Issue 38 October 27, 2020

CDC Science Clips: Volume 12, Issue 38, October 27, 2020

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. Top Articles of the Week
    Selected weekly by a senior CDC scientist from the standard sections listed below.
    The names of CDC authors are indicated in bold text.
    • Communicable Diseases
      • Symptoms and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among children - Utah and Wisconsin, March-May 2020external icon
        Laws RL, Chancey RJ, Rabold EM, Chu VT, Lewis NM, Fajans M, Reses HE, Duca LM, Dawson P, Conners EE, Gharpure R, Yin S, Buono S, Pomeroy M, Yousaf AR, Owusu D, Wadhwa A, Pevzner E, Battey KA, Njuguna H, Fields VL, Salvatore P, O'Hegarty M, Vuong J, Gregory CJ, Banks M, Rispens J, Dietrich E, Marcenac P, Matanock A, Pray I, Westergaard R, Dasu T, Bhattacharyya S, Christiansen A, Page L, Dunn A, Atkinson-Dunn R, Christensen K, Kiphibane T, Willardson S, Fox G, Ye D, Nabity SA, Binder A, Freeman BD, Lester S, Mills L, Thornburg N, Hall AJ, Fry AM, Tate JE, Tran CH, Kirking HL.
        Pediatrics. 2020 Oct 8.

      • Effectiveness of voluntary medical male circumcision for HIV prevention in Rakai, Ugandaexternal icon
        Loevinsohn G, Kigozi G, Kagaayi J, Wawer MJ, Nalugoda F, Chang LW, Quinn TC, Serwadda D, Reynolds SJ, Nelson L, Mills L, Alamo S, Nakigozi G, Kabuye G, Ssekubugu R, Tobian AA, Gray RH, Grabowski MK.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Oct 12.
        BACKGROUND: The efficacy of voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention in men was demonstrated in three randomized trials. This led to the adoption of VMMC as an integral component of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) combination HIV prevention program in sub-Saharan Africa. However, evidence on the individual-level effectiveness of VMMC programs in real world, programmatic settings is limited. METHODS: A cohort of initially uncircumcised, non-Muslim, HIV-uninfected men in the Rakai Community Cohort Study in Uganda were followed between 2009 and 2016 during VMMC scale-up. Self-reported VMMC status was collected and HIV tests performed at surveys conducted every 18 months. Multivariable Poisson regression was used to estimate the incidence rate ratio (IRR) of HIV acquisition in newly circumcised versus uncircumcised men. RESULTS: 3,916 non-Muslim men were followed for 17,088 person-years (py). There were 1338 newly reported VMMCs (9.8/100 py). Over the study period, the median age of men adopting VMMC declined from 28 years (IQR 21-35) to 22 years (IQR 18-29; p-trend <0.001). HIV incidence was 0.40/100 py (20/4992.8 py) among newly circumcised men and 0.98/100 py (118/12095.1 py) among uncircumcised men with an adjusted IRR of 0.47 (95%CI: 0.28-0.78). The effectiveness of VMMC was sustained with increasing time from surgery and was similar across age groups and calendar time. CONCLUSIONS: VMMC programs are highly effective in preventing HIV-acquisition in men. The observed effectiveness is consistent with efficacy in clinical trials and supports current recommendations that VMMC is a key component of programs to reduce HIV incidence.

      • The potential epidemiological impact of COVID-19 on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the cost-effectiveness of linked, opt-out HIV testing: A modeling study in six US citiesexternal icon
        Zang X, Krebs E, Chen S, Piske M, Armstrong WS, Behrends CN, Del Rio C, Feaster DJ, Marshall BD, Mehta SH, Mermin J, Metsch LR, Schackman BR, Strathdee SA, Nosyk B.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Oct 12.
        BACKGROUND: Widespread viral and serological testing for SARS-CoV-2 may present a unique opportunity to also test for HIV infection. We estimated the potential impact of adding linked, opt-out HIV testing alongside SARS-CoV-2 testing on HIV incidence and the cost-effectiveness of this strategy in six US cities. METHODS: Using a previously-calibrated dynamic HIV transmission model, we constructed three sets of scenarios for each city: (1) sustained current levels of HIV-related treatment and prevention services (status quo); (2) temporary disruptions in health services and changes in sexual and injection risk behaviours at discrete levels between 0%-50%; and (3) linked HIV and SARS-CoV-2 testing offered to 10%-90% of the adult population in addition to scenario (2). We estimated cumulative HIV infections between 2020-2025 and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of linked HIV testing over 20 years. RESULTS: In the absence of linked, opt-out HIV testing, we estimated a total of 16.5% decrease in HIV infections between 2020-2025 in the best-case scenario (50% reduction in risk behaviours and no service disruptions), and 9.0% increase in the worst-case scenario (no behavioural change and 50% reduction in service access). We estimated that HIV testing (offered at 10%-90% levels) could avert a total of 576-7,225 (1.6%-17.2%) new infections. The intervention would require an initial investment of $20.6M-$220.7M across cities; however, the intervention would ultimately result in savings in health care costs in each city. CONCLUSIONS: A campaign in which HIV testing is linked with SARS-CoV-2 testing could substantially reduce HIV incidence and reduce direct and indirect health care costs attributable to HIV.

    • Disaster Control and Emergency Services
      • World Trade Center Health Program: First decade of researchexternal icon
        Santiago-Colón A, Daniels R, Reissman D, Anderson K, Calvert G, Caplan A, Carreón T, Katruska A, Kubale T, Liu R, Nembhard R, Robison WA, Yiin J, Howard J.
        Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Oct 6;17(19).
        The terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 placed nearly a half million people at increased risk of adverse health. Health effects research began shortly after and continues today, now mostly as a coordinated effort under the federally mandated World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program (WTCHP). Established in 2011, the WTCHP provides medical monitoring and treatment of covered health conditions for responders and survivors and maintains a research program aimed to improve the care and well-being of the affected population. By 2020, funds in excess of USD 127 M had been awarded for health effects research. This review describes research findings and provides an overview of the WTCHP and its future directions. The literature was systematically searched for relevant articles published from 11 September 2001 through 30 June 2020. Synthesis was limited to broad categories of mental health, cancer, respiratory disease, vulnerable populations, and emerging conditions. In total, 944 WTC articles were published, including peer-reviewed articles funded by the WTCHP (n = 291) and other sources. Research has focused on characterizing the burden and etiology of WTC-related health conditions. As the program moves forward, translational research that directly enhances the care of individuals with chronic mental and physical health conditions is needed.

    • Healthcare Associated Infections
      • Opportunities to improve antibiotic prescribing in outpatient hemodialysis facilitiesexternal icon
        Apata IW, Kabbani S, Neu AM, Kear TM, D'Agata EM, Levenson DJ, Kliger AS, Hicks LA, Patel PR.
        Am J Kidney Dis. 2020 Oct 9.
        Antibiotic use is necessary in the outpatient hemodialysis setting, as patients on hemodialysis are at increased risk for infections and sepsis. However, inappropriate antibiotic use can lead to adverse drug events, including adverse drug reactions and infections with Clostridioides difficile and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Optimizing antibiotic use can decrease adverse events and improve infection cure rates and patient outcomes. The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created the Antibiotic Stewardship in Hemodialysis White Paper Writing Group, comprising experts in antibiotic stewardship, infectious diseases, nephrology, and public health, to highlight strategies that can improve antibiotic prescribing for patients on maintenance hemodialysis. Based on existing evidence and the unique patient and clinical setting characteristics, the following strategies for improving antibiotic use are reviewed: expanding infection and sepsis prevention activities, standardizing blood culture collection processes, treating methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus infections with β-lactams, optimizing communication between nurses and prescribing providers, and improving data sharing across transitions of care. Collaboration between CDC, ASN, other professional societies such as infectious diseases, hospital medicine and vascular surgery societies, and dialysis provider organizations can improve antibiotic use and the quality of care for patients on maintenance hemodialysis.

    • Immunity and Immunization
      • Comparison of parental report of influenza vaccination to documented records in children hospitalized with acute respiratory illness, 2015-2016external icon
        Ogokeh CE, Campbell AP, Feldstein LR, Weinberg GA, Staat MA, McNeal MM, Selvarangan R, Halasa NB, Englund JA, Boom JA, Azimi PH, Szilagyi PG, Harrison CJ, Williams JV, Klein EJ, Stewart LS, Sahni LC, Singer MN, Lively JY, Payne DC, Patel M.
        J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2020 Oct 12.
        BACKGROUND: Parent-reported influenza vaccination history may be valuable clinically and in influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) studies. Few studies have assessed the validity of parental report among hospitalized children. METHODS: Parents of 2597 hospitalized children 6 months-17 years old were interviewed from November 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, regarding their child's sociodemographic and influenza vaccination history. Parent-reported 2015-2016 influenza vaccination history was compared with documented vaccination records (considered the gold standard for analysis) obtained from medical records, immunization information systems, and providers. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine potential factors associated with discordance between the 2 sources of vaccination history. Using a test-negative design, we estimated VE using vaccination history obtained through parental report and documented records. RESULTS: According to parental report, 1718 (66%) children received the 2015-2016 influenza vaccine, and of those, 1432 (83%) had documentation of vaccine receipt. Percent agreement was 87%, with a sensitivity of 96% (95% confidence interval [CI], 95%-97%) and a specificity of 74% (95% CI, 72%-77%). In the multivariable logistic regression, study site and child's age 5-8 years were significant predictors of discordance. Adjusted VE among children who received ≥1 dose of the 2015-2016 influenza vaccine per parental report was 61% (95% CI, 43%-74%), whereas VE using documented records was 55% (95% CI, 33%-69%). CONCLUSIONS: Parental report of influenza vaccination was sensitive but not as specific compared with documented records. However, VE against influenza-associated hospitalizations using either source of vaccination history did not differ substantially. Parental report is valuable for timely influenza VE studies.

    • Informatics
      • Intercensal and postcensal estimation of population size for small geographic areas in the United Statesexternal icon
        Wang Y, Zhang X, Lu H, Matthews KA, Greenlund KJ.
        Int J Popul Data Sci. 2020 ;5(1).
        Introduction Population estimation techniques are often used to provide updated data for a current year. However, estimates for small geographic units, such as census tracts in the United States, are typically not available. Yet there are growing demands from local policy making, program planning and evaluation practitioners for such data because small area population estimates are more useful than those for larger geographic areas. Objectives To estimate the population sizes at the census block level by subgroups (age, sex, and race/ethnicity) so that the population data can be aggregated up to any target small geographic areas. Methods We estimated the population sizes by subgroups at the census block level using an intercensal approach for years between 2000 and 2010 and a postcensal approach for the years following the 2010 decennial census (2011-2017). Then we aggregated the data to the county level (intercensal approach) and incorporated place level (postcensal approach) and compared our estimates to corresponding US Census Bureau (the Census) estimates. Results Overall, our intercensal estimates were close to the Census' population estimates at the county level for the years 2000-2010; yet there were substantive errors in counties where population sizes experienced sudden changes. Our postcensal estimates were also close to the Census' population estimates at the incorporated place level for years closer to the 2010 decennial census. Conclusion The approaches presented here can be used to estimate population sizes for any small geographic areas based on census blocks. The advantages and disadvantages of their application in public health practice should be considered.

    • Nutritional Sciences
      • Knowledge gaps in understanding the metabolic and clinical effects of excess folates/folic acid: a summary, and perspectives, from an NIH workshopexternal icon
        Maruvada P, Stover PJ, Mason JB, Bailey RL, Davis CD, Field MS, Finnell RH, Garza C, Green R, Gueant JL, Jacques PF, Klurfeld DM, Lamers Y, MacFarlane AJ, Miller JW, Molloy AM, O'Connor DL, Pfeiffer CM, Potischman NA, Rodricks JV, Rosenberg IH, Ross SA, Shane B, Selhub J, Stabler SP, Trasler J, Yamini S, Zappalà G.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Oct 6.
        Folate, an essential nutrient found naturally in foods in a reduced form, is present in dietary supplements and fortified foods in an oxidized synthetic form (folic acid). There is widespread agreement that maintaining adequate folate status is critical to prevent diseases due to folate inadequacy (e.g., anemia, birth defects, and cancer). However, there are concerns of potential adverse effects of excess folic acid intake and/or elevated folate status, with the original concern focused on exacerbation of clinical effects of vitamin B-12 deficiency and its role in neurocognitive health. More recently, animal and observational studies have suggested potential adverse effects on cancer risk, birth outcomes, and other diseases. Observations indicating adverse effects from excess folic acid intake, elevated folate status, and unmetabolized folic acid (UMFA) remain inconclusive; the data do not provide the evidence needed to affect public health recommendations. Moreover, strong biological and mechanistic premises connecting elevated folic acid intake, UMFA, and/or high folate status to adverse health outcomes are lacking. However, the body of evidence on potential adverse health outcomes indicates the need for comprehensive research to clarify these issues and bridge knowledge gaps. Three key research questions encompass the additional research needed to establish whether high folic acid or total folate intake contributes to disease risk. 1) Does UMFA affect biological pathways leading to adverse health effects? 2) Does elevated folate status resulting from any form of folate intake affect vitamin B-12 function and its roles in sustaining health? 3) Does elevated folate intake, regardless of form, affect biological pathways leading to adverse health effects other than those linked to vitamin B-12 function? This article summarizes the proceedings of an August 2019 NIH expert workshop focused on addressing these research areas.

    • Occupational Safety and Health
      • Temporal trends in prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD risk factors among U.S. older workers: NHIS 2004-2018external icon
        Gu JK, Charles LE, Fekedulegn D, Allison P, Ma CC, Violanti JM, Andrew ME.
        Ann Epidemiol. 2020 Oct 10.
        PURPOSE: This study examined trends in the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD risk factors among U.S. older adults and workers. We also investigated correlations between the temporal prevalence of CVD and selected risk factors (hypertension, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, and treated diabetes) among participants. METHODS: Data were obtained from the National Health Interview Survey (2004-2018) for U.S. adults aged ≥50 years (N=207,539), of which 84,180 were employed. Temporal trends in prevalence were assessed by fitting weighted regression models to the age-standardized prevalence to the 2010 U.S. POPULATION: The relationship between temporal prevalence of CVD with each risk factor was assessed using Spearman's correlation coefficient. RESULTS: Among all older adults, the prevalence of CVD significantly declined (β=-0.16, p<0.001) during 2004-2018; similar decline was observed among employed adults (β=-0.16, p=0.001). Temporal prevalence in CVD was positively correlated to physical inactivity (r=0.73, p=0.002) and smoking (r=0.81, p<0.001), but not to any of the other risk factors. CONCLUSION: Among employed adults aged ≥50 years, the prevalence of CVD, physical inactivity, and smoking dramatically declined over the past 15 years. The temporal decline in prevalence of CVD was significantly associated with decline prevalence of physical inactivity and smoking.

    • Zoonotic and Vectorborne Diseases
      • Risk perception during the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leoneexternal icon
        Winters M, Jalloh MF, Sengeh P, Jalloh MB, Zeebari Z, Nordenstedt H.
        BMC Public Health. 2020 Oct 12;20(1):1539.
        BACKGROUND: Perceived susceptibility to a disease threat (risk perception) can influence protective behaviour. This study aims to determine how exposure to information sources, knowledge and behaviours potentially influenced risk perceptions during the 2014-2015 Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in Sierra Leone. METHODS: The study is based on three cross-sectional, national surveys (August 2014, n = 1413; October 2014, n = 2086; December 2014, n = 3540) that measured Ebola-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices in Sierra Leone. Data were pooled and composite variables were created for knowledge, misconceptions and three Ebola-specific behaviours. Risk perception was measured using a Likert-item and dichotomised into 'no risk perception' and 'some risk perception'. Exposure to five information sources was dichotomised into a binary variable for exposed and unexposed. Multilevel logistic regression models were fitted to examine various associations. RESULTS: Exposure to new media (e.g. internet) and community-level information sources (e.g. religious leaders) were positively associated with expressing risk perception. Ebola-specific knowledge and hand washing were positively associated with expressing risk perception (Adjusted OR [AOR] 1.4, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.2-1.8 and AOR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1-1.7 respectively), whereas misconceptions and avoiding burials were negatively associated with risk perception, (AOR 0.7, 95% CI 0.6-0.8 and AOR 0.8, 95% CI 06-1.0, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Our results illustrate the complexity of how individuals perceived their Ebola acquisition risk based on the way they received information, what they knew about Ebola, and actions they took to protect themselves. Community-level information sources may help to align the public's perceived risk with their actual epidemiological risk. As part of global health security efforts, increased investments are needed for community-level engagements that allow for two-way communication during health emergencies.

  2. 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. Sources of support for studies that inform recommendations of the Community Preventive Services Task Forceexternal icon
        Neilson E, Villani J, Mercer SL, Tilley DL, Vincent I, Alston A, Klabunde CN.
        Public Health Rep. 2020 Oct 13.
        OBJECTIVES: The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) makes evidence-based recommendations about preventive services, programs, and policies in community settings to improve public health. CPSTF recommendations are based on systematic evidence reviews. This study examined the sponsors (ie, sources of financial, material, or intellectual support) for publications included in systematic reviews used by the CPSTF to make recommendations during a 9-year period. METHODS: We examined systematic evidence reviews (effectiveness reviews and economic reviews) for CPSTF findings issued from January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2018. We assessed study publications used in these reviews for sources of support; we classified sources as government, nonprofit, industry, or no identified support. We also identified country of origin for each sponsor and the most frequently mentioned sponsors. RESULTS: The CPSTF issued findings based on 144 systematic reviews (106 effectiveness reviews and 38 economic reviews). These reviews included 3846 publications: 3363 publications in effectiveness reviews and 483 publications in economic reviews. Government agencies supported 57.1% (n = 1919) of publications in effectiveness reviews and 59.2% (n = 286) in economic reviews. More than 1500 study sponsors from 36 countries provided support. The National Institutes of Health was the leading sponsor for effectiveness reviews (21.3%; 718 of 3363) and economic reviews (16.2%; 78 of 480), followed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (7.0%; 234 of 3363 effectiveness reviews and 14.8%; 71 of 480 economic reviews). CONCLUSIONS: The evidence base used by the CPSTF was supported by an array of sponsors, with government agencies providing the most support. Study findings highlight the need for sponsorship transparency and the role of government as a leading supporter of studies that underpin CPSTF recommendations for improving public health.

    • Communicable Diseases
      1. Risk for in-hospital complications associated with COVID-19 and influenza - Veterans Health Administration, United States, October 1, 2018-May 31, 2020external icon
        Cates J, Lucero-Obusan C, Dahl RM, Schirmer P, Garg S, Oda G, Hall AJ, Langley G, Havers FP, Holodniy M, Cardemil CV.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Oct 23;69(42):1528-1534.
        Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is primarily a respiratory illness, although increasing evidence indicates that infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can affect multiple organ systems (1). Data that examine all in-hospital complications of COVID-19 and that compare these complications with those associated with other viral respiratory pathogens, such as influenza, are lacking. To assess complications of COVID-19 and influenza, electronic health records (EHRs) from 3,948 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 (March 1-May 31, 2020) and 5,453 hospitalized patients with influenza (October 1, 2018-February 1, 2020) from the national Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the largest integrated health care system in the United States,* were analyzed. Using International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) codes, complications in patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 were compared with those in patients with influenza. Risk ratios were calculated and adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and underlying medical conditions; proportions of complications were stratified among patients with COVID-19 by race/ethnicity. Patients with COVID-19 had almost 19 times the risk for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) than did patients with influenza, (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] = 18.60; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 12.40-28.00), and more than twice the risk for myocarditis (2.56; 1.17-5.59), deep vein thrombosis (2.81; 2.04-3.87), pulmonary embolism (2.10; 1.53-2.89), intracranial hemorrhage (2.85; 1.35-6.03), acute hepatitis/liver failure (3.13; 1.92-5.10), bacteremia (2.46; 1.91-3.18), and pressure ulcers (2.65; 2.14-3.27). The risks for exacerbations of asthma (0.27; 0.16-0.44) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (0.37; 0.32-0.42) were lower among patients with COVID-19 than among those with influenza. The percentage of COVID-19 patients who died while hospitalized (21.0%) was more than five times that of influenza patients (3.8%), and the duration of hospitalization was almost three times longer for COVID-19 patients. Among patients with COVID-19, the risk for respiratory, neurologic, and renal complications, and sepsis was higher among non-Hispanic Black or African American (Black) patients, patients of other races, and Hispanic or Latino (Hispanic) patients compared with those in non-Hispanic White (White) patients, even after adjusting for age and underlying medical conditions. These findings highlight the higher risk for most complications associated with COVID-19 compared with influenza and might aid clinicians and researchers in recognizing, monitoring, and managing the spectrum of COVID-19 manifestations. The higher risk for certain complications among racial and ethnic minority patients provides further evidence that certain racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionally affected by COVID-19 and that this disparity is not solely accounted for by age and underlying medical conditions.

      2. First 100 persons with COVID-19 - Zambia, March 18-April 28, 2020external icon
        Chipimo PJ, Barradas DT, Kayeyi N, Zulu PM, Muzala K, Mazaba ML, Hamoonga R, Musonda K, Monze M, Kapata N, Sinyange N, Simwaba D, Kapaya F, Mulenga L, Chanda D, Malambo W, Ngosa W, Hines J, Yingst S, Agolory S, Mukonka V.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Oct 23;69(42):1547-1548.
        Zambia is a landlocked, lower-middle income country in southern Africa, with a population of 17 million (1). The first known cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Zambia occurred in a married couple who had traveled to France and were subject to port-of-entry surveillance and subsequent remote monitoring of travelers with a history of international travel for 14 days after arrival. They were identified as having suspected cases on March 18, 2020, and tested for COVID-19 after developing respiratory symptoms during the 14-day monitoring period. In March 2020, the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) defined a suspected case of COVID-19 as 1) an acute respiratory illness in a person with a history of international travel during the 14 days preceding symptom onset; or 2) acute respiratory illness in a person with a history of contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in the 14 days preceding symptom onset; or 3) severe acute respiratory illness requiring hospitalization; or 4) being a household or close contact of a patient with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. This definition was adapted from World Health Organization (WHO) interim guidance issued March 20, 2020, on global surveillance for COVID-19 (2) to also include asymptomatic contacts of persons with confirmed COVID-19. Persons with suspected COVID-19 were identified through various mechanisms, including port-of-entry surveillance, contact tracing, health care worker (HCW) testing, facility-based inpatient screening, community-based screening, and calls from the public into a national hotline administered by the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit and ZNPHI. Port-of-entry surveillance included an arrival screen consisting of a temperature scan, report of symptoms during the preceding 14 days, and collection of a history of travel and contact with persons with confirmed COVID-19 in the 14 days before arrival in Zambia, followed by daily remote telephone monitoring for 14 days. Travelers were tested for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, if they were symptomatic upon arrival or developed symptoms during the 14-day monitoring period. Persons with suspected COVID-19 were tested as soon as possible after evaluation for respiratory symptoms or within 7 days of last known exposure (i.e., travel or contact with a confirmed case). All COVID-19 diagnoses were confirmed using real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing (SARS-CoV-2 Nucleic Acid Detection Kit, Maccura) of nasopharyngeal specimens; all patients with confirmed COVID-19 were admitted into institutional isolation at the time of laboratory confirmation, which was generally within 36 hours. COVID-19 patients were deemed recovered and released from isolation after two consecutive PCR-negative test results ≥24 hours apart. A Ministry of Health memorandum was released on April 13, 2020, mandating testing in public facilities of 1) all persons admitted to medical and pediatric wards regardless of symptoms; 2) all patients being admitted to surgical and obstetric wards, regardless of symptoms; 3) any outpatient with fever, cough, or shortness of breath; and 4) any facility or community death in a person with respiratory symptoms, and 5) biweekly screening of all HCWs in isolation centers and health facilities where persons with COVID-19 had been evaluated. This report describes the first 100 COVID-19 cases reported in Zambia, during March 18-April 28, 2020.

      3. The Seattle Flu Study: a multiarm community-based prospective study protocol for assessing influenza prevalence, transmission and genomic epidemiologyexternal icon
        Chu HY, Boeckh M, Englund JA, Famulare M, Lutz B, Nickerson DA, Rieder M, Starita LM, Adler A, Brandstetter E, Frazer CD, Han PD, Gulati RK, Hadfield J, Jackson M, Kiavand A, Kimball LE, Lacombe K, Newman K, Sibley TR, Logue JK, Lyon VR, Wolf CR, Zigman Suchsland M, Shendure J, Bedford T.
        BMJ Open. 2020 Oct 7;10(10):e037295.
        INTRODUCTION: Influenza epidemics and pandemics cause significant morbidity and mortality. An effective response to a potential pandemic requires the infrastructure to rapidly detect, characterise, and potentially contain new and emerging influenza strains at both an individual and population level. The objective of this study is to use data gathered simultaneously from community and hospital sites to develop a model of how influenza enters and spreads in a population. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Starting in the 2018-2019 season, we have been enrolling individuals with acute respiratory illness from community sites throughout the Seattle metropolitan area, including clinics, childcare facilities, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, workplaces, college campuses and homeless shelters. At these sites, we collect clinical data and mid-nasal swabs from individuals with at least two acute respiratory symptoms. Additionally, we collect residual nasal swabs and data from individuals who seek care for respiratory symptoms at four regional hospitals. Samples are tested using a multiplex molecular assay, and influenza whole genome sequencing is performed for samples with influenza detected. Geospatial mapping and computational modelling platforms are in development to characterise the regional spread of influenza and other respiratory pathogens. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study was approved by the University of Washington's Institutional Review Board (STUDY00006181). Results will be disseminated through talks at conferences, peer-reviewed publications and on the study website (

      4. Association between social vulnerability and a county's risk for becoming a COVID-19 hotspot - United States, June 1-July 25, 2020external icon
        Dasgupta S, Bowen VB, Leidner A, Fletcher K, Musial T, Rose C, Cha A, Kang G, Dirlikov E, Pevzner E, Rose D, Ritchey MD, Villanueva J, Philip C, Liburd L, Oster AM.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Oct 23;69(42):1535-1541.
        Poverty, crowded housing, and other community attributes associated with social vulnerability increase a community's risk for adverse health outcomes during and following a public health event (1). CDC uses standard criteria to identify U.S. counties with rapidly increasing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) incidence (hotspot counties) to support health departments in coordinating public health responses (2). County-level data on COVID-19 cases during June 1-July 25, 2020 and from the 2018 CDC social vulnerability index (SVI) were analyzed to examine associations between social vulnerability and hotspot detection and to describe incidence after hotspot detection. Areas with greater social vulnerabilities, particularly those related to higher representation of racial and ethnic minority residents (risk ratio [RR] = 5.3; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.4-6.4), density of housing units per structure (RR = 3.1; 95% CI = 2.7-3.6), and crowded housing units (i.e., more persons than rooms) (RR = 2.0; 95% CI = 1.8-2.3), were more likely to become hotspots, especially in less urban areas. Among hotspot counties, those with greater social vulnerability had higher COVID-19 incidence during the 14 days after detection (212-234 cases per 100,000 persons for highest SVI quartile versus 35-131 cases per 100,000 persons for other quartiles). Focused public health action at the federal, state, and local levels is needed not only to prevent communities with greater social vulnerability from becoming hotspots but also to decrease persistently high incidence among hotspot counties that are socially vulnerable.

      5. Race, ethnicity, and age trends in persons who died from COVID-19 - United States, May-August 2020external icon
        Gold JA, Rossen LM, Ahmad FB, Sutton P, Li Z, Salvatore PP, Coyle JP, DeCuir J, Baack BN, Durant TM, Dominguez KL, Henley SJ, Annor FB, Fuld J, Dee DL, Bhattarai A, Jackson BR.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Oct 23;69(42):1517-1521.
        During February 12-October 15, 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in approximately 7,900,000 aggregated reported cases and approximately 216,000 deaths in the United States.* Among COVID-19-associated deaths reported to national case surveillance during February 12-May 18, persons aged ≥65 years and members of racial and ethnic minority groups were disproportionately represented (1). This report describes demographic and geographic trends in COVID-19-associated deaths reported to the National Vital Statistics System(†) (NVSS) during May 1-August 31, 2020, by 50 states and the District of Columbia. During this period, 114,411 COVID-19-associated deaths were reported. Overall, 78.2% of decedents were aged ≥65 years, and 53.3% were male; 51.3% were non-Hispanic White (White), 24.2% were Hispanic or Latino (Hispanic), and 18.7% were non-Hispanic Black (Black). The number of COVID-19-associated deaths decreased from 37,940 in May to 17,718 in June; subsequently, counts increased to 30,401 in July and declined to 28,352 in August. From May to August, the percentage distribution of COVID-19-associated deaths by U.S. Census region increased from 23.4% to 62.7% in the South and from 10.6% to 21.4% in the West. Over the same period, the percentage distribution of decedents who were Hispanic increased from 16.3% to 26.4%. COVID-19 remains a major public health threat regardless of age or race and ethnicity. Deaths continued to occur disproportionately among older persons and certain racial and ethnic minorities, particularly among Hispanic persons. These results can inform public health messaging and mitigation efforts focused on prevention and early detection of infection among disproportionately affected groups.

      6. Rapid adaptation of HIV treatment programs in response to COVID-19 - Namibia, 2020external icon
        Hong SY, Ashipala LS, Bikinesi L, Hamunime N, Kamangu JW, Boylan A, Sithole E, Pietersen IC, Mutandi G, McLean C, Dziuban EJ.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Oct 23;69(42):1549-1551.
        Namibia is an upper-middle income country in southern Africa, with a population of approximately 2.5 million (1). On March 13, 2020, the first two cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Namibia were identified among recently arrived international travelers. On March 17, Namibia's president declared a state of emergency, which introduced measures such as closing of all international borders, enactment of regional travel restrictions, closing of schools, suspension of gatherings, and implementation of physical distancing measures across the country. As of October 19, 2020, Namibia had reported 12,326 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 131 COVID-19-associated deaths. CDC, through its Namibia country office, as part of ongoing assistance from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) for rapid coordination of the national human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatment program with the national COVID-19 response.

      7. Rotavirus genotypes in hospitalized children with acute gastroenteritis before and after rotavirus vaccine introduction in Blantyre, Malawi, 1997 - 2019external icon
        Mhango C, Mandolo JJ, Chinyama E, Wachepa R, Kanjerwa O, Malamba-Banda C, Matambo PB, Barnes KG, Chaguza C, Shawa IT, Nyaga MM, Hungerford D, Parashar UD, Pitzer VE, Kamng'ona AW, Iturriza-Gomara M, Cunliffe NA, Jere KC.
        J Infect Dis. 2020 Oct 9.
        INTRODUCTION: Rotavirus vaccine (Rotarix®, RV1) has reduced diarrhea-associated hospitalizations and deaths in Malawi. We examined the trends in circulating rotavirus genotypes in Malawi over a 22-year period to assess the impact of RV1 introduction on strain distribution. METHODS: Data on rotavirus-positive stool specimens among children age <5 years hospitalized with diarrhea in Blantyre, Malawi before (July 1997 - October 2012, n=1765) and after (November 2012 - October 2019, n=934) RV1 introduction were analyzed. Rotavirus G and P genotypes were assigned using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS: A rich rotavirus strain diversity circulated throughout the 22-year period; Shannon (H) and Simpson diversity (D) indices did not differ between the pre- and post-vaccine periods (H' p < 0.149: D' p < 0.287). Overall, G1 (n=268/924; 28.7%), G2 (n=308/924; 33.0%), G3 (n=72/924; 7.7%) and G12 (n=109/924; 11.8%) were the most prevalent genotypes identified following RV1 introduction. The prevalence of G1P[8] and G2P[4] genotypes declined each successive year following RV1 introduction, and were not detected after 2018. Genotype G3 re-emerged and became the predominant genotype from 2017. No evidence of genotype selection was observed seven years post-RV1 introduction. CONCLUSION: Rotavirus strain diversity and genotype variation in Malawi is likely driven by natural mechanisms rather than vaccine pressure.

      8. Family factors and HIV-related risk behaviors among adolescent sexual minority males in three United States cities, 2015external icon
        Morris E, Balaji AB, Trujillo L, Rasberry CN, Mustanski B, Newcomb ME, Brady KA, Prachand NG.
        LGBT Health. 2020 Oct;7(7):367-374.
        Purpose: We examined the relationship between family factors and HIV-related sexual risk behaviors among adolescent sexual minority males (ASMM) who are affected disproportionately by HIV. Methods: We analyzed results from the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men. Adolescent males ages 13-18 who identified as gay or bisexual, or who reported attraction to or sex with males were interviewed in 2015 in Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia. Separate log-linked Poisson regression models were used to estimate associations between family factors and sexual risk behaviors. Results: Of the 569 ASMM, 41% had condomless anal intercourse in the past 12 months, 38% had ≥4 male sex partners in the past 12 months, and 23% had vaginal or anal sex before age 13. ASMM who had ever been kicked out of their house or run away, those who were out to their mother, and those who were out to their father, were more likely to engage in sexual risk behaviors. ASMM who were currently living with parents or guardians and those who received a positive reaction to their outness by their mother were less likely to engage in sexual risk behaviors. Conclusion: Our findings highlight the important role of family factors in HIV risk reduction among ASMM. A better understanding of the complex dynamics of these families will help in developing family-based interventions.

      9. Effect of enhanced adherence package on early ART uptake among HIV-positive pregnant women in Zambia: An individual randomized controlled trialexternal icon
        Mubiana-Mbewe M, Bosomprah S, Kadota JL, Koyuncu A, Kusanathan T, Mweebo K, Musokotwane K, Mulenga PL, Chi BH, Vinikoor MJ.
        AIDS Behav. 2020 Oct 8.
        We evaluated the effect of an option B-plus Enhanced Adherence Package (BEAP), on early ART uptake in a randomized controlled trial. HIV-positive, ART naïve pregnant women in Lusaka, Zambia, were randomized to receive BEAP (phone calls/home visits, additional counseling, male partner engagement and missed-visit follow-up) versus standard of care (SOC). The primary outcome was initiating and remaining on ART at 30 days. Analysis was by intention to treat (ITT) using logistic regression. Additional per protocol analysis was done. We enrolled 454 women; 229 randomized to BEAP and 225 to SOC. Within 30 days of eligibility, 445 (98.2%) initiated ART. In ITT analysis, 82.5% BEAP versus 80.4% SOC participants reached primary outcome (crude relative risk [RR] 1.03; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.91-1.16; Wald test statistic = 0.44; p-value = 0.66). In per protocol analysis, (92 participants (40.2%) excluded), 91.9% BEAP versus 80.4% SOC participants reached primary outcome (crude RR 1.14; 95% CI 1.02-1.29; Wald test statistic = 2.23; p-value = 0.03). Early ART initiation in pregnancy was nearly universal but there was early drop out suggesting need for additional adherence support.This trial was registered at (trials number NCT02459678) on May 14, 2015.

      10. Mitigating a COVID-19 outbreak among Major League Baseball players - United States, 2020external icon
        Murray MT, Riggs MA, Engelthaler DM, Johnson C, Watkins S, Longenberger A, Brett-Major DM, Lowe J, Broadhurst MJ, Ladva CN, Villanueva JM, MacNeil A, Qari S, Kirking HL, Cherry M, Khan AS.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Oct 23;69(42):1542-1546.
        Mass gatherings have been implicated in higher rates of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and many sporting events have been restricted or canceled to limit disease spread (1). Based on current CDC COVID-19 mitigation recommendations related to events and gatherings (2), Major League Baseball (MLB) developed new health and safety protocols before the July 24 start of the 2020 season. In addition, MLB made the decision that games would be played without spectators. Before a three-game series between teams A and B, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health was notified of a team A player with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19; the player was isolated as recommended (2). During the series and the week after, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 was diagnosed among 19 additional team A players and staff members and one team B staff member. Throughout their potentially infectious periods, some asymptomatic team A players and coaches, who subsequently received positive SARS-CoV-2 test results, engaged in on-field play with teams B and C. No on-field team B or team C players or staff members subsequently received a clinical diagnosis of COVID-19. Certain MLB health and safety protocols, which include frequent diagnostic testing for rapid case identification, isolation of persons with positive test results, quarantine for close contacts, mask wearing, and social distancing, might have limited COVID-19 transmission between teams.

      11. Improved chlorination and rapid water quality assessment in response to an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea in Somali region, Ethiopiaexternal icon
        Rajasingham A, Harvey B, Taye Y, Kamwaga S, Martinsen A, Sirad M, Aden M, Gallagher K, Handzel T.
        J Water Sanit Hyg Develop. 2020 ;10(3):596-602.
        The Somali Region of Ethiopia has been affected by drought for several years. Drought conditions have led to food and water scarcity and a humanitarian crisis in the region. In January 2017, an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) was declared in the region. AWD prevention and control activities include strengthening water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. Access to safe drinking water is critical in preventing transmission of AWD and chlorine is an effective chemical to disinfect water supplies. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborated with the WASH Cluster and the United Nations Children’s Fund, Ethiopia, to provide technical assistance to the Somali Regional Water Bureau to improve chlorination of drinking water supplies and quickly assess water quality improvements in Jijiga town, Fafan Zone. Timely sharing of surveillance and case investigation data allowed for the identification of gaps within the water supply system in Jijiga and implementation of centralized and decentralized chlorination interventions and monitoring systems. Pilot use of a rapid assessment to determine residual chlorine levels at various points in the city helped improve chlorination intervention impact. This work illustrates that rapid community-level water quality improvements can be implemented and assessed quickly to improve interventions during outbreaks.

      12. Excess deaths associated with COVID-19, by age and race and ethnicity - United States, January 26-October 3, 2020external icon
        Rossen LM, Branum AM, Ahmad FB, Sutton P, Anderson RN.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Oct 23;69(42):1522-1527.
        As of October 15, 216,025 deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been reported in the United States*; however, this number might underestimate the total impact of the pandemic on mortality. Measures of excess deaths have been used to estimate the impact of public health pandemics or disasters, particularly when there are questions about underascertainment of deaths directly attributable to a given event or cause (1-6).(†) Excess deaths are defined as the number of persons who have died from all causes, in excess of the expected number of deaths for a given place and time. This report describes trends and demographic patterns in excess deaths during January 26-October 3, 2020. Expected numbers of deaths were estimated using overdispersed Poisson regression models with spline terms to account for seasonal patterns, using provisional mortality data from CDC's National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) (7). Weekly numbers of deaths by age group and race/ethnicity were assessed to examine the difference between the weekly number of deaths occurring in 2020 and the average number occurring in the same week during 2015-2019 and the percentage change in 2020. Overall, an estimated 299,028 excess deaths have occurred in the United States from late January through October 3, 2020, with two thirds of these attributed to COVID-19. The largest percentage increases were seen among adults aged 25-44 years and among Hispanic or Latino (Hispanic) persons. These results provide information about the degree to which COVID-19 deaths might be underascertained and inform efforts to prevent mortality directly or indirectly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as efforts to minimize disruptions to health care.

      13. First isolation and whole-genome characterization of a G9P[14] rotavirus strain from a diarrheic child in Egyptexternal icon
        Shoeib A, Velasquez Portocarrero DE, Wang Y, Jiang B.
        J Gen Virol. 2020 Sep;101(9):896-901.
        An unusual group A rotavirus (RVA) strain (RVA/Human-tc/EGY/AS997/2012/G9[14]) was isolated for the first time in a faecal sample from a 6-month-old child who was hospitalized for treatment of acute gastroenteritis in Egypt in 2012. Whole-genome analysis showed that the strain AS997 had a unique genotype constellation: G9-P[14]-I2-R2-C2-M2-A11-N2-T1-E2-H1. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the strain AS997 had the consensus P[14] genotype constellation with the G9, T1 and H1 reassortment. This suggests either a mixed gene configuration originated from a human Wa-like strain and a P[14]-containing animal virus, or that this P[14] could have been acquired via reassortment of human strains only. The study shows the possible roles of interspecies transmission and multiple reassortment events leading to the generation of novel rotavirus genotypes and underlines the importance of whole-genome characterization of rotavirus strains in surveillance studies.

      14. OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of 4 forms of sexual identity discrimination among men who have sex with men (MSM) in 23 US metropolitan statistical areas, examine racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in each form of discrimination, and assess the association of MSM discrimination with sexual behavior. METHODS: We examined interview data collected during 2017 for National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (n = 10 029 respondents) and used generalized linear models to assess the association between the prevalence of reported discrimination during the previous 12 months and selected sociodemographic groups. RESULTS: Overall, 34% of participants reported experiencing verbal discrimination; 16%, discrimination in a workplace, school, or a health care setting; and 8%, physical assault. MSM who had reported experiencing discrimination were most likely to be young, had achieved lower education, and had lower incomes. High prevalence of reported discrimination was associated with young age, lower education, lower household income, sexual identity disclosure, and lower perceived community tolerance of gay or bisexual persons. CONCLUSIONS: MSM discrimination affects different groups and occurs in multiple settings. Addressing discrimination should be an integral aspect of multifaceted efforts to improve MSM health.

    • Disaster Control and Emergency Services
      1. Systems thinking for health emergencies: use of process mapping during outbreak responseexternal icon
        Durski KN, Naidoo D, Singaravelu S, Shah AA, Djingarey MH, Formenty P, Ihekweazu C, Banjura J, Kebela B, Yinka-Ogunleye A, Fall IS, Eteng W, Vandi M, Keimbe C, Abubakar A, Mohammed A, Williams DE, Lamunu M, Briand S, Changa Changa JC, Minkoulou E, Jernigan D, Lubambo D, Khalakdina A, Mamadu I, Talisuna A, Mbule Kadiobo A, Jambai A, Aylward B, Osterholm M.
        BMJ Glob Health. 2020 Oct;5(10).
        Process mapping is a systems thinking approach used to understand, analyse and optimise processes within complex systems. We aim to demonstrate how this methodology can be applied during disease outbreaks to strengthen response and health systems. Process mapping exercises were conducted during three unique emerging disease outbreak contexts with different: mode of transmission, size, and health system infrastructure. System functioning improved considerably in each country. In Sierra Leone, laboratory testing was accelerated from 6 days to within 24 hours. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, time to suspected case notification reduced from 7 to 3 days. In Nigeria, key data reached the national level in 48 hours instead of 5 days. Our research shows that despite the chaos and complexities associated with emerging pathogen outbreaks, the implementation of a process mapping exercise can address immediate response priorities while simultaneously strengthening components of a health system.

    • Genetics and Genomics
      1. Bacterial genome-wide association study of hyper-virulent pneumococcal serotype 1 identifies genetic variation associated with neurotropismexternal icon
        Chaguza C, Yang M, Cornick JE, du Plessis M, Gladstone RA, Kwambana-Adams BA, Lo SW, Ebruke C, Tonkin-Hill G, Peno C, Senghore M, Obaro SK, Ousmane S, Pluschke G, Collard JM, Sigaùque B, French N, Klugman KP, Heyderman RS, McGee L, Antonio M, Breiman RF, von Gottberg A, Everett DB, Kadioglu A, Bentley SD.
        Commun Biol. 2020 Oct 8;3(1):559.
        Hyper-virulent Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 1 strains are endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa and frequently cause lethal meningitis outbreaks. It remains unknown whether genetic variation in serotype 1 strains modulates tropism into cerebrospinal fluid to cause central nervous system (CNS) infections, particularly meningitis. Here, we address this question through a large-scale linear mixed model genome-wide association study of 909 African pneumococcal serotype 1 isolates collected from CNS and non-CNS human samples. By controlling for host age, geography, and strain population structure, we identify genome-wide statistically significant genotype-phenotype associations in surface-exposed choline-binding (P = 5.00 × 10(-08)) and helicase proteins (P = 1.32 × 10(-06)) important for invasion, immune evasion and pneumococcal tropism to CNS. The small effect sizes and negligible heritability indicated that causation of CNS infection requires multiple genetic and other factors reflecting a complex and polygenic aetiology. Our findings suggest that certain pathogen genetic variation modulate pneumococcal survival and tropism to CNS tissue, and therefore, virulence for meningitis.

    • Immunity and Immunization
      1. Vaccination coverage by age 24 months among children born in 2016 and 2017 - National Immunization Survey-Child, United States, 2017-2019external icon
        Hill HA, Yankey D, Elam-Evans LD, Singleton JA, Pingali SC, Santibanez TA.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Oct 23;69(42):1505-1511.
        Immunization has been described as a "global health and development success story," and worldwide is estimated to prevent 2-3 million deaths annually.* In the United States, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) currently recommends vaccination against 14 potentially serious illnesses by the time a child reaches age 24 months (1). CDC monitors coverage with ACIP-recommended vaccines through the National Immunization Survey-Child (NIS-Child); data from the survey were used to estimate vaccination coverage at the national, regional, state, territorial, and selected local area levels(†) among children born in 2016 and 2017. National coverage by age 24 months was ≥90% for ≥3 doses of poliovirus vaccine, ≥3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine (HepB), and ≥1 dose of varicella vaccine (VAR); national coverage was ≥90% for ≥1 dose of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR), although MMR coverage was <90% in 14 states. Coverage with ≥2 doses of influenza vaccine was higher for children born during 2016-2017 (58.1%) than for those born during 2014-2015 (53.8%) but was the lowest among all vaccines studied. Only 1.2% of children had received no vaccinations by age 24 months. Vaccination coverage among children enrolled in Medicaid or with no health insurance was lower than that among children who were privately insured. The prevalence of being completely unvaccinated was highest among uninsured children (4.1%), lower among those enrolled in Medicaid (1.3%), and lowest among those with private insurance (0.8%). The largest disparities on the basis of health insurance status occurred for ≥2 doses of influenza vaccine and for completion of the rotavirus vaccination series. Considering the disruptions to health care provider operations caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, extra effort will be required to achieve and maintain high levels of coverage with routine childhood vaccinations. Providers, health care entities, and public health authorities can communicate with families about how children can be vaccinated safely during the pandemic, remind parents of vaccinations that are due for their children, and provide all recommended vaccinations to children during clinic visits. This will be especially important for 2020-21 seasonal influenza vaccination to mitigate the effect of two potentially serious respiratory viruses circulating in the community simultaneously.

      2. BACKGROUND: Annual vaccination is the most effective strategy for preventing influenza. We assessed trends and demographic and access-to-care characteristics associated with place of vaccination in recent years. METHODS: Data from the 2014-2018 National Internet Flu Survey (NIFS) were analyzed to assess trends in place of early-season influenza vaccination during the 2014-15 through 2018-19 seasons. Multivariable logistic regression was conducted to identify factors independently associated with vaccination settings in the 2018-19 season. RESULTS: Among vaccinees, the proportion vaccinated in medical (range: 49%-53%) versus nonmedical settings (range: 47%-51%) during the 2014-15 through 2018-19 seasons were similar. Among adults aged ≥18 years vaccinated early in the 2018-19 influenza season, a doctor's office was the most common place (34.4%), followed by pharmacies or stores (32.3%), and workplaces (15.0%). Characteristics significantly associated with an increased likelihood of receipt of vaccination in nonmedical settings among adults included household income ≥$50,000, having no doctor visits since July 1, 2018, or having a doctor visit but not receiving an influenza vaccination recommendation from the medical professional. CONCLUSION: Place of early-season influenza vaccination among adults who reported receiving influenza vaccination was stable over five recent seasons. Both medical and nonmedical settings were important places for influenza vaccination. Increasing access to vaccination services in medical and nonmedical settings should be considered as an important strategy for improving vaccination coverage.

      3. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at high risk for infections and diseases caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), many of which are vaccine-preventable. In the United States, routine HPV vaccination has been recommended for adolescent males since 2011. This analysis evaluated self-reported receipt of ≥ 1 HPV vaccine dose by age group and HIV status among adult MSM using 2017 data from National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) and compared the proportion vaccinated to prior years. Among 10,381 MSM aged ≥ 18 years, 17.9% of MSM overall and 28.4% of MSM living with HIV reported any HPV vaccination. Among 2,482 MSM aged 18-26 years, 32.8% overall and 51.3% living with HIV reported HPV vaccination. Since 2011, the proportion of MSM aged 18-26 years reporting HPV vaccination has increased over six-fold. As vaccinated adolescents age into young adults, coverage will continue to increase overall, including among MSM.

      4. BACKGROUND: Underreporting is a limitation common to passive surveillance systems, including the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) that monitors the safety of U.S.-licensed vaccines. Nonetheless, previous reports demonstrate substantial case capture for clinically severe adverse events (AEs), including 47% of intussusception cases after rotavirus vaccine, and 68% of vaccine associated paralytic polio after oral polio vaccine. OBJECTIVES: To determine the sensitivity of VAERS in capturing AE reports of anaphylaxis and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) following vaccination and whether this is consistent with previous estimates for other severe AEs. METHODS: We estimated VAERS reporting rates following vaccination for anaphylaxis and GBS. We used data from VAERS safety reviews as the numerator, and estimated incidence rates of anaphylaxis and GBS following vaccination from the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) studies as the denominator. We defined reporting sensitivity as the VAERS reporting rate divided by the VSD incidence rate. Sensitivity was reported as either a single value, or a range if data were available from >1 study. RESULTS: VAERS sensitivity for capturing anaphylaxis after seven different vaccines ranged from 13 to 76%; sensitivity for capturing GBS after three different vaccines ranged from 12 to 64%. For anaphylaxis, VAERS captured 13-27% of cases after the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, 13% of cases after influenza vaccine, 21% of cases after varicella vaccine, 24% of cases after both the live attenuated zoster and quadrivalent human papillomavirus (4vHPV) vaccines, 25% of cases after the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and 76% of cases after the 2009 H1N1 inactivated pandemic influenza vaccine. For GBS, VAERS captured 12% of cases after the 2012-13 inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine, 15-55% of cases after the 2009 H1N1 inactivated pandemic influenza vaccine, and 64% of cases after 4vHPV vaccine. CONCLUSIONS: For anaphylaxis and GBS, VAERS sensitivity is comparable to previous estimates for detecting important AEs following vaccination.

      5. The clinical presentation of culture-positive and culture-negative, qPCR-attributable shigellosis in the Global Enteric Multicenter Study and derivation of a Shigella severity score: implications for pediatric Shigella vaccine trialsexternal icon
        Pavlinac PB, Platts-Mills JA, Tickell KD, Liu J, Juma J, Kabir F, Nkeze J, Okoi C, Operario DJ, Uddin MJ, Ahmed S, Alonso PL, Antonio M, Becker SM, Breiman RF, Faruque AS, Fields B, Gratz J, Haque R, Hossain A, Hossain MJ, Jarju S, Qamar F, Iqbal NT, Kwambana B, Mandomando I, McMurry TL, Ochieng C, Ochieng JB, Ochieng M, Onyango C, Panchalingam S, Kalam A, Aziz F, Qureshi S, Ramamurthy T, Roberts JH, Saha D, Sow SO, Stroup SE, Sur D, Tamboura B, Taniuchi M, Tennant SM, Roose A, Toema D, Wu Y, Zaidi A, Nataro JP, Levine MM, Houpt ER, Kotloff KL.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Oct 12.
        BACKGROUND: Shigella is a leading cause of childhood diarrhea and target for vaccine development. Microbiologic and clinical case definitions are needed for pediatric field vaccine efficacy trials. METHODS: We compared characteristics of moderate to severe diarrhea (MSD) cases in the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) between children with culture positive Shigella to those with culture-negative, qPCR-attributable Shigella (defined by an ipaH gene cycle threshold <27.9). Among Shigella MSD cases, we determined risk factors for death and derived a clinical severity score. RESULTS: Compared to culture-positive Shigella MSD cases (n=745), culture-negative/qPCR-attributable Shigella cases (n=852) were more likely to be under 12 months, stunted, have a longer duration of diarrhea, and less likely to have high stool frequency or a fever. There was no difference in dehydration, hospitalization, or severe classification from a modified Vesikari score. Twenty-two (1.8%) Shigella MSD cases died within the 14-days after presentation to health facilities, and 59.1% of these deaths were in culture-negative cases. Age < 12 months, diarrhea duration prior to presentation, vomiting, stunting, wasting, and hospitalization were associated with mortality. A model-derived score assigned points for dehydration, hospital admission, and longer diarrhea duration but was not significantly better at predicting 14-day mortality than a modified Vesikari score. CONCLUSIONS: A composite severity score consistent with severe disease or dysentery may be a pragmatic clinical endpoint for severe shigellosis in vaccine trials. Reliance on culture for microbiologic confirmation may miss a substantial number of Shigella cases but is currently required to measure serotype specific immunity.

      6. Rubella virus-associated chronic inflammation in primary immunodeficiency diseasesexternal icon
        Perelygina L, Icenogle J, Sullivan KE.
        Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020 Oct 9.
        PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW: The aim of this article is to summarize recent data on rubella virus (RuV) vaccine in chronic inflammation focusing on granulomas in individuals with primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs). RECENT FINDINGS: The live attenuated RuV vaccine has been recently associated with cutaneous and visceral granulomas in children with various PIDs. RuV vaccine strain can persist for decades subclinically in currently unknown body site(s) before emerging in granulomas. Histologically, RuV is predominately localized in M2 macrophages in the granuloma centers. Multiple mutations accumulate during persistence resulting in emergence of immunodeficiency-related vaccine-derived rubella viruses (iVDRVs) with altered immunological, replication, and persistence properties. Viral RNA was detected in granuloma biopsies and nasopharyngeal secretions and infectious virus were isolated from the granuloma lesions. The risk of iVDRV transmissibility to contacts needs to be evaluated. Several broad-spectrum antiviral drugs have been tested recently but did not provide significant clinical improvement. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation remains the only reliable option for curing chronic RuV-associated granulomas in PIDs. SUMMARY: Persistence of vaccine-derived RuVs appears to be a crucial factor in a significant proportion of granulomatous disease in PIDs. RuV testing of granulomas in PID individuals might help with case management.

    • Informatics
      1. We used Google search data from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2019 to explore public awareness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and HIV testing in the United States. Using two search strings, one for PrEP and one for HIV testing, we compared search volume to state HIV prevalence and new HIV diagnoses. We also used Google News to identify news events related to short-term spikes in search volume. Controlling for poverty, education, and internet access, a one-unit increase in a state's HIV prevalence rate was associated with a 3% increase in PrEP search volume (aPR = 1.03 [1.034, 1.037], P < 0.0001) and HIV testing search volume (aPR = 1.03 [1.030, 1.032], P < 0.0001). Short-term search volume spikes also coincided with celebrity news and pharmaceutical company advertising. We demonstrate that search engine data can be a powerful tool for understanding HIV knowledge-seeking and can provide key insight to the events that drive public interest about HIV online.

    • Laboratory Sciences
      1. Differential pathogenesis of Usutu virus isolates in miceexternal icon
        Kuchinsky SC, Hawks SA, Mossel EC, Coutermarsh-Ott S, Duggal NK.
        PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2020 Oct 12;14(10):e0008765.
        Usutu virus (USUV; Flavivirus), a close phylogenetic and ecological relative of West Nile virus, is a zoonotic virus that can cause neuroinvasive disease in humans. USUV is maintained in an enzootic cycle between Culex mosquitoes and birds. Since the first isolation in 1959 in South Africa, USUV has spread throughout Africa and Europe. Reported human cases have increased over the last few decades, primarily in Europe, with symptoms ranging from mild febrile illness to severe neurological effects. In this study, we investigated whether USUV has become more pathogenic during emergence in Europe. Interferon α/β receptor knockout (Ifnar1-/-) mice were inoculated with recent USUV isolates from Africa and Europe, as well as the historic 1959 South African strain. The three tested African strains and one European strain from Spain caused 100% mortality in inoculated mice, with similar survival times and histopathology in tissues. Unexpectedly, a European strain from the Netherlands caused only 12% mortality and significantly less histopathology in tissues from mice compared to mice inoculated with the other strains. Viremia was highest in mice inoculated with the recent African strains and lowest in mice inoculated with the Netherlands strain. Based on phylogenetics, the USUV isolates from Spain and the Netherlands were derived from separate introductions into Europe, suggesting that disease outcomes may differ for USUV strains circulating in Europe. These results also suggest that while more human USUV disease cases have been reported in Europe recently, circulating African USUV strains are still a potential major health concern.

    • Maternal and Child Health
      1. The goal of this preliminary investigation was to compare demographic and clinical characteristics in a sample of children with likely Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder (SCD) (N = 117) to those in children with possible (N = 118) and some (N = 126) SCD traits, other developmental delay (DD) (N = 91) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (N = 642). We used data from the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED), a multi-site case-control study. Items reflecting SCD DSM-5 criteria were selected from an autism diagnostic measure, with SCD categories identified by creating quartiles. Our results suggest that SCD may fall along a continuum involving elevated deficits (in comparison to DD with no SCD) in social communication and restricted and repetitive behavior that do not reach the clinical threshold for ASD.

      2. Balancing competing priorities: Quantity versus quality within a routine, voluntary medical male circumcision program operating at scale in Zimbabweexternal icon
        Feldacker C, Murenje V, Makunike-Chikwinya B, Hove J, Munyaradzi T, Marongwe P, Balachandra S, Mandisarisa J, Holec M, Xaba S, Sidile-Chitimbire V, Tshimanga M, Barnhart S.
        PLoS One. 2020 ;15(10):e0240425.
        BACKGROUND: Since 2013, the ZAZIC consortium supported the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) to implement a high quality, integrated voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) program in 13 districts. With the aim of significantly lowering global HIV rates, prevention programs like VMMC make every effort to achieve ambitious targets at an increasingly reduced cost. This has the potential to threaten VMMC program quality. Two measures of program quality are follow-up and adverse event (AE) rates. To inform further VMMC program improvement, ZAZIC conducted a quality assurance (QA) activity to assess if pressure to do more with less influenced program quality. METHODS: Key informant interviews (KIIs) were conducted at 9 sites with 7 site-based VMMC program officers and 9 ZAZIC roving team members. Confidentiality was ensured to encourage candid conversation on adherence to VMMC standards, methods to increase productivity, challenges to target achievement, and suggestions for program modification. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed using Atlas.ti 6. RESULTS: VMMC teams work long hours in diverse community settings to reach ambitious targets. Rotating, large teams of trained VMMC providers ensures meeting demand. Service providers prioritize VMMC safety procedures and implement additional QA measures to prevent AEs among all clients, especially minors. However, KIs noted three areas where pressure for increased numbers of clients diminished adherence to VMMC safety standards. For pre- and post-operative counselling, MC teams may combine individual and group sessions to reach more people, potentially reducing client understanding of critical wound care instructions. Second, key infection control practices may be compromised (handwashing, scrubbing techniques, and preoperative client preparation) to speed MC procedures. Lastly, pressure for client numbers may reduce prioritization of patient follow-up, while client-perceived stigma may reduce care-seeking. Although AEs appear well managed, delays in AE identification and lack of consistent AE reporting compromise program quality. CONCLUSION: In pursuit of ambitious targets, healthcare workers may compromise quality of MC services. Although risk to patients may appear minimal, careful consideration of the realities and risks of ambitious target setting by donors, ministries, and implementing partners could help to ensure that client safety and program quality is consistently prioritized over productivity.

    • Occupational Safety and Health
      1. OBJECTIVE: To update trends in prevalence of back and upper limb musculoskeletal symptoms and risk factors from the 2014 Quality of Work Life (QWL) Survey. METHODS: Quadrennial QWL Surveys, 2002 to 2014 (with N = 1455, 1537, 1019, and 1124 in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014 surveys respectively) were analyzed for reports of back pain and pain in arms. RESULTS: In the fourth analysis of this survey, 12-year trends continue to show a decline in back pain and pain in arms. Key physical (heavy lifting, hand movements, very hard physical effort) and psychosocial/work organizational factors (low supervisor support, work is always stressful, not enough time to get work done) remain associated with back and arm pain, with the physical risk factors showing the strongest associations. CONCLUSION: Physical exposure risk factors continue to be strongly associated with low back and arm pain and should be the focus of intervention strategies.

      2. Assessment of triphenyl phosphate (TPhP) exposure to nail salon workers by air, hand wipe, and urine analysisexternal icon
        Estill CF, Mayer A, Slone J, Chen IC, Zhou M, La Guardia MJ, Jayatilaka N, Ospina M, Calafat A.
        Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2020 Oct 6;231:113630.
        Triphenyl phosphate (TPP or TPhP) is commonly used as an additive plasticizer or organophosphate flame retardant (OPFR) in consumer products including nail polish. We evaluated exposure to TPhP from 12 nail salon technicians working at four nail salons located in California over a period of two work days. Bulk samples of 15 nail polishes and other nail products were collected. Study participants also provided two personal air samples, two hand wipe samples (pre- and post-shift on day two), and two urine samples (pre-shift day one and post-shift day two). The geometric mean (GM) of TPhP air sampling concentrations was 7.39 ng/m(3). Post-shift TPhP hand wipe concentrations (GM 1.35 μg/sample) were significantly higher (p = 0.024) than pre-shift hand wipe concentrations (GM 0.29 μg/sample). Diphenyl phosphate (DPP or DPhP), a urinary metabolite of TPhP used in this study as a biomarker of exposure, was detected in all post-shift urine samples and 75% of urine pre-shift samples. DPhP post-shift concentrations (GM 1.35 μg/g creatinine) were significantly higher than pre-shift concentrations (GM 0.84 μg/g creatinine; p = 0.012). In addition, DPhP post-shift concentrations were correlated with TPhP post-shift hand wipe concentrations, suggesting dermal contact may be a relevant exposure pathway for nail salon workers.

    • Occupational Safety and Health - Mining
      1. Conveyor systems persist in being a source of injuries and fatalities in the mining industry. To reduce these incidents, better methods are needed to enhance the monitoring of probable hazards and improve situational awareness during the normal operation and maintenance of conveyor systems. To address these issues, researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) continue to investigate emerging technologies that show the potential to improve miner safety around conveyors. This paper presents a feasibility assessment by NIOSH researchers of a fully integrated, commercially available wireless Internet of Things (IoT) system to improve situational awareness around conveyor systems. Included are discussions of a full-scale laboratory test bed that was designed to simulate a working conveyor system as well as the challenges and successes of integrating the IoT system with the test bed.

    • Substance Use and Abuse
      1. Variability in antemortem and postmortem blood alcohol concentration levels among fatally injured adultsexternal icon
        Greene N, Esser MB, Vesselinov R, Auman KM, Kerns TJ, Lauerman MH.
        Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2020 Oct 9:1-8.
        Background: Excessive alcohol use is a risk factor for injury-related deaths. Postmortem blood samples are commonly used to approximate antemortem blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels. Objectives: To assess differences between antemortem and postmortem BACs among fatally injured adults admitted to one shock trauma center (STC). Method: Fifty-two adult decedents (45 male, 7 female) admitted to a STC in Baltimore, Maryland during 2006-2016 were included. STC records were matched with records from Maryland's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). The antemortem and postmortem BAC distributions were compared. After stratifying by antemortem BACs <0.10 versus ≥0.10 g/dL, differences in postmortem and antemortem BACs were plotted as a function of length of hospital stay. Results: Among the 52 decedents, 22 died from transportation-related injuries, 20 died by homicide or intentional assault, and 10 died from other injuries. The median BAC antemortem was 0.10 g/dL and postmortem was 0.06 g/dL. Thirty-one (59.6%) decedents had antemortem BACs ≥0.08 g/dL versus 22 (42.3%) decedents using postmortem BACs. Postmortem BACs were lower than the antemortem BACs for 42 decedents, by an average of 0.07 g/dL. Postmortem BACs were higher than the antemortem BACs for 10 decedents, by an average of 0.06 g/dL. Conclusion: Postmortem BACs were generally lower than antemortem BACs for the fatally injured decedents in this study, though not consistently. More routine antemortem BAC testing, when possible, would improve the surveillance of alcohol involvement in injuries. The findings emphasize the usefulness of routine testing and recording of BACs in acute care facilities.

      2. Notes from the field: Characteristics of e-cigarette, or vaping, products confiscated in public high schools in California and North Carolina - March and May 2019external icon
        Shamout M, Tanz L, Herzig C, Oakley LP, Peak CM, Heinzerling A, Hast M, McGowan E, Williams RJ, Hess C, Wang C, Planche S, Herndon S, Martin J, Kansagra SM, Al-Shawaf M, Melstrom P, Marynak K, Tynan MA, Agaku IT, King BA.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Oct 23;69(42):1552-1554.

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