Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Emerging infectious diseases


The growing popularity of unpasteurized milk in the United States raises public health concerns. We estimated outbreak-related illnesses and hospitalizations caused by the consumption of cow’s milk and cheese contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter spp. using a model relying on publicly available outbreak data. In the United States, outbreaks associated with dairy consumption cause, on average, 760 illnesses/year and 22 hospitalizations/year, mostly from Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. Unpasteurized milk, consumed by only 3.2% of the population, and cheese, consumed by only 1.6% of the population, caused 96% of illnesses caused by contaminated dairy products. Unpasteurized dairy products thus cause 840 (95% CrI 611-1,158) times more illnesses and 45 (95% CrI 34-59) times more hospitalizations than pasteurized products. As consumption of unpasteurized dairy products grows, illnesses will increase steadily; a doubling in the consumption of unpasteurized milk or cheese could increase outbreak-related illnesses by 96%.

Concepts: United States, Milk, Butter, Cattle, Pasteurization, Dairy product, Cheese, Raw milk


In December 2013, during a Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in French Polynesia, a patient in Tahiti sought treatment for hematospermia, and ZIKV was isolated from his semen. ZIKV transmission by sexual intercourse has been previously suspected. This observation supports the possibility that ZIKV could be transmitted sexually.

Concepts: HIV, AIDS, Sexual intercourse, Semen, Sexually transmitted disease, Human sexual behavior, Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia


There were 3 influenza pandemics in the 20th century, and there has been 1 so far in the 21st century. Local, national, and international health authorities regularly update their plans for mitigating the next influenza pandemic in light of the latest available evidence on the effectiveness of various control measures in reducing transmission. Here, we review the evidence base on the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical personal protective measures and environmental hygiene measures in nonhealthcare settings and discuss their potential inclusion in pandemic plans. Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza. We similarly found limited evidence on the effectiveness of improved hygiene and environmental cleaning. We identified several major knowledge gaps requiring further research, most fundamentally an improved characterization of the modes of person-to-person transmission.


Diphyllobothriosis is reemerging because of global importation and increased popularity of eating raw fish. We detected Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense plerocercoids in the musculature of wild pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) from Alaska, USA. Therefore, salmon from the American and Asian Pacific coasts and elsewhere pose potential dangers for persons who eat these fish raw.

Concepts: United States, Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Pacific Ocean, Canada, North America, Chum salmon, Pink salmon


Infection control instructions call for use of alcohol-based hand rub solutions to inactivate severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. We determined the virucidal activity of World Health Organization-recommended hand rub formulations, at full strength and multiple dilutions, and of the active ingredients. All disinfectants demonstrated efficient virus inactivation.


We report co-infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and influenza A virus in a patient with pneumonia in China. The case highlights possible co-detection of known respiratory viruses. We noted low sensitivity of upper respiratory specimens for SARS-CoV-2, which could further complicate recognition of the full extent of disease.


Acellular vaccines against Bordetella pertussis were introduced in Australia in 1997. By 2000, these vaccines had replaced whole-cell vaccines. During 2008-2012, a large outbreak of pertussis occurred. During this period, 30% (96/320) of B. pertussis isolates did not express the vaccine antigen pertactin (Prn). Multiple mechanisms of Prn inactivation were documented, including IS481 and IS1002 disruptions, a variation within a homopolymeric tract, and deletion of the prn gene. The mechanism of lack of expression of Prn in 16 (17%) isolates could not be determined at the sequence level. These findings suggest that B. pertussis not expressing Prn arose independently multiple times since 2008, rather than by expansion of a single Prn-negative clone. All but 1 isolate had ptxA1, prn2, and ptxP3, the alleles representative of currently circulating strains in Australia. This pattern is consistent with continuing evolution of B. pertussis in response to vaccine selection pressure.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Genetics, Evolution, Vaccine, Pertussis


Influenza virus infections are believed to spread mostly by close contact in the community. Social distancing measures are essential components of the public health response to influenza pandemics. The objective of these mitigation measures is to reduce transmission, thereby delaying the epidemic peak, reducing the size of the epidemic peak, and spreading cases over a longer time to relieve pressure on the healthcare system. We conducted systematic reviews of the evidence base for effectiveness of multiple mitigation measures: isolating ill persons, contact tracing, quarantining exposed persons, school closures, workplace measures/closures, and avoiding crowding. Evidence supporting the effectiveness of these measures was obtained largely from observational studies and simulation studies. Voluntary isolation at home might be a more feasible social distancing measure, and pandemic plans should consider how to facilitate this measure. More drastic social distancing measures might be reserved for severe pandemics.


Mayaro virus has been associated with small outbreaks in northern South America. We isolated this virus from a child with acute febrile illness in rural Haiti, confirming its role as a cause of mosquitoborne illness in the Caribbean region. The clinical presentation can mimic that of chikungunya, dengue, and Zika virus infections.

Concepts: United States, North America, South America, Americas, Caribbean, Dutch language, Haiti


In the new millennium, the centuries-old strategy of quarantine is becoming a powerful component of the public health response to emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. During the 2003 pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome, the use of quarantine, border controls, contact tracing, and surveillance proved effective in containing the global threat in just over 3 months. For centuries, these practices have been the cornerstone of organized responses to infectious disease outbreaks. However, the use of quarantine and other measures for controlling epidemic diseases has always been controversial because such strategies raise political, ethical, and socioeconomic issues and require a careful balance between public interest and individual rights. In a globalized world that is becoming ever more vulnerable to communicable diseases, a historical perspective can help clarify the use and implications of a still-valid public health strategy.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Disease, Infectious disease, Infection, Influenza, Pandemic, Epidemic