IV, No. 18 ~ EINet News Briefs ~ Nov.
****A free service of the APEC Emerging Infections Network*****
The EINet listserv was created to foster discussion,
networking, and collaboration in the area of emerging infectious diseases
(EID's) among academicians, scientists, and policy makers in the AsiaPacific
region. We strongly encourage you to share their perspectives and experiences,
as your participation directly contributes to the richness of the "electronic
discussions" that occur. To respond to the listserv, use the reply function.
In this edition:
- Infectious disease information
- Journal articles
- How to join the EINet listserve
1. OVERVIEW OF INFECTIOUSDISEASE INFORMATION
Below is a semimonthly summary of AsiaPacific emerging infectious diseases.
First National AIDS Conference
On 13 Nov 2001 China
held its first national AIDS/STD (sexually transmitted diseases) conference.
The fourday conference drew 2,000 participants and featured celebrity
AIDS Prevention spokespersons. The number of HIVinfected people in
China is increasing rapidly, with the number of infections reported
in the first half of the year being 6.4 per cent higher than in the
same period last year. While 28,133 people officially are registered
to have contracted the HIV virus as of September of this year, Chinese
health officials estimate the figure to be 600,000. The United Nations,
however, estimates that China has roughly one million HIV carriers.
Health Minister Zhang Wenkang said the Chinese Government would invest
more money on efforts to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS over the next five
years. The Chinese government has vowed to do more to control the spread
of HIV/AIDS by ensuring the safety of blood donations, increasing AIDS
education, improving the training of health workers, and developing
reliable HIV monitoring systems. Dai Zhicheng, the secretarygeneral
of the conference, has said the conference is to be held every two years.
[Reuters 11/13/2001; Associated Press 11/14/2001]
China (Jiangsu) Flamingo Chlamydiosis
An ecological tourism company in East China's Jiangsu Province imported
100 flamingos from the Netherlands in late September. Six died during
the transportation and the remaining 94 were found to be infected with
chlamydiosis, which can be easily transmitted to humans. Quarantine
officials destroyed the 94 flamingos and the place where the flamingos
briefly stayed has been disinfected. Chlamydia psittaci causes psittacosis
in humans and an avian strain causes chlamydiosis in birds. The disease
can be passed to humans, but the risk is low. Symptoms of the disease
include fever, chills, cough, and shortness of breath and a prominent
headache is common.
(New York, Connecticut) West Nile Viral Encephalitis
Four human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) encephalitis or meningitis
were reported in New York and one case was reported in Connecticut during
the week of 31 Oct to 06 Nov 2001. During the same period, WNV infections
were reported in 255 crows, 22 other birds, and 11 horses in the United
States. However, no WNVpositive mosquito pools were reported. During
2001, 10 human cases of WNV encephalitis or meningitis have been reported
in Florida, 10 in New York, six in Connecticut, six in Maryland, six
in New Jersey, three in Pennsylvania, and one in Georgia. In addition,
4,251 crows and 1,459 other birds infected with WNV have been reported
in 26 states and the District of Columbia. Reports of WNV infection
also have been found in horses.
Birds infected with WNV have also been found in Canada. As of 08
Nov 2001, 122 birds have been confirmed to be infected with WNV in
[PROMED 11/08/2001 11/10/2001]
US (Connecticut) Poultry Avian Influenza
On 05 Nov 2001 officials discovered avian influenza virus at a Scotland
poultry farm in Connecticut. As a result, the state Department of
Agriculture ordered the destruction of 16,000 chickens at the farm.
On 12 Oct 2001 the state quarantined the site and began destroying
the birds the following day. Tests taken from flocks in the nearby
area have been negative, but all poultry owners in New England were
informed on how to protect their flocks.
Australia Botulism Outbreak in Chickens
An outbreak of botulism on a farm near Brisbane, the first big case
recorded on a Queensland farm, has killed 14,000 chickens. The infected
birds of the 96,000 chicken farm died over a 20day period. Scientists
have traced the outbreak to litter in the sheds of the farm and believe
it is an isolated case. Dr. Ron Glanville, of Queensland's Department
of Primary Industries (DPI), said he did not believe the outbreak would
spread. The dead birds have been buried and the farm is in the process
of being cleaned. The DPI will continue to monitor the farm.
Unexplained Dialysis Deaths
The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the
deaths of at least 53 dialysis patients from around the world who used
Baxter International products called dialyzers. This product of Baxter
International, a company based in Deerfield, Illinois, filters toxins
out of the blood of patients whose kidneys have failed. Baxter became
aware of the possible problems with the filters after several patients
died in Spain in midAugust 2001. The FDA is reviewing 21 deaths in
Croatia, 10 in Spain, seven in Taiwan, five in Germany, four in Italy,
two in Columbia and four in the United States.
The dialyzers were made by a Baxter acquired company, Althin Medical,
at a factory in Ronneby, Sweden and were distributed from January
1998 to 15 Oct 2001 to dialysis facilities in more than 50 countries.
After research of the product, Baxter has said that a fluid chemical
used to manufacture some of the filters for dialysis patients might
have played a role in the deaths. Director of the FDA's center for
devices and radiological health, Dr. David W. Feigal, has also said
that the source of the problem may be this chemical, perfluorohydrocarbon.
A spokeswoman for Baxter, Sally Benjamin Young, has reportedly said
the fluid was used in the filters set aside after they failed a quality
control test. This is approximately 10 percent of all the filters.
Evidence of multipleorgan failure was found from autopsies of five
of the deceased. Most of the dialysis patients who died experienced
shortness of breath, chest tightness, cardiac arrest or stroke symptoms
within hours of being dialyzed.
The company voluntarily recalled the filters worldwide on 18 Oct
2001 and said that it had decided to permanently cease manufacturing
the dialyzers. Baxter has also planned to compensate the families
of patients who died.
India Deaths Follow Polio Campaign
At least 10 children have died and more than 500 children have been
admitted to hospitals in India's northeastern state of Assam due to
side effects of a polio vaccine. On 10 Nov 2001, thousands of children
throughout India were administered a polio vaccine as part of a massive
polio immunization campaign run by the state government. A day later,
largescale side effects in and around the city of Silchar in southern
Assam were reported. While officials have not announced possible causes
of the side effects, nongovernmental organizations in Silchar, who
assist the government in this campaign, say outdated vaccines were
possibly supplied in some areas.
[British Broadcasting Company 11/12/2001]
Asean to Begin Safe Sex Campaign
On 05 Nov 2001, at a session of the Association of South East Asian Nations
(ASEAN) Summit in Brunei Darussalam, the heads of government adopted the7th
ASEAN Summit Declaration on HIV/AIDS and a fouryear work program on HIV/AIDS
to halt the spread of AIDS in ASEAN countries. Prevention as well as treatment,
care, and support for those infected are part of the program and declaration.
In addition, the program and declaration will include government efforts
to collaborate with NGO's and communities and government leaders hope
to provide strong leadership, political foresight and commitment for the
HIV/AIDS effort. Southeast Asian AIDS activists have applauded the declaration.
On the last day of the summit, 06 Nov 2001, ASEAN announced that it plans
to begin a campaign promoting condom use in an effort to fight HIV/AIDS.
The countries plan to provide condoms for citizen use and to promote a
"100% condom policy" in brothels, hotels, and massage parlors.
While Thailand's Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, said that his country's
100 percent condom policy at sex outlets will prevent customers from purchasing
sexual services unless they use a condom, ASEAN notes that "cultural
and religious sensitivities and the reluctance of men to use condoms"
may be an obstacle to the program's implementation.
[ASEAN Press Release 11/05/2001; Reuters 11/06/2001]
Network of Networks Meeting
A meeting organized
by the APEC Emerging Infections Network, "The Network of Networks
Meeting", will be held by invitation from 28 Jan. to 30 Jan. 2002
in Seattle, Washington, US. The meeting will include participation by
key individuals working in electronic networking from around the region,
representatives from the World Health Organization, and interested national
partners identified at the APEC Industry, Science and Technology Working
Group (ISTWG) meeting. Individuals will convene to discuss the development
of an integrated disease surveillance and alert network in the Asia Pacific
Region. Aims include enhancing geographic coverage of communication about
infectious disease, assuring accuracy and completeness of content about
emergent infectious disease, and assuring timeliness of information access
about epidemic disease activity in the region. For more information, please
contact Alicia Silva at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Novartis to Start Center to Study Tropical Diseases
Novartis announced a decision to establish a $122 million tropicaldisease
research facility, the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases, in collaboration
with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). The institute, which
will be located in Singapore, will concentrate on dengue fever and tuberculosis
(TB) in an effort to address the health needs of lessdeveloped countries.
It will employ 60 fulltime scientists and technicians to investigate
new treatment methods and vaccines against the two diseases. Information
will be exchanged with Novartis research facilities as well as other tropicaldisease
organizations. The Singapore location was chosen because of the intellectual
and financial backing of the EDB, which has developed a fund of $551.7
million to promote ventures such as this.
[National Network for Immunization Information 11/09/2001; Associated
3. JOURNAL ARTICLES
North American Mosquitoes as Vectors for West Nile Virus
Researchers have evaluated the West Nile Virus (WNV) vector potential
of several North American mosquito species. Mosquitoes were evaluated
because of possible or known roles in the spread of eastern equine encephalomyelitis
(EEE), St. Louis encephalitis (SLE), and WNV. All mosquito species examined
in this study were susceptible to infection with WNV and developed disseminated
infections. Overall, results of the paper stated that two efficient laboratory
vectors include two species from which WNF was isolated in New York in
2000, Culex restuans and Cx. salinarius. Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx.
nigripalpus from Florida were considered moderately efficient laboratory
vectors and Coquillettidia perturbans was determined to be an inefficient
vector. This study enhanced the list of potential North American mosquito
vectors of WNV.
[Sardelis MR, Turell MJ, Dohm DJ, O'Guinn ML. Vector competence of selected
North American Culex and Coquillettidia mosquitoes for West Nile Virus.
Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2001;7(6). http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no6/sardelis.htm]
Biochips that Detect Bacteria
Scientists at the University of Rochester have created a tiny device that
emits faint light of two colors in response to the presence of Gram()
and Gram(+) bacteria. Currently, the color changes are not yet detectable
by the naked eye, but can still be used to differentiate Gram() bacteria
from Gram(+) bacteria. This method of detection makes use of chemically
prepared, porous silicon and old staining techniques. When exposed to
Gram() bacteria, the silicon chip color is slightly altered, but when
exposed to Gram(+) bacteria, the chip does not change. While the sensitivity
of the "biochip" has not been completely determined, preliminary
experiments suggest that 1.7µg of bacteria is detectable. Researchers
hope that a fully developed sensor will ultimately generate an instant
and easily recognizable array of colors that detect dangerous or antibioticresistant
strains of bacteria.
[Chan S, Horner SR, Fauchet PM, Miller BL. Identification of gram negative
bacteria using nanoscale silicone microcavities. Journal of the American
Chemical Society. in press (2001); Nature 07/11/2001]
4. JOIN THE ELIST AND RECEIVE EINet NEWS
The APEC EINet listserv was established to enhance collaboration among
academicians and public health professionals in the area of emerging infections
surveillance and control. Subscribers are encouraged to share their material
with colleagues in the AsiaPacific Rim. To subscribe (or unsubscribe),
please contact email@example.com.
Further information about the APEC Emerging Infections Network is available