Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Bug Bytes

December 1, 2000
Vol. 1: No. 9


Topics in this Issue:

1. World AIDS Day
2. No Culture-Confirmed Influenza So Far in Minnesota
3. Mad Cows and Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease
4. Breaking News - E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

1. World AIDS Day
December 1, 2000 will mark the 13th annual World AIDS Day. As of January 1, 2000, over 33.4 million people world-wide were estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS. In Minnesota from 1990 through 1999, approximately 1 person per day was reported with an HIV diagnosis; over 1,600 persons died with a HIV diagnosis. Currently over 3,900 persons reported to MDH are living with HIV/AIDS. More information on World AIDS Day and the HIV/AIDS pandemic can be accessed at website: http://www.avert.org/worldaid.htm.
Attention: Non-MDH link

2. No Culture-Confirmed Influenza So Far in Minnesota So far this season, we have not had any culture-confirmed influenza cases in Minnesota. Laboratory confirmed influenza (diagnosed by culture, rapid antigen test or serology) is a reportable condition in Minnesota. In addition to mandatory reporting, 13 sentinel clinics in the state voluntarily submit isolates from patients with influenza-like illness and report the number of patients seen weekly with influenza-like illness. The CDC provides weekly updates on influenza activity throughout the nation which can be found on this website: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/flu/weekly.htm.
Attention: Non-MDH link

 

3. Mad Cows and Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease
Last week we received a telephone call similar to one we receive at least a half dozen times a year: "Isn't it true that Minnesota has just had its first case of ‘mad cow disease in humans'?"
Untrue. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disease, was first described in 1920 and 1921 by H.J. Creutzfeldt and A. Jakob. CJD occurs sporadically and famially and produces spongioform changes in the brain. It occurs at a rate of 0.5-1.5 per million per year; thus, we see about 4 cases/year in Minnesota. It tends to occur in those 50-70 years of age and since mean survival is 5 months, monitoring of death certificates is a reliable method of monitoring for CJD. CJD and other transmissible encephalopathies are thought to be due to prions (inexplicably derived from the term, proteinaceous infectious particles). In 1985 in the United Kingdom, several cows were observed to have symptoms of uncoordination and apprehension. This lead to the discovery of bovine spongioform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease. Over 170,000 cows have since been diagnosed with BSE in the UK. Recent headlines have documented BSE spread to France and Germany. BSE is thought to have originated when cows were fed bone and meat supplements inadequately rendered to have destroyed the prion agent (from sheep or cows). In 1996, a variant form of CJD (vCJD) was described in the UK; case-patients were younger, lived longer, and had differing clinical presentations than CJD. As of November 6, 85 cases have been reported in the UK. It has been shown by a variety of means that the causative agent of vCJD is the same as BSE. How humans have acquired this disease from cows is unknown. No cases of vCJD or BSE have been documented anywhere in the U.S. to date. We remain vigilant. Neuropathologists are primed to report suspicious vCJD cases; in particular cases of CJD in persons less than 55 years of age are closely scrutinized. If you have questions about spongioform encephalopathies, please call us. A good website documenting BSE and vCJD is http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk.
Attention: Non-MDH link

 

4. Breaking News - E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak
Since Monday our lab has confirmed 17 cases of E. coli O157:H7 with an identical PFGE subtype. Six of these cases have been hospitalized. We have been interviewing cases and age-matched controls, and initial analysis seems to implicate retail ground beef (hopefully not from mad cows).

 

 

Bug Bytes is a combined effort of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division and the Public Health Laboratory Division of MDH. We provide Bug Bytes as a way to say THANK YOU to the infection control professionals, laboratorians, local public health professionals, and health care providers who assist us.

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Updated Friday, November 19, 2010 at 02:16PM