Mar 17, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday reported on a cluster of four cases of vaccinia virus infection in 2008 that were linked to a martial arts gym in Maryland.The investigation included lab and public health officials from Michigan and Maryland and was detailed in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) journal.The case-patient that brought the outbreak to light was a 26-year-old man who was hospitalized Jun 23, 2008, for multiple skin pustules, plus fever and headache. Lab analysis revealed a vaccinia virus that originated in the ACAM2000 second-generation smallpox vaccine.A probe into the source of his infection revealed that he had sparred at a martial arts gym with several military personnel. He reported that one of his sparring partners, a 28-year-old man, had a rash at about the same time, but no systemic illness. Upon testing, the 28-year-old’s serum samples were positive for the same vaccinia virus.A survey of the gym’s members found that several had received the smallpox vaccine, but not within the previous 2 months. Thirteen had reported recent skin lesions, but no smallpox vaccination. Two of that group had recently been diagnosed as having methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, and their serum samples showed they had been exposed to the same vaccinia virus.Five civilian clinics had given the vaccine over the past few months, but none of those who received it were members of the martial arts gym. A cross-check of military records showed that several vaccinees had links to the gym, but none were current members or at the gym during the time the illness surfaced.A review of the gym found it was cleaned twice daily, due to MRSA concerns, with proper cleaning products. The source of the virus is still unknown, and no more infections among gym members have been detected.The CDC researchers said that even though the source of the infection was not identified, it was probably a recent vaccinee. They said the cluster was possibly the result of sequential person-to-person spread, though fomites can’t be ruled out.The researchers said the cluster report underscores the need to reinforce transmission precautions in recent vaccinees and that physicians should consider vaccinia virus infections in the differential diagnosis of vesiculopustular rashes.Hughes CM, Blythe D, Li Y, et al. Vaccinia virus infections in martial arts gym, Maryland, USA, 2008. Emerg Infect Dis 2011 (published online Mar 16) [Full text]
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NASHVILLE – It’s not easy to overshadow a record-setting performance like the one LSU running back Leonard Fournette posted Tuesday, but the Tigers managed to do just that.LSU’s spectacular true freshman put on a show in the Music City Bowl at LP Field, but LSU’s 31-28 loss to Notre Dame, and the drama surrounding defensive coordinator John Chavis, soured the New Orleans native’s postseason breakthrough.Tuesday, reports citing unnamed sources tabbed Texas A&M as Chavis’ destination following the Music City Bowl. Major networks reported the same Wednesday.Not lost in the shuffle of LSU’s season-ending loss, however, was the statement Fournette made regarding 2015. Fournette’s 143 yards rushing and three touchdowns – one on a 100-yard kickoff return – cause many to consider him a legitimate Heisman contender.The kickoff return tied a school record (Eric Martin, 1981) and was the first by LSU player since Morris Claiborne’s 99-yarder against West Virginia in 2011.“Leonard Fournette distinguished himself in this game,” LSU head coach Les Miles said. “He’s a very special player.”Fournette passed Justin Vincent to establish a new freshman season rushing record at LSU (1,034 to 1,001).“(The record means) nothing at all. I wanted the W,” said Fournette, who finished with 264 all-purpose yards – the most by a Tiger this year. “That’s all that counts right now. All I wanted to do was celebrate with the seniors.”Although the 6-foot-1, 230-pound runner who combines blazing speed and physicality slipped and struck a Heisman Trophy pose early in his freshman season, he’s declared himself out of the Heisman promotion business.“It doesn’t matter to me,” Fournette said regarding his inclusion in the discussion for college football’s most coveted honor. “The pose was a one-time deal.“Who wouldn’t like to be mentioned (in the Heisman talk)? If I’m not, I’m still blessed to play for LSU and to be in college.”Many questioned why LSU didn’t ride its hot hand against the Fighting Irish. Fournette had just 11 carries – five in the second half.“We had some personnel calls for other running backs,” Fournette said.The Tigers ran just 52 plays Tuesday as Notre Dame offered 77 plays and possessed the ball for 37 minutes compared to LSU’s 23.LSU had just one full possession in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame’s game-winning drive chewed up the final 5:41.Fournette did get some chuckles in his postgame media session by describing how he used the large video board at LP Field to find the end zone on his long touchdown run in the third quarter.“It was a big help; I was tired,” said Fournette, who knew where to veer to avoid pursuing defenders based on the live video feed. “If It wasn’t for the scoreboard, I wouldn’t have made it.”The 89‐yard scoring run up the middle of Notre Dame’s defense was the longest run for an LSU player in a bowl game. The previous record was 78 yards by Rondell Mealey (also against Notre Dame) in the 1997 Independence Bowl.Fournette led the team with five 100-yard rushing games this season.“I have to get better,” he said. “I’m used to the game now; it’s time to perfect my craft.“I just had a good game.”Despite an 8-5 finish to the season, Miles boasted about a bright future considering the number of young stars on the team.“We are ready for big things,” Fournette said. “But the young stuff is all about to go. Now it’s time to get to work for next season.”Alexander to enter draftNote: LSU’s leading tackler, junior linebacker Kwon Alexander, took to Twitter to announce Tuesday was his final game in purple and gold.Alexander (@Showtime17Kwon) tweeted a picture of this:“I would like to thank LSU, the coaches, the team and LSU nation for all of the love and support that you have shown me throughout my tenure at LSU. After careful thought, prayer and after speaking with my family, I have decided to enter the 2015 NFL Draft. Geaux Tigers!! #FOREVERLSU”The 6-foot-2, 227-pounder from Oxford, Alabama, will learn his professional fate beginning with the first round of the NFL Draft on April 30.