In a recent paper in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, Pritt et al have identified a new genospecies of Borrelia which is attributed to have caused several cases of Lyme disease, marked by a high degree of spirochetemia.
This figure shows the incidence of ehrlichicosis cases by state in 2010 per million persons. Ehrlichiosis was not notifiable in Alaska, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota or Montana. The incidence rate was zero for Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming. Incidence ranged between 0.03 to 1 case per million persons for California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas. Annual incidence ranged from 1 to 3.3 cases per million persons in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina and West Virginia. The highest incidence rates, ranging from 3.3 to 26 cases per million persons were found in Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Image and text credit: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage on Statistics and Epidemiology of Ehrlichiosis. Link
Ehrlichiosis is caused by three species of bacteria belonging to the genus Ehrlichia: E. chaffeensis, E. ewingii and the provisionally named E. muris like (EML). A recent article in the CDC’s EID indicates that the proportion of cases attributable to E. ewingii may be higher than what we initially knew it to be.
There has been some discussion amongst public health and infectious disease experts about the potential of Zika virus to spread through the sexual route, especially if the infected source patient does not suffer from hematospermia. In a series of cases published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a case series of sexually transmitted ZIKV disease are documented. Image credits: HIV Plus Magazine
Both Zika and Ebola Virus Disease were declared to be Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), a label not given liberally to diseases. In a recent commentary in The Lancet, the people behind the labeling, the members of the Emergency Committee on Zika virus, have clarified the logic and reason behind their decision.
For the first post on my new blog, I will not reach out too far and in fact, go with what has captured the imagination of the media of late: Zika virus. As it emerged that women who have been exposed to the mild viral disease in course of their pregnancy are at risk of giving birth to children with microcephaly, national policy makers came out with statements asking women to refrain from becoming pregnant till the thing blew over. An article in The Lancet covered this issue and brought to fore the massive inequities that exist in women’s healthcare needs and reproductive (health) rights – some issues which were ironically uncovered by a disease that went on to earn the status of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern!