Top 5 Infectious Disease News for November 2017

#5: Uganda Battling Deadly Marburg Outbreak

Although the Ebola virus outbreaks that have plagued countries in Africa may be our most recent hemorrhagic fever memory, a cousin within the filovirus family is starting to cause concern in Uganda. Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever, a rare, but serious virus, is a zoonotic disease in which outbreaks are frequently triggered by interaction with the African fruit bat, Rousettus aegyptiacus. Primates can also become infected with Marburg, but, the Rousettus bat is the reservoir for the virus and it can easily transmit the disease by way of its significant geographical distribution.

Marburg first found itself on our infectious diseases radar in 1967 because of a series of simultaneous outbreaks in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt Germany, as well as Belgrade, Serbia. Over 30 individuals became ill in these laboratory incidents. An epidemiological investigation found that the first few cases were a result of exposure to imported African green monkeys or their tissue during laboratory research. The virus is typically transmitted from animals to humans, and then spread between humans through direct contact with droplets of body fluids or contact with contaminated equipment, etc. Hospitals and immediate caregivers in the infected individual’s home can be sources of transmission.

Read more about the Marburg outbreak in Uganda, here.


#4: Improving Diagnosis of Lyme Disease: Laboratory and Clinical Approaches

Diagnostic testing for Lyme disease is challenging because of the low sensitivity of currently approved laboratory tests, the broad spectrum of clinical presentations, and differences in how clinicians interpret findings. Therefore, diagnosis may be optimized with a careful assessment of risk factors for exposure and the patient’s pattern of symptoms, according to experts who participated in a Contagion® Peer Exchange panel.

The panelists also discussed novel technologies that could improve the sensitivity and specificity of laboratory-based diagnostic testing for Lyme disease, particularly in early-stage infections, but stated that mainstream adoption of these tests may be slow due to the reluctance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other governing organizations to adopt new methods.

Continue reading about laboratory and clinical approaches to improve the diagnosis of Lyme disease, here.

#3: Undetectable=Untransmittable: A Message That Needs Pushing

This message is key when it…

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