ABSTRACT: Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a life-threatening, tick-borne disease caused by Rickettsia rickettsii. This disease is rarely reported in Arizona, and the principal vectors, Dermacentor species ticks, are uncommon in the state. From 2002 through 2004, a focus of Rocky Mountain spotted fever was investigated in rural eastern Arizona.
We obtained blood and tissue specimens from patients with suspected Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ticks from patients' homesites. Serologic, molecular, immunohistochemical, and culture assays were performed to identify the causative agent. On the basis of specific laboratory criteria, patients were classified as having confirmed or probable Rocky Mountain spotted fever infection.
A total of 16 patients with Rocky Mountain spotted fever infection (11 with confirmed and 5 with probable infection) were identified. Of these patients, 13 (81 percent) were children 12 years of age or younger, 15 (94 percent) were hospitalized, and 2 (12 percent) died. Dense populations of Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks were found on dogs and in the yards of patients' homesites. All patients with confirmed Rocky Mountain spotted fever had contact with tick-infested dogs, and four had a reported history of tick bite preceding the illness. R. rickettsii DNA was detected in nonengorged R. sanguineus ticks collected at one home, and R. rickettsii isolates were cultured from these ticks.
This investigation documents the presence of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in eastern Arizona, with common brown dog ticks (R. sanguineus) implicated as a vector of R. rickettsii. The broad distribution of this common tick raises concern about its potential to transmit R. rickettsii in other settings.
New England Journal of Medicine 09/2005; 353(6):587-94. · 53.30 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: On October 4, 2001, we confirmed the first bioterrorism-related anthrax case identified in the United States in a resident of Palm Beach County, Florida. Epidemiologic investigation indicated that exposure occurred at the workplace through intentionally contaminated mail. One additional case of inhalational anthrax was identified from the index patient's workplace. Among 1,076 nasal cultures performed to assess exposure, Bacillus anthracis was isolated from a co-worker later confirmed as being infected, as well as from an asymptomatic mail-handler in the same workplace. Environmental cultures for B. anthracis showed contamination at the workplace and six county postal facilities. Environmental and nasal swab cultures were useful epidemiologic tools that helped direct the investigation towards the infection source and transmission vehicle. We identified 1,114 persons at risk and offered antimicrobial prophylaxis.
Emerging infectious diseases 11/2002; 8(10):1029-34. · 6.17 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) causes significant mortality throughout the United States and greater mortality among American Indian/Alaska Natives. Vaccination reduces S. pneumoniae illness. We describe the methods used to achieve the Healthy People 2010 coverage rate goals for adult pneumococcal vaccine among those at high risk for severe disease in this population.
We implemented a pneumococcal vaccination project to bolster coverage followed by an ongoing multidisciplinary program. We used community, home, inpatient, and outpatient vaccinations without financial barriers together with data improvement, staff and patient education, standing orders, and electronic and printed vaccination reminders. We reviewed local and national coverage rates and queried our electronic database to determine coverage rates.
In 2007, pneumococcal vaccination coverage rates among people > or = 65 years of age and among high-risk people aged 18-64 years were 96.0% and 61.2%, respectively, exceeding Healthy People 2010 goals. Government Performance and Results Act analyses reports revealed a 2.7-fold increase (36.0% to 98.0%) of coverage from 2000 to 2007 among people > or = 65 years of age at Whiteriver Service Unit in Whiteriver, Arizona.
We achieved pneumococcal vaccination rates in targeted groups of an American Indian population that reached Healthy People 2010 goals and were higher than rates in other U.S. populations. Our program may be a useful model for other communities attempting to meet Healthy People 2010 goals.
Public Health Reports 125(3):448-56. · 1.27 Impact Factor