A study of children was conducted in 3 Central Asian Republics. Approximately half of the Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates were serotypes included in available vaccine formulations. Approximately 6% of children carried Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Using pneumococcal and Hib conjugate vaccines may decrease illness in the Central Asian Republics.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Haemophilus influenzae; nasopharyngeal carriage; swab study; Central Asian Republics; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyz Republic; Uzbekistan; pneumococcal-conjugate vaccine; Hib-conjugate vaccine, dispatch
In 2002, revised guidelines for preventing perinatal group B streptococcal disease were published. In 2002, all Minnesota providers surveyed reported using a prevention policy. Most screen vaginal and rectal specimens at 34–37 weeks of gestation. The use of screening-based methods has increased dramatically since 1998.
Group B streptococcus; Perinatal Group B Streptococcal Disease Prevention; dispatch
Invasive group A Streptococcus (GAS) infections can be fatal and can occur in healthy children. A case-control study identified factors associated with pediatric disease. Case-patients were identified when Streptococcus pyogenes was isolated from a normally sterile site, and matched controls (≥2) were identified by using sequential-digit dialing. All participants were noninstitutionalized surveillance-area residents <18 years of age. Conditional regression identified factors associated with invasive disease: other children living in the home (odds ratio [OR] = 16.85, p = 0.0002) and new use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (OR = 10.64, p = 0.005) were associated with increased risk. More rooms in the home (OR = 0.67, p = 0.03) and household member(s) with runny nose (OR = 0.09, p = 0.002) were associated with decreased risk. Among children, household-level characteristics that influence exposure to GAS most affect development of invasive disease.
case-control studies; risk factors; Streptococcus pyogenes; toxic shock syndrome; streptococcus group A; matched case-control studies; necrotizing fasciitis
OBJECTIVE: To identify opportunities to reduce overuse of antibiotics for prevention of perinatal group B streptococcal (GBS) disease and management of preterm premature rupture of membranes (pPROM). METHODS: An anonymous written questionnaire was sent to each of 1031 Fellows of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the responses were subjected to statistical analysis. RESULTS: Among those of the 404 respondents who saw obstetric patients in 2001, most (84%) screened for GBS colonization, and 22% of these prescribed prenatal antibiotics to try to eradicate GBS colonization. Of the 382 respondents (95%) who prescribed antibiotics for pPROM, 36% continued antibiotics for more than 7 days despite negative results from GBS cultures collected before initiation of treatment. Having more years of clinical experience (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 3.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.5 to 6.2), working in a non-academic setting (adjusted OR 2.7, 95% CI 1.0 to 6.9), and prescribing antibiotics prenatally for GBS colonization (adjusted OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.1 to 3.4) were associated with prescribing prolonged antibiotics for pPROM. CONCLUSION: Prenatal antibiotic treatment for GBS colonization and prolonged antibiotic treatment for pPROM contribute to overuse of antibiotics in obstetrics.
group B streptococcal disease; GBS; perinatal disease
Superspreading events were pivotal in the global spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). We investigated superspreading in one transmission chain early in Beijing’s epidemic. Superspreading was defined as transmission of SARS to at least eight contacts. An index patient with onset of SARS 2 months after hospital admission was the source of four generations of transmission to 76 case-patients, including 12 healthcare workers and several hospital visitors. Four (5%) case circumstances met the superspreading definition. Superspreading appeared to be associated with older age (mean 56 vs. 44 years), case fatality (75% vs. 16%, p = 0.02, Fisher exact test), number of close contacts (36 vs. 0.37) and attack rate among close contacts (43% vs. 18.5%, p < 0.025). Delayed recognition of SARS in a hospitalized patient permitted transmission to patients, visitors, and healthcare workers. Older age and number of contacts merit investigation in future studies of superspreading.
SARS virus; disease outbreaks; nosocomial infection; disease transmission; risk factors; epidemiology; contact tracing
Most cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have occurred in close contacts of SARS patients. However, in Beijing, a large proportion of SARS cases occurred in persons without such contact. We conducted a case-control study in Beijing that compared exposures of 94 unlinked, probable SARS patients with those of 281 community-based controls matched for age group and sex. Case-patients were more likely than controls to have chronic medical conditions or to have visited fever clinics (clinics at which possible SARS patients were separated from other patients), eaten outside the home, or taken taxis frequently. The use of masks was strongly protective. Among 31 case-patients for whom convalescent-phase (>21 days) sera were available, 26% had immunoglobulin G to SARS-associated coronavirus. Our finding that clinical SARS was associated with visits to fever clinics supports Beijing’s strategy of closing clinics with poor infection-control measures. Our finding that mask use lowered the risk for disease supports the community’s use of this strategy.
SARS virus; case-control studies; risk factor; China; mask; disease transmission; disease outbreaks
The largest outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) struck Beijing in spring 2003. Multiple importations of SARS to Beijing initiated transmission in several healthcare facilities. Beijing’s outbreak began March 5; by late April, daily hospital admissions for SARS exceeded 100 for several days; 2,521 cases of probable SARS occurred. Attack rates were highest in those 20–39 years of age; 1% of cases occurred in children <10 years. The case-fatality rate was highest among patients >65 years (27.7% vs. 4.8% for those 20–64 years, p < 0.001). Healthcare workers accounted for 16% of probable cases. The proportion of case-patients without known contact to a SARS patient increased significantly in May. Implementation of early detection, isolation, contact tracing, quarantine, triage of case-patients to designated SARS hospitals, and community mobilization ended the outbreak.
severe acute respiratory syndrome; disease outbreaks; epidemiology; China; nosocomial infection; SARS virus; disease transmission
We evaluated the Strep B optical immunoassay (OIA; ThermoBiostar, Inc.) for detecting light and heavy group B streptococcus colonization in 1,306 pregnant women. The women were examined at 20 to 32 weeks gestation and were from six countries. Compared to culture, the sensitivity and specificity of OIA were 13.3 and 98.4%, respectively, for light colonization and 41.5 and 97.7%, respectively, for heavy colonization.
We conducted a case-control study to identify risk factors for invasive group A streptococcal (GAS) infections, which can be fatal. Case-patients were identified when Streptoccus pyogenes was isolated from a normally sterile site and control subjects (two or more) were identified and matched to case-patients by using sequential-digit telephone dialing. All participants were noninstitutionalized surveillance area residents, >18 years of age. Conditional logistic regression identified the risk factors for invasive GAS infection: in adults 18 to 44 years of age, exposure to one or more children with sore throats (relative risk [RR]=4.93, p=0.02), HIV infection (RR =15.01, p=0.04), and history of injecting drug use (RR=14.71, p=0.003); in adults >45 years of age, number of persons in the home (RR=2.68, p=0.004), diabetes (RR= 2.27, p=0.03), cardiac disease (RR=3.24, p=0.006), cancer (RR= 3.54, p=0.006), and corticosteroid use (RR=5.18, p=0.03). Thus, host and environmental factors increased the risk for invasive GAS disease.
Streptococcus pyogenes; group A streptococcal disease, invasive disease, risk factors, case-control, sequential-digit dialing; necrotizing fasciitis, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, conditional logistic regression, research
The Emerging Infections Programs (EIPs), a population-based network involving 10 state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, complement and support local, regional, and national surveillance and research efforts. EIPs depend on collaboration between public health agencies and clinical and academic institutions to perform active, population-based surveillance for infectious diseases; conduct applied epidemiologic and laboratory research; implement and evaluate pilot prevention and intervention projects; and provide capacity for flexible public health response. Recent EIP work has included monitoring the impact of a new conjugate vaccine on the epidemiology of invasive pneumococcal disease, providing the evidence base used to derive new recommendations to prevent neonatal group B streptococcal disease, measuring the impact of foodborne diseases in the United States, and developing a systematic, integrated laboratory and epidemiologic method for syndrome-based surveillance.
communicable diseases; emerging; pneumococcal vaccines; streptococcal infections; food poisoning; syndrome; bioterrorism; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; population surveillance; public health; disease notification; Synopsis
Pneumococcal infections increase each winter, a phenomenon that has not been well explained. We conducted population-based active surveillance for all cases of invasive pneumococcal disease in seven states; plotted annualized weekly rates by geographic location, age, and latitude; and assessed correlations by time-series analysis. In all geographic areas, invasive pneumococcal disease exhibited a distinct winter seasonality, including an increase among children in the fall preceding that for adults and a sharp spike in incidence among adults each year between December 24 and January 7. Pneumococcal disease correlated inversely with temperature (r –0.82 with a 1-week lag; p<0.0001), but paradoxically the coldest states had the lowest rates, and no threshold temperature could be identified. The pattern of disease correlated directly with the sinusoidal variations in photoperiod (r +0.85 with a 5-week lag; p<0.0001). Seemingly unrelated seasonal phenomena were also somewhat correlated. The reproducible seasonal patterns in varied geographic locations are consistent with the hypothesis that nationwide seasonal changes such as photoperiod-dependent variation in host susceptibility may underlie pneumococcal seasonality, but caution is indicated in assigning causality as a result of such correlations.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; seasons; pneumonia; weather; infection; communicable disease; temperature; photoperiod; child; research
In October 2001, two envelopes containing Bacillus anthracis spores were processed at the Washington, D.C., Processing and Distribution Center of the U.S. Postal Service; inhalational anthrax developed in four workers at this facility. More than 2,000 workers were advised to complete 60 days of postexposure prophylaxis to prevent inhalational anthrax. Interventions to promote adherence were carried out to support workers, and qualitative information was collected to evaluate our interventions. A quantitative survey was administered to a convenience sample of workers to assess factors influencing adherence. No anthrax infections developed in any workers involved in the interventions or interviews. Of 245 workers, 98 (40%) reported full adherence to prophylaxis, and 45 (18%) had completely discontinued it. Experiencing adverse effects to prophylaxis, anxiety, and being <45 years old were risk factors for discontinuing prophylaxis. Interventions, especially frequent visits by public health staff, proved effective in supporting adherence.
adherence; Bacillus anthracis; bioterrorism; antimicrobial prophylaxis; compliance
The bioterrorism-associated human anthrax epidemic in the fall of 2001 highlighted the need for a sensitive, reproducible, and specific laboratory test for the confirmatory diagnosis of human anthrax. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed, optimized, and rapidly qualified an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (PA) in human serum. The qualified ELISA had a minimum detection limit of 0.06 µg/mL, a reliable lower limit of detection of 0.09 µg/mL, and a lower limit of quantification in undiluted serum specimens of 3.0 µg/mL anti-PA IgG. The diagnostic sensitivity of the assay was 97.8%, and the diagnostic specificity was 94.2%. A competitive inhibition anti-PA IgG ELISA was also developed to enhance diagnostic specificity to 100%. The anti-PA ELISAs proved valuable for the confirmation of cases of cutaneous and inhalational anthrax and evaluation of patients in whom the diagnosis of anthrax was being considered.
Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; antibody; assay; toxin; bioterrorism; ELISA; serology
On October 15, 2001, a U.S. Senate staff member opened an envelope containing Bacillus anthracis spores. Chemoprophylaxis was promptly initiated and nasal swabs obtained for all persons in the immediate area. An epidemiologic investigation was conducted to define exposure areas and identify persons who should receive prolonged chemoprophylaxis, based on their exposure risk. Persons immediately exposed to B. anthracis spores were interviewed; records were reviewed to identify additional persons in this area. Persons with positive nasal swabs had repeat swabs and serial serologic evaluation to measure antibodies to B. anthracis protective antigen (anti-PA). A total of 625 persons were identified as requiring prolonged chemoprophylaxis; 28 had positive nasal swabs. Repeat nasal swabs were negative at 7 days; none had developed anti-PA antibodies by 42 days after exposure. Early nasal swab testing is a useful epidemiologic tool to assess risk of exposure to aerosolized B. anthracis. Early, wide chemoprophylaxis may have averted an outbreak of anthrax in this population.
Bacillus anthracis; nasal swabs; epidemiology; bioterrorism; postexposure prophylaxis
In October 2001, four cases of inhalational anthrax occurred in workers in a Washington, D.C., mail facility that processed envelopes containing Bacillus anthracis spores. We reviewed the envelopes’ paths and obtained exposure histories and nasal swab cultures from postal workers. Environmental sampling was performed. A sample of employees was assessed for antibody concentrations to B. anthracis protective antigen. Case-patients worked on nonoverlapping shifts throughout the facility. Environmental sampling showed diffuse contamination of the facility, suggesting multiple aerosolization events. Potential workplace exposures were similar for the case-patients and the sample of workers. All nasal swab cultures and serum antibody tests were negative. Available tools could not identify subgroups of employees at higher risk for exposure or disease. Prophylaxis was necessary for all employees. To protect postal workers against bioterrorism, measures to reduce the risk of occupational exposure are necessary.
bioterrorism; Bacillus anthracis; postal facility; inhalational anthrax
In October 2001, the first inhalational anthrax case in the United States since 1976 was identified in a media company worker in Florida. A national investigation was initiated to identify additional cases and determine possible exposures to Bacillus anthracis. Surveillance was enhanced through health-care facilities, laboratories, and other means to identify cases, which were defined as clinically compatible illness with laboratory-confirmed B. anthracis infection. From October 4 to November 20, 2001, 22 cases of anthrax (11 inhalational, 11 cutaneous) were identified; 5 of the inhalational cases were fatal. Twenty (91%) case-patients were either mail handlers or were exposed to worksites where contaminated mail was processed or received. B. anthracis isolates from four powder-containing envelopes, 17 specimens from patients, and 106 environmental samples were indistinguishable by molecular subtyping. Illness and death occurred not only at targeted worksites, but also along the path of mail and in other settings. Continued vigilance for cases is needed among health-care providers and members of the public health and law enforcement communities.
We used population-based data to evaluate how often groups of randomly selected clinical laboratories accurately estimated the prevalence of resistant pneumococci and captured trends in resistance over time. Surveillance for invasive pneumococcal disease was conducted in eight states from 1996 to 1998. Within each surveillance area, we evaluated the proportion of all groups of three, four, and five laboratories that estimated the prevalence of penicillin-nonsusceptible pneumococci (%PNSP) and the change in %PNSP over time. We assessed whether sentinel groups detected emerging fluoroquinolone resistance. Groups of five performed best. Sentinel groups accurately predicted %PNSP in five states; states where they performed poorly had high between-laboratory variation in %PNSP. Sentinel groups detected large changes in prevalence of nonsusceptibility over time but rarely detected emerging fluoroquinolone resistance. Characteristics of hospital-affiliated laboratories were not useful predictors of a laboratory’s %PNSP. Sentinel surveillance for resistant pneumococci can detect important trends over time but rarely detects newly emerging resistance profiles.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; antimicrobial resistance; surveillance
The impact of expert guidelines on the prevention of neonatal group B streptococcal (GBS) disease has not been studied in Canada. Our aim was to determine physician practices with regard to this condition before and after publication of Canadian guidelines and to monitor concurrent trends in the incidence of neonatal GBS disease.
We used repeat cross-sectional surveys, distributed by mail to all family practitioners and obstetricians attending deliveries in Alberta and in the Metropolitan Toronto and Peel region, Ontario, in 1994, 1995 and 1997, to document prevention practices. Audits were conducted for a subset of respondents to confirm reported practices. Population-based surveillance involving all microbiology laboratories in both regions for 1995–1998 was used to document rates of neonatal disease.
The overall survey response rates were as follows: for 1994, 1128/1458 (77%); for 1995, 1054/1450 (73%); and for 1997, 1030/1421 (72%). During 1995 and 1997, significantly more obstetric care providers were screening at least 75% of pregnant women in their practices than had been the case in 1994 (747/916 [82%] and 693/812 [85%] v. 754/981 [77%]; p < 0.001). The percentage of obstetric care providers who reported practice that conformed completely with any of 3 consensus prevention strategies increased from 10% in 1994 to 29% in 1997 (p < 0.001). There was a concurrent overall significant decrease in incidence of neonatal GBS disease during the same period.
The adoption by Canadian obstetric care providers of neonatal GBS prevention practices recommended by expert groups was slow but improved significantly over time. These findings highlight the difficulties associated with achieving compliance with diverse and frequently changing recommendations. However, the associated incidence of neonatal GBS disease, which was low or declining, suggests that efforts to disseminate current GBS prevention guidelines have been moderately successful.
Since its emergence 25 years ago, group B streptococcus has become recognized as a cause of serious illness in newborns, pregnant women, and adults with chronic medical conditions. Heavy colonization of the genital tract with group B streptococcus also increases the risk that a woman will deliver a preterm low-birthweight infant. Early-onset infections (occurring at <7 days of age) are associated with much lower fatality than when they were first described, and their incidence is finally decreasing as the use of preventive antibiotics during childbirth increases among women at risk. New serotypes of group B streptococcus have emerged as important pathogens in adults and newborns. Clinical and laboratory practices—in obstetrics, pediatrics, and clinical microbiology—have an impact on disease and/or its prevention, and protocols established at the institutional level appear to be critical tools for the reduction of perinatal disease due to group B streptococcus. Since intrapartum antibiotics will prevent at best only a portion of the full burden of group B streptococcal disease, critical developments in vaccine evaluation, including study of polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines, offer the potential for enhanced prevention in the relatively near future.
Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C bactericidal titers and class-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) antibody concentrations were measured in sera from 173 children (1 to 5 years old) before and 6 weeks and 7 months following vaccination with a quadrivalent (A/C/Y/W-135) polysaccharide vaccine. The immune responses of the children were compared with those of 40 adults 6 weeks postvaccination. Both bactericidal titers and ELISA antibody concentrations were significantly higher in the adults than in the children (P < 0.05). In addition, the ratio of immunoglobulin G (IgG) to IgM was higher in the children than in the adults. With an ELISA total antibody concentration of ≥2 μg/ml used as a measure of seroconversion, ≥84% of the individuals from each age group responded to the serogroup C polysaccharide. However, with a ≥4-fold-increase in bactericidal titer used, only 18% of 1-year-olds, 32% of 2-year-olds, and 50 to 60% of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds seroconverted. The ELISA results suggest that >50% of all children retained ≥2 μg of total antibody per ml at 7 months postimmunization. However, the bactericidal titers suggest that <10% of children <4 years old retained a ≥4-fold increase at 7 months following vaccination. Of particular note, 59 of 79 sera (75%) from the 1- and 2-year-olds had high ELISA antibody concentrations (2 to 20 μg/ml) with no associated bactericidal titer (<1:8). Discordant results between bactericidal titers and ELISA antibody concentrations were not explained by the presence of IgA blocking antibody or relative levels of IgG and IgM. The bactericidal results show age-dependent differences in the production and retention of antibody in young children immunized with serogroup C polysaccharide; these differences are not evident with the ELISA data.
An increased awareness of the impact of group B streptococcus (GBS) infection on neonatal
outcome has prompted several seemingly discordant committee recommendations. Intrapartum
antibiotics are effective in reducing the risk of neonatal morbidity when administered to a colonized
woman who has a clinical condition that places her neonate at high risk for early-onset sepsis.
However, less is known about the efficacy of prophylactic antibiotics in the colonized woman who
does not have obvious risk factors. Some authorities have suggested that providers refrain from
administering intrapartum antibiotics to colonized women who do not have any of these risk factors,
primarily due to concerns about potential adverse reactions, selection of resistant pathogens, and
cost-effectiveness. These recommendations may conflict with the desires of an informed woman
who weighs the real, albeit low, risk for serious neonatal disease against the lower perceived risk
of adverse maternal sequelae from allergic reactions to the antimicrobial agents. Selective prophylaxis
for GBS disease that is limited to the colonized parturient with risk factors has the potential
for creating conflict because maternal beneficence-based obligations of the physician may be at
odds with maternal autonomy-based obligations. We believe that, given all currently available
information, providers have a moral obligation to discuss GBS screening and treatment issues with
patients. The potential for conflict between patient and physician at the time of delivery can be
minimized through the use of preventive ethics, allowing patients to develop advance directives
regarding intrapartum management within the confines of reasonable and cost-effective care. Until
a consensus is reached among experts, the most prudent approach would be to address such issues
proactively and individualize care based upon the overall estimation and anticipation of risk as well
as the patient's specific desires.