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The CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Provides Updated Research on Emerging Infectious Diseases at Recent Conference

“An outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Officers of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) are studying several emerging infections – those that have recently increased or show signs of increasing soon – and five researchers presented their results May 4 in the Emerging Infections session of the 65th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. A summary of these presentations is included below:
Large mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreaks have recently occurred in Southeast Asia, Pacific Ocean islands, and Central and South America, and the virus will likely continue to spread to other areas, including the United States, according to Morgan J. Hennessey, DVM, MPH, and colleagues.
Travelers to areas with active ZIKV need to learn their risks and the ways they can avoid exposure to mosquitoes. And healthcare providers and public health officials need to understand the risks, know how to prevent transmission, and be able to recognize the disease in returning travelers.
In their review of the epidemiology and clinical features of travel-associated ZIKV disease cases in the United States, the authors identified all positive ZIKV test results performed at the CDC from 2010 through 2014 and collected information on demographics, clinical features, and travel history. They identified 11 (6 male) travel-associated ZIKV disease cases in the United States in patients ranging in age from 20 to 74; 9 of them became ill between January and April 2014.
Overall, 10 patients reported rash, 9 reported fever, 8 myalgia, 7 arthralgia, and 5 conjunctivitis. All of the travelers reported having visited islands in the Pacific Ocean days before they became ill and all of them had the potential to spread ZIKV in the United States after their return, the authors cautioned.
In another study, Dr. Hennessey and his co-authors surveyed people in the US Virgin Islands to gauge the likelihood of their accepting a Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) vaccine, several of which are being developed, and they found that educating people about vaccine safety would likely improve its acceptability.
The authors administered a questionnaire to all residents of randomly selected households. Responders who were interested in being vaccinated were similar in age (median 50 years) to those not interested (median 55 years); sex (56% female in both groups); whether or not they had had recent symptoms (38% of those interested in a vaccine and 35% of those uninterested); and whether or not they used insect repellant (31% of those interested and 38% of those uninterested). Overall, 52% of uninterested responders cited safety concerns.

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