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emerging infectious diseases - Top 30 Publications

Zika virus in French Polynesia 2013-14: anatomy of a completed outbreak.

The Zika virus crisis exemplified the risk associated with emerging pathogens and was a reminder that preparedness for the worst-case scenario, although challenging, is needed. Herein, we review all data reported during the unexpected emergence of Zika virus in French Polynesia in late 2013. We focus on the new findings reported during this outbreak, especially the first description of severe neurological complications in adults and the retrospective description of CNS malformations in neonates, the isolation of Zika virus in semen, the potential for blood-transfusion transmission, mother-to-child transmission, and the development of new diagnostic assays. We describe the effect of this outbreak on health systems, the implementation of vector-borne control strategies, and the line of communication used to alert the international community of the new risk associated with Zika virus. This outbreak highlighted the need for careful monitoring of all unexpected events that occur during an emergence, to implement surveillance and research programmes in parallel to management of cases, and to be prepared to the worst-case scenario.

Exploring the relationship between polio type 2 serum neutralizing antibodies and intestinal immunity using data from two randomized controlled trials of new bOPV-IPV immunization schedules.

Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is now the only source of routine type 2 protection. The relationship, if any, between vaccine-induced type 2 humoral and intestinal immunity is poorly understood.

HMGB1 Controls Liver Cancer Initiation through YAP-dependent Aerobic Glycolysis.

Emerging studies have suggested that the Hippo pathway is involved in the tumorigenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the key regulator of the Hippo pathway in liver tumor metabolic reprogramming remains elusive. Here, we provide evidence to support that high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), a chromosomal protein, plays a role in the regulation of the Hippo pathway during liver tumorigenesis. Cre/loxP recombination-mediated HMGB1 depletion in hepatocytes blocks diethylnitrosamine-induced liver cancer initiation in mice, whereas shRNA-mediated gene silencing of HMGB1 inhibits HCC cell proliferation. Mechanistically, the binding of HMGB1 to GA-binding protein alpha (GABPα) promotes the expression of yes-associated protein (YAP), a major downstream effector of the Hippo pathway, which contributes to liver tumorigenesis by inducing hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF1α)-dependent aerobic glycolysis. Like wild type YAP-cDNA, YAP-5SA-S94A can restore HIF1α DNA binding activity, glycolysis-associated gene expression, and HIF1α-YAP complex formation in YAP-knockdown HCC cell lines. In contrast, verteporfin, a reagent targeting the interface between YAP and TEA domain transcription factor (TEAD), has the ability to block YAP-HIF1α complex formation. Notably, genetic or pharmacological inhibition of the HMGB1-YAP-HIF1α pathway confers protection against excessive glycolysis and tumor growth in mice.

Seroreactivity to the C6 Peptide in Borrelia Miyamotoi Infections Occurring in the Northeastern United States.

There are no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved diagnostic tests for Borrelia miyamotoi infection, an emerging tick-borne illness in the United States. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the FDA-approved C6 peptide ELISA currently used to diagnose Lyme disease may potentially serve as a diagnostic test for B. miyamotoi infections.

Group B Streptococcus Infections Caused by Improper Sourcing and Handling of Fish for Raw Consumption, Singapore, 2015-2016.

We assessed microbial safety and quality of raw fish sold in Singapore during 2015-2016 to complement epidemiologic findings for an outbreak of infection with group B Streptococcus serotype III sequence type (ST) 283 associated with raw fish consumption. Fish-associated group B Streptococcus ST283 strains included strains nearly identical (0-2 single-nucleotide polymorphisms) with the human outbreak strain, as well as strains in another distinct ST283 clade (57-71 single-nucleotide polymorphisms). Our investigations highlight the risk for contamination of freshwater fish (which are handled and distributed separately from saltwater fish sold as sashimi) and the need for improved hygienic handling of all fish for raw consumption. These results have led to updated policy and guidelines regarding the sale of ready-to-eat raw fish dishes in Singapore.

Epidemiology of Schmallenberg Virus in European Bison (Bison bonasus) in Poland.

Schmallenberg virus (SBV), an emerging arbovirus in Europe, is an important pathogen in domestic ruminants; however, its impact on free-ranging wild ruminants is not well studied. Three hundred and forty-seven serum samples collected between 2011 and 2016 from 302 European bison (Bison bonasus) from 12 different sites in Poland were tested for the presence of SBV antibodies. In addition, 86 sera were collected between 2013 and 2016 from three species of cervids for testing for SBV antibodies. After the first detection of the virus in Poland in October 2012, the proportion of SBV-seropositive European bison reached 81% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 77.1-85.8%), whereas in cervids seroprevalence was 34% (95% CI: 23.5-43.9%). There was an increase in seroprevalence in European bison from 2012 to 2014. Biting midges ( Culicoides spp.), the primary vectors of SBV, were monitored entomologically for the identification of the biting midge populations and virologically for SBV infections in the Białowieża Forest region, which contains the world's largest European bison population. We detected SBV by PCR in 3% of Culicoides pools from 2015. In addition, seven fetal brain samples from European bison or cervids were tested and were negative for SBV RNA. Our results indicate a high seroprevalence with reduced transmission of SBV in subsequent years in the European bison populations and lower seroprevalence in cervids.

From bench to almost bedside: the long road to a licensed Ebola virus vaccine.

The Ebola virus (EBOV) disease epidemic during 2014-16 in West Africa has accelerated the clinical development of several vaccine candidates that have demonstrated efficacy in the gold standard nonhuman primate (NHP) model, namely cynomolgus macaques. Areas covered: This review discusses the pre-clinical research and if available, clinical evaluation of the currently available EBOV vaccine candidates, while emphasizing the translatability of pre-clinical data generated in the NHP model to clinical data in humans. Expert opinion: Despite the existence of many successful EBOV vaccine candidates in the pre-clinical stages, only two platforms became the focus of Phase 2/3 efficacy trials in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea near the peak of the epidemic: the Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-vectored vaccine and the chimpanzee adenovirus type 3 (ChAd3)-vectored vaccine. The results of three distinct clinical trials involving these candidates may soon pave the way for a licensed, safe and efficacious EBOV vaccine to help combat future epidemics.

Avian Influenza A(H7N2) Virus in Human Exposed to Sick Cats, New York, USA, 2016.

An outbreak of influenza A(H7N2) virus in cats in a shelter in New York, NY, USA, resulted in zoonotic transmission. Virus isolated from the infected human was closely related to virus isolated from a cat; both were related to low pathogenicity avian influenza A(H7N2) viruses detected in the United States during the early 2000s.

Distribution of Usutu Virus in Germany and Its Effect on Breeding Bird Populations.

Usutu virus (USUV) is an emerging mosquitoborne flavivirus with an increasing number of reports from several countries in Europe, where USUV infection has caused high avian mortality rates. However, 20 years after the first observed outbreak of USUV in Europe, there is still no reliable assessment of the large-scale impact of USUV outbreaks on bird populations. In this study, we identified the areas suitable for USUV circulation in Germany and analyzed the effects of USUV on breeding bird populations. We calculated the USUV-associated additional decline of common blackbird (Turdus merula) populations as 15.7% inside USUV-suitable areas but found no significant effect for the other 14 common bird species investigated. Our results show that the emergence of USUV is a further threat for birds in Europe and that the large-scale impact on population levels, at least for common blackbirds, must be considered.

Investigation of Acute Flaccid Paralysis Reported with La Crosse Virus Infection, Ohio, USA, 2008-2014.

Infection with La Crosse virus can cause meningoencephalitis, but it is not known to cause acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). During 2008-2014, nine confirmed or probable La Crosse virus disease cases with possible AFP were reported in Ohio, USA. After an epidemiologic and clinical investigation, we determined no patients truly had AFP.

Evolutionary Context of Non-Sorbitol-Fermenting Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli O55:H7.

In July 2014, an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O55:H7 in England involved 31 patients, 13 (42%) of whom had hemolytic uremic syndrome. Isolates were sequenced, and the sequences were compared with publicly available sequences of E. coli O55:H7 and O157:H7. A core-genome phylogeny of the evolutionary history of the STEC O55:H7 outbreak strain revealed that the most parsimonious model was a progenitor enteropathogenic O55:H7 sorbitol-fermenting strain, lysogenized by a Shiga toxin (Stx) 2a-encoding phage, followed by loss of the ability to ferment sorbitol because of a non-sense mutation in srlA. The parallel, convergent evolutionary histories of STEC O157:H7 and STEC O55:H7 may indicate a common driver in the evolutionary process. Because emergence of STEC O157:H7 as a clinically significant pathogen was associated with acquisition of the Stx2a-encoding phage, the emergence of STEC O55:H7 harboring the stx2a gene is of public health concern.

Multiple Reassorted Viruses as Cause of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N8) Virus Epidemic, the Netherlands, 2016.

In 2016, an epidemic of highly pathogenic avian influenza A virus subtype H5N8 in the Netherlands caused mass deaths among wild birds, and several commercial poultry farms and captive bird holdings were affected. We performed complete genome sequencing to study the relationship between the wild bird and poultry viruses. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the viruses are related to H5 clade viruses detected in Russia in May 2016 but contained novel polymerase basic 2 and nucleoprotein gene segments and 2 different variants of the polymerase acidic segment. Molecular dating suggests that the reassortment events most likely occurred in wild birds in Russia or Mongolia. Furthermore, 2 genetically distinct H5N5 reassortant viruses were detected in wild birds in the Netherlands. Our study provides evidence for fast and continuing reassortment of H5 clade viruses, which might lead to rapid changes in virus characteristics, such as pathogenicity, infectivity, transmission, and zoonotic potential.

Bourbon Virus in Field-Collected Ticks, Missouri, USA.

Bourbon virus (BRBV) was first isolated in 2014 from a resident of Bourbon County, Kansas, USA, who died of the infection. In 2015, an ill Payne County, Oklahoma, resident tested positive for antibodies to BRBV, before fully recovering. We retrospectively tested for BRBV in 39,096 ticks from northwestern Missouri, located 240 km from Bourbon County, Kansas. We detected BRBV in 3 pools of Amblyomma americanum (L.) ticks: 1 pool of male adults and 2 pools of nymphs. Detection of BRBV in A. americanum, a species that is aggressive, feeds on humans, and is abundant in Kansas and Oklahoma, supports the premise that A. americanum is a vector of BRBV to humans. BRBV has not been detected in nonhuman vertebrates, and its natural history remains largely unknown.

Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli O80:H2 in Young Calves with Diarrhea, Belgium.

Serogroup O80 was detected in 40% of 104 enteropathogenic Escherichia coli isolates from calves with diarrhea from 42 farms in Belgium during 2008‒2015. These isolates harbored the eae-ξ and fliCH2 genes, similar to the O80 attaching-effacing Shigatoxigenic E. coli isolates found in humans in France. This strain might be emerging.

New Avian Hepadnavirus in Palaeognathous Bird, Germany.

In 2015, we identified an avian hepatitis B virus associated with hepatitis in a group of captive elegant-crested tinamous (Eudromia elegans) in Germany. The full-length genome of this virus shares <76% sequence identity with other avihepadnaviruses. The virus may therefore be considered a new extant avian hepadnavirus.

Acute Myopericarditis Associated with Tickborne Rickettsia sibirica mongolitimonae.

We report an unusual case of myopericarditis caused by Rickettsia sibirica mongolitimonae. Because of increasing reports of Rickettsia spp. as etiologic agents of acute myopericarditis and the ease and success with which it was treated in the patient reported here, rickettsial infection should be included in the differential diagnosis for myopericarditis.

Outbreaks of Neuroinvasive Astrovirus Associated with Encephalomyelitis, Weakness, and Paralysis among Weaned Pigs, Hungary.

A large, highly prolific swine farm in Hungary had a 2-year history of neurologic disease among newly weaned (25- to 35-day-old) pigs, with clinical signs of posterior paraplegia and a high mortality rate. Affected pigs that were necropsied had encephalomyelitis and neural necrosis. Porcine astrovirus type 3 was identified by reverse transcription PCR and in situ hybridization in brain and spinal cord samples in 6 animals from this farm. Among tissues tested by quantitative RT-PCR, the highest viral loads were detected in brain stem and spinal cord. Similar porcine astrovirus type 3 was also detected in archived brain and spinal cord samples from another 2 geographically distant farms. Viral RNA was predominantly restricted to neurons, particularly in the brain stem, cerebellum (Purkinje cells), and cervical spinal cord. Astrovirus was generally undetectable in feces but present in respiratory samples, indicating a possible respiratory infection. Astrovirus could cause common, neuroinvasive epidemic disease.

Rabies and Distemper Outbreaks in Smallest Ethiopian Wolf Population.

Widespread deaths recently devastated the smallest known population of Ethiopian wolves. Of 7 carcasses found, all 3 tested were positive for rabies. Two wolves were subsequently vaccinated for rabies; 1 of these later died from canine distemper. Only 2 of a known population of 13 wolves survived.

Angiostrongylus cantonensis DNA in Cerebrospinal Fluid of Persons with Eosinophilic Meningitis, Laos.

Definitive identification of Angiostrongylus cantonensis parasites from clinical specimens is difficult. As a result, regional epidemiology and burden are poorly characterized. To ascertain presence of this parasite in patients in Laos with eosinophilic meningitis, we performed quantitative PCRs on 36 cerebrospinal fluid samples; 4 positive samples confirmed the parasite's presence.

Avian Influenza (H7N9) Viruses Co-circulating among Chickens, Southern China.

In April 2017, three avian influenza (H7N9) viruses were isolated from chickens in southern China. Each virus had different insertion points in the cleavage site of the hemagglutinin protein compared to the first identified H7N9 virus. We determined that these viruses were double or triple reassortant viruses.

Incentives for Bushmeat Consumption and Importation among West African Immigrants, Minnesota, USA.

The knowledge, attitudes, and practices surrounding bushmeat consumption and importation in the United States are not well described. Focus groups of West African persons living in Minnesota, USA, found that perceived risks are low and unlikely to deter consumers. Incentives for importation and consumption were multifactorial in this community.

Human Case of Streptococcus suis Disease, Ontario, Canada.

We report a case of Streptococcus suis human disease in Ontario, Canada, caused by a serotype 2 strain genotypically similar to those commonly isolated from pigs in North America. Initially, the isolate was misidentified as a viridans group Streptococcus. Human S. suis infections may be underdiagnosed in North America.

Tool for Eliminating Dog-Mediated Human Rabies through Mass Dog Vaccination Campaigns.

The World Health Organization and collaborating agencies have set the goal of eliminating dog-mediated human rabies by 2030. Building on experience with rabies endemic countries, we constructed a user-friendly tool to help public health officials plan the resources needed to achieve this goal through mass vaccination of dogs.

Moku Virus in Invasive Asian Hornets, Belgium, 2016.

We report the detection of Moku virus in invasive Asian hornets (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) in Belgium. This constitutes an unexpected report of this iflavirus outside Hawaii, USA, where it was recently described in social wasps. Although virulence of Moku virus is unknown, its potential spread raises concern for European honeybee populations.

Porcine Astrovirus Type 3 in Central Nervous System of Swine with Polioencephalomyelitis.

Using next-generation sequencing, we identified and genetically characterized a porcine astrovirus type 3 strain found in tissues from the central nervous system of 1 piglet and 3 sows with neurologic signs and nonsuppurative polioencephalomyelitis. Further studies are needed to understand the potential for cross-species transmission and clinical impact.

High Abundance and Genetic Variability of Atypical Porcine Pestivirus in Pigs from Europe and Asia.

Atypical porcine pestivirus (APPV) was recently reported to be associated with neurologic disorders in newborn piglets. Investigations of 1,460 serum samples of apparently healthy pigs from different parts of Europe and Asia demonstrate a geographically wide distribution of genetically highly variable APPV and high APPV genome and antibody detection rates.

Unexpected Infection with Armillifer Parasites.

Visceral pentastomiasis is usually found incidentally during surgery. We describe a case of visceral pentastomiasis discovered during inguinoscrotal hernia surgery for a man from Benin, Africa. Because surgical removal of nymphs is needed for symptomatic patients only, this patient's asymptomatic pentastomiasis was not treated and he recovered from surgery uneventfully.

High Rate of MCR-1-Producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae among Pigs, Portugal.

The mcr-1 (mobile colistin resistance 1) gene, which encodes phosphoethanolamine transferase, has been recently identified as a source of acquired resistance to polymyxins in Escherichia coli. Using the SuperPolymyxin selective medium, we prospectively screened 100 pigs at 2 farms in Portugal for polymyxin-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and recovered 98 plasmid-mediated MCR-1-producing isolates. Most isolates corresponded to nonclonally related E. coli belonging to many sequence types; we also found 2 Klebsiella pneumoniae sequence types. The mcr-1 gene was carried on IncHI2 or IncP plasmid backbones. Our finding of a high rate of MCR-1 producers on 2 pig farms in Portugal highlights the diffusion of that colistin-resistance determinant at the farm level. The fact that the pigs received colistin as metaphylaxis in their feed during the 6 weeks before sampling suggests selective pressure.

Characterization of Streptococcus pyogenes from Animal Clinical Specimens, Spain.

Streptococcus pyogenes appears to be almost exclusively restricted to humans, with few reports on isolation from animals. We provide a detailed characterization (emm typing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis [PFGE], and multilocus sequence typing [MLST]) of 15 S. pyogenes isolates from animals associated with different clinical backgrounds. We also investigated erythromycin resistance mechanisms and phenotypes and virulence genes. We observed 2 emm types: emm12 (11 isolates) and emm77 (4 isolates). Similarly, we observed 2 genetic linages, sequence type (ST) 26 and ST63. Most isolates exhibited the M macrolide resistance phenotype and the mefA/ermB genotype. Isolates were grouped into 2 clones on the basis of emm-MLST-PFGE-virulence gene profile combinations: clone 1, characterized by the combined genotype emm12-ST36-pulsotype A-speG; and clone 2, characterized by the genotype emm77-ST63-pulsotype B-speC. Our results do not show conclusively that animals may represent a new reservoir of S. pyogenes but indicate the ability of human-derived S. pyogenes isolates to colonize and infect animals.

Outbreak of Yellow Fever among Nonhuman Primates, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 2017.

In January 2017, a yellow fever outbreak occurred in Espirito Santo, Brazil, where human immunization coverage is low. Histologic, immunohistologic, and PCR examinations were performed for 22 deceased nonhuman New World primates; typical yellow fever features were found in 21. Diagnosis in nonhuman primates prompted early public health response.