Current Issue

CDC Science Clips: Volume 13, Issue 2, January 11, 2021

Science Clips is produced weekly to enhance awareness of emerging scientific knowledge for the public health community. Each article features an Altmetric Attention scoreexternal icon to track social and mainstream media mentions.

  1. CDC Authored Publications
    The names of CDC authors are indicated in bold text.
    Articles published in the past 6-8 weeks authored by CDC or ATSDR staff.
    • Chronic Diseases and Conditions
      1. Trends in short-term survival from distant-stage cutaneous melanoma in the United States, 2001-2013 (CONCORD-3)external icon
        Di Carlo V, Estève J, Johnson C, Girardi F, Weir HK, Wilson RJ, Minicozzi P, Cress RD, Lynch CF, Pawlish KS, Rees JR, Coleman MP, Allemani C.
        JNCI Cancer Spectr. 2020 Dec;4(6):pkaa078.
        BACKGROUND: Survival from metastatic cutaneous melanoma is substantially lower than for localized disease. Treatments for metastatic melanoma have been limited, but remarkable clinical improvements have been reported in clinical trials in the last decade. We described the characteristics of US patients diagnosed with cutaneous melanoma during 2001-2013 and assessed trends in short-term survival for distant-stage disease. METHODS: Trends in 1-year net survival were estimated using the Pohar Perme estimator, controlling for background mortality with life tables of all-cause mortality rates by county of residence, single year of age, sex, and race for each year 2001-2013. We fitted a flexible parametric survival model on the log-hazard scale to estimate the effect of race on the hazard of death because of melanoma and estimated 1-year net survival by race. RESULTS: Only 4.4% of the 425 915 melanomas were diagnosed at a distant stage, cases diagnosed at a distant stage are more commonly men, older patients, and African Americans. Age-standardized, 1-year net survival for distant-stage disease was stable at approximately 43% during 2001-2010. From 2010 onward, survival improved rapidly, reaching 58.9% (95% confidence interval = 56.6% to 61.2%) for patients diagnosed in 2013. Younger patients experienced the largest improvement. Survival for distant-stage disease increased in both Blacks and Whites but was consistently lower in Blacks. CONCLUSIONS: One-year survival for distant-stage melanoma improved during 2001-2013, particularly in younger patients and those diagnosed since 2010. This improvement may be a consequence of the introduction of immune-checkpoint-inhibitors and other targeted treatments for metastatic and unresectable disease. Persistent survival inequalities exist between Blacks and Whites, suggesting differential access to treatment.

      2. Major depression and adverse patient-reported outcomes in systemic lupus erythematosus: Results from a prospective longitudinal cohortexternal icon
        Dietz B, Katz P, Dall'Era M, Murphy LB, Lanata C, Trupin L, Criswell LA, Yazdany J.
        Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2021 Jan;73(1):48-54.
        OBJECTIVE: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is reduced in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), partly driven by comorbid depression. Among patients with SLE, the association between major depression and HRQoL, measured using the NIH's Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), is not well characterized. The objective was to determine an association between major depression and HRQoL as measured by PROMIS. METHODS: Cross-sectional data were obtained from the California Lupus Epidemiology Study, a cohort of adults in the San Francisco Bay Area with SLE. We studied the association between major depression (score ≥10 on the Patient Health Questionnaire 8 depression scale) and T scores (scaled to population mean ± SD of 50 ± 10) on 12 PROMIS domains representing physical, mental, and social health. Mean T scores in depressed and nondepressed individuals were compared using multiple linear regression models adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, disease activity, damage, body mass index, and household income. RESULTS: Mean age of the 326 participants was 45 years; ~89% were women, 29% White, 23% Hispanic, 10% African American, and 36% Asian. One-fourth met the criteria for major depression. In multivariable analyses, major depression was independently associated with worse T scores on all 12 PROMIS domains (P < 0.001); compared with those without major depression, depressed individuals scored >10 points (1 SD) worse on fatigue, sleep impairment, negative psychosocial impact of illness, satisfaction in discretionary social activities, and satisfaction in social roles. CONCLUSION: In individuals with SLE, major depression is associated with markedly worse PROMIS scores in physical, mental, and social domains. Diagnosing and treating depression may help improve HRQoL in individuals with SLE.

      3. Predicted heart age among cancer survivors - United States, 2013-2017external icon
        Scott LC, Yang Q, Dowling NF, Richardson LC.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Jan 8;70(1):1-6.
        Approximately 15.5 million cancer survivors were alive in the United States in 2016 with expected growth to 26.1 million by 2040 (1). Cancer survivors are living longer because of advances in early detection and treatment, but face psychosocial, cognitive, financial, and physical challenges (1,2). Physical challenges include cardiovascular complications, partly because cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) share some cumulative risk factors including tobacco use, physical inactivity, obesity, poor diet, hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia (3). In addition, many cancer treatments damage the heart, and some cancer types increase risk for developing CVD (4). The recognition and management of heart disease in cancer survivors has given rise to the discipline of cardio-oncology, which focuses on the cardiovascular health of this population (5). CVD risk has been previously estimated using prediction models, and studies suggest that physician-patient communication using predicted heart age rather than predicted 10-year risk has led to a more accurate perception of excess heart age, encouraged actions to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and improved modifiable CVD risk factors (6,7). Using the nonlaboratory-based Framingham Risk Score (FRS) to estimate 10-year risk for developing CVD, predicted heart age is estimated from the 10-year risk of CVD (predicted by age, sex, diabetes status, smoking status, systolic blood pressure, hypertension treatment status, and body mass index); it is the age of an otherwise healthy person with the same predicted risk, with all other risk factors included in the prediction model at the normal level (systolic blood pressure of 125 mmHg, no hypertension treatment, body mass index of 22.5, nonsmoker, and nondiabetic) (6). Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), this study estimates predicted heart age, excess heart age (difference between predicted heart age and actual age), and racial/ethnic and sociodemographic disparities in predicted heart age among U.S. adult cancer survivors and noncancer participants aged 30-74 years using previously published methods (7). A total of 22,759 men and 46,294 women were cancer survivors with a mean age of 48.7 and 48.3 years, respectively. The predicted heart age and excess heart age among cancer survivors were 57.2 and 8.5 years, respectively, for men and 54.8 and 6.5 years, respectively, for women, and varied by age, race/ethnicity, education and income. The use of predicted heart age by physicians to encourage cancer survivors to improve modifiable risk factors and make heart healthy choices, such as tobacco cessation, regular physical activity, and a healthy diet to maintain a healthy weight, can engage survivors in informed cancer care planning after diagnosis.

    • Communicable Diseases
      1. SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among healthcare, first response, and public safety personnel, Detroit Metropolitan Area, Michigan, USA, May-June 2020external icon
        Akinbami LJ, Vuong N, Petersen LR, Sami S, Patel A, Lukacs SL, Mackey L, Grohskopf LA, Shehu A, Atas J.
        Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Dec;26(12):2863-2871.
        To estimate seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2) among healthcare, first response, and public safety personnel, antibody testing was conducted in emergency medical service agencies and 27 hospitals in the Detroit, Michigan, USA, metropolitan area during May-June 2020. Of 16,403 participants, 6.9% had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. In adjusted analyses, seropositivity was associated with exposure to SARS-CoV-2-positive household members (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 6.18, 95% CI 4.81-7.93) and working within 15 km of Detroit (aOR 5.60, 95% CI 3.98-7.89). Nurse assistants (aOR 1.88, 95% CI 1.24-2.83) and nurses (aOR 1.52, 95% CI 1.18-1.95) had higher likelihood of seropositivity than physicians. Working in a hospital emergency department increased the likelihood of seropositivity (aOR 1.16, 95% CI 1.002-1.35). Consistently using N95 respirators (aOR 0.83, 95% CI 0.72-0.95) and surgical facemasks (aOR 0.86, 95% CI 0.75-0.98) decreased the likelihood of seropositivity.

      2. Detection of norovirus variant GII.4 Hong Kong in Asia and Europe, 2017-2019external icon
        Chan MC, Roy S, Bonifacio J, Zhang LY, Chhabra P, Chan JC, Celma C, Igoy MA, Lau SL, Mohammad KN, Vinjé J, Vennema H, Breuer J, Koopmans M, de Graaf M.
        Emerg Infect Dis. 2021 Jan;27(1):289-293.
        We report a new norovirus GII.4 variant, GII.4 Hong Kong, with low-level circulation in 4 Eurasia countries since mid-2017. Amino acid substitutions in key residues on the virus capsid associated with the emergence of pandemic noroviruses suggest that GII.4 Hong Kong has the potential to become the next pandemic variant.

      3. Estimate of burden and direct healthcare cost of infectious waterborne disease in the United Statesexternal icon
        Collier SA, Deng L, Adam EA, Benedict KM, Beshearse EM, Blackstock AJ, Bruce BB, Derado G, Edens C, Fullerton KE, Gargano JW, Geissler AL, Hall AJ, Havelaar AH, Hill VR, Hoekstra RM, Reddy SC, Scallan E, Stokes EK, Yoder JS, Beach MJ.
        Emerg Infect Dis. 2021 Jan;27(1):140-149.
        Provision of safe drinking water in the United States is a great public health achievement. However, new waterborne disease challenges have emerged (e.g., aging infrastructure, chlorine-tolerant and biofilm-related pathogens, increased recreational water use). Comprehensive estimates of the health burden for all water exposure routes (ingestion, contact, inhalation) and sources (drinking, recreational, environmental) are needed. We estimated total illnesses, emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, deaths, and direct healthcare costs for 17 waterborne infectious diseases. About 7.15 million waterborne illnesses occur annually (95% credible interval [CrI] 3.88 million-12.0 million), results in 601,000 ED visits (95% CrI 364,000-866,000), 118,000 hospitalizations (95% CrI 86,800-150,000), and 6,630 deaths (95% CrI 4,520-8,870) and incurring US $3.33 billion (95% CrI 1.37 billion-8.77 billion) in direct healthcare costs. Otitis externa and norovirus infection were the most common illnesses. Most hospitalizations and deaths were caused by biofilm-associated pathogens (nontuberculous mycobacteria, Pseudomonas, Legionella), costing US $2.39 billion annually.

      4. Symptoms and recovery among adult outpatients with and without COVID-19 at 11 healthcare facilities - July 2020, United Statesexternal icon
        Fisher KA, Olson SM, Tenforde MW, Self WH, Wu M, Lindsell CJ, Shapiro NI, Files DC, Gibbs KW, Erickson HL, Prekker ME, Steingrub JS, Exline MC, Henning DJ, Wilson JG, Brown SM, Peltan ID, Rice TW, Hager DN, Ginde AA, Talbot HK, Casey JD, Grijalva CG, Flannery B, Patel MM, Feldstein LR.
        Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2021 Jan 6.
        BACKGROUND: Symptoms of mild COVID-19 illness are non-specific and may persist for prolonged periods. Effects on quality of life of persistent poor physical or mental health associated with COVID-19 are not well understood. METHODS: Adults aged ≥18 years with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and matched control patients who tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 infection at outpatient facilities associated with 11 medical centers in the United States were interviewed to assess symptoms, illness duration, and health-related quality of life. Duration of symptoms, health-related quality of life measures, and days of poor physical health by symptoms experienced during illness were compared between case patients and controls using Wilcoxon rank-sum tests. Symptoms associated with COVID-19 case status were evaluated by multivariable logistic regression. RESULTS: Among 320 participants included, 157 were COVID-19 cases and 163 were SARS-CoV-2 negative controls. Loss of taste or smell was reported by 63% of cases and 6% of controls and was strongly associated with COVID-19 in logistic regression models (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 32.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 12.6-83.1). COVID-19 cases were more likely than controls to have experienced fever, body aches, weakness, or fatigue during illness, and to report ≥1 persistent symptom more than 14 days after symptom onset (50% vs 32%, P < .001). Cases reported significantly more days of poor physical health during the past 14 days than controls (P < .01). CONCLUSIONS: Differentiating COVID-19 from other acute illnesses will require widespread diagnostic testing, especially during influenza seasons. Persistent COVID-19-related symptoms may negatively affect quality of life, even among those initially presenting with mild illness.

      5. Novel 6-month treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis, United Statesexternal icon
        Haley CA, Macias P, Jasuja S, Jones BA, Rowlinson MC, Jaimon R, Onderko P, Darnall E, Gomez ME, Peloquin C, Ashkin D, Goswami ND.
        Emerg Infect Dis. 2021 Jan;27(1):332-4.
        The US Food and Drug Administration approved a 6-month regimen of pretomanid, bedaquiline, and linezolid for extensively drug-resistant or multidrug-intolerant tuberculosis after a trial in South Africa demonstrated 90% effectiveness 6 months posttreatment. We report on a patient who completed the regimen using a lower linezolid dose.

      6. Maintaining ART services during COVID-19 border closures: lessons learned in Namibiaexternal icon
        Hans L, Hong SY, Ashipala LS, Bikinesi L, Hamunime N, Kamangu JW, Hatutale EJ, Dziuban EJ.
        Lancet HIV. 2021 Jan;8(1):e7.

      7. SARS-CoV-2 transmission from people without COVID-19 symptomsexternal icon
        Johansson MA, Quandelacy TM, Kada S, Prasad PV, Steele M, Brooks JT, Slayton RB, Biggerstaff M, Butler JC.
        JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Jan 4;4(1):e2035057.
        IMPORTANCE: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiology of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is readily transmitted person to person. Optimal control of COVID-19 depends on directing resources and health messaging to mitigation efforts that are most likely to prevent transmission, but the relative importance of such measures has been disputed. OBJECTIVE: To assess the proportion of SARS-CoV-2 transmissions in the community that likely occur from persons without symptoms. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This decision analytical model assessed the relative amount of transmission from presymptomatic, never symptomatic, and symptomatic individuals across a range of scenarios in which the proportion of transmission from people who never develop symptoms (ie, remain asymptomatic) and the infectious period were varied according to published best estimates. For all estimates, data from a meta-analysis was used to set the incubation period at a median of 5 days. The infectious period duration was maintained at 10 days, and peak infectiousness was varied between 3 and 7 days (-2 and +2 days relative to the median incubation period). The overall proportion of SARS-CoV-2 was varied between 0% and 70% to assess a wide range of possible proportions. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Level of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from presymptomatic, never symptomatic, and symptomatic individuals. RESULTS: The baseline assumptions for the model were that peak infectiousness occurred at the median of symptom onset and that 30% of individuals with infection never develop symptoms and are 75% as infectious as those who do develop symptoms. Combined, these baseline assumptions imply that persons with infection who never develop symptoms may account for approximately 24% of all transmission. In this base case, 59% of all transmission came from asymptomatic transmission, comprising 35% from presymptomatic individuals and 24% from individuals who never develop symptoms. Under a broad range of values for each of these assumptions, at least 50% of new SARS-CoV-2 infections was estimated to have originated from exposure to individuals with infection but without symptoms. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this decision analytical model of multiple scenarios of proportions of asymptomatic individuals with COVID-19 and infectious periods, transmission from asymptomatic individuals was estimated to account for more than half of all transmissions. In addition to identification and isolation of persons with symptomatic COVID-19, effective control of spread will require reducing the risk of transmission from people with infection who do not have symptoms. These findings suggest that measures such as wearing masks, hand hygiene, social distancing, and strategic testing of people who are not ill will be foundational to slowing the spread of COVID-19 until safe and effective vaccines are available and widely used.

      8. Pilot study of markers for high-grade anal dysplasia in a southern cohort from the Women's Interagency Human Immunodeficiency Virus Studyexternal icon
        Lahiri CD, Nguyen ML, Mehta CC, Mosunjac M, Tadros T, Unger ER, Rajeevan MS, Richards J, Ofotokun I, Flowers L.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Mar 3;70(6):1121-1128.
        BACKGROUND: Anal cancer rates have increased, particularly in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected (HIV+) women. We assessed factors associated with anal precancer in HIV+ and at-risk HIV-negative women from the Atlanta Women's Interagency HIV Study cohort. METHODS: All participants underwent high-resolution anoscopy and anal cytology and had anal and cervical samples collected. Specimens were tested for 37 human papillomavirus (HPV) types and for FAM19A4 and microRNA124-2 promoter methylation. Binary logistic regression and multivariate analysis were conducted with histologic anal high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (A-HSIL) as the dependent variable. RESULTS: Seventy-five women were enrolled: 52 (69%) were HIV+ with three-fourths having undetectable viral load; 64 (86%) were black; mean age was 49 ± 8 years. Forty-nine (65%) anal cytology samples were abnormal, and 38 (51%) of anal samples were positive for at least 1 of 13 high-risk HPV (hrHPV) types. Thirteen (18%) anal biopsies identified A-HSIL. Hypermethylation of FAM19A4 and/or microRNA124-2 was found in 69 (95%) anal samples and 19 (26%) cervical samples. In multivariate analyses, the odds of having A-HSIL were >6 times higher in women with anal hrHPV (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 6.08 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.27-29.18], P = .02) and with positive cervical methylation (aOR, 6.49 [95% CI, 1.66-25.35], P = .007), but not significantly higher in women with positive anal methylation. CONCLUSIONS: Anal hrHPV and promoter hypermethylation in the cervix show promise as biomarkers for anal cancer screening in HIV+ and at-risk HIV-negative women. Greater understanding of gene silencing by promoter hypermethylation in anal carcinogenesis is needed.

      9. Opening of large institutions of higher education and county-level COVID-19 incidence - United States, July 6-September 17, 2020external icon
        Leidner AJ, Barry V, Bowen VB, Silver R, Musial T, Kang GJ, Ritchey MD, Fletcher K, Barrios L, Pevzner E.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Jan 8;70(1):14-19.
        During early August 2020, county-level incidence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) generally decreased across the United States, compared with incidence earlier in the summer (1); however, among young adults aged 18-22 years, incidence increased (2). Increases in incidence among adults aged ≥60 years, who might be more susceptible to severe COVID-19-related illness, have followed increases in younger adults (aged 20-39 years) by an average of 8.7 days (3). Institutions of higher education (colleges and universities) have been identified as settings where incidence among young adults increased during August (4,5). Understanding the extent to which these settings have affected county-level COVID-19 incidence can inform ongoing college and university operations and future planning. To evaluate the effect of large colleges or universities and school instructional format* (remote or in-person) on COVID-19 incidence, start dates and instructional formats for the fall 2020 semester were identified for all not-for-profit large U.S. colleges and universities (≥20,000 total enrolled students). Among counties with large colleges and universities (university counties) included in the analysis, remote-instruction university counties (22) experienced a 17.9% decline in mean COVID-19 incidence during the 21 days before through 21 days after the start of classes (from 17.9 to 14.7 cases per 100,000), and in-person instruction university counties (79) experienced a 56.2% increase in COVID-19 incidence, from 15.3 to 23.9 cases per 100,000. Counties without large colleges and universities (nonuniversity counties) (3,009) experienced a 5.9% decline in COVID-19 incidence, from 15.3 to 14.4 cases per 100,000. Similar findings were observed for percentage of positive test results and hotspot status (i.e., increasing among in-person-instruction university counties). In-person instruction at colleges and universities was associated with increased county-level COVID-19 incidence and percentage test positivity. Implementation of increased mitigation efforts at colleges and universities could minimize on-campus COVID-19 transmission.

      10. Efficacy of face masks, neck gaiters and face shields for reducing the expulsion of simulated cough-generated aerosolsexternal icon
        Lindsley WG, Blachere FM, Law BF, Beezhold DH, Noti JD.
        Aerosol Sci Tech. 2020 Dec:[Epub ahead of print].
        Face masks are recommended to reduce community transmission of SARS-CoV-2. One of the primary benefits of face masks and other coverings is as source control devices to reduce the expulsion of respiratory aerosols during coughing, breathing, and speaking. Face shields and neck gaiters have been proposed as an alternative to face masks, but information about face shields and neck gaiters as source control devices is limited. We used a cough aerosol simulator with a pliable skin headform to propel small aerosol particles (0 to 7 &#236;m) into different face coverings. An N95 respirator blocked 99% (standard deviation (SD) 0.3%) of the cough aerosol, a medical grade procedure mask blocked 59% (SD 6.9%), a 3-ply cotton cloth face mask blocked 51% (SD 7.7%), and a polyester neck gaiter blocked 47% (SD 7.5%) as a single layer and 60% (SD 7.2%) when folded into a double layer. In contrast, the face shield blocked 2% (SD 15.3%) of the cough aerosol. Our results suggest that face masks and neck gaiters are preferable to face shields as source control devices for cough aerosols.

      11. Change in condom use in populations newly aware of HIV diagnosis in the United States and Canada: A systematic review and meta-analysisexternal icon
        Malekinejad M, Blodgett J, Horvath H, Parriott A, Hutchinson AB, Shrestha RK, McCabe D, Volberding P, Kahn JG.
        AIDS Behav. 2021 Jan 2.
        HIV-infected individuals "aware" of their infection are more likely to use condoms, compared to HIV-infected "unaware" persons. To quantify this likelihood, we undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of U.S. and Canadian studies. Twenty-one eligible studies included men who have sex with men (MSM; k = 15), persons who inject drugs (PWID; k = 2), and mixed populations of high-risk heterosexuals (HRH; k = 4). Risk ratios (RR) of "not always using condoms" with partners of any serostatus were lower among aware MSM (RR 0.44 [not significant]), PWID (RR 0.70) and HRH (RR 0.27); and, in aware MSM, with partners of HIV-uninfected or unknown status (RR 0.46). Aware individuals had lower "condomless sex likelihood" with HIV-uninfected or unknown status partners (MSM: RR 0.58; male PWID: RR 0.44; female PWID: RR 0.65; HRH: RR 0.35) and with partners of any serostatus (MSM only, RR 0.72). The association diminished over time. High risk of bias compromised evidence quality.

      12. Prevalence and trends in HIV infection and testing among adults in the United States: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 1999-2018external icon
        McQuillan GM, Kruszon-Moran D, Gu Q, Masciotra S, Storandt R.
        J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2020 Dec 30;Publish Ahead of Print.
        BACKGROUND: HIV antibody testing has been included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, for ages 18-49 since 1999 and for ages 18-59 years since 2009 enabling estimation of trends in HIV prevalence as part of national surveillance in the U.S. household population. Self-reported HIV testing and antiretroviral (ARV) use was also included in the survey since 1999. SETTING: A continuous household-based probability sample of the U.S. population. METHODS: From 1999-2018, 29,020 participants age 18-49 years were tested for HIV antibody and 34,092 participants age 18-59 years were asked about self-report of any previous HIV testing. RESULTS: HIV prevalence was 0.41% among those aged 18-59 in 2009-2018 with a non-significant trend over time among those aged 18-49 years from 1999-2002 to 2015-2018. However, significant declines in prevalence were seen among those aged 18-39 years (0.37% to 0.11%), women (0.22% to 0.06%) and non-Hispanic black persons (2.14% to 0.80%). Participants age aged 18-39 self-reported a decline in HIV testing while those aged 40-49 and 50-59 years, non-Hispanic black persons and women reported an increase in getting a HIV test. Prevalence of infection and self-reported history of HIV testing varied by demographic and risk groups. HIV testing among HIV positive persons was 83.9%. ARV therapy among those HIV positive was under 50%. CONCLUSION: Though total HIV prevalence and previous self-reported HIV testing remained stable for the last 20 years, there were significant declines in age and demographic subgroups. Prevalence for both outcomes varied by demographic and risk variables.

      13. HIV criminalisation laws and ending the US HIV epidemicexternal icon
        Mermin J, Valentine SS, McCray E.
        Lancet HIV. 2021 Jan;8(1):e4-e6.

      14. Sexually transmitted infections (STI) and antenatal care (ANC) clinics in Malawi: effective platforms for improving engagement of men at high HIV risk with voluntary medical male circumcision servicesexternal icon
        Msungama W, Menego G, Shaba F, Flowers N, Habel M, Bonongwe A, Banda M, Shire S, Maida A, Auld A, Phiri SJ, Dumbani K, Buono N, Luhanga M, Kapito M, Gibson H, Laube C, Toledo C, Kim E, Davis SM.
        Sex Transm Infect. 2021 Jan 4.
        INTRODUCTION: Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), an effective HIV prevention programme for men, is implemented in East and Southern Africa. Approximately 50% of VMMC clients are aged below 15 years. More targeted interventions to reach older men and others at higher short-term HIV risk are needed. METHODS: We implemented a quality improvement project testing the effectiveness of an active referral-based VMMC recruitment approach, targeting men attending STI clinics and those escorting partners to antenatal care (ANC) clinics, at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi. We compared the proportions aged older than 15 years among men who received VMMC following referral from STI and ANC clinics with those among men referred from standard community mobilisation. We also analysed referral cascades to VMMC. RESULTS: In total, 330 clients were circumcised after referral from STI (242) and ANC (88) clinics, as compared with 3839 other clients attributed to standard community mobilisation. All clients from ANC and STI clinics were aged over 15 years, as compared with 69% from standard community mobilisation. STI clinics had a higher conversion rate from counselling to VMMC than ANC (12% vs 9%) and a higher contribution to total circumcisions performed at the VMMC clinic (6% vs 2%). CONCLUSIONS: Integrating VMMC recruitment and follow-up in STI and ANC clinics co-located with VMMC services can augment demand creation and targeting of men at risk of HIV, based on age and STI history. This approach can be replicated at least in similar health facilities with ANC and STI services in close proximity to VMMC service delivery.

      15. HIV testing, diagnosis of HIV infection, linkage to medical care, and interview for partner services among transgender persons - United States, 2012-2017external icon
        Mulatu MS, Wang G, Song W, Keatley J, Kudon HZ, Wan C, Rao S.
        J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2020 Dec 24;Publish Ahead of Print.
        BACKGROUND: Transgender persons are at high risk for HIV infection. Testing is a key component of the national effort to end the HIV epidemic in the United States. SETTING: Sixty-one local and state health departments (HDs) and 150 community-based organizations (CBOs) funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct HIV testing programs. METHODS: We analyzed HIV testing data submitted to CDC by funded HDs and CBOs during 2012-2017. Descriptive analysis examined patterns of HIV testing and key outcomes (diagnosis of HIV infection, linkage to HIV medical care, and interview for partner services) among transgender persons. Multivariate robust Poisson regression was used to assess associations between HIV testing outcomes and demographic characteristics, census region, and test setting. RESULTS: A total of 82,818 HIV tests were provided to transgender persons. Of these, 2,280 (2.8%) transgender persons were diagnosed with HIV infection; 1,556 (1.9%) received a new and 724 (0.9%) a previous diagnosis with HIV infection. The highest percentage of new HIV diagnosis was found among persons tested in correctional settings (4.6%), non-Hispanic Blacks (3.5%) and transgender women (2.4%).Among newly diagnosed persons, 85.0% were linked to HIV medical care ≤90 days after diagnosis and 63.5% were interviewed for partner services. CONCLUSIONS: HIV positivity was high, and the delivery of partner services was low, among transgender persons. HIV testing outcomes among transgender persons varied significantly by demographic characteristics and test setting. HIV prevention programs that are responsive to the needs of transgender persons may address gender-related disparities in HIV testing outcomes.

      16. Sexually transmitted disease clinics in the United States: Understanding the needs of patients and the capabilities of providersexternal icon
        Pearson WS, Kumar S, Habel MA, Walsh S, Meit M, Barrow RY, Weiss G, Gift TL.
        Prev Med. 2020 Dec 31:106411.
        Reports of bacterial sexually transmitted infections are at the highest levels ever reported in the United States, and state and local budgetary issues are placing specialized sexually transmitted disease (STD) care at risk. This study collected information from 4138 patients seeking care at 26 STD clinics in large metropolitan areas across the United States with high levels of reported STDs to determine patient needs and clinic capabilities. Surveys were provided to patients attending these STD clinics to assess their demographic information as well as reasons for coming to the clinic and surveys were also provided to clinic administrators to determine their operational capacities and services provided by the clinic. For this initial study, we conducted univariate analyses to report all data collected from these surveys. Patients attending STD clinics across the country indicated that they do so because of the relative ease of getting an appointment; including walk-in and same-day appointments as well as the welcoming environment and expertise of the staff at the clinic. Additionally, STD clinics provide specialized care to patients; including HIV testing and counseling as well as on-site, injectable medications for the treatment of gonorrhea and syphilis in an environment that helps to reduce the role of stigma in seeking this kind of care. Sexually transmitted disease clinics continue to play an important role in helping to curb the rising epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases.

      17. Change in plasma cryptococcal antigen titer is not associated with survival among human immunodeficiency virus-infected persons receiving preemptive therapy for asymptomatic cryptococcal antigenemiaexternal icon
        Pullen MF, Kakooza F, Nalintya E, Kiragga AN, Morawski BM, Rajasingham R, Mubiru A, Manabe YC, Kaplan JE, Meya DB, Boulware DR.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Jan 2;70(2):353-355.

      18. Etiology of severe acute respiratory infections, Bangladesh, 2017external icon
        Rahaman MR, Alroy KA, Van Beneden CA, Friedman MS, Kennedy ED, Rahman M, Balajee A, Muraduzzaman AK, Shirin T, Flora MS, Azziz-Baumgartner E.
        Emerg Infect Dis. 2021 Jan;27(1):324-326.
        In April 2017, surveillance detected a surge in severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) in Bangladesh. We collected specimens from SARI patients and asymptomatic controls for analysis with multipathogen diagnostic tests. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was associated with the SARI epidemic, suggesting that introducing vaccines and empiric antiviral drugs could be beneficial.

      19. Participation in fraternity and sorority activities and the spread of COVID-19 among residential university communities - Arkansas, August 21-September 5, 2020external icon
        Vang KE, Krow-Lucal ER, James AE, Cima MJ, Kothari A, Zohoori N, Porter A, Campbell EM.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Jan 8;70(1):20-23.
        Preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in colleges and universities requires mitigation strategies that address on- and off-campus congregate living settings as well as extracurricular activities and other social gatherings (1-4). At the start of the academic year, sorority and fraternity organizations host a series of recruitment activities known as rush week; rush week culminates with bid day, when selections are announced. At university A in Arkansas, sorority rush week (for women) was held during August 17-22, 2020, and consisted of on- and off-campus social gatherings, including an outdoor bid day event on August 22. Fraternity rush week (for men) occurred during August 27-31, with bid day scheduled for September 5. During August 22-September 5, university A-associated COVID-19 cases were reported to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). A total of 965 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases associated with university A were identified, with symptom onset occurring during August 20-September 5, 2020; 31% of the patients with these cases reported involvement in any fraternity or sorority activity. Network analysis identified 54 gatherings among all linkages of cases to places of residence and cases to events, 49 (91%) were linked by participation in fraternity and sorority activities accounting for 42 (72%) links among gatherings. On September 4, university A banned gatherings of ≥10 persons, and fraternity bid day was held virtually. The rapid increase in COVID-19 cases was likely facilitated by on- and off-campus congregate living settings and activities, and health departments should work together with student organizations and university leadership to ensure compliance with mitigation measures.

    • Environmental Health
      1. We piloted a methodology for collecting and interpreting root cause-or environmental deficiency (ED)-information from Legionnaires' disease (LD) outbreak investigation reports. The methodology included a classification framework to assess common failures observed in the implementation of water management programs (WMPs). We reviewed reports from fourteen CDC-led investigations between 1 January 2015 and 21 June 2019 to identify EDs associated with outbreaks of LD. We developed an abstraction guide to standardize data collection from outbreak reports and define relevant parameters. We categorized each ED according to three criteria: ED type, WMP-deficiency type, and source of deficiency. We calculated the prevalence of EDs among facilities and explored differences between facilities with and without WMPs. A majority of EDs identified (81%) were classified as process failures. Facilities with WMPs (n = 8) had lower prevalence of EDs attributed to plumbed devices (9.1%) and infrastructure design (0%) than facilities without WMPs (n = 6; 33.3% and 24.2%, respectively). About three quarters (72%) of LD cases and 81% of the fatalities in our sample originated at facilities without a WMP. This report highlights the importance of WMPs in preventing and mitigating outbreaks of LD. Building water system process management is a primary obstacle toward limiting the root causes of LD outbreaks. Greater emphasis on the documentation, verification, validation, and continuous program review steps will be important in maximizing the effectiveness of WMPs.

      2. Methylcarbamoyl mercapturic acid (MCAMA, N-acetyl-S-(N-methylcarbamoyl)-L-cysteine) is a urinary metabolite of N,N-dimethylformamide and methyl isocyanate, which are volatile organic compounds that are harmful to humans. N,N-dimethylformamide exposure causes liver damage, and methyl isocyanate inhalation damages the lining of the respiratory tract, which can increase risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. This study characterizes urinary MCAMA levels in the US population and explores associations of MCAMA concentrations with select demographic and environmental factors. We used liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to measure MCAMA in urine collected from study participants ≥ 12 years old (N = 8272) as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006 and 2011-2016. We produced multiple regression models with MCAMA concentrations as the dependent variable and sex, age, fasting time, race/ethnicity, diet, and cigarette smoking as independent variables. Cigarette smokers and nonsmokers had median urinary MCAMA concentrations of 517 μg/g creatinine and 127 μg/g creatinine, respectively. Sample-weighted multiple regression analysis showed that MCAMA was positively associated with serum cotinine (p < 0.0001). Compared to non-exposed participants (serum cotinine ≤ 0.015 ng/mL), presumptive exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke (serum cotinine > 0.015-≤ 10 ng/mL and 0 cigarettes smoked per day) was associated with 20% higher MCAMA (p < 0.0001). Additionally, smoking 1-10 cigarettes per day was associated with 261% higher MCAMA (p < 0.0001), smoking 11-20 cigarettes per day was associated with 357% higher MCAMA (p < 0.0001), and smoking > 20 cigarettes per day was associated with 416% higher MCAMA (p < 0.0001). These findings underscore the strong association of tobacco smoke exposure with urinary MCAMA biomarker levels.

      3. Prenatal exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in association with autism spectrum disorder in the MARBLES studyexternal icon
        Oh J, Bennett DH, Calafat AM, Tancredi D, Roa DL, Schmidt RJ, Hertz-Picciotto I, Shin HM.
        Environ Int. 2020 Dec 30;147:106328.
        BACKGROUND: Prenatal exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has shown potential to adversely affect child brain development, but epidemiologic evidence remains inconsistent. We examined whether prenatal exposure to PFAS was associated with increased risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). METHODS: Participants were 173 mother-child pairs from MARBLES (Markers of Autism Risk in Babies - Learning Early Signs), a high-risk ASD cohort. At 3 years old, children were clinically confirmed for ASD and classified into ASD (n = 57) and typical development (TD, n = 116). We quantified nine PFAS in maternal serum collected during pregnancy. We examined associations of ASD with individual PFAS as well as the combined effect of PFAS on ASD using scores of the first principal component (PC-1) accounting for the largest variance. RESULTS: Prenatal perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorononanoate (PFNA) showed positive associations (per 2 nanogram per milliliter increase: relative risk (RR) = 1.20, 95% CI: 0.90, 1.61 [PFOA]; RR = 1.24, 95% CI: 0.91, 1.69 [PFNA]), while perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS) showed a negative association (RR = 0.88, 95% CI: 0.77, 1.01) with ASD risk. When examining associations of ASD with untransformed PFAS concentrations, PFOA, PFNA, and PC-1 were associated with increased ASD risk (per nanogram per milliliter increase: RR = 1.31, 95% CI: 1.04, 1.65; RR = 1.79, 95% CI: 1.13, 2.85; RR = 1.10, 95% CI: 0.97, 1.25, respectively), while the RR of PFHxS moved toward the null. CONCLUSIONS: From this high-risk ASD cohort, we observed increased risk of ASD in children exposed to PFOA and PFNA. Further studies should be conducted in the general population because this population may have a larger fraction of cases resulting from genetic sources.

      4. PFAS and cancer, a scoping review of the epidemiologic evidenceexternal icon
        Steenland K, Winquist A.
        Environ Res. 2020 Dec 29:110690.
        BACKGROUND: The number of studies addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and cancer is increasing. Many communities have had water contaminated by PFAS, and cancer is one of the important community concerns related to PFAS exposure. OBJECTIVES: We critically reviewed the evidence relating to PFAS and cancer from an epidemiologic standpoint to highlight directions for future research that would be the most likely to meaningfully increase knowledge. METHODS: We conducted a search in PubMed for studies of cancer and PFAS (through 9/20/2020). We identified epidemiologic studies that provided a quantitative estimate for some measure of the association between PFAS and cancer. Here, we review that literature, including several aspects of epidemiologic study design that impact the usefulness of study results. RESULTS: We identified 16 cohort (or case-cohort) studies, 10 case-control studies (4 nested within cohorts and 6 non-nested), 1 cross sectional study and 1 ecologic study. The cancer sites with the most evidence of an association with PFAS are testicular and kidney cancer. There are also some suggestions in a few studies of an association with prostate cancer, but the data are inconsistent. DISCUSSION: Each study's design has strengths and limitations. Weaknesses in study design and methods can, in some cases, lead to questionable associations, but in other cases can make it more difficult to detect true associations, if they are present. Overall, the evidence for an association between cancer and PFAS remains sparse. A variety of studies with different strengths and weaknesses can be helpful to clarify associations between PFAS and cancer. Long term follow-up of large-sized cohorts with large exposure contrasts are most likely to be informative.

    • Food Safety
      1. Foods implicated in U.S. outbreaks differ from the types most commonly consumedexternal icon
        Richardson LC, Cole D, Hoekstra RM, Rajasingham A, Johnson SD, Bruce B.
        J Food Prot. 2021 Jan 7.
        Foodborne disease outbreak investigations identify foods responsible for illnesses. However, it is not known the degree to which foods implicated in outbreaks reflect the distribution of food consumption in the U.S. population or the risk associated with their consumption. To examine this, we compared the distribution of foods in 24 categories implicated in outbreaks to the distribution of foods consumed by the U.S. population. Beef, chicken, eggs, fish, herbs, mollusks, pork, sprouts, seeded vegetables, and turkey were implicated in outbreaks significantly more often than expected based on the frequency of their consumption in the general population, suggesting a higher risk of contamination or mishandling from foods in these categories than in others. In contrast, pasteurized dairy, fruits, grains-beans, oils and sugars, and root/underground vegetables were less frequently implicated in outbreaks than they were consumed in the general population, suggesting a lower risk for these food categories.

    • Genetics and Genomics
      1. Characterization of reference materials for spinal muscular atrophy genetic testing: A Genetic Testing Reference Materials Coordination Program Collaborative Projectexternal icon
        Prior TW, Bayrak-Toydemir P, Lynnes TC, Mao R, Metcalf JD, Muralidharan K, Iwata-Otsubo A, Pham HT, Pratt VM, Qureshi S, Requesens D, Shen J, Vetrini F, Kalman L.
        J Mol Diagn. 2021 Jan;23(1):103-110.
        Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive disorder predominately caused by bi-allelic loss of the SMN1 gene. Increased copies of SMN2, a low functioning nearly identical paralog, are associated with a less severe phenotype. SMA was recently recommended for inclusion in newborn screening. Clinical laboratories must accurately measure SMN1 and SMN2 copy number to identify SMA patients and carriers, and to identify individuals likely to benefit from therapeutic interventions. Having publicly available and appropriately characterized reference materials with various combinations of SMN1 and SMN2 copy number variants is critical to assure accurate SMA clinical testing. To address this need, the CDC-based Genetic Testing Reference Materials Coordination Program, in collaboration with members of the genetic testing community and the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, has characterized 15 SMA reference materials derived from publicly available cell lines. DNA samples were distributed to four volunteer testing laboratories for genotyping using three different methods. The characterized samples had zero to four copies of SMN1 and zero to five copies SMN2. The samples also contained clinically important allele combinations (eg, zero copies SMN1, three copies SMN2), and several had markers indicative of an SMA carrier. These and other reference materials characterized by the Genetic Testing Reference Materials Coordination Program are available from the Coriell Institute and are proposed to support the quality of clinical laboratory testing.

      2. Preadaptation of pandemic GII.4 noroviruses in unsampled virus reservoirs years before emergenceexternal icon
        Ruis C, Lindesmith LC, Mallory ML, Brewer-Jensen PD, Bryant JM, Costantini V, Monit C, Vinjé J, Baric RS, Goldstein RA, Breuer J.
        Virus Evol. 2020 Jul;6(2):veaa067.
        The control of re-occurring pandemic pathogens requires understanding the origins of new pandemic variants and the factors that drive their global spread. This is especially important for GII.4 norovirus, where vaccines under development offer promise to prevent hundreds of millions of annual gastroenteritis cases. Previous studies have hypothesized that new GII.4 pandemic viruses arise when previously circulating pandemic or pre-pandemic variants undergo substitutions in antigenic regions that enable evasion of host population immunity, as described by conventional models of antigenic drift. In contrast, we show here that the acquisition of new genetic and antigenic characteristics cannot be the proximal driver of new pandemics. Pandemic GII.4 viruses diversify and spread over wide geographical areas over several years prior to simultaneous pandemic emergence of multiple lineages, indicating that the necessary sequence changes must have occurred before diversification, years prior to pandemic emergence. We confirm this result through serological assays of reconstructed ancestral virus capsids, demonstrating that by 2003, the ancestral 2012 pandemic strain had already acquired the antigenic characteristics that allowed it to evade prevailing population immunity against the previous 2009 pandemic variant. These results provide strong evidence that viral genetic changes are necessary but not sufficient for GII.4 pandemic spread. Instead, we suggest that it is changes in host population immunity that enable pandemic spread of an antigenically preadapted GII.4 variant. These results indicate that predicting future GII.4 pandemic variants will require surveillance of currently unsampled reservoir populations. Furthermore, a broadly acting GII.4 vaccine will be critical to prevent future pandemics.

    • Health Disparities
      1. BACKGROUND: Community Approaches to Reducing Sexually Transmitted Disease (CARS), a unique initiative of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, promotes the use of community engagement to increase sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention, screening, and treatment and to address locally prioritized STD-related social determinants of health within communities experiencing STD disparities, including youth, persons of color, and sexual and gender minorities. We sought to identify elements of community engagement as applied within CARS. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Between 2011 and 2018, we collected and analyzed archival and in-depth interview data to identify and explore community engagement across 8 CARS sites. Five to 13 interview participants (mean, 7) at each site were interviewed annually. Participants included project staff and leadership, community members, and representatives from local community organizations (e.g., health departments; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-serving organizations; faith organizations; businesses; and HIV-service organizations) and universities. Data were analyzed using constant comparison, an approach to grounded theory development. RESULTS: Twelve critical elements of community engagement emerged, including commitment to engagement, partner flexibility, talented and trusted leadership, participation of diverse sectors, establishment of vision and mission, open communication, reducing power differentials, working through conflict, identifying and leveraging resources, and building a shared history. CONCLUSIONS: This study expands the community engagement literature within STD prevention, screening, and treatment by elucidating some of the critical elements of the approach and provides guidance for practitioners, researchers, and their partners as they develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to reduce STD disparities.

    • Health Economics
      1. U.S. trade indicators and epidemics: Lessons from the 2003 SARS outbreakexternal icon
        Kostova D, Cherukupalli R, Ochieng W, Redd JT.
        Econ Bull. 2020 ;40(4):2610-2618.
        We revisited the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-2003) and its role in two U.S. indicators — U.S. merchandise exports to countries in the East Asia Pacific (EAP) region and domestic U.S. jobs supported by these exports. We employed a quasi-experimental approach where SARS-2003 average treatment effects were derived from comparing before-2003 and after-2003 differences in indicator trends for EAP countries that experienced the bulk of 2003 epidemic transmission (China, T aiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore) and EAP countries that did not, controlling for observed and unobserved country heterogeneity that might concurrently determine trends in trade. The SARS-2003 outbreak was associated with a USD 29 billion relative reduction in U.S. merchandise exports to the group of high-burden SARS countries, with a corresponding relative loss of 61,200 U.S. jobs. These effects were largely explained by a slowdown in exports from the U.S. manufacturing sector (USD 24.9 billion). No significant post-2003 effects were estimated for either exports or jobs, indicating a relatively quick rebound

      2. Noncommunicable disease outcomes and the effects of vertical and horizontal health aidexternal icon
        Kostova D, Nugent R, Richter P.
        Econ Hum Biol. 2020 Nov 18;41:100935.
        Foreign health aid forms a substantial portion of health spending in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It can be either vertical (funds earmarked for specific diseases) or horizontal (funds used for broad health sector strengthening). Historically, most health aid has been disbursed vertically toward key infectious diseases, with minimal allocations to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). High NCD burden in LMICs underscores a need for increased assistance toward NCD objectives, but evidence on the outcomes of health aid for NCDs is sparse. We obtained annual data on cause-specific deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for four leading NCDs across 116 countries, 2000-2016, and evaluated the relationship between these indicators and vertical and horizontal health aid using country fixed-effects models with 1-to-5-year lagged effects. After adjusting for fixed and time-variant country heterogeneity, vertical assistance for NCDs was significantly associated with subsequent reductions in NCD morbidity and mortality, particularly for persons under age 70 and for cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases. An additional dollar in per-capita NCD vertical assistance corresponded to reductions in the average annual NCD burden of 7,459 DALYs/281 deaths after one year, 7,728 DALYs/319 deaths after two years, and 8,957 DALYs/346 deaths after three years. The findings suggest that vertical assistance for NCD programs may be an appropriate mechanism for addressing short-term NCD needs in LMICs, where it may help to fill health sector gaps in NCD care, but longer-term evaluation is needed for assessing the role of horizontal assistance.

      3. Employment after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment among women in the Sister and the Two Sister Studiesexternal icon
        Peipins LA, Dasari S, Rodriguez JL, White MC, Hodgson ME, Sandler DP.
        J Occup Rehabil. 2021 Jan 2.
        Purpose Women undergoing diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer may face challenges in employment. We investigated the impact of demographic, clinical, workplace, and psychosocial characteristics on loss of employment after a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. We further describe changes in work status and work environment for cancer survivors who sustain employment. Methods We analyzed responses from a survey of breast cancer survivors from the Sister Study and the Two Sister Study cohorts who reported being employed at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis and who reported employment status (lost vs. sustained employment) at the time of survey administration. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify the effects of lymphedema, neuropathy, problems with memory or attention, social support, health insurance, and sick leave on lost employment, adjusting for demographic characteristics, cancer stage, treatment, and general health. Results Of the 1675 respondents who reported being employed at the time of diagnosis, 83.5% reported being 'currently' employed at the time of the survey. Older age, peripheral neuropathy, lack of sick leave, late stage at diagnosis, a recurrence or a new cancer, problems with memory or attention, and poor general health were significantly associated with lost employment. Conclusions The long-term effects of breast cancer treatment and workplace provisions for leave and accommodation may have a substantial effect on women's ability to sustain employment. The findings from this study highlight challenges reported by cancer survivors that may inform clinical and occupational interventions to support survivors' return to work.

      4. The impact of dental insurance and medical insurance on dental care utilization during pregnancyexternal icon
        Robison V, Bauman B, D'Angelo DV, Espinoza L, Thornton-Evans G, Lin M.
        Matern Child Health J. 2021 Jan 2.
        OBJECTIVE: To measure the association between dental and medical insurance with the receipt of dental cleaning during pregnancy. METHODS: We analyzed Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data from 2012 to 2015 on 145,051 women with a recent live birth from 36 states. We used adjusted prevalence ratios [aPR] from multivariable regression to examine the association of dental and medical insurance with receipt of dental cleaning during pregnancy, controlling for selected covariates that influence dental care utilization. RESULTS: Seventy-seven percent (77%) of all women reported having dental insurance during pregnancy. Receipt of dental cleaning before pregnancy was strongly associated with dental cleaning during pregnancy. Among women without pre-pregnancy dental cleaning who had dental insurance, those with Medicaid medical insurance had a significantly higher prevalence of dental cleaning during pregnancy [aPR = 1.42, 95% CI (1.32 - 1.52)], compared to those private medical insurance. Among women without pre-pregnancy dental cleaning, those without dental insurance but with Medicaid medical insurance were about 70% less likely to have dental cleaning during pregnancy compared to those with dental and private medical insurance. CONCLUSIONS FOR PRACTICE: With or without dental insurance, pre-pregnancy dental cleaning was strongly associated with dental cleaning during pregnancy. Dental insurance was an important determinant of dental utilization. Medical insurance had an independent and positive effect. This effect varied by private versus Medicaid medical insurance. Programs which provide women with dental insurance both before and during pregnancy could improve the oral health of maternal and infant populations.

    • Healthcare Associated Infections
      1. Modeling Infectious Diseases in Healthcare Network (MInD-Healthcare) framework for describing and reporting multidrug-resistant organism and healthcare-associated infections agent-based modeling methodsexternal icon
        Slayton RB, O'Hagan JJ, Barnes S, Rhea S, Hilscher R, Rubin M, Lofgren E, Singh B, Segre A, Paul P.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Dec 3;71(9):2527-2532.
        Mathematical modeling of healthcare-associated infections and multidrug-resistant organisms improves our understanding of pathogen transmission dynamics and provides a framework for evaluating prevention strategies. One way of improving the communication among modelers is by providing a standardized way of describing and reporting models, thereby instilling confidence in the reproducibility and generalizability of such models. We updated the Overview, Design concepts, and Details protocol developed by Grimm et al [11] for describing agent-based models (ABMs) to better align with elements commonly included in healthcare-related ABMs. The Modeling Infectious Diseases in Healthcare Network (MInD-Healthcare) framework includes the following 9 key elements: (1) Purpose and scope; (2) Entities, state variables, and scales; (3) Initialization; (4) Process overview and scheduling; (5) Input data; (6) Agent interactions and organism transmission; (7) Stochasticity; (8) Submodels; and (9) Model verification, calibration, and validation. Our objective is that this framework will improve the quality of evidence generated utilizing these models.

      2. Acquisition and long-term carriage of multidrug-resistant organisms in US international travelersexternal icon
        Worby CJ, Earl AM, Turbett SE, Becker M, Rao SR, Oliver E, Taylor Walker A, Walters M, Kelly P, Leung DT, Knouse M, Hagmann SH, Ryan ET, LaRocque RC.
        Open Forum Infect Dis. 2020 Dec;7(12):ofaa543.
        We performed prospective screening of stool for multidrug-resistant organisms from 608 US international travelers and identified an acquisition rate of 38% following travel. Carriage rates remained significantly elevated for at least 6 months post-travel. Travel-related diarrhea was a risk factor for acquisition, as well as for long-term carriage upon return.

    • Immunity and Immunization
      1. Effectiveness of influenza vaccine for preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza hospitalizations in immunocompromised adultsexternal icon
        Hughes K, Middleton DB, Nowalk MP, Balasubramani GK, Martin ET, Gaglani M, Talbot HK, Patel MM, Ferdinands JM, Zimmerman RK, Silveira FP.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Jan 3.
        BACKGROUND: Yearly influenza immunization is recommended for immunocompromised (IC) individuals, although immune responses are lower than that for the non-immunocompromised and the data on vaccine effectiveness (VE) in the IC is scarce. We evaluated VE against influenza-associated hospitalization among IC adults. METHODS: We analyzed data from adults ≥ 18 years hospitalized with acute respiratory illness (ARI) during the 2017-2018 influenza season at 10 hospitals in the United States. IC adults were identified using pre-specified case-definitions, utilizing electronic medical record data. VE was evaluated with a test-negative case-control design using multivariable logistic regression with PCR-confirmed influenza as the outcome and vaccination status as the exposure, adjusting for age, enrolling site, illness onset date, race, days from onset to specimen collection, self-reported health, and self-reported hospitalizations. RESULTS: Of 3,524 adults hospitalized with ARI, 1,210 (34.3%) had an immunocompromising condition. IC adults were more likely to be vaccinated than non-IC (69.5% vs 65.2%), and less likely to have influenza (22% vs 27.8%). The mean age did not differ among IC and non-IC (61.4 vs 60.8 years old). The overall VE against influenza hospitalization, including immunocompetent adults, was 33% (95% CI, 21% to 44%). VE among IC vs non-IC adults was lower at 5% (-29% to 31%) vs. 41% (27% to 52%) (p<0.05 for interaction term). CONCLUSIONS: VE in one influenza season was very low among IC individuals. Future efforts should include evaluation of VE among the different immunocompromising conditions and whether enhanced vaccines improve the suboptimal effectiveness among the immunocompromised.

      2. The importance of seasonal influenza vaccination for people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemicexternal icon
        Peacock G, Ryerson AB, Koppaka R, Tschida J.
        Disabil Health J. 2020 Dec 24:101058.
        A large proportion of Americans have at least one disability and yet people with disabilities face inequities in health and health care access. Factors associated with underlying disability and health, how they perceive and interact with the world, and where they live, or work may increase the risk people with disabilities face for illness or severe outcomes from seasonal influenza. Given the need to reduce the burden of respiratory illness on a healthcare system already overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, maximizing seasonal influenza vaccination coverage is particularly important in 2020-2021. It is critical this season to ensure equitable access to influenza vaccination for people with disabilities. Providing influenza vaccination services in the unique places where people with disabilities are living, working, or receiving care during the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial, as well as communicating effectively to people with different types of disabilities.

    • Informatics
      1. Towards unified data exchange formats for reporting molecular drug susceptibility testingexternal icon
        Bonney W, Price SF, Abhyankar S, Merrick R, Hampole V, Halse TA, DiDonato C, Dalton T, Metchock B, Starks AM, Miramontes R.
        Online J Public Health Inform. 2020 ;12(2):e14.
        BACKGROUND: With the rapid development of new advanced molecular detection methods, identification of new genetic mutations conferring pathogen resistance to an ever-growing variety of antimicrobial substances will generate massive genomic datasets for public health and clinical laboratories. Keeping up with specialized standard coding for these immense datasets will be extremely challenging. This challenge prompted our effort to create a common molecular resistance Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) panel that can be used to report any identified antimicrobial resistance pattern. OBJECTIVE: To develop and utilize a common molecular resistance LOINC panel for molecular drug susceptibility testing (DST) data exchange in the U.S. National Tuberculosis Surveillance System using California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and New York State Department of Health as pilot sites. METHODS: We developed an interface and mapped incoming molecular DST data to the common molecular resistance LOINC panel using Health Level Seven (HL7) v2.5.1 Electronic Laboratory Reporting (ELR) message specifications through the Orion Health™ Rhapsody Integration Engine v6.3.1. RESULTS: Both pilot sites were able to process and upload/import the standardized HL7 v2.5.1 ELR messages into their respective systems; albeit CDPH identified areas for system improvements and has focused efforts to streamline the message importation process. Specifically, CDPH is enhancing their system to better capture parent-child elements and ensure that the data collected can be accessed seamlessly by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. DISCUSSION: The common molecular resistance LOINC panel is designed to be generalizable across other resistance genes and ideally also applicable to other disease domains. CONCLUSION: The study demonstrates that it is possible to exchange molecular DST data across the continuum of disparate healthcare information systems in integrated public health environments using the common molecular resistance LOINC panel.

      2. Pursuing data modernization in cancer surveillance by developing a cloud-based computing platform: Real-time cancer case collectionexternal icon
        Jones DE, Alimi TO, Pordell P, Tangka FK, Blumenthal W, Jones SF, Rogers JD, Benard VB, Richardson LC.
        JCO Clin Cancer Inform. 2021 Jan;5:24-29.
        Cancer surveillance is a field focused on collection of data to evaluate the burden of cancer and apply public health strategies to prevent and control cancer in the community. A key challenge facing the cancer surveillance community is the number of manual tasks required to collect cancer surveillance data, thereby resulting in possible delays in analysis and use of the information. To modernize and automate cancer data collection and reporting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is planning, developing, and piloting a cancer surveillance cloud-based computing platform (CS-CBCP) with standardized electronic reporting from laboratories and health-care providers. With this system, automation of the cancer case collection process and access to real-time cancer case data can be achieved, which could not be done before. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the importance of continuity of operations plans, and the CS-CBCP has the potential to provide such a platform suitable for remote operations of central cancer registries.

      3. Using mobile phone data collection tool, surveda, for noncommunicable disease surveillance in five low- and middle-income countriesexternal icon
        Song Y, Phadnis R, Favaloro J, Lee J, Lau CQ, Moreira M, Marks L, Isaía MG, Kim J, Lea V.
        Online J Public Health Inform. 2020 ;12(2):e13.
        OBJECTIVES: The Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Mobile Phone Survey, a component of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative, determines the prevalence of NCDs and their associated risk factors and demonstrates the use of mobile phone administered surveys to supplement periodic national household surveys. The NCD Mobile Phone Survey uses Surveda to administer the survey; Surveda is an open-source, multi-modal software specifically developed for the project. The objective of the paper is to describe Surveda, review data collection methods used in participating countries and discuss how Surveda and similar approaches can improve public health surveillance. METHODS: Surveda features full-service survey design and implementation through a web application and collects data via Short Messaging Service (SMS), Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and/or mobile web. Surveda's survey design process employs five steps: creating a project, creating questionnaires, designing and starting a survey, monitoring survey progress, and exporting survey results. RESULTS: The NCD Mobile Phone Survey has been successfully conducted in five countries, Zambia (2017), Philippines (2018), Morocco (2019), Malawi (2019), and Sri Lanka (2019), with a total of 23,682 interviews completed. DISCUSSION: This approach to data collection demonstrates that mobile phone surveys can supplement face-to-face data collection methods. Furthermore, Surveda offers major advantages including automated mode-switch, question randomization and comparison features. CONCLUSION: Accurate and timely survey data informs a country's abilities to make targeted policy decisions while prioritizing limited resources. The high acceptance of Surveda demonstrates that the use of mobile phones for surveillance can deliver accurate and timely data collection.

    • Laboratory Sciences
      1. The path to the standardization of PTH: Is this a realistic possibility? A position paper of the IFCC C-BMexternal icon
        Cavalier E, Vasikaran S, Bhattoa HP, Heijboer AC, Makris K, Ulmer CZ.
        Clin Chim Acta. 2021 Jan 4.
        Parathyroid hormone (PTH) determination is of greatest importance for patients suffering from parathyroid gland disorders and for the follow-up of bone turnover in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD). Two generations of PTH assays are simultaneously present on the market for PTH quantification. As these assays are not yet standardized, this results in a significant level of confusion in the care of CKD patients. One key objective of the IFCC Committee for Bone Metabolism is to improve this situation. In this position paper, we will highlight the current state of PTH testing and propose a pathway to ultimately overcome issues resulting from PTH assay variability.

      2. The effect of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate on tenofovir alafenamide in rhesus macaquesexternal icon
        Daly MB, Sterling M, Holder A, Dinh C, Nishiura K, Khalil G, García-Lerma JG, Dobard C.
        Antiviral Res. 2020 Dec 29:105001.
        Prevention of HIV infection and unintended pregnancies are public health priorities. In sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV prevalence is highest, depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) is widely used as contraception. Therefore, understanding potential interactions between DMPA and antiretrovirals is critical. Here, we use a macaque model to investigate the effect of DMPA on the pharmacology of the antiretroviral tenofovir alafenamide (TAF). Female rhesus macaques received 30 mg of DMPA (n=9) or were untreated (n=9). Macaques received a human equivalent dose of TAF (1.5 mg/kg) orally by gavage. Tenofovir (TFV) and TFV-diphosphate (TFV-DP) were measured in blood, secretions, and tissues over 72 hours. The median area under the curve (AUC(0-72h)) values for TFV-DP in peripheral blood mononuclear cells were similar in DMPA-treated (6,991 fmol*h/10(6) cells) and untreated controls (5,256 fmol*h/10(6) cells) (P=0.174). Rectal tissue TFV-DP concentrations from DMPA+ animals [median: 20.23 fmol/mg of tissue (range: 4.94-107.95)] were higher than the DMPA-group [median: below the limit of quantification (BLOQ-11.92)], (P=0.019). TFV-DP was not detectable in vaginal tissue from either group. A high-dose DMPA treatment in macaques was associated with increased rectal TFV-DP levels, indicating a potential tissue-specific drug-drug interaction. The lack of detectable TFV-DP in the vaginal tissue warrants further investigation of PrEP efficacy with single-agent TAF products. DMPA did not affect systemic TAF metabolism, with similar PBMC TFV-DP in both groups, suggesting that DMPA use should not alter the antiviral activity of TAF.

      3. Inflammation is a tissue response to a variety of harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, irritants, and injuries, and can eliminate insults and limit tissue damage. However, dysregulated inflammation is recognized as a cause of many human diseases, exemplified by organ fibrosis and cancer. In this regard, inflammation-promoted fibrosis is commonly observed in human lung diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and pneumoconiosis. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are a type of nanomaterials with unique properties and various industrial and commercial applications. On the other hand, certain forms of CNTs are potent inducers of inflammation and fibrosis in animal lungs. Notably, acute inflammation is a remarkable phenotype elicited by CNTs in the lung during the early acute phase post-exposure; whereas a type 2 immune response is evidently activated and dominates during the late acute and chronic phases, leading to type 2 inflammation and lung fibrosis. Numerous studies demonstrate that these immune responses involve distinct immune cells, various pathologic factors, and specific functions and play crucial roles in the initiation and progression of inflammation and fibrosis in the lung exposed to CNTs. Thus, the mechanistic understanding of the immune responses activated by CNTs has drawn great attention in recent years. This article reviews the major findings on the cell signaling pathways that are activated in immune cells and exert functions in promoting immune responses in CNT-exposed lungs, which would provide new insights into the understanding of CNT-induced lung inflammation and inflammation-driven fibrosis, the application of CNT-induced lung inflammation and fibrosis as a new disease model, and the potential of targeting immune cells as a therapeutic strategy for relevant human lung diseases.

      4. Sensitive universal detection of blood parasites by selective pathogen-DNA enrichment and deep amplicon sequencingexternal icon
        Flaherty BR, Barratt J, Lane M, Talundzic E, Bradbury RS.
        Microbiome. 2021 Jan 2;9(1):1.
        BACKGROUND: Targeted amplicon deep sequencing (TADS) has enabled characterization of diverse bacterial communities, yet the application of TADS to communities of parasites has been relatively slow to advance. The greatest obstacle to this has been the genetic diversity of parasitic agents, which include helminths, protozoa, arthropods, and some acanthocephalans. Meanwhile, universal amplification of conserved loci from all parasites without amplifying host DNA has proven challenging. Pan-eukaryotic PCRs preferentially amplify the more abundant host DNA, obscuring parasite-derived reads following TADS. Flaherty et al. (2018) described a pan-parasitic TADS method involving amplification of eukaryotic 18S rDNA regions possessing restriction sites only in vertebrates. Using this method, host DNA in total DNA extracts could be selectively digested prior to PCR using restriction enzymes, thereby increasing the number of parasite-derived reads obtained following NGS. This approach showed promise though was only as sensitive as conventional PCR. RESULTS: Here, we expand on this work by designing a second set of pan-eukaryotic primers flanking the priming sites already described, enabling nested PCR amplification of the established 18S rDNA target. This nested approach facilitated introduction of a second restriction digestion between the first and second PCR, reducing the proportional mass of amplifiable host-derived DNA while increasing the number of PCR amplification cycles. We applied this method to blood specimens containing Babesia, Plasmodium, various kinetoplastids, and filarial nematodes and confirmed its limit of detection (LOD) to be approximately 10-fold lower than previously described, falling within the range of most qPCR methods. CONCLUSIONS: The assay detects and differentiates the major malaria parasites of humans, along with several other clinically important blood parasites. This represents an important step towards a TADS-based universal parasite diagnostic (UPDx) test with a sufficient LOD for routine applications. Video Abstract.

      5. We evaluated the CLSI M44ed3E disk diffusion method in comparison with the CLSI M27ed4 broth microdilution method for caspofungin and fluconazole and the Etest method for amphotericin B to categorize susceptibility of 347 clinical isolates of Candida auris Utilizing the zone diameter cutoffs established here we observed the overall categorial agreement between the two methods. For caspofungin, concordant results were observed for 98% of isolates with <1% very major and 1% major errors. For fluconazole, concordant results were observed for 91% of isolates with 1% very major and 8% major errors. For amphotericin B, concordant results were observed for 74% of isolates with <1% very major errors and 25% major errors. The disk diffusion approach provides an accurate method for determining the susceptibility of C. auris for caspofungin and fluconazole, and for identification of at least 75% of amphotericin B-susceptible isolates.

      6. Accurate laboratory reporting is crucial to patient diagnosis and treatment. This study identified critical success factors (CSF) for implementing a laboratory quality management system (QMS). This descriptive research used qualitative and quantitative methods to collect and analyze data from laboratory managers and staff employed in Vietnamese hospital laboratories implementing a QMS. The top five CSFs identified were: (1) staff QMS knowledge, (2) manager leadership, (3) staff commitment, (4) mentorship, and (5) hospital administration support. Identifying CSFs is critical to successful planning and implementation of QMS.

      7. Hidden diversity within common protozoan parasites revealed by a novel genomotyping schemeexternal icon
        Seabolt MH, Konstantinidis KT, Roellig DM.
        Appl Environ Microbiol. 2021 Jan 4.
        Giardia duodenalis (syn. G. lamblia, G. intestinalis) is the causative agent of giardiasis, one of the most common diarrheal infections in humans. Evolutionary relationships among G. duodenalis genotypes (or subtypes) of assemblage B, one of two genetic assemblages causing the majority of human infections, remain unclear due to poor phylogenetic resolution of current typing methods. Here, we devised a methodology to identify new markers for a streamlined multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) scheme based on comparisons of all core genes against the phylogeny of whole-genome sequences (WGS). Our analysis identified three markers with comparable resolution to WGS data. Using newly designed PCR primers for our novel MLST loci, we typed an additional 68 strains of assemblage B. Analyses of these strains and previously determined genome sequences showed that genomes of this assemblage can be assigned to 16 clonal complexes, each with unique gene content that is apparently tuned to differential virulence and ecology. Obtaining new genomes of Giardia spp. and other eukaryotic microbial pathogens remains challenging due to difficulties in culturing the parasites in the laboratory. Hence, the methods described here are expected to be widely applicable to other pathogens of interest and advance understanding of their ecology and evolution.IMPORTANCE Giardia duodenalis assemblage B is a major waterborne pathogen and the most commonly identified genotype causing human giardiasis worldwide. The lack of morphological characters for classification requires the use of molecular techniques for strain differentiation, however, the absence of scalable and affordable NGS-based typing methods has prevented meaningful advancements in high resolution molecular typing for further understanding of the evolution and epidemiology of Assemblage B. Prior studies have reported high sequence diversity but low phylogenetic resolution at standard loci in Assemblage B, highlighting the necessity of identifying new markers for accurate and robust molecular typing. Data from comparative analyses of available genomes in this study identified three loci that together form a novel high-resolution typing scheme with high concordance to whole-genome-based phylogenomics and which should aid in future public health endeavors related to this parasite. In addition, data from newly characterized strains suggest evidence of biogeographic and ecologic endemism.

      8. Immunoglobulin A targets a unique subset of the microbiota in inflammatory bowel diseaseexternal icon
        Shapiro JM, de Zoete MR, Palm NW, Laenen Y, Bright R, Mallette M, Bu K, Bielecka AA, Xu F, Hurtado-Lorenzo A, Shah SA, Cho JH, LeLeiko NS, Sands BE, Flavell RA, Clemente JC.
        Cell Host Microbe. 2020 Dec 31.
        The immunopathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been attributed to a combination of host genetics and intestinal dysbiosis. Previous work in a small cohort of IBD patients suggested that pro-inflammatory bacterial taxa are highly coated with secretory immunoglobulin IgA. Using bacterial fluorescence-activated cell sorting coupled with 16S rRNA gene sequencing (IgA-SEQ), we profiled IgA coating of intestinal microbiota in a large cohort of IBD patients and identified bacteria associated with disease and treatment. Forty-three bacterial taxa displayed significantly higher IgA coating in IBD compared with controls, including 8 taxa exhibiting differential IgA coating but similar relative abundance. Patients treated with anti-TNF-α therapies exhibited dramatically altered microbiota-specific IgA responses compared with controls. Furthermore, increased IgA coating of Oscillospira was associated with a delay in time to surgery. These results demonstrate that investigating IgA responses to microbiota can uncover potential disease-modifying taxa and reveal improved biomarkers of clinical course in IBD.

      9. Leveraging gains from African Center for Integrated Laboratory Training to combat HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africaexternal icon
        Shrivastava R, Poxon R, Rottinghaus E, Essop L, Sanon V, Chipeta Z, van-Schalkwyk E, Sekwadi P, Murangandi P, Nguyen S, Devos J, Nesby-Odell S, Stevens T, Umaru F, Cox A, Kim A, Yang C, Parsons LM, Malope-Kgokong B, Nkengasong JN.
        BMC Health Serv Res. 2021 Jan 6;21(1):22.
        BACKGROUND: In sub-Saharan Africa, there is dearth of trained laboratorians and strengthened laboratory systems to provide adequate and quality laboratory services for enhanced HIV control. In response to this challenge, in 2007, the African Centre for Integrated Laboratory Training (ACILT) was established in South Africa with a mission to train staffs from countries with high burdens of diseases in skills needed to strengthen sustainable laboratory systems. This study was undertaken to assess the transference of newly gained knowledge and skills to other laboratory staff, and to identify enabling and obstructive factors to their implementation. METHODS: We used Kirkpatrick model to determine training effectiveness by assessing the transference of newly gained knowledge and skills to participant's work environment, along with measuring enabling and obstructive factors. In addition to regular course evaluations at ACILT (pre and post training), in 2015 we sent e-questionnaires to 867 participants in 43 countries for course participation between 2008 and 2014. Diagnostics courses included Viral Load, and systems strengthening included strategic planning and Biosafety and Biosecurity. SAS v9.44 and Excel were used to analyze retrospective de-identified data collected at six months pre and post-training. RESULTS: Of the 867 participants, 203 (23.4%) responded and reported average improvements in accuracy and timeliness in Viral Load programs and to systems strengthening. For Viral Load testing, frequency of corrective action for unsatisfactory proficiency scores improved from 57 to 91%, testing error rates reduced from 12.9% to 4.9%; 88% responders contributed to the first national strategic plan development and 91% developed strategies to mitigate biosafety risks in their institutions. Key enabling factors were team and management support, and key obstructive factors included insufficient resources and staff's resistance to change. CONCLUSIONS: Training at ACILT had a documented positive impact on strengthening the laboratory capacity and laboratory workforce and substantial cost savings. ACILT's investment produced a multiplier effect whereby national laboratory systems, personnel and leadership reaped training benefits. This laboratory training centre with a global clientele contributed to improve existing laboratory services, systems and networks for the HIV epidemic and is now being leveraged for COVID-19 testing that has infected 41,332,899 people globally.

    • Maternal and Child Health
      1. Pica, autism, and other disabilitiesexternal icon
        Fields VL, Soke GN, Reynolds A, Tian LH, Wiggins L, Maenner M, DiGuiseppi C, Kral TV, Hightshoe K, Schieve LA.
        Pediatrics. 2021 Jan 6.
        BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Pica, the repeated ingestion of nonfood items, can be life-threatening. Although case reports describe pica in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or intellectual disability (ID), there has been little systematic study of pica prevalence. We assessed pica in children 30 to 68 months of age (median = 55.4 months) with and without ASD. METHODS: Our sample from the Study to Explore Early Development, a multisite case-control study, included children with ASD (n = 1426), children with other developmental disabilities (DDs) (n = 1735), and general population-based controls (POPs) (n = 1578). We subdivided the ASD group according to whether children had ID and the DD group according to whether they had ID and/or some ASD characteristics. Standardized developmental assessments and/or questionnaires were used to define final study groups, subgroups, and pica. We examined pica prevalence in each group and compared ASD and DD groups and subgroups to the POP group using prevalence ratios adjusted for sociodemographic factors. RESULTS: Compared with the prevalence of pica among POPs (3.5%), pica was higher in children with ASD (23.2%) and DD (8.4%), and in the following subgroups: ASD with ID (28.1%), ASD without ID (14.0%), DD with ID (9.7%), DD with ASD characteristics (12.0%), and DD with both ID and ASD characteristics (26.3%); however, pica prevalence was not elevated in children with DD with neither ID nor ASD characteristics (3.2%). Between-group differences remained after adjustment (adjusted prevalence ratio range 1.9-8.0, all P <.05). CONCLUSIONS: Pica may be common in young children with ASD, ASD characteristics, and ID. These findings inform the specialized health care needs of these children.

      2. A distinct three-factor structure of restricted and repetitive behaviors in an epidemiologically sound sample of preschool-age children with autism spectrum disorderexternal icon
        Hiruma L, Pretzel RE, Tapia AL, Bodfish JW, Bradley C, Wiggins L, Hsu M, Lee LC, Levy SE, Daniels J.
        J Autism Dev Disord. 2021 Jan 2.
        Prior studies investigating restricted and repetitive behavior (RRB) subtypes within autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have found varied factor structures for symptom groupings, in part, due to variation in symptom measurement and broad sample age ranges. This study examined RRBs among 827 preschool-age children, ages 35 to 71 months, through an exploratory factor analysis of RRB items from the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) collected through the Study to Explore Early Development. The factor structures of RRBs among children with confirmed ASD versus those with non-autism developmental concerns were qualitatively compared. Correlations between RRB factors and participant characteristics were examined in the ASD group. Three conceptually well-defined factors characterized as repetitive sensorimotor behaviors (RSMB), insistence on sameness (IS), and a novel stereotyped speech (SPEECH) factor emerged for the ASD group only. Distinct factors were supported by different clinical correlates. Findings have implications for improving differential diagnosis and understanding of ASD symptomatology in this age range.

      3. Prevalence and mortality in children with congenital diaphragmatic hernia: a multicountry studyexternal icon
        Politis MD, Bermejo-Sánchez E, Canfield MA, Contiero P, Cragan JD, Dastgiri S, de Walle HE, Feldkamp ML, Nance A, Groisman B, Gatt M, Benavides-Lara A, Hurtado-Villa P, Kallén K, Landau D, Lelong N, Lopez-Camelo J, Martinez L, Morgan M, Mutchinick OM, Pierini A, Rissmann A, Šípek A, Szabova E, Wertelecki W, Zarante I, Bakker MK, Kancherla V, Mastroiacovo P, Nembhard WN.
        Ann Epidemiol. 2020 Nov 27.
        PURPOSE: This study determined the prevalence, mortality, and time trends of children with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). METHODS: Twenty-five hospital- and population-based surveillance programs in 19 International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research member countries provided birth defects mortality data between 1974 and 2015. CDH cases included live births, stillbirths, or elective termination of pregnancy for fetal anomalies. Prevalence, cumulative mortality rates, and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using Poisson regression and a Kaplan-Meier product-limit method. Joinpoint regression analyses were conducted to assess time trends. RESULTS: The prevalence of CDH was 2.6 per 10,000 total births (95% CI: 2.5-2.7), slightly increasing between 2001 and 2012 (average annual percent change = 0.5%; 95% CI:-0.6 to 1.6). The total percent mortality of CDH was 37.7%, with hospital-based registries having more deaths among live births than population-based registries (45.1% vs. 33.8%). Mortality rates decreased over time (average annual percent change = -2.4%; 95% CI: -3.8 to 1.1). Most deaths due to CDH occurred among 2- to 6-day-old infants for both registry types (36.3%, hospital-based; 12.1%, population-based). CONCLUSIONS: The mortality of CDH has decreased over time. Mortality remains high during the first week and varied by registry type.

      4. Gastrointestinal symptoms in 2- to 5-year-old children in the Study to Explore Early Developmentexternal icon
        Reynolds AM, Soke GN, Sabourin KR, Croen LA, Daniels JL, Fallin MD, Kral TV, Lee LC, Newschaffer CJ, Pinto-Martin JA, Schieve LA, Sims A, Wiggins L, Levy SE.
        J Autism Dev Disord. 2021 Jan 4.
        Gastrointestinal symptoms (GIS) are commonly reported in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This multi-site study evaluated the prevalence of GIS in preschool-aged children with ASD/(n = 672), with other developmental delays (DD)/(n = 938), and children in the general population (POP)/(n = 851). After adjusting for covariates, children in the ASD group were over 3 times more likely to have parent-reported GIS than the POP group, and almost 2 times more likely than the DD group. Children with GIS from all groups had more behavioral and sleep problems. Within the ASD group, children with developmental regression had more GIS than those without; however, there were no differences in autism severity scores between children with and without GIS. These findings have implications for clinical management.

      5. Academic, interpersonal, recreational, and family impairment in children with Tourette syndrome and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorderexternal icon
        Ricketts EJ, Wolicki SB, Danielson ML, Rozenman M, McGuire JF, Piacentini J, Mink JW, Walkup JT, Woods DW, Bitsko RH.
        Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2021 Jan 1.
        This study describes impairment in academic, interpersonal, recreational, and family financial or occupational domains across children in three mutually exclusive diagnostic groups: ever diagnosed with Tourette syndrome (TS), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and both disorders. In 2014, parents reported on impairment and diagnostic status of children aged 4-17 years (n = 3014). Weighted analysis and pairwise t-tests showed more children with ADHD (with or without TS) experienced impairment in overall school performance, writing, and mathematics, relative to children with TS but not ADHD. More children with TS and ADHD had problematic handwriting relative to children with ADHD but not TS. More children with TS and ADHD had problematic interpersonal relationships relative to those with ADHD but not TS. Children with TS and ADHD had higher mean impairment across domains than children with either TS or ADHD. Findings suggest assessing disorder-specific contributions to impairment could inform targeted interventions for TS and ADHD.

      6. A preparedness model for mother-baby linked longitudinal surveillance for emerging threatsexternal icon
        Woodworth KR, Reynolds MR, Burkel V, Gates C, Eckert V, McDermott C, Barton J, Wilburn A, Halai UA, Brown CM, Bocour A, Longcore N, Orkis L, Lopez CD, Sizemore L, Ellis EM, Schillie S, Gupta N, Bowen VB, Torrone E, Ellington SR, Delaney A, Olson SM, Roth NM, Whitehill F, Zambrano LD, Meaney-Delman D, Fehrenbach SN, Honein MA, Tong VT, Gilboa SM.
        Matern Child Health J. 2021 Jan 4:1-9.
        INTRODUCTION: Public health responses often lack the infrastructure to capture the impact of public health emergencies on pregnant women and infants, with limited mechanisms for linking pregnant women with their infants nationally to monitor long-term effects. In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in close collaboration with state, local, and territorial health departments, began a 5-year initiative to establish population-based mother-baby linked longitudinal surveillance, the Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies Network (SET-NET). OBJECTIVES: The objective of this report is to describe an expanded surveillance approach that leverages and modernizes existing surveillance systems to address the impact of emerging health threats during pregnancy on pregnant women and their infants. METHODS: Mother-baby pairs are identified through prospective identification during pregnancy and/or identification of an infant with retrospective linking to maternal information. All data are obtained from existing data sources (e.g., electronic medical records, vital statistics, laboratory reports, and health department investigations and case reporting). RESULTS: Variables were selected for inclusion to address key surveillance questions proposed by CDC and health department subject matter experts. General variables include maternal demographics and health history, pregnancy and infant outcomes, maternal and infant laboratory results, and child health outcomes up to the second birthday. Exposure-specific modular variables are included for hepatitis C, syphilis, and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The system is structured into four relational datasets (maternal, pregnancy outcomes and birth, infant/child follow-up, and laboratory testing). DISCUSSION: SET-NET provides a population-based mother-baby linked longitudinal surveillance approach and has already demonstrated rapid adaptation to COVID-19. This innovative approach leverages existing data sources and rapidly collects data and informs clinical guidance and practice. These data can help to reduce exposure risk and adverse outcomes among pregnant women and their infants, direct public health action, and strengthen public health systems.

      7. Neurosurgical procedures for children with myelomeningocele after fetal or postnatal surgery: a comparative effectiveness studyexternal icon
        Worley G, Greenberg RG, Rocque BG, Liu T, Dicianno BE, Castillo JP, Ward EA, Williams TR, Blount JP, Wiener JS.
        Dev Med Child Neurol. 2021 Jan 2.
        AIM: To compare the frequencies of neurosurgical procedures to treat comorbid conditions of myelomeningocele in patients who underwent fetal surgery versus postnatal surgery for closure of the placode. METHOD: By utilizing the National Spina Bifida Patient Registry in a comparative effectiveness study, 298 fetal surgery patients were matched by birthdate (±3mo) and spina bifida clinic site with one to three postnatal surgery patients (n=648). Histories were obtained by record review on enrollment and yearly subsequently. Multivariable Poisson regression was used to compare frequencies of procedures between cohorts, with adjustments for sex, ethnicity, insurance status, spinal segmental level of motor function, age at last visit recorded in the Registry, and, for shunt revision in shunted patients, age at cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion. RESULTS: The median age at last visit was 4 years. In fully adjusted analyses in patients aged at least 12 months old, fetal surgery was associated with decreased frequency of CSF diversion for hydrocephalus by ventriculoperitoneal shunt insertion or endoscopic third ventriculostomy compared with postnatal surgery (46% vs 79%; incidence rate ratio=0.61; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.53-0.71; p<0.01). Over all ages, fetal surgery was associated with decreased frequency of Chiari decompression for brainstem dysfunction (3% vs 7%; incidence rate ratio=0.41; 95% CI 0.19-0.88; p=0.02). Also over all ages, differences were not significant in frequencies of shunt revision in shunted patients (53% vs 55%; incidence rate ratio=0.87; 95% CI 0.69-1.11; p=0.27), nor tethered cord release for acquired spinal cord dysfunction (18% vs 16%; incidence rate ratio=1.11; 95% CI 0.84-1.47; p=0.46). INTERPRETATION: Even with the variations inherent in clinical practice, fetal surgery was associated with lower frequencies of CSF diversion and of Chiari decompression, independent of covariates.

    • Mining
      1. Estimating the overall floor stability in a coal mine using deterministic methods which require complex engineering properties of floor strata is desirable, but generally it is impractical due to the difficulty of gathering essential input data. However, applying a quantitative methodology to describe floor quality with a single number provides a practical estimate for preliminary assessment of floor stability. The coal mine floor rating (CMFR) system, developed by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), is a rock- mass classification system that provides an indicator for the competence of floor strata. The most significant components of the CMFR are uniaxial compressive strength and discontinuity intensity of floor strata. In addition to the competence of the floor, depth of cover and stress notch angle are input parameters used to assess the preliminary floor stability. In this study, CMFR methodology was applied to a Central Appalachian Coal Mine that intermittently experienced floor heave. Exploratory drill core data, overburden maps, and mine plans were utilized for the study. Additionally, qualitative data (failure/non-failure) on floor conditions of the mine entries near the core holes was collected and analyzed so that the floor quality and its relation to entry stability could be estimated by statistical methods. It was found that the current CMFR classification system is not directly applicable in assessing the floor stability of the Central Appalachian Coal Mine. In order to extend the applicability of the CMFR classification system, the methodology was modified. A calculation procedure of one of the CMFR classification system's components, the horizontal stress rating (HSR), was changed and new parameters were added to the HSR.

      2. Assessing support alternatives for longwall gateroads subject to changing stressexternal icon
        Esterhuizen GS, Tulu IB, Gearhart DF, Dougherty H, van Dyke M.
        Int J Min Sci Technol. 2020 .
        Longwall gateroad entries are subject to changing horizontal and vertical stress induced by redistribution of loads around the extracted panel. The stress changes can result in significant deformation of the entries that may include roof sag, rib dilation, and floor heave. Mine operators install different types of supports to control the ground response and maintain safe access and ventilation of the longwall face. This paper describes recent research aimed at quantifying the effect of longwall-induced stress changes on ground stability and using the information to assess support alternatives. The research included monitoring of ground and support interaction at several operating longwall mines in the U.S., analysis and calibration of numerical models that adequately represent the bedded rock mass, and observation of the support systems and their response to changes in stress. The models were then used to investigate the impact of geology and stress conditions on ground deformation and support response for various depths of cover and geologic scenarios. The research results were summarized in two regression equations that can be used to estimate the likely roof deformation and height of roof yield due to longwall-induced stress changes. This information is then used to assess the ability of support systems to maintain the stability of the roof. The application of the method is demonstrated with a retrospective analysis of the support performance at an operating longwall mine that experienced a headgate roof fall. The method is shown to produce realistic estimates of gateroad entry stability and support performance, allowing alternative support systems to be assessed during the design and planning stage of longwall operations.

      3. Bleeder entry evaluation using condition mapping and numerical modelingexternal icon
        Klemetti TM, Van Dyke MA, Esterhuizen GS.
        Int J Min Sci Technol. 2020 .
        One of the most common critical areas of longwall mining in terms of ground stability are the gateroad and bleeder entries. These critical entries provide much-needed safe access for miners and allow for adequate ventilation required for dilution of hazardous airborne contaminants and must remain open during mining of a multi-panel district. This paper is focused on the stability of the longwall entries subjected to a single abutment load such as bleeders, first tailgate, and last headgate. First tailgate and last headgate are also referred to as blind headgate and tailgate. A study of a longwall district through conditions mapping, support evaluations, and numerical modeling was conducted and evaluated by researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The condition mapping and support evaluations were performed on entries that spanned the previous five years of mining and relied on a diverse selection of supports to maintain the functionality of the entry. Numerical modeling was also conducted to evaluate various support types with further investigation and comparison to the condition mapping. The study demonstrated the importance of the abutment load decay versus distance from the gob edge, the potential for a reduction in material handling related injuries, as well as optimal usage of secondary and standing support.

      4. Preliminary rib support requirements for solid coal ribs using a coal pillar rib rating (CPRR)external icon
        Mohamed K, Van Dyke M, Rashed G, Sears MM, Kimutis R.
        Int J Min Sci Technol. 2020 .
        Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are developing a coal pillar rib rating (CPRR) technique to measure the integrity of coal ribs. The CPRR characterizes the rib composition and evaluates its impact on the inherent stability of the coal ribs. The CPRR utilizes four parameters: rib homogeneity, bedding condition, face cleat orientation with respect to entry direction, and rib height. All these parameters are measurable in the field. A rib data collecting procedure and a simple sheet to calculate the CPRR were developed. The developed CPRR can be used as a rib quality mapping tool in underground coal mines and to determine the potential of local rib instabilities and support requirements associated with overburden depth. CPRR calculations were conducted for 22 surveyed solid coal ribs, mainly composed of coal units. Based on this study, the rib performance was classified into four categories. A preliminary minimum primary rib support density (PRSD) line was obtained from these surveyed cases. Two sample cases are presented that illustrate the data collection form and CPRR calculations.

      5. Guest editorial – special issue on ground control in mining in 2020external icon
        Murphy MM, Klemetti T, Lawson H, Mishra B, Perry K.
        Int J Min Sci Technol. 2020 .

      6. A coal rib monitoring study in a room-and-pillar retreat mineexternal icon
        Rashed G, Mohamed K, Kimutis R.
        Int J Min Sci Technol. 2020 .
        The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a comprehensive monitoring program in a room-and-pillar mine located in Southern Virginia. The deformation and the stress change in an instrumented pillar were monitored during the progress of pillar retreat mining at two sites of different geological conditions and depths of cover. The main objectives of the monitoring program were to better understand the stress transfer and load shedding on coal pillars and to quantify the rib deformation due to pillar retreat mining; and to examine the effect of rib geology and overburden depth on coal rib performance. The instrumentation at both sites included pull-out tests to measure the anchorage capacity of rib bolts, load cells mounted on rib bolts to monitor the induced loads in the bolts, borehole pressure cells (BPCs) installed at various depths in the study pillar to measure the change in vertical pressure within the pillar, and roof and rib extensometers installed to quantify the vertical displacement of the roof and the horizontal displacement of the rib that would occur during the retreat mining process. The outcome from the monitoring program provides insight into coal pillar rib support optimization at various depths and geological conditions. Also, this study contributes to the NIOSH rib support database in U.S coal mines and provides essential data for rib support design.

      7. Accurately estimating load distributions and ground responses around underground openings play a significant role in the safety of the operations in underground mines. Adequately designing pillars and other support measures relies highly on the accurate assessment of the loads that will be carried by them, as well as the load-bearing capacities of the supports. There are various methods that can be used to approximate mining-induced loads in stratified rock masses to be used in pillar design. The empirical methods are based on equations derived from large databases of various case studies. They are implemented in government approved design tools and are widely used. There are also analytical and numerical techniques used for more detailed analysis of the induced loads. In this study, two different longwall mines with different panel width-to-depth ratios are analyzed using different methods. The empirical method used in the analysis is the square-decay stress function that uses the abutment angle concept, implemented in pillar design software developed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The first numerical method used in the analysis is a displacement-discontinuity (DD) variation of the boundary element method, LaModel, which utilizes the laminated overburden model. The second numerical method used in the analysis is Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua (FLAC) with the numerical modeling approach recently developed at West Virginia University which is based on the approach developed by NIOSH. The model includes the 2D slice of a cross-section along the width of the panel with the chain pillar system that also includes the different stratigraphic layers of the overburden. All three methods gave similar results for the shallow mine, both in terms of load percentages and distribution where the variation was more obvious for the deep cover mine. The FLAC3D model was observed to better capture the stress changes observed during the field measurements for both the shallow and deep cover cases. This study allowed us to see the shortcomings of each of these different methods. It was concluded that a numerical model which incorporates the site-specific geology would provide the most precise estimate for complex loading conditions.

      8. Many states rely upon the Pennsylvania 1957 Gas Well Pillar Study to evaluate the coal barrier surrounding gas wells. The study included 77 gas well failure cases that occurred in the Pittsburgh and Freeport coal seams over a 25-year span. At the time, coal was mined using the room-and-pillar mining method with full or partial pillar recovery, and square or rectangle pillars surrounding the gas wells were left to protect the wells. The study provided guidelines for pillar sizes under different overburden depths up to 213 m (700 ft). The 1957 study has also been used to determine gas well pillar sizes in longwall mines since longwall mining began in the 1970 s. The original study was developed for room-and-pillar mining and could be applied to gas wells in longwall chain pillars under shallow cover. However, under deep cover, severe deformations in gas wells have occurred in longwall chain pillars. Presently, with a better understanding of coal pillar mechanics, new insight into subsidence movements induced by retreat mining, and advances in numerical modeling, it has become both critically important and feasible to evaluate the adequacy of the 1957 study for longwall gas well pillars. In this paper, the data from the 1957 study is analyzed from a new perspective by considering various factors, including overburden depth, failure location, failure time, pillar safety factor (SF), and floor pressure. The pillar SF and floor pressure are calculated by considering abutment pressure induced by full pillar recovery. A statistical analysis is performed to find correlations between various factors and helps identify the most significant factors for the stability of gas wells influenced by retreat mining. Through analyzing the data from the 1957 study, the guidelines for gas well pillars in the 1957 study are evaluated for their adequacy for room-and-pillar mining and their applicability to longwall mining. Numerical modeling is used to model the stability of gas wells by quantifying the mining-induced stresses in gas well casings. Results of this study indicate that the guidelines in the 1957 study may be appropriate for pillars protecting conventional gas wells in both room-and-pillar mining and longwall mining under overburden depths up to 213 m (700 ft), but may not be sufficient for protective pillars under deep cover. The current evaluation of the 1957 study provides not only insights about potential gas well failures caused by retreat mining but also implications for what critical considerations should be taken into account to protect gas wells in longwall mining.

    • Occupational Safety and Health
      1. Occupational respiratory and skin diseases among workers exposed to metalworking fluidsexternal icon
        Nett RJ, Stanton M, Grimes GR.
        Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020 Dec 30;Publish Ahead of Print.
        PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To examine respiratory and skin diseases that occur among workers exposed to metalworking fluids (MWFs) used during machining processes. RECENT FINDINGS: Five cases of a severe and previously unrecognized lung disease characterized by B-cell bronchiolitis and alveolar ductitis with emphysema (BADE) were identified among workers at a machining facility that used MWFs, although MWF exposure could not be confirmed as the etiology. In the United Kingdom, MWF is now the predominant cause of occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP). Under continuous conditions associated with respiratory disease outbreaks, over a working lifetime of 45 years, workers exposed to MWF at 0.1 mg/m3 are estimated to have a 45.3% risk of acquiring HP or occupational asthma under outbreak conditions and a 3.0% risk assuming outbreak conditions exist in 5% of MWF environments. In addition to respiratory outcomes, skin diseases such as allergic and irritant contact dermatitis persist as frequent causes of occupational disease following MWF exposure. SUMMARY: Healthcare providers need to consider MWF exposure as a potential cause for work-related respiratory and skin diseases. Additional work is necessary to more definitively characterize any potential association between MWF exposures and BADE. Medical surveillance should be implemented for workers regularly exposed to MWF.

      2. Industrial hygiene: past lessons, present challenges, and future directions: data standardizationexternal icon
        Shockey TM, Dahm MM, Wurzelbacher SJ, Baker J.
        Synergist. 2020 Dec;31(12):20-25.
        The collection of industrial hygiene (IH) air, surface, and noise data is a critical task at the center of the IH profession. Industrial hygienists usually collect occupational exposure measurements using sampling methods that have been validated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to protect workers from chemical, biological, and physical hazards. But beyond the information required on a standard chain of custody form (sampler/media type, analysis method, sample time, sample volume, and so on), any additional data elements and variables collected are often left to the discretion of the hygienist. ... American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has increased efforts to promote data quality and standardization by including an appendix on data quality in the latest edition of &quot;A Strategy for Assessing and Managing Occupational Exposures,&quot; which was published in 2015. This appendix introduces literature on how to evaluate historical or current IH data quality and includes a checklist of data elements adapted from the literature, including the 1996 special report in the Applied journal. The checklist serves as a source for comparison, providing a method for evaluating current IH forms to examine which data fields are being captured and how.

    • Physical Activity
      1. Wearable activity monitor use is associated with the aerobic physical activity guidelines and walking among older adultsexternal icon
        Zytnick D, Kumar GS, Folta SC, Reid KF, Tybor D, Chomitz VR.
        Am J Health Promot. 2021 Jan 7.
        PURPOSE: To examine wearable activity monitor (WAM) use and its association with meeting the 2008 aerobic Physical Activity Guidelines (PAG) and walking among older adults. DESIGN: Cross-sectional. SETTING: FallStyles 2015 national consumer panel survey. SAMPLE: 1,317 U.S. adults aged ≥ 60 years. MEASURES: Self-reported WAM use, meeting aerobic PAG, and walking. Covariates included age, sex, race/ethnicity, education level, marital status, annual household income, and geographic region of the country. ANALYSIS: Chi-square tests to examine associations between WAM use and respondent demographic characteristics. Logistic regressions to explore associations between WAM use and meeting aerobic PAG and walking adjusted for demographics (e.g., education, income). RESULTS: Among older adults, 8.0% were current WAM users and 11.3% were past WAM users. Current WAM use was most prevalent among those aged 65-74 (16.6%), females (9.4%), college graduates (13.8%), and those with incomes $75,000-$99,999 (14.8%). Current WAM users were more likely than never WAM users to report meeting aerobic PAG (OR: 3.98; 95% CI: 2.07, 7.66) and walking (OR: 3.90; 95% CI: 1.57, 9.69). Past and never WAM use were not associated with meeting aerobic PAG or walking. CONCLUSION: We found current WAM use is associated with meeting the aerobic PAG and walking among older adults. Further longitudinal research is needed to understand whether WAM could promote increased PA among older adults.

    • Zoonotic and Vectorborne Diseases
      1. Measurement of head circumference: Implications for microcephaly surveillance in Zika-affected areasexternal icon
        Harville EW, Tong VT, Gilboa SM, Moore CA, Cafferata ML, Alger J, Gibbons L, Bustillo C, Callejas A, Castillo M, Fúnes J, García J, Hernández G, López W, Ochoa C, Rico F, Rodríguez H, Zúniga C, Ciganda A, Stella C, Tomasso G, Buekens P.
        Trop Med Infect Dis. 2020 Dec 29;6(1).
        Worldwide recognition of the Zika virus outbreak in the Americas was triggered by an unexplained increase in the frequency of microcephaly. While severe microcephaly is readily identifiable at birth, diagnosing less severe cases requires comparison of head circumference (HC) measurement to a growth chart. We examine measured values of HC and digit preference in those values, and, by extension, the prevalence of microcephaly at birth in two data sources: a research study in Honduras and routine surveillance data in Uruguay. The Zika in Pregnancy in Honduras study enrolled pregnant women prenatally and followed them until delivery. Head circumference was measured with insertion tapes (SECA 212), and instructions including consistent placement of the tape and a request to record HC to the millimeter were posted where newborns were examined. Three indicators of microcephaly were calculated: (1) HC more than 2 standard deviations (SD) below the mean, (2) HC more than 3 SD below the mean (referred to as "severe microcephaly") and (3) HC less than the 3rd percentile for sex and gestational age, using the INTERGROWTH-21st growth standards. We compared these results from those from a previous analysis of surveillance HC data from the Uruguay Perinatal Information System (Sistema Informático Perinatal (SIP). Valid data on HC were available on 579 infants, 578 with gestational age data. Nine babies (1.56%, 95% CI 0.71-2.93) had HC < 2SD, including two (0.35%, 95% CI 0.04-1.24) with HC < 3SD, and 11 (1.9%, 95% CI, 0.79-3.02) were below the 3rd percentile. The distribution of HC showed strong digit preference: 72% of measures were to the whole centimeter (cm) and 19% to the half-cm. Training and use of insertion tapes had little effect on digit preference, nor were overall HC curves sufficient to detect an increase in microcephaly during the Zika epidemic in Honduras. When microcephaly prevalence needs to be carefully analyzed, such as during the Zika epidemic, researchers may need to interpret HC data with caution.

      2. Rabies control in Liberia: Joint efforts towards Zero by 30external icon
        Voupawoe G, Varkpeh R, Kamara V, Sieh S, Traoré A, De Battisti C, Angot A, Loureiro L, Soumaré B, Dauphin G, Abebe W, Coetzer A, Scott T, Nel L, Blanton J, Dacheux L, Bonas S, Bourhy H, Gourlaouen M, Leopardi S, De Benedictis P, Léchenne M, Zinsstag J, Mauti S.
        Acta Trop. 2020 Dec 29:105787.
        Despite declaration as a national priority disease, dog rabies remains endemic in Liberia, with surveillance systems and disease control activities still developing. The objective of these initial efforts was to establish animal rabies diagnostics, foster collaboration between all rabies control stakeholders, and develop a short-term action plan with estimated costs for rabies control and elimination in Liberia. Four rabies diagnostic tests, the direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test, the direct immunohistochemical test (dRIT), the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay and the rapid immunochromatographic diagnostic test (RIDT), were implemented at the Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL) in Monrovia between July 2017 and February 2018. Seven samples (n=7) out of eight suspected animals were confirmed positive for rabies lyssavirus, and molecular analyses revealed that all isolates belonged to the Africa 2 lineage, subgroup H. During a comprehensive in-country One Health rabies stakeholder meeting in 2018, a practical workplan, a short-term action plan and an accurately costed mass dog vaccination strategy were developed. Liberia is currently at stage 1.5/5 of the Stepwise Approach towards Rabies Elimination (SARE) tool, which corresponds with countries that are scaling up local-level interventions (e.g. dog vaccination campaigns) to the national level. Overall an estimated 5.3 - 8 million USD invested over 13 years is needed to eliminate rabies in Liberia by 2030. Liberia still has a long road to become free from dog-rabies. However, the dialogue between all relevant stakeholders took place, and disease surveillance considerably improved through implementing rabies diagnosis at the CVL. The joint efforts of diverse national and international stakeholders laid important foundations to achieve the goal of zero dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030.

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