX3 mice exhibited impaired performance on this task relative to saline controls in each of two independent studies involving separate cohorts of mice. Histopathology studies utilizing stereological neuronal counts conducted in behaviorally-tested mice showed that the DEX3 treatment resulted in a significant decrease in the number of neurons in the internal granule layer (IGL) of the cerebellum, although the number of neurons in the Purkinje cell layer were unchanged. The results suggest that multiple neonatal DEX exposures can produce chronic deficits in fine motor co-ordination that are associated with cerebellar IGL neuronal loss.
glucocorticoid; dexamethasone; neuromotor deficits; motor co-ordination; complex activity wheel; cerebellum; internal granule layer; neuron loss; apoptotic cell death
The effect of the ketogenic diet on behavior and cognition is unclear. We addressed this issue in rats behaviorally and electrophysiologically. We fed postnatal day 21 rats a standard (SD), ketogenic (KD), or calorie-restricted (CR) diet for 2–3 weeks. CR controlled for the slower weight gain experienced by KD fed rats. We assessed behavioral performance with a locomotor activity and a conditioned fear test. To evaluate possible parallel effects of diet on synaptic function, we examined paired-pulse modulation (PPM) and long-term potentiation (LTP) in the medial perforant path in vivo. KD fed rats performed similarly to SD fed rats on the behavioral tests and electrophysiological assays. These data suggest that the KD does not alter behavioral performance or synaptic plasticity.
Calorie-restricted; conditioned fear test; locomotor activity; medial perforant path; paired-pulse modulation
Rabies is a fatal encephalitis caused by lyssaviruses. Evidence of lyssavirus circulation has recently emerged in Southeast Asian bats. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Thailand to assess rabies-related knowledge and practices among persons regularly exposed to bats and bat habitats. The objectives were to identify deficiencies in rabies awareness, describe the occurrence of bat exposures, and explore factors associated with transdermal bat exposures.
A survey was administered to a convenience sample of adult guano miners, bat hunters, game wardens, and residents/personnel at Buddhist temples where mass bat roosting occurs. The questionnaire elicited information on demographics, experience with bat exposures, and rabies knowledge. Participants were also asked to describe actions they would take in response to a bat bite as well as actions for a bite from a potentially rabid animal. Bivariate analysis was used to compare responses between groups and multivariable logistic regression was used to explore factors independently associated with being bitten or scratched by a bat.
Of 106 people interviewed, 11 (10%) identified bats as a potential source of rabies. A history of a bat bite or scratch was reported by 29 (27%), and 38 (36%) stated either that they would do nothing or that they did not know what they would do in response to a bat bite. Guano miners were less likely than other groups to indicate animal bites as a mechanism of rabies transmission (68% vs. 90%, p = 0.03) and were less likely to say they would respond appropriately to a bat bite or scratch (61% vs. 27%, p = 0.003). Guano mining, bat hunting, and being in a bat cave or roost area more than 5 times a year were associated with history of a bat bite or scratch.
These findings indicate the need for educational outreach to raise awareness of bat rabies, promote exposure prevention, and ensure appropriate health-seeking behaviors for bat-inflicted wounds, particularly among at-risk groups in Thailand.
Rabies is a fatal encephalitis caused by lyssaviruses. Evidence of lyssavirus circulation has recently emerged in Southeast Asian bats. We surveyed persons regularly exposed to bats and bat habitats in Thailand to assess rabies‐related knowledge and practices. Targeted groups included guano miners, bat hunters, game wardens, and residents/personnel at Buddhist temples where mass bat roosting occurs. Of the 106 people interviewed, 11 (10%) identified bats as a source of rabies. History of a bat bite/scratch was reported by 29 (27%), and 38 (36%) expressed either that they would do nothing or that they did not know what they would do in response to a bat bite. Guano miners were less likely than other groups to indicate animal bites as a mechanism of transmission (68% vs. 90%, p=0.03) and were less likely to say they would respond appropriately to a bat bite or scratch (61% vs. 27%, p=0.003). These findings indicate a need for educational outreach in Thailand to raise awareness of bat rabies, promote exposure prevention, and ensure health‐seeking behaviors for bat‐inflicted wounds, particularly among at‐risk groups.
To determine the role of Bartonella species as causes of acute febrile illness in humans from Thailand, we used a novel strategy of co-cultivation of blood with eukaryotic cells and subsequent phylogenetic analysis of Bartonella-specific DNA products. Bartonella species were identified in 14 blood clots from febrile patients. Sequence analysis showed that more than one-half of the genotypes identified in human patients were similar or identical to homologous sequences identified in rodents from Asia and were closely related to B. elizabethae, B. rattimassiliensis, and B. tribocorum. The remaining genotypes belonged to B. henselae, B. vinsonii, and B. tamiae. Among the positive febrile patients, animal exposure was common: 36% reported owning either dogs or cats and 71% reported rat exposure during the 2 weeks before illness onset. The findings suggest that rodents are likely reservoirs for a substantial portion of cases of human Bartonella infections in Thailand.
Although intensive glycemic control achieved with insulin therapy increases the incidence of both moderate and severe hypoglycemia, clinical reports of cognitive impairment due to severe hypoglycemia have been highly variable. It was hypothesized that recurrent moderate hypoglycemia preconditions the brain and protects against damage caused by severe hypoglycemia.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Nine-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to either 3 consecutive days of recurrent moderate (25–40 mg/dl) hypoglycemia (RH) or saline injections. On the fourth day, rats were subjected to a hyperinsulinemic (0.2 units · kg−1 · min−1) severe hypoglycemic (∼11 mg/dl) clamp for 60 or 90 min. Neuronal damage was subsequently assessed by hematoxylin-eosin and Fluoro-Jade B staining. The functional significance of severe hypoglycemia–induced brain damage was evaluated by motor and cognitive testing.
Severe hypoglycemia induced brain damage and striking deficits in spatial learning and memory. Rats subjected to recurrent moderate hypoglycemia had 62–74% less brain cell death and were protected from most of these cognitive disturbances.
Antecedent recurrent moderate hypoglycemia preconditioned the brain and markedly limited both the extent of severe hypoglycemia–induced neuronal damage and associated cognitive impairment. In conclusion, changes brought about by recurrent moderate hypoglycemia can be viewed, paradoxically, as providing a beneficial adaptive response in that there is mitigation against severe hypoglycemia–induced brain damage and cognitive dysfunction.
We describe the epidemiology of hospitalized RSV infections for all age groups from population-based surveillance in two rural provinces in Thailand.
From September 1, 2003 through December 31, 2007, we enrolled hospitalized patients with acute lower respiratory tract illness, who had a chest radiograph ordered by the physician, from all hospitals in SaKaeo and Nakhom Phanom Provinces. We tested nasopharyngeal specimens for RSV with reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays and paired-sera from a subset of patients with IgG enzyme immunoassay. Rates were adjusted for enrollment.
Among 11,097 enrolled patients, 987 (8.9%) had RSV infection. Rates of hospitalized RSV infection overall (and radiographically-confirmed pneumonia) were highest among children aged <1 year: 1,067/100,000 (534/100,000 radiographically-confirmed pneumonia) and 1–4 year: 403/100,000 (222/100,000), but low among enrolled adults aged ≥65 years: 42/100,000. Age <1 year (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 13.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 7.7, 22.5) and 1–4 year (aOR = 8.3, 95% CI 5.0, 13.9) were independent predictors of hospitalized RSV infection.
The incidence of hospitalized RSV lower respiratory tract illness among children <5 years was high in rural Thailand. Efforts to prevent RSV infection could substantially reduce the pneumonia burden in children aged <5 years.
No studies have quantified the impact of pre-culture antibiotic use on the recovery of individual blood-borne pathogens or on population-level incidence estimates for Streptococcus pneumoniae. We conducted bloodstream infection surveillance in Thailand during November 2005–June 2008. Pre-culture antibiotic use was assessed by reported use and by serum antimicrobial activity. Of 35,639 patient blood cultures, 27% had reported pre-culture antibiotic use and 24% (of 24,538 tested) had serum antimicrobial activity. Pathogen isolation was half as common in patients with versus without antibiotic use; S. pneumoniae isolation was 4- to 9-fold less common (0.09% versus 0.37% by reported antibiotic use; 0.05% versus 0.45% by serum antimicrobial activity, P < 0.01). Pre-culture antibiotic use by serum antimicrobial activity reduced pneumococcal bacteremia incidence by 32% overall and 39% in children < 5 years of age. Our findings highlight the limitations of culture-based detection methods to estimate invasive pneumococcal disease incidence in settings where pre-culture antibiotic use is common.
Bartonella; bacteria; Thailand; letter
Data on the incidence, seasonality and mortality associated with influenza in subtropical low and middle income countries are limited. Prospective data from multiple years are needed to develop vaccine policy and treatment guidelines, and improve pandemic preparedness.
During January 2005 through December 2008, we used an active, population-based surveillance system to prospectively identify hospitalized pneumonia cases with influenza confirmed by reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction or cell culture in 20 hospitals in two provinces in Thailand. Age-specific incidence was calculated and extrapolated to estimate national annual influenza pneumonia hospital admissions and in-hospital deaths.
Influenza was identified in 1,346 (10.4%) of pneumonia patients of all ages, and 10 influenza pneumonia patients died while in the hospital. 702 (52%) influenza pneumonia patients were less than 15 years of age. The average annual incidence of influenza pneumonia was greatest in children less than 5 years of age (236 per 100,000) and in those age 75 or older (375 per 100,000). During 2005, 2006 and 2008 influenza A virus detection among pneumonia cases peaked during June through October. In 2007 a sharp increase was observed during the months of January through April. Influenza B virus infections did not demonstrate a consistent seasonal pattern. Influenza pneumonia incidence was high in 2005, a year when influenza A(H3N2) subtype virus strains predominated, low in 2006 when A(H1N1) viruses were more common, moderate in 2007 when H3N2 and influenza B co-predominated, and high again in 2008 when influenza B viruses were most common. During 2005–2008, influenza pneumonia resulted in an estimated annual average 36,413 hospital admissions and 322 in-hospital pneumonia deaths in Thailand.
Influenza virus infection is an important cause of hospitalized pneumonia in Thailand. Young children and the elderly are most affected and in-hospital deaths are more common than previously appreciated. Influenza occurs year-round and tends to follow a bimodal seasonal pattern with substantial variability. The disease burden varies significantly from year to year. Our findings support a recent Thailand Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) decision to extend annual influenza vaccination to older adults and suggest that children should also be targeted for routine vaccination.
Enhanced pre-immigration screening and program expansion decreased TB importation.
In January 2005, tuberculosis (TB), including multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB), was reported among Hmong refugees who were living in or had recently immigrated to the United States from a camp in Thailand. We investigated TB and drug resistance, enhanced TB screenings, and expanded treatment capacity in the camp. In February 2005, 272 patients with TB (24 MDR TB) remained in the camp. Among 17 MDR TB patients interviewed, 13 were found to be linked socially. Of 23 MDR TB isolates genotyped, 20 were similar according to 3 molecular typing methods. Before enhanced screening was implemented, 46 TB cases (6 MDR TB) were diagnosed in the United States among 9,455 resettled refugees. After enhanced screening had begun, only 4 TB cases (1 MDR TB), were found among 5,705 resettled refugees. An MDR TB outbreak among US-bound refugees led to importation of disease; enhanced pre-immigration TB screening and treatment decreased subsequent importation.
Refugees; outbreak; multidrug-resistant tuberculosis; tuberculosis screening; research
Three strains of a novel Bartonella species (Bartonella tamiae) were isolated from human patients from Thailand. Sequence analysis of six chromosomal regions (16S rRNA, gltA, groEL, ftsZ, rpoB, and the intergenic spacer region) and phenotypical analysis supported the similarity of the three strains and placed them within the genus Bartonella separately from previously described species.
In March of 2003, an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) occurred in Northern Vietnam. This outbreak began when a traveler arriving from Hong Kong sought medical care at a small hospital (Hospital A) in Hanoi, initiating a serious and substantial transmission event within the hospital, and subsequent limited spread within the community.
We surveyed Hospital A personnel for exposure to the index patient and for symptoms of disease during the outbreak. Additionally, serum specimens were collected and assayed for antibody to SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) antibody and job-specific attack rates were calculated. A nested case-control analysis was performed to assess risk factors for acquiring SARS-CoV infection.
One hundred and fifty-three of 193 (79.3%) clinical and non-clinical staff consented to participate. Excluding job categories with <3 workers, the highest SARS attack rates occurred among nurses who worked in the outpatient and inpatient general wards (57.1, 47.4%, respectively). Nurses assigned to the operating room/intensive care unit, experienced the lowest attack rates (7.1%) among all clinical staff. Serologic evidence of SARS-CoV infection was detected in 4 individuals, including 2 non-clinical workers, who had not previously been identified as SARS cases; none reported having had fever or cough. Entering the index patient's room and having seen (viewed) the patient were the behaviors associated with highest risk for infection by univariate analysis (odds ratios 20.0, 14.0; 95% confidence intervals 4.1–97.1, 3.6–55.3, respectively).
This study highlights job categories and activities associated with increased risk for SARS-CoV infection and demonstrates that a broad diversity of hospital workers may be vulnerable during an outbreak. These findings may help guide recommendations for the protection of vulnerable occupational groups and may have implications for other respiratory infections such as influenza.
The healthcare setting was important in the early spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in both Toronto and Taiwan. Healthcare workers, patients, and visitors were at increased risk for infection. Nonetheless, the ability of individual SARS patients to transmit disease was quite variable. Unrecognized SARS case-patients were a primary source of transmission and early detection and intervention were important to limit spread. Strict adherence to infection control precautions was essential in containing outbreaks. In addition, grouping patients into cohorts and limiting access to SARS patients minimized exposure opportunities. Given the difficulty in implementing several of these measures, controls were frequently adapted to the acuity of SARS care and level of transmission within facilities. Although these conclusions are based only on a retrospective analysis of events, applying the experiences of Toronto and Taiwan to SARS preparedness planning efforts will likely minimize future transmission within healthcare facilities.
severe acute respiratory syndrome; infection control; delivery of healthcare
In Taiwan, a temperature-monitoring campaign and hotline for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) fever were implemented in June 2003. Among 1,966 calls, fever was recorded in 19% (n = 378); 18 persons at high risk for SARS were identified. In a cross-sectional telephone survey, 95% (n = 1,060) of households knew about the campaign and 7 households reported fever.
hotlines; telephone hotlines; severe acute respiratory syndrome; SARS; Taiwan; Asia; fever surveillance; community surveys
The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Vietnam was amplified by nosocomial spread within hospital A, but no transmission was reported in hospital B, the second of two designated SARS hospitals. Our study documents lack of SARS-associated coronavirus transmission to hospital B workers, despite variable infection control measures and the use of personal protective equipment.
severe acute respiratory syndrome; Vietnam; health care personnel