Top 5 Contagion&reg News Articles for the Week of August 6, 2017

New research on Zika, cases of swine flu infections, parallels between Zika and HIV, a new warning sign of HIV infection, and an increase in cyclospora cayetanensis infections in United States make up the top 5 articles this week.

#5: Fighting Back Against Zika: New Research & Tests Added to the Arsenal

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that prevalence of Zika virus in the Americas has been winding down, researchers around the world are still working on learning more about the virus to prevent outbreaks and protect individuals from infection.

One aspect that researchers continue to explore is mode of transmission of the virus. Zika can be sexually transmitted from one individual to his/her sexual partner, and the Florida Department of Health has just confirmed the first sexually-transmitted Zika virus case of 2017, in Pinellas County.

The individual did not report any travel; however, their partner reported recently traveling to Cuba (an area with active Zika virus) and exhibiting symptoms consistent with Zika virus infection. The Florida DOH confirmed that both individuals tested positive for the virus. As a result of these findings, “mosquito reduction activities” are underway in Pinellas County.

Continue reading about new research and tests against the Zika virus, here.

#4: 11 Cases of H3N2v Flu Linked With Clinton County Fair in Ohio

Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans; however, sporadic human infections can occur, according to the CDC. When this happens, these viruses are called “variant viruses.” Infections with H3N2v are most commonly associated with prolonged exposure to hogs in fair settings. A total of 12 cases of H3N2v have been reported this year; 18 cases were reported in 2016.

To prevent the spread of the virus between hogs and humans, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Do not take any food or drinks into hog areas, and do not consume anything while in the hog areas
  • Avoid taking toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, or anything similar with you into the hog areas
  • Avoid contact with any hogs that appear ill
  • Wash your hands well with soap and water before and after interacting with hogs

To stay up-to-date on swine flu outbreaks, be sure to check out the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.

Learn more about the Clinton County Fair swine flu, here.

#3: What Can We Learn From Outbreaks of HIV and Zika?

Viruses have been around for at least 450 million years, and for the past 110 years, we have been studying them, always trying to catch up to the latest outbreak. An increase in globalization may help facilitate the fruitful exchange of ideas and research on infectious diseases, but it also enables the rapid spread of these diseases. Advances in science and technology are enabling us to respond to these outbreaks faster and more effectively; however, there is much room for improvement in this regard. To this end, in this article I present parallels seen between the recent outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil and the HIV pandemic experienced in the 1980s, highlighting actions and outcomes that are creating a similar response.

In late 1981, HIV became an epidemic in the United States, and soon after became a global pandemic. Initially thought to be a disease of male homosexuals, not much attention was given to the virus until it came to be considered deadly. Up to that point, it was hypothesized that HIV caused “minor” issues, such as Kaposi sarcoma. Soon after, however, the virus was identified as the cause of a weakened immune system that allowed multiple opportunistic diseases, such as pneumonia, to infect those who were already suffering with HIV.

Read more about what we can learn from outbreaks of HIV and Zika, here.

#2: Necrotizing Stomatitis as First Sign of HIV Infection

In an in-press article in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Medicine, and Pathology, Scott M. Peters, DDS, from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, New York, New York, and colleagues report a case of a 20-year-old homosexual Caucasian man with undiagnosed HIV that first presented as necrotizing ulcerative stomatitis (NUS).

According to the authors, periodontal disease associated with HIV infection usually presents as linear gingival erythema (LGE), necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (NUG), or necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis (NUP). However, they explain that these are not distinct entities; instead, they reflect a spectrum of disease severity.

In addition, the term “NUS” describes progression of this inflammatory process from an initial infection of the marginal gingivae to massive tissue destruction within the oral cavity, including underlying bone.

Periodontal disease is a common problem in patients with HIV infection, just as it is in individuals without HIV infection. However, LGE, NUG, NUP, and NUS are atypical presentations of periodontal disease that are strongly associated with HIV infection.

Continue reading about necrotizing stomatitis as a first sign of HIV infection, here.

#1: CDC Warns of Increase in Cyclospora cayetanensis Infections in United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Alert Network issued a health advisory this afternoon stating that it is working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as state and local health departments to investigate an increase in reports of cyclosporiasis.

Health care providers are advised to “consider a diagnosis of cyclosporiasis in patients with prolonged or remitting-relapsing diarrheal illness.” Because testing for cyclospora is not routinely completed in most US laboratories, health care providers must specifically order the test for the parasite, regardless of whether “testing is requested by ova and parasite (O&P) examination, by molecular methods, or by a gastrointestinal pathogen panel test.”

Cyclosporiasis is a nationally notifiable disease; health care providers should report suspect and confirmed cases of infection to public health authorities.

According to the CDC, “Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis.” Consumption of contaminated food or water can lead to infection; however, the parasite is not transferable from one person to another.

Learn more about the increase in cyclospora cayetanensis infections, here.