Issue 15, April 27, 2021

CDC Science Clips: Volume 13, Issue 15, April 27, 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. 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.
    • Chronic Diseases and Conditions
      • Reassessing the Inclusion of Race in Diagnosing Kidney Diseases: An Interim Report from the NKF-ASN Task Forceexternal icon
        Delgado C, Baweja M, Burrows NR, Crews DC, Eneanya ND, Gadegbeku CA, Inker LA, Mendu ML, Miller WG, Moxey-Mims MM, Roberts GV, St Peter WL, Warfield C, Powe NR.
        Am J Kidney Dis. 2021 Apr 8.
        For almost two decades, equations that use serum creatinine, age, sex, and race to eGFR have included "race" as Black or non-Black. Given considerable evidence of disparities in health and healthcare delivery in African American communities, some regard keeping a race term in GFR equations as a practice that differentially influences access to care and kidney transplantation. Others assert that race captures important GFR determinants and its removal from the calculation may perpetuate other disparities. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and American Society of Nephrology (ASN) established a task force in 2020 to reassess the inclusion of race in the estimation of GFR in the United States and its implications for diagnosis and subsequent management of patients with, orat risk for, kidney diseases.This interim report details the process, initial assessment of evidence, and values defined regarding the use of race to estimate GFR. We organized activities in phases: (1) clarify the problem and examine evidence, (2) evaluate different approaches to address use of race in GFR estimation, and (3) make recommendations. In phase one, we constructed statements about the evidence and defined values regarding equity and disparities; race and racism; GFR measurement, estimation, and equation performance; laboratory standardization; and patient perspectives. We also identified several approaches to estimate GFR and a set of attributes to evaluate these approaches. Building on evidence and values, the attributes of alternative approaches to estimate GFR will be evaluated in the next phases and recommendations will be made.

    • Communicable Diseases
      • Characteristics and Disease Severity of US Children and Adolescents Diagnosed With COVID-19external icon
        Preston LE, Chevinsky JR, Kompaniyets L, Lavery AM, Kimball A, Boehmer TK, Goodman AB.
        JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Apr 1;4(4):e215298.

      • Symptoms of Anxiety, Burnout, and PTSD and the Mitigation Effect of Serologic Testing in Emergency Department Personnel During the COVID-19 Pandemicexternal icon
        Rodriguez RM, Montoy JC, Hoth KF, Talan DA, Harland KK, Eyck PT, Mower W, Krishnadasan A, Santibanez S, Mohr N.
        Ann Emerg Med. 2021 Feb 5.
        STUDY OBJECTIVE: Among a comprehensive range of frontline emergency department health care personnel, we assessed symptoms of anxiety and burnout, specific coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) work-related stressors, and risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We also determined whether COVID-19 serologic testing of HCP decreased their self-reported anxiety. METHODS: In a prospective cohort study from May 13, 2020, to July 8, 2020, we used electronic surveys to capture participant self-reported symptoms before and after serologic testing for anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G antibodies. Participants were physicians, nurses, advanced practice providers, and nonclinical ED personnel at 20 geographically diverse United States EDs. We evaluated these domains: 1) the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on overall stress and anxiety; 2) COVID-19-related work stressors; 3) burnout; and 4) PTSD risk (measured using the Primary Care-PTSD Screen for DSM-5, a 5-item screening instrument in which a score of ≥3 signifies high risk for PTSD). We also assessed perceptions of whether results of COVID-19 antibody testing decreased participants' self-reported anxiety. RESULTS: Of 1,606 participants, 100% and 88% responded to the baseline and follow-up surveys, respectively. At baseline, approximately half (46%) reported symptoms of emotional exhaustion and burnout from their work, and 308 (19.2%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 17.3% to 21.1%) respondents screened positive for increased PTSD risk. Female respondents were more likely than males to screen positive (odds ratio [OR] 2.03, 95% CI 1.49 to 2.78). Common concerns included exposing their family and the health of coworkers diagnosed with COVID-19. After receiving antibody test results, 54% (95% CI 51.8 to 56.7) somewhat agreed, agreed, or strongly agreed that knowledge of their immune status had decreased their anxiety. A positive serology result indicating prior SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with a higher likelihood of reporting decreased anxiety (2.83, 95% CI 1.37 to 5.83). CONCLUSION: Symptoms of anxiety and burnout were prevalent across the spectrum of ED staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. One-fifth of ED personnel appeared to be at risk for PTSD. Increased provision of serologic testing may help to mitigate anxiety.

    • Food Safety
      • An Overview of Traceback Investigations and Three Case Studies of Recent Outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Infections Linked to Romaine Lettuceexternal icon
        Irvin K, Viazis S, Fields A, Seelman S, Blickenstaff K, Gee E, Wise M, Marshall K, Gieraltowski L, Harris S.
        J Food Prot. 2021 Apr 9.
        Leafy greens contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) have continued to cause foodborne illness outbreaks in recent years and present a threat to public health. An important component of foodborne illness outbreak investigations is determining the source of the outbreak vehicle through traceback investigations. The Food and Drug Administration is home to traceback investigation experts that employ a standardized process to initiate, execute, and interpret the results of traceback investigations in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local partners. Traceback investigations of three outbreaks of STEC infections linked to romaine lettuce in 2018 and 2019 were examined to demonstrate challenges, limitations, and opportunities for improvement. The three outbreaks resulted in a total of 474 illnesses, 215 hospitalizations, and five deaths. These illnesses were linked to the consumption of romaine lettuce from three distinct growing regions in Arizona and California. Some of the challenges encountered included the time it took to initiate a traceback, limited product-identifying information throughout the supply chain, lack of interoperability in record keeping systems, and co-mingling of product from multiple suppliers. These challenges led to time delays in the identification of the farm source of the leafy greens and the inability to identify the root cause of contamination. Implementation of technology enabled traceability systems, testing of these systems, and future regulations to incentivize adoption of traceability systems are some of the initiatives that will help address these challenges by improving traceback investigations and ultimately preventing foodborne illnesses and future outbreaks from occurring.

    • Injury and Violence
      • This study identified subgroups of adolescents with distinct patterns of involvement with overt and relational in-person and cyber aggression and victimization. We also assessed subgroup similarities and differences in exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), exposure to community violence, and trauma symptoms. Using latent class analysis, we identified three subgroups among 265 adolescents (M(age)  = 14.3 years; 57% female; 96% African American) residing in three urban high-burden communities that included youth who reported: (a) combined (cyber and in-person) aggression and victimization (17%), (b) in-person aggression and victimization (51%), and (c) adolescents with limited involvement (32%). Youth in the combined aggressive-victims subgroup had the highest probability of endorsing exposure to community violence, trauma symptoms, and a higher number of ACEs overall as well as higher rates of both verbal and physical abuse compared to the other subgroups. Our results indicated that the adolescents who reported the highest frequencies of aggressive behavior were also the most victimized and traumatized. These findings provide context to aggressive behavior among adolescents living in high-burden, urban communities and underscore the need for trauma-informed prevention interventions.

    • Laboratory Sciences
      • Mating-regulated atrial proteases control reinsemination rates in Anopheles gambiae femalesexternal icon
        Bascuñán P, Gabrieli P, Mameli E, Catteruccia F.
        Sci Rep. 2020 Dec 15;10(1):21974.
        Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes are the most important vectors of human malaria. The reproductive success of these mosquitoes relies on a single copulation event after which the majority of females become permanently refractory to further mating. This refractory behavior is at least partially mediated by the male-synthetized steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), which is packaged together with other seminal secretions into a gelatinous mating plug and transferred to the female atrium during mating. In this study, we show that two 20E-regulated chymotrypsin-like serine proteases specifically expressed in the reproductive tract of An. gambiae females play an important role in modulating the female susceptibility to mating. Silencing these proteases by RNA interference impairs correct plug processing and slows down the release of the steroid hormone 20E from the mating plug. In turn, depleting one of these proteases, the Mating Regulated Atrial Protease 1 (MatRAP1), reduces female refractoriness to further copulation, so that a significant proportion of females mate again. Microscopy analysis reveals that MatRAP1 is localized on a previously undetected peritrophic matrix-like structure surrounding the mating plug. These data provide novel insight into the molecular mechanisms shaping the post-mating biology of these important malaria vectors.

    • Nutritional Sciences
      • Frequent intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is associated with adverse health outcomes, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. We used combined data from the 2010 and 2015 National Health Interview Survey to examine the prevalence of SSB intake among US adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Approximately two-thirds of adults reported consuming SSBs at least daily, including more than 7 in 10 adults in Hawaii, Arkansas, Wyoming, South Dakota, Connecticut, and South Carolina, with significant differences in sociodemographic characteristics. Efforts to decrease SSB consumption could consider the sociodemographic and geographic differences in SSB intake when designing equitable interventions.

    • Occupational Safety and Health
      • The evidence of styrene as a human lung carcinogen has been inconclusive. Occupational cohorts within the reinforced plastics industry are an ideal population to study this association due to relatively high levels of exposure to styrene and lack of concomitant exposures to other known carcinogens. However, healthy worker survivor bias (HWSB), where healthier workers stay employed longer and thus have higher exposure potential, is a likely source of confounding bias for exposure-response associations, in part due to styrene's acute effects. We studied a cohort of 5163 boatbuilders exposed to styrene in Washington state employed between 1959 and 1978; prior regression analyses demonstrated little evidence for an exposure-response between styrene exposure and lung cancer mortality. Based on estimates of necessary components of HWSB, we found evidence for a potentially large HWSB. Using g-estimation of a structural nested model to account for HWSB we estimated that one year of exposure >30 ppm accelerates time to lung cancer death by 2.3 years (95% Confidence intervals=1.53, 2.94). Our results suggest possibly strong HWSB in our small cohort and indicate that large, influential studies of styrene exposed workers may suffer similar biases, warranting a re-assessment of the evidence of long-term health effects of styrene exposure.

    • Reproductive Health
      • Tubal factor infertility, in vitro fertilization, and racial disparities: a retrospective cohort in two US clinicsexternal icon
        Anyalechi GE, Wiesenfeld HC, Kirkcaldy RD, Kissin DM, Haggerty CL, Hammond KR, Hook EW, Bernstein KT, Steinkampf MP, Geisler WM.
        Sex Transm Dis. 2021 Apr 1.
        BACKGROUND: Nearly 14% of US women report any lifetime infertility which is associated with healthcare costs and psychosocial consequences. Tubal factor infertility (TFI) often occurs as a result of sexually transmitted diseases and subsequent pelvic inflammatory disease. We sought to evaluate for and describe potential racial disparities in TFI and in vitro fertilization (IVF) prevalence. METHODS: Records of women aged 19-42 years in our retrospective cohort from two US infertility clinics were reviewed. We calculated TFI prevalence, IVF initiation prevalence, and prevalence ratios (PR), with 95% confidence intervals for each estimate, overall and by race. RESULTS: Among 660 infertile women, 110 (16.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 13.8-19.5%) had TFI which was higher in black compared to white women (30.3% [33/109] vs. 13.9% [68/489]; PR 2.2 [95% CI 1.5-3.1]). For women with TFI, IVF was offered to similar proportions of women by race (51.5% [17/33] versus 52.9% [36/68] for black versus white women); however, fewer black than white women with TFI started IVF (6.7% [1/15] versus 31.0% [9/29]; PR 0.2 [95% CI 0-1.0]), although the difference was not statistically different. CONCLUSIONS: TFI prevalence was two-fold higher among black than white women seeking care for infertility. Among women with TFI, data suggested a lower likelihood of black women starting IVF than white women. Improved sexually transmitted disease prevention and treatment might ameliorate disparities in TFI.

    • Vital Statistics
      • The COVID-19 Pandemic: Effects on Civil Registration of Births and Deaths and on Availability and Utility of Vital Events Dataexternal icon
        AbouZahr C, Bratschi MW, Cercone E, Mangharam A, Savigny D, Dincu I, Forsingdal AB, Joos O, Kamal M, Fat DM, Mathenge G, Marinho F, Mitra RG, Montgomery J, Muhwava W, Mwamba R, Mwanza J, Onaka A, Sejersen TB, Tuoane-Nkhasi M, Sferrazza L, Setel P.
        Am J Public Health. 2021 Apr 15:e1-e9.
        The complex and evolving picture of COVID-19-related mortality highlights the need for data to guide the response. Yet many countries are struggling to maintain their data systems, including the civil registration system, which is the foundation for detailed and continuously available mortality statistics. We conducted a search of country and development agency Web sites and partner and media reports describing disruptions to the civil registration of births and deaths associated with COVID-19 related restrictions.We found considerable intercountry variation and grouped countries according to the level of disruption to birth and particularly death registration. Only a minority of the 66 countries were able to maintain service continuity during the COVID-19 restrictions. In the majority, a combination of legal and operational challenges resulted in declines in birth and death registration. Few countries established business continuity plans or developed strategies to deal with the backlog when restrictions are lifted.Civil registration systems and the vital statistics they generate must be strengthened as essential services during health emergencies and as core components of the response to COVID-19. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print April 15, 2021: e1-e9.

  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. Barriers and facilitators of older adults’ use of ride share servicesexternal icon
        Bayne A, Siegfried A, Beck LF, Freund K.
        J Transp Health. 2021 ;21.
        Introduction: Safe, affordable, and convenient transportation may help older adults (age 65 and older) stay independent, access healthcare services, and maintain their quality of life. While older adults in the United States primarily rely on private automobiles, those who reduce or cease driving may require alternative forms of transportation. Ride share services show promise as an alternative mode of transportation for older adults, particularly for those who no longer drive. Methods: We employed a qualitative research design to explore barriers and facilitators of older adults’ use of ride share services and compare findings to younger adults (age 18 to 64). We conducted 96 telephone interviews (68 older adults and 28 younger adults), and 10 in-person focus groups (56 older adults and 17 younger adults), including individuals who used a ride share service and those who never used a ride share service. We conducted qualitative data analysis to identify key themes and developed a conceptual framework to organize and describe findings. Results: The qualitative analysis revealed the most important facilitator of older adults’ use of ride share services was the desire to remain independent, particularly among those with health conditions and special needs that prevented them from using other transportation. Other facilitators included driver assistance (door-to-door service), a polite and courteous driver, a clean vehicle, and prompt and dependable service. Barriers among older adults included safety concerns, affordability, technology, and a lack of ride share services in the community. Among younger adults, technology was a facilitator of use. Conclusion: Ride share services are a promising transportation option. Findings highlight a need to tailor these services to older adults' needs. Ride share services that are safe, reliable, and offer driver assistance and telephone scheduling have the potential to support older adults’ health, mobility, and independence.

      2. BACKGROUND: Uncontrolled hypertension and tobacco use are two major public health issues that have implications for reproductive outcomes. This paper examines the association between tobacco-use status and uncontrolled hypertension among prime childbearing age (20-35) women in India. METHODS: We used the India National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-2016 to obtain data on hypertension status and tobacco use for 356,853 women aged 20-35. We estimated multivariate logistic regressions to obtain the adjusted odds ratio for tobacco users in favor of having uncontrolled hypertension. We examined the adjusted odds at different wealth index quintiles, at different educational attainment, and at different level of nutritional status measured by body mass index. RESULTS: We found that the odds of having uncontrolled hypertension for the tobacco user women in India was 1.1 (95% CI: 1.01-1.19) times that of tobacco non-users at prime childbearing age. The odds were higher for tobacco-users at the poorest quintile (1.27, 95% CI: 1.14-1.42) and with no education (1.22, 95% CI: 1.10-1.34). The odds were also higher for tobacco-users who were overweight (1.88, 95% CI: 1.57-2.29) or obese (2.82, 95% CI: 1.88-4.24). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings highlight the disproportionate dual risk of uncontrolled hypertension and tobacco use among lower-income women of prime childbearing age, identifying an opportunity for coordinated tobacco control and hypertension prevention initiatives to ensure better health of reproductive-age women in India.

      3. A Longitudinal Comparison of Alternatives to Body Mass Index Z-Scores for Children with Very High Body Mass Indexesexternal icon
        Freedman DS, Davies AJ, Kompaniyets L, Lange SJ, Goodman AB, Phan TT, Cole FS, Dempsey A, Pajor N, Eneli I, Christakis DA, Forrest CB.
        J Pediatr. 2021 Mar 5.
        OBJECTIVE: The current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) body mass index (BMI) z-scores are inaccurate for BMIs of ≥97th percentile. We, therefore, considered 5 alternatives that can be used across the entire BMI distribution: modified BMI-for-age z-score (BMIz), BMI expressed as a percentage of the 95th percentile (%CDC95th percentile), extended BMIz, BMI expressed as a percentage of the median (%median), and %median adjusted for the dispersion of BMIs. STUDY DESIGN: We illustrate the behavior of the metrics among children of different ages and BMIs. We then compared the longitudinal tracking of the BMI metrics in electronic health record data from 1.17 million children in PEDSnet using the intraclass correlation coefficient to determine if 1 metric was superior. RESULTS: Our examples show that using CDC BMIz for high BMIs can result in nonsensical results. All alternative metrics showed higher tracking than CDC BMIz among children with obesity. Of the alternatives, modified BMIz performed poorly among children with severe obesity, and %median performed poorly among children who did not have obesity at their first visit. The highest intraclass correlation coefficients were generally seen for extended BMIz, adjusted %median, and %CDC95th percentile. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the examples of differences in the BMI metrics, the longitudinal tracking results and current familiarity BMI z-scores and percentiles. Both extended BMIz and extended BMI percentiles may be suitable replacements for the current z-scores and percentiles. These metrics are identical to those in the CDC growth charts for BMIs of <95th percentile and are superior for very high BMIs. Researchers' familiarity with the current CDC z-scores and clinicians with the CDC percentiles may ease the transition to the extended BMI scale.

    • Communicable Diseases
      1. Update: COVID-19 Pandemic-Associated Changes in Emergency Department Visits - United States, December 2020-January 2021external icon
        Adjemian J, Hartnett KP, Kite-Powell A, DeVies J, Azondekon R, Radhakrishnan L, van Santen KL, Rodgers L.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Apr 16;70(15):552-556.
        During March 29-April 25, 2020, emergency department (ED) visits in the United States declined by 42% after the declaration of a national emergency for COVID-19 on March 13, 2020. Among children aged ≤10 years, ED visits declined by 72% compared with prepandemic levels (1). To assess the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on EDs, CDC examined trends in visits since December 30, 2018, and compared the numbers and types of ED visits by patient demographic and geographic factors during a COVID-19 pandemic period (December 20, 2020-January 16, 2021) with a prepandemic period 1 year earlier (December 15, 2019-January 11, 2020). After an initial decline during March-April 2020 (1), ED visits increased through July 2020, but at levels below those during the previous year, until December 2020-January 2021 when visits again fell to 25% of prepandemic levels. During this time, among patients aged 0-4, 5-11, 12-17, and ≥18 years, ED visits were lower by 66%, 63%, 38%, and 17%, respectively, compared with ED visits for each age group during the same period before the pandemic. Differences were also observed by region and reasons for ED visits during December 2020-January 2021; more visits during this period were for infectious diseases or mental and behavioral health-related concerns and fewer visits were for gastrointestinal and upper-respiratory-related illnesses compared with ED visits during December 2019-January 2020. Although the numbers of ED visits associated with socioeconomic factors and mental or behavioral health conditions are low, the increased visits by both adults and children for these concerns suggest that health care providers should maintain heightened vigilance in screening for factors that might warrant further treatment, guidance, or intervention during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      2. Epidemiologic characteristics associated with SARS-CoV-2 antigen-based test results, rRT-PCR cycle threshold values, subgenomic RNA, and viral culture results from university testingexternal icon
        Ford L, Lee C, Pray IW, Cole D, Bigouette JP, Abedi GR, Bushman D, Delahoy MJ, Currie DW, Cherney B, Kirby M, Fajardo G, Caudill M, Langolf K, Kahrs J, Zochert T, Kelly P, Pitts C, Lim A, Aulik N, Tamin A, Harcourt JL, Queen K, Zhang J, Whitaker B, Browne H, Medrzycki M, Shewmaker P, Bonenfant G, Zhou B, Folster J, Bankamp B, Bowen MD, Thornburg NJ, Goffard K, Limbago B, Bateman A, Tate JE, Gieryn D, Kirking HL, Westergaard R, Killerby M.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Apr 13.
        BACKGROUND: Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) and antigen tests are important diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2. Sensitivity of antigen tests has been shown to be lower than that of rRT-PCR; however, data to evaluate epidemiologic characteristics that affect test performance are limited. METHODS: Paired mid-turbinate nasal swabs were collected from university students and staff and tested for SARS-CoV-2 using both Quidel Sofia SARS Antigen Fluorescent Immunoassay (FIA) and rRT-PCR assay. Specimens positive by either rRT-PCR or antigen FIA were placed in viral culture and tested for subgenomic RNA (sgRNA). Logistic regression models were used to evaluate characteristics associated with antigen results, rRT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values, sgRNA, and viral culture. RESULTS: Antigen FIA sensitivity was 78.9% and 43.8% among symptomatic and asymptomatic participants respectively. Among rRT-PCR positive participants, negative antigen results were more likely among asymptomatic participants (OR 4.6, CI:1.3-15.4) and less likely among participants reporting nasal congestion (OR 0.1, CI:0.03-0.8). rRT-PCR-positive specimens with higher Ct values (OR 0.5, CI:0.4-0.8) were less likely, and specimens positive for sgRNA (OR 10.2, CI:1.6-65.0) more likely, to yield positive virus isolation. Antigen testing was >90% positive in specimens with Ct values <29. Positive predictive value of antigen test for positive viral culture (57.7%) was similar to that of rRT-PCR (59.3%). CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 antigen test advantages include low cost, wide availability and rapid turnaround time, making them important screening tests. The performance of antigen tests may vary with patient characteristics, so performance characteristics should be accounted for when designing testing strategies and interpreting results.

      3. Reducing travel-related SARS-CoV-2 transmission with layered mitigation measures: symptom monitoring, quarantine, and testingexternal icon
        Johansson MA, Wolford H, Paul P, Diaz PS, Chen TH, Brown CM, Cetron MS, Alvarado-Ramy F.
        BMC Med. 2021 Apr 14;19(1):94.
        BACKGROUND: Balancing the control of SARS-CoV-2 transmission with the resumption of travel is a global priority. Current recommendations include mitigation measures before, during, and after travel. Pre- and post-travel strategies including symptom monitoring, antigen or nucleic acid amplification testing, and quarantine can be combined in multiple ways considering different trade-offs in feasibility, adherence, effectiveness, cost, and adverse consequences. METHODS: We used a mathematical model to analyze the expected effectiveness of symptom monitoring, testing, and quarantine under different estimates of the infectious period, test-positivity relative to time of infection, and test sensitivity to reduce the risk of transmission from infected travelers during and after travel. RESULTS: If infection occurs 0-7 days prior to travel, immediate isolation following symptom onset prior to or during travel reduces risk of transmission while traveling by 30-35%. Pre-departure testing can further reduce risk, with testing closer to the time of travel being optimal even if test sensitivity is lower than an earlier test. For example, testing on the day of departure can reduce risk while traveling by 44-72%. For transmission risk after travel with infection time up to 7 days prior to arrival at the destination, isolation based on symptom monitoring reduced introduction risk at the destination by 42-56%. A 14-day quarantine after arrival, without symptom monitoring or testing, can reduce post-travel risk by 96-100% on its own. However, a shorter quarantine of 7 days combined with symptom monitoring and a test on day 5-6 after arrival is also effective (97--100%) at reducing introduction risk and is less burdensome, which may improve adherence. CONCLUSIONS: Quarantine is an effective measure to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk from travelers and can be enhanced by the addition of symptom monitoring and testing. Optimal test timing depends on the effectiveness of quarantine: with low adherence or no quarantine, optimal test timing is close to the time of arrival; with effective quarantine, testing a few days later optimizes sensitivity to detect those infected immediately before or while traveling. These measures can complement recommendations such as social distancing, using masks, and hand hygiene, to further reduce risk during and after travel.

      4. Factors Associated with Participation in Elementary School-Based SARS-CoV-2 Testing - Salt Lake County, Utah, December 2020-January 2021external icon
        Lewis NM, Hershow RB, Chu VT, Wu K, Milne AT, LaCross N, Hill M, Risk I, Hersh AL, Kirking HL, Tate JE, Vallabhaneni S, Dunn AC.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Apr 16;70(15):557-559.
        During December 3, 2020-January 31, 2021, CDC, in collaboration with the University of Utah Health and Economic Recovery Outreach Project,* Utah Department of Health (UDOH), Salt Lake County Health Department, and one Salt Lake county school district, offered free, in-school, real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) saliva testing as part of a transmission investigation of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in elementary school settings. School contacts(†) of persons with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, including close contacts, were eligible to participate (1). Investigators approached parents or guardians of student contacts by telephone, and during January, using school phone lines to offer in-school specimen collection; the testing procedures were explained in the preferred language of the parent or guardian. Consent for participants was obtained via an electronic form sent by e-mail. Analyses examined participation (i.e., completing in-school specimen collection for SARS-CoV-2 testing) in relation to factors(§) that were programmatically important or could influence likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 testing, including race, ethnicity, and SARS-CoV-2 incidence in the community (2). Crude prevalence ratios (PRs) were calculated using univariate log-binomial regression.(¶) This activity was reviewed by CDC and was conducted consistent with federal law and CDC policy.*.

      5. A multiplex real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assay for detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was developed based on the same primer and probe sequences of an existing U.S. CDC Emergency Use authorized test panel, targeting SARS-CoV-2 N1, N2 and human RNase P genes in singleplex. Both singleplex and multiplex assays demonstrated linear dynamic ranges of 8 orders of magnitude and analytical limits of detection of 5 RNA transcript copies/reaction. Both assays showed 100% agreement with 364 previously characterized clinical specimens (146 positive and 218 negative) for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. To further increase testing throughput, 40 positive and 20 negative four-specimen pools were tested by the multiplex assay and showed 97.75% and 100% congruence with individual specimen tests, respectively. rRT-PCR assay multiplexing and sample pooling, individually or in combination, can substantially increase throughput of SARS-CoV-2 testing.

      6. Knowledge, attitudes, and practices around hand drying in public bathrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Statesexternal icon
        Marcenac P, Kim S, Molinari N, Person M, Frankson R, Berendes D, McDonald C, Yoder J, Hill V, Garcia-Williams A.
        Am J Infect Control. 2021 Apr 7.
        Hand drying is the critical, final step of handwashing. A cross-sectional survey of U.S. adults assessed self-reported hand drying practices in public bathrooms and found increased preference for using electric hand dryers, wiping hands on clothing, and shaking hands and decreased preference for using paper towels during the COVID-19 pandemic relative to before. Respondents expressed concerns about contacting SARS-CoV-2 when touching surfaces in public bathrooms which may be influencing self-reported drying method preference.

      7. SARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence among healthcare workers and first responders, Florida, May-June 2020external icon
        Matthias J, Spencer EC, Michniewicz M, Bendle TM, Wilson C, Scheppke KA, Blackmore C, Otis A, Rivkees SA.
        Fla Public Health Rev. 2021 Feb 25;18(1):1-10.
        BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for severe respiratory infection associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first confirmed in Florida on March 1, 2020. Responding to the pandemic, multi-agency collaborative partnerships put in place actions integrating point-of-care antibody testing at established large-scale COVID-19 testing sites where the baseline seropositivity of COVID-19 in health care workers and first responders in Florida at the start of the pandemic was established. PURPOSE: Determine the seropositivity of healthcare workers and first responders at five drive thru testing sites using a rapid SARS-CoV-2 antibody test in Florida from May 6 through June 3, 2020. METHODS: The first drive-thru SARS-CoV-2 antibody test site was opened at Miami Hard Rock Stadium, May 6, 2020. Testing expanded to three additional sites on May 9, 2020: Jacksonville, Orlando, and Palm Beach. The fifth and final site, Miami Beach, began testing on May 21, 2020. Healthcare workers and first responder's self-seeking SARS-CoV-2 testing were designated for antibody testing and completed a laboratory collection form onsite for the point-of-care test. All testing was performed on whole blood specimens (obtained by venipuncture) using the Cellex Inc. qSARS-CoV-2 IgG/IgM Rapid Test. Seropositivity was assessed by univariate analysis and by logistic regression including the covariates age, sex, race/ethnicity, and testing location. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: As of June 3, 2020, of 5,779 healthcare workers and first responders tested, 4.1% were seropositive (range 2.6-8.2%). SARS-COV-2 antibody tests had higher odds of being positive for persons testing at the Miami Hard Rock Stadium (aOR 2.24 [95% C.I. 1.48-3.39]), persons of Haitian/Creole ethnicity (aOR 3.28 [95% C.I. 1.23-8.72]), Hispanic/Latino(a) ethnicity (aOR 2.17 [95% C.I. 1.50-3.13], and Black non-Hispanic persons (aOR 1.63 [95% C.I. 1.08-2.46]). SARS-COV-2 antibody prevalence among first responders and healthcare workers in five sites in Florida varied by race and ethnicity and by testing location.

      8. Demographic, clinical, and epidemiologic characteristics of persons under investigation for Coronavirus Disease 2019-United States, January 17-February 29, 2020external icon
        McGovern OL, Stenger M, Oliver SE, Anderson TC, Isenhour C, Mauldin MR, Williams N, Griggs E, Bogere T, Edens C, Curns AT, Lively JY, Zhou Y, Xu S, Diaz MH, Waller JL, Clarke KR, Evans ME, Hesse EM, Morris SB, McClung RP, Cooley LA, Logan N, Boyd AT, Taylor AW, Bajema KL, Lindstrom S, Elkins CA, Jones C, Hall AJ, Graitcer S, Oster AM, Fry AM, Fischer M, Conklin L, Gokhale RH.
        PLoS One. 2021 ;16(4):e0249901.
        BACKGROUND: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), evolved rapidly in the United States. This report describes the demographic, clinical, and epidemiologic characteristics of 544 U.S. persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 with complete SARS-CoV-2 testing in the beginning stages of the pandemic from January 17 through February 29, 2020. METHODS: In this surveillance cohort, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided consultation to public health and healthcare professionals to identify PUI for SARS-CoV-2 testing by quantitative real-time reverse-transcription PCR. Demographic, clinical, and epidemiologic characteristics of PUI were reported by public health and healthcare professionals during consultation with on-call CDC clinicians and subsequent submission of a CDC PUI Report Form. Characteristics of laboratory-negative and laboratory-positive persons were summarized as proportions for the period of January 17-February 29, and characteristics of all PUI were compared before and after February 12 using prevalence ratios. RESULTS: A total of 36 PUI tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and were classified as confirmed cases. Confirmed cases and PUI testing negative for SARS-CoV-2 had similar demographic, clinical, and epidemiologic characteristics. Consistent with changes in PUI evaluation criteria, 88% (13/15) of confirmed cases detected before February 12, 2020, reported travel from China. After February 12, 57% (12/21) of confirmed cases reported no known travel- or contact-related exposures. CONCLUSIONS: These findings can inform preparedness for future pandemics, including capacity for rapid expansion of novel diagnostic tests to accommodate broad surveillance strategies to assess community transmission, including potential contributions from asymptomatic and presymptomatic infections.

      9. Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 following the largest initial epidemic wave in the United States: Findings from New York City, May 13-July 21, 2020external icon
        Pathela P, Crawley A, Weiss D, Maldin B, Cornell J, Purdin J, Schumacher PK, Marovich S, Li J, Daskalakis D.
        J Infect Dis. 2021 Apr 9.
        BACKGROUND: New York City (NYC) was the U.S. epicenter of the Spring 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We present seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and correlates of seropositivity immediately after the first wave. METHODS: From a serosurvey of adult NYC residents (May 13-July 21, 2020), we calculated the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies stratified by participant demographics, symptom history, health status, and employment industry. We used multivariable regression models to assess associations between participant characteristics and seropositivity. RESULTS: Seroprevalence among 45,367 participants was 23.6% (95% CI, 23.2%-24.0%). High seroprevalence (>30%) was observed among Black and Hispanic individuals, people from high poverty neighborhoods, and people in health care or essential worker industry sectors. COVID-19 symptom history was associated with seropositivity (adjusted relative risk=2.76; 95% CI, 2.65-2.88). Other risk factors included sex, age, race/ethnicity, residential area, employment sector, working outside the home, contact with a COVID-19 case, obesity, and increasing numbers of household members. CONCLUSIONS: Based on a large serosurvey in a single U.S. jurisdiction, we estimate that just under one-quarter of NYC adults were infected in the first few months of the COVID-19 epidemic. Given disparities in infection risk, effective interventions for at-risk groups are needed during ongoing transmission.

      10. Leveraging mobile phone surveys during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuador and Sri Lanka: Methods, timeline and findingsexternal icon
        Phadnis R, Wickramasinghe C, Zevallos JC, Davlin S, Kumarapeli V, Lea V, Lee J, Perera U, Solórzano FX, Vásconez JF.
        PLoS One. 2021 ;16(4):e0250171.
        Effective and rapid decision making during a pandemic requires data not only about infections, but also about human behavior. Mobile phone surveys (MPS) offer the opportunity to collect real-time data on behavior, exposure, knowledge, and perception, as well as care and treatment to inform decision making. The surveys aimed to collect coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) related information in Ecuador and Sri Lanka using mobile phones. In Ecuador, a Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) survey was conducted. In Sri Lanka, an evaluation of a novel medicine delivery system was conducted. Using the established mobile network operator channels and technical assistance provided through The Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative (D4H), Ministries of Health fielded a population-based COVID-19-specific MPS using Surveda, the open source data collection tool developed as part of the initiative. A total of 1,185 adults in Ecuador completed the MPS in 14 days. A total of 5,001 adults over the age of 35 in Sri Lanka completed the MPS in 44 days. Both samples were adjusted to the 2019 United Nations Population Estimates to produce population-based estimates by age and sex. The Ecuador COVID-19 MPS found that there was compliance with the mitigation strategies implemented in that country. Overall, 96.5% of Ecuadorians reported wearing a face mask or face covering when leaving home. Overall, 3.8% of Sri Lankans used the service to receive medicines from a government clinic. Among those who used the medicine delivery service in Sri Lanka, 95.8% of those who used a private pharmacy received their medications within one week, and 69.9% of those using a government clinic reported the same. These studies demonstrate that MPS can be conducted quickly and gather essential data. MPS can help monitor the impact of interventions and programs, and rapidly identify what works in mitigating the impact of COVID-19.

      11. Treatment administered to newborns with congenital syphilis during a penicillin shortage in 2015, Fortaleza, Brazilexternal icon
        Rocha AF, Araújo MA, Taylor MM, Kara EO, Broutet NJ.
        BMC Pediatr. 2021 Apr 8;21(1):166.
        BACKGROUND: Between 2014 and 2016, Brazil experienced a severe shortage in penicillin supply, resulting in a lack of treatment among some pregnant women and newborns with syphilis and the use of non-evidence-based regimens. This study evaluated all live births in Fortaleza reported with CS in 2015 in order to identify the different therapeutic regimens used in newborns during this period of penicillin shortage. METHODS: A retrospective cross-sectional study design was conducted using manually extracted data from medical chart review of maternal and infant cases delivered in 2015 from all public maternity hospitals in the city of Fortaleza. Data collection occurred from June 2017 to July 2018. RESULTS: A total of 575 congenital syphilis cases were reported to the municipality of Fortaleza during 2015 and 469 (81.5%) were analyzed. Of these, only 210 (44.8%) were treated with a nationally-recommended treatment. As alternative therapeutic options, ceftriaxone was used in 65 (13.8%), Cefazolin in 15 (3.2%) and the combination of more than one drug in 179 (38.2%). Newborns with serum VDRL titers ≥1:16 (p = 0.021), who had some clinical manifestation at birth (p = 0.003), who were born premature (p <  0.001), with low birth weight (p = 0.010), with jaundice indicative of the need for phototherapy (p = 0.019) and with hepatomegaly (p = 0.045) were more likely to be treated with penicillin according to national treatment guidelines compared to newborns treated with other regimens. CONCLUSION: During the period of shortage of penicillin in Fortaleza, less than half of the infants reported with CS were treated with a nationally-recommended regimen, the remaining received treatment with medications available in the hospital of birth including drugs that are not part of nationally or internationally-recommended treatment recommendations.

      12. Trends in Racial and Ethnic Disparities in COVID-19 Hospitalizations, by Region - United States, March-December 2020external icon
        Romano SD, Blackstock AJ, Taylor EV, El Burai Felix S, Adjei S, Singleton CM, Fuld J, Bruce BB, Boehmer TK.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Apr 16;70(15):560-565.
        Persons from racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including experiencing increased risk for infection (1), hospitalization (2,3), and death (4,5). Using administrative discharge data, CDC assessed monthly trends in the proportion of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 among racial and ethnic groups in the United States during March-December 2020 by U.S. Census region. Cumulative and monthly age-adjusted COVID-19 proportionate hospitalization ratios (aPHRs) were calculated for racial and ethnic minority patients relative to non-Hispanic White patients. Within each of the four U.S. Census regions, the cumulative aPHR was highest for Hispanic or Latino patients (range = 2.7-3.9). Racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 hospitalization were largest during May-July 2020; the peak monthly aPHR among Hispanic or Latino patients was >9.0 in the West and Midwest, >6.0 in the South, and >3.0 in the Northeast. The aPHRs declined for most racial and ethnic groups during July-November 2020 but increased for some racial and ethnic groups in some regions during December. Disparities in COVID-19 hospitalization by race/ethnicity varied by region and became less pronounced over the course of the pandemic, as COVID-19 hospitalizations increased among non-Hispanic White persons. Identification of specific social determinants of health that contribute to geographic and temporal differences in racial and ethnic disparities at the local level can help guide tailored public health prevention strategies and equitable allocation of resources, including COVID-19 vaccination, to address COVID-19-related health disparities and can inform approaches to achieve greater health equity during future public health threats.

      13. Notes from the Field: Update on Excess Deaths Associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic - United States, January 26, 2020-February 27, 2021external icon
        Rossen LM, Branum AM, Ahmad FB, Sutton PD, Anderson RN.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Apr 16;70(15):570-571.

      14. Emergency Department Visits for COVID-19 by Race and Ethnicity - 13 States, October-December 2020external icon
        Smith AR, DeVies J, Caruso E, Radhakrishnan L, Sheppard M, Stein Z, Calanan RM, Hartnett KP, Kite-Powell A, Rodgers L, Adjemian J.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Apr 16;70(15):566-569.
        Hispanic or Latino (Hispanic), non-Hispanic Black or African American (Black), and non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) persons have experienced disproportionately higher rates of hospitalization and death attributable to COVID-19 than have non-Hispanic White (White) persons (1-4). Emergency care data offer insight into COVID-19 incidence; however, differences in use of emergency department (ED) services for COVID-19 by racial and ethnic groups are not well understood. These data, most of which are recorded within 24 hours of the visit, might be an early indicator of changing patterns in disparities. Using ED visit data from 13 states obtained from the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP), CDC assessed the number of ED visits with a COVID-19 discharge diagnosis code per 100,000 population during October-December 2020 by age and race/ethnicity. Among 5,794,050 total ED visits during this period, 282,220 (4.9%) were for COVID-19. Racial/ethnic disparities in COVID-19 ED visit rates were observed across age groups. Compared with White persons, Hispanic, AI/AN, and Black persons had significantly more COVID-19-related ED visits overall (rate ratio [RR] range = 1.39-1.77) and in all age groups through age 74 years; compared with White persons aged ≥75 years, Hispanic and AI/AN persons also had more COVID-19-related ED visits (RR = 1.91 and 1.22, respectively). These differences in ED visit rates suggest ongoing racial/ethnic disparities in COVID-19 incidence and can be used to prioritize prevention resources, including COVID-19 vaccination, to reach disproportionately affected communities and reduce the need for emergency care for COVID-19.

      15. Cross-reactivity of two SARS-CoV-2 serological assays in a malaria-endemic settingexternal icon
        Steinhardt LC, Ige F, Iriemenam NC, Greby SM, Hamada Y, Uwandu M, Aniedobe M, Stafford KA, Abimiku A, Mba N, Agala N, Okunoye O, Mpamugo A, Swaminathan M, Onokevbagbe E, Olaleye T, Odoh I, Marston BJ, Okoye M, Abubakar I, Rangaka MX, Rogier E, Audu R.
        J Clin Microbiol. 2021 Apr 14.
        Background: Accurate SARS-CoV-2 serological assays are critical for COVID-19 serosurveillance. However, previous studies have indicated possible cross-reactivity of these assays, including in malaria-endemic areas.Methods: We tested 213 well-characterized pre-pandemic samples from Nigeria using two SARS-CoV-2 serological assays: Abbott Architect IgG and Euroimmun NCP IgG assay, both targeting SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein. To assess antibody binding strength, an avidity assay was performed on these samples and on plasma from SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive persons.Results: Thirteen (6.1%) of 212 samples run on the Abbott assay and 38 (17.8%) of 213 run on the Euroimmun assay were positive. Anti-Plasmodium IgG levels were significantly higher among false-positives for both Abbott and Euroimmun; no association was found with active P. falciparum infection. An avidity assay using various concentratIons of urea wash in the Euroimmun assay reduced loosely-bound IgG: of 37 positive/borderline pre-pandemic samples, 46%, 86%, 89%, and 97% became negative using 2M, 4M, 5M, and 8M urea washes, respectively. The wash slightly reduced avidity of antibodies from SARS-CoV-2 patients within 28 days of PCR confirmation; thereafter avidity increased for all urea concentrations except 8M.Conclusions: This validation found moderate to substantial cross-reactivity on two SARS-CoV-2 serological assays using samples from a malaria-endemic setting. A simple urea wash appeared to alleviate issues of cross-reactivity.

      16. American Academy of Optometry Microbial Keratitis Think Tankexternal icon
        Szczotka-Flynn LB, Shovlin JP, Schnider CM, Caffery BE, Alfonso EC, Carnt NA, Chalmers RL, Collier S, Jacobs DS, Joslin CE, Kroken AR, Lakkis C, Pearlman E, Schein OD, Stapleton F, Tu E, Willcox MD.
        Optom Vis Sci. 2021 Mar 1;98(3):182-198.
        SIGNIFICANCE: Think Tank 2019 affirmed that the rate of infection associated with contact lenses has not changed in several decades. Also, there is a trend toward more serious infections associated with Acanthamoeba and fungi. The growing use of contact lenses in children demands our attention with surveillance and case-control studies. PURPOSE: The American Academy of Optometry (AAO) gathered researchers and key opinion leaders from around the world to discuss contact lens-associated microbial keratitis at the 2019 AAO Annual Meeting. METHODS: Experts presented within four sessions. Session 1 covered the epidemiology of microbial keratitis, pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and the role of lens care systems and storage cases in corneal disease. Session 2 covered nonbacterial forms of keratitis in contact lens wearers. Session 3 covered future needs, challenges, and research questions in relation to microbial keratitis in youth and myopia control, microbiome, antimicrobial surfaces, and genetic susceptibility. Session 4 covered compliance and communication imperatives. RESULTS: The absolute rate of microbial keratitis has remained very consistent for three decades despite new technologies, and extended wear significantly increases the risk. Improved oxygen delivery afforded by silicone hydrogel lenses has not impacted the rates, and although the introduction of daily disposable lenses has minimized the risk of severe disease, there is no consistent evidence that they have altered the overall rate of microbial keratitis. Overnight orthokeratology lenses may increase the risk of microbial keratitis, especially secondary to Acanthamoeba, in children. Compliance remains a concern and a significant risk factor for disease. New insights into host microbiome and genetic susceptibility may uncover new theories. More studies such as case-control designs suited for rare diseases and registries are needed. CONCLUSIONS: The first annual AAO Think Tank acknowledged that the risk of microbial keratitis has not decreased over decades, despite innovation. Important questions and research directions remain.

      17. Recent HIV infection among pregnant women in the 2017 antenatal sentinel cross-sectional survey, South Africa: Assay-based incidence measurementexternal icon
        Woldesenbet S, Kufa-Chakezha T, Lombard C, Manda S, Cheyip M, Ayalew K, Chirombo B, Barron P, Diallo K, Parekh B, Puren A.
        PLoS One. 2021 ;16(4):e0249953.
        INTRODUCTION: New HIV infection during pre-conception and pregnancy is a significant contributor of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in South Africa. This study estimated HIV incidence (defined as new infection within the last one year from the time of the survey which included both new infections occurred during pregnancy or just before pregnancy) among pregnant women and described the characteristics of recently infected pregnant women at national level. METHODS: Between 1 October and 15 November 2017, we conducted a national cross-sectional survey among pregnant women aged 15-49 years old attending antenatal care at 1,595 public facilities. Blood specimens were collected from pregnant women and tested for HIV in a centralised laboratory. Plasma viral load and Limiting Antigen Avidity Enzyme Immunosorbent Assay (LAg) tests were further performed on HIV positive specimens to differentiate between recent and long-term infections. Recent infection was defined as infection that occurred within one year from the date of collection of blood specimen for the survey. Data on age, age of partner, and marital status were collected through interviews. Women whose specimens were classified as recent by LAg assay and with viral loads >1,000 copies/mL were considered as recently infected. The calculated proportion of HIV positive women with recent infection was adjusted for assay-specific parameters to estimate annual incidence. Survey multinomial logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with being recently infected using HIV negative women as a reference group. Age-disparate relationship was defined as having a partner 5 or more years older. RESULTS: Of 10,049 HIV positive participants with LAg and viral load data, 1.4% (136) were identified as recently infected. The annual HIV incidence was 1.5% (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2-1.7). In multivariable analyses, being single (adjusted odds ratio, aOR: 3.4, 95% CI: 1.8-6.2) or cohabiting (aOR: 3.8, 95% CI: 1.8-7.7), compared to being married as well as being in an age-disparate relationship among young women (aOR: 3.1, 95% CI: 2.0-4.7; reference group: young women (15-24years) whose partners were not 5 years or more older) were associated with higher odds of recent infection. CONCLUSIONS: Compared to previous studies among pregnant women, the incidence estimated in this study was substantially lower. However, the UNAIDS target to reduce incidence by 75% by 2020 (which is equivalent to reducing incidence to <1%) has not been met. The implementation of HIV prevention and treatment interventions should be intensified, targeting young women engaged in age-disparate relationship and unmarried women to fast track progress towards the UNAIDS target.

    • Disease Reservoirs and Vectors
      1. Under pressure: phenotypic divergence and convergence associated with microhabitat adaptations in Triatominaeexternal icon
        Abad-Franch F, Monteiro FA, Pavan MG, Patterson JS, Bargues MD, Zuriaga M, Aguilar M, Beard CB, Mas-Coma S, Miles MA.
        Parasit Vectors. 2021 Apr 8;14(1):195.
        BACKGROUND: Triatomine bugs, the vectors of Chagas disease, associate with vertebrate hosts in highly diverse ecotopes. It has been proposed that occupation of new microhabitats may trigger selection for distinct phenotypic variants in these blood-sucking bugs. Although understanding phenotypic variation is key to the study of adaptive evolution and central to phenotype-based taxonomy, the drivers of phenotypic change and diversity in triatomines remain poorly understood. METHODS/RESULTS: We combined a detailed phenotypic appraisal (including morphology and morphometrics) with mitochondrial cytb and nuclear ITS2 DNA sequence analyses to study Rhodnius ecuadoriensis populations from across the species' range. We found three major, naked-eye phenotypic variants. Southern-Andean bugs primarily from vertebrate-nest microhabitats (Ecuador/Peru) are typical, light-colored, small bugs with short heads/wings. Northern-Andean bugs from wet-forest palms (Ecuador) are dark, large bugs with long heads/wings. Finally, northern-lowland bugs primarily from dry-forest palms (Ecuador) are light-colored and medium-sized. Wing and (size-free) head shapes are similar across Ecuadorian populations, regardless of habitat or phenotype, but distinct in Peruvian bugs. Bayesian phylogenetic and multispecies-coalescent DNA sequence analyses strongly suggest that Ecuadorian and Peruvian populations are two independently evolving lineages, with little within-lineage phylogeographic structuring or differentiation. CONCLUSIONS: We report sharp naked-eye phenotypic divergence of genetically similar Ecuadorian R. ecuadoriensis (nest-dwelling southern-Andean vs palm-dwelling northern bugs; and palm-dwelling Andean vs lowland), and sharp naked-eye phenotypic similarity of typical, yet genetically distinct, southern-Andean bugs primarily from vertebrate-nest (but not palm) microhabitats. This remarkable phenotypic diversity within a single nominal species likely stems from microhabitat adaptations possibly involving predator-driven selection (yielding substrate-matching camouflage coloration) and a shift from palm-crown to vertebrate-nest microhabitats (yielding smaller bodies and shorter and stouter heads). These findings shed new light on the origins of phenotypic diversity in triatomines, warn against excess reliance on phenotype-based triatomine-bug taxonomy, and confirm the Triatominae as an informative model system for the study of phenotypic change under ecological pressure .

      2. Identification of Coronaviruses, Paramyxoviruses, Reoviruses, and Rotaviruses among Bats in Nigeriaexternal icon
        Kia GS, Tao Y, Umoh JU, Kwaga JK, Tong S.
        Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2021 Jan 18;104(3):1106-10.
        Bats are often consumed by some ethnic groups in Nigeria despite association of bats with many important emerging viruses. More than 300 bats representing eight species were captured during 2010-2011 in eight locations of northern Nigeria. Available fecal swabs (n = 95) were screened for the presence of arenaviruses, CoVs, paramyxoviruses (PMVs), reoviruses, rhabdoviruses, and influenza viruses using generic reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assays. Here, we document the detection of CoVs, PMVs, reoviruses, and rotaviruses (RVs) in Nigerian bats. The Nigerian bat CoVs are grouped within other bat SARS-CoV-like viruses identified from Ghana in a sister clade next to the human SARS-CoV clade. The phylogenetic analysis indicated a broad range of RVs present in Nigerian bats, some cluster with human RVs and some represent novel species. Our study adds that continuing global surveillance for viruses in bats to understand their origin, adaptation, and evolution is important to prevent and control future zoonotic disease outbreaks.

      3. Serological evidence of Rift Valley fever virus infection among domestic ruminant herds in Ugandaexternal icon
        Ndumu DB, Bakamutumaho B, Miller E, Nakayima J, Downing R, Balinandi S, Monje F, Tumusiime D, Nanfuka M, Meunier N, Arinaitwe E, Rutebarika C, Kidega E, Kyondo J, Ademun R, Njenga KM, Veas F, Gonzalez JP.
        BMC Vet Res. 2021 Apr 13;17(1):157.
        BACKGROUND: Prior to the first recorded outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Uganda, in March 2016, earlier studies done until the 1970's indicated the presence of the RVF virus (RVFV) in the country, without any recorded outbreaks in either man or animals. While severe outbreaks of RVF occurred in the neighboring countries, none were reported in Uganda despite forecasts that placed some parts of Uganda at similar risk. The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) undertook studies to determine the RVF sero-prevalence in risk prone areas. Three datasets from cattle sheep and goats were obtained; one from retrospective samples collected in 2010-2011 from the northern region; the second from the western region in 2013 while the third was from a cross-sectional survey done in 2016 in the south-western region. Laboratory analysis involved the use of the Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISA). Data were subjected to descriptive statistical analyses, including non-parametric chi-square tests for comparisons between districts and species in the regions. RESULTS: During the Yellow Fever outbreak investigation of 2010-2011 in the northern region, a total sero-prevalence of 6.7% was obtained for anti RVFV reacting antibodies (IgG and IgM) among the domestic ruminant population. The 2013 sero-survey in the western region showed a prevalence of 18.6% in cattle and 2.3% in small ruminants. The 2016 sero-survey in the districts of Kabale, Kanungu, Kasese, Kisoro and Rubirizi, in the south-western region, had the respective district RVF sero-prevalence of 16.0, 2.1, 0.8, 15.1and 2.7% among the domestic ruminants combined for this region; bovines exhibited the highest cumulative sero-prevalence of 15.2%, compared to 5.3 and 4.0% respectively for sheep and goats per species for the region. CONCLUSIONS: The absence of apparent outbreaks in Uganda, despite neighboring enzootic areas, having minimal restrictions to the exchange of livestock and their products across borders, suggest an unexpected RVF activity in the study areas that needs to be unraveled. Therefore, more in-depth studies are planned to mitigate the risk of an overt RVF outbreak in humans and animals as has occurred in neighboring countries.

      4. Stable high-density and maternally inherited Wolbachia infections in Anopheles moucheti and Anopheles demeilloni mosquitoesexternal icon
        Walker T, Quek S, Jeffries CL, Bandibabone J, Dhokiya V, Bamou R, Kristan M, Messenger LA, Gidley A, Hornett EA, Anderson ER, Cansado-Utrilla C, Hegde S, Bantuzeko C, Stevenson JC, Lobo NF, Wagstaff SC, Nkondjio CA, Irish SR, Heinz E, Hughes GL.
        Curr Biol. 2021 Apr 8.
        Wolbachia, a widespread bacterium that can reduce pathogen transmission in mosquitoes, has recently been reported to be present in Anopheles (An.) species. In wild populations of the An. gambiae complex, the primary vectors of Plasmodium malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa, Wolbachia DNA sequences at low density and infection frequencies have been detected. As the majority of studies have used highly sensitive nested PCR as the only method of detection, more robust evidence is required to determine whether Wolbachia strains are established as endosymbionts in Anopheles species. Here, we describe high-density Wolbachia infections in geographically diverse populations of An. moucheti and An. demeilloni. Fluorescent in situ hybridization localized a heavy infection in the ovaries of An.moucheti, and maternal transmission was observed. Genome sequencing of both Wolbachia strains obtained genome depths and coverages comparable to those of other known infections. Notably, homologs of cytoplasmic incompatibility factor (cif) genes were present, indicating that these strains possess the capacity to induce the cytoplasmic incompatibility phenotype, which allows Wolbachia to spread through host populations. These strains should be further investigated as candidates for use in Wolbachia biocontrol strategies in Anopheles aiming to reduce the transmission of malaria.

    • Genetics and Genomics
      1. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a genetic condition which causes elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol from birth. With a prevalence of 1 in 250 and the availability of effective treatments, the diagnostic rate of <1 to 10% is unacceptably low. Screening for FH is supported by multiple organizations, but it has not been broadly adopted and implemented across the USA. To investigate the implementation of FH screening, key informants were recruited from across the USA for their expertise in FH-related literature, guidelines, public health, and/or advocacy to complete -semistructured interviews guided by implementation science (RE-AIM framework). Sixteen semistructured interviews were analyzed with directed content and thematic analyses, yielding specific barriers and recommendations to improve FH screening. Barriers to FH screening included patient recruitment and participation, equitable access to healthcare, provider discomfort with screening and treating FH, provider burden, lack of public health and legislative support, FH awareness, guideline complexity, facilitation of genetic testing and cascade screening, and lack of coordination between stakeholders. Awareness, engagement, communication, and collaboration between stakeholders is integral to successful FH screening. Individualized plans will be required at national, regional, and institutional levels. FH screening implementation can be achieved through practice facilitation, streamlined screening approaches, electric medical record tools, and consensus guidelines to increase screening adoption and consistent delivery. Reliable funding and established lines of communication between stakeholders can maintain efforts as FH screening progresses.

    • Health Economics
      1. State-Level Economic Costs of Opioid Use Disorder and Fatal Opioid Overdose - United States, 2017external icon
        Luo F, Li M, Florence C.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Apr 16;70(15):541-546.
        Approximately 47,000 persons in the United States died from an opioid-involved overdose in 2018 (1), and 2.0 million persons met the diagnostic criteria for an opioid use disorder in 2017 (2). The economic cost of the U.S. opioid epidemic in 2017 was estimated at $1,021 billion, including cost of opioid use disorder estimated at $471 billion and cost of fatal opioid overdose estimated at $550 billion (3). CDC used national-level cost estimates to estimate the state-level economic cost of opioid use disorder and fatal opioid overdose during 2017. Cases and costs of state-level opioid use disorder and fatal opioid overdose and per capita costs were calculated for each of the 38 states and the District of Columbia (DC) that met drug specificity requirements for mortality data (4). Combined costs of opioid use disorder and fatal opioid overdose (combined costs) varied substantially, ranging from $985 million in Wyoming to $72,583 million in Ohio. Per capita combined costs also varied considerably, ranging from $1,204 in Hawaii to $7,247 in West Virginia. States with high per capita combined costs were mainly in two regions: the Ohio Valley and New England. Federal and state public health agencies can use these data to help guide decisions regarding research, prevention and response activities, and resource allocation.

    • Healthcare Associated Infections
      1. A Comprehensive Approach to Ending an Outbreak of Rare bla(OXA-72) gene-positive Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii at a Community Hospital, Kansas City, MO, 2018external icon
        McKinsey DS, Gasser C, McKinsey JP, Ditto G, Agard A, Zellmer B, Poteete C, Vagnone PS, Dale JL, Bos J, Hahn R, Turabelidze G, Poiry M, Franklin P, Vlachos N, McAllister GA, Halpin AL, Glowicz J, Ham DC, Epstein L.
        Am J Infect Control. 2021 Apr 8.
        We identified a cluster of extensively drug-resistant, carbapenemase gene-positive, carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CP-CRAB) at a teaching hospital in Kansas City. Extensively drug-resistant CRAB was identified from eight patients and 3% of environmental cultures. We used patient cohorting and targeted environmental disinfection to stop transmission. After implementation of these measures, no additional cases were identified.

    • Immunity and Immunization
      1. Serotype distribution of remaining pneumococcal meningitis in the mature PCV10/13 period: Findings from the PSERENADE Projectexternal icon
        Garcia Quesada M, Yang Y, Bennett JC, Hayford K, Zeger SL, Feikin DR, Peterson ME, Cohen AL, Almeida SC, Ampofo K, Ang M, Bar-Zeev N, Bruce MG, Camilli R, Chacón GC, Ciruela P, Cohen C, Corcoran M, Dagan R, De Wals P, Desmet S, Diawara I, Gierke R, Guevara M, Hammitt LL, Hilty M, Ho PL, Jayasinghe S, Kleynhans J, Kristinsson KG, Ladhani SN, McGeer A, Mwenda JM, Pekka Nuorti J, Oishi K, Ricketson LJ, Sanz JC, Savrasova L, Setchanova LP, Smith A, Valentiner-Branth P, Valenzuela MT, van der Linden M, van Sorge NM, Varon E, Winje BA, Yildirim I, Zintgraff J, Knoll MD.
        Microorganisms. 2021 ;9(4).
        Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) introduction has reduced pneumococcal meningitis incidence. The Pneumococcal Serotype Replacement and Distribution Estimation (PSERENADE) project described the serotype distribution of remaining pneumococcal meningitis in countries using PCV10/13 for least 5-7 years with primary series uptake above 70%. The distribution was estimated using a multinomial Dirichlet regression model, stratified by PCV product and age. In PCV10-using sites (N = 8; cases = 1141), PCV10 types caused 5% of cases <5 years of age and 15% among ≥5 years; the top serotypes were 19A, 6C, and 3, together causing 42% of cases <5 years and 37% ≥5 years. In PCV13-using sites (N = 32; cases = 4503), PCV13 types caused 14% in <5 and 26% in ≥5 years; 4% and 13%, respectively, were serotype 3. Among the top serotypes are five (15BC, 8, 12F, 10A, and 22F) included in higher-valency PCVs under evaluation. Other top serotypes (24F, 23B, and 23A) are not in any known investigational product. In countries with mature vaccination programs, the proportion of pneumococcal meningitis caused by vaccine-in-use serotypes is lower (≤26% across all ages) than pre-PCV (≥70% in children). Higher-valency PCVs under evaluation target over half of remaining pneumococcal meningitis cases, but questions remain regarding generalizability to the African meningitis belt where additional data are needed.

      2. Decision-making process for introduction of maternal vaccines in Kenya, 2017-2018external icon
        Otieno NA, Malik FA, Nganga SW, Wairimu WN, Ouma DO, Bigogo GM, Chaves SS, Verani JR, Widdowson MA, Wilson AD, Bergenfeld I, Gonzalez-Casanova I, Omer SB.
        Implement Sci. 2021 Apr 12;16(1):39.
        BACKGROUND: Maternal immunization is a key strategy for reducing morbidity and mortality associated with infectious diseases in mothers and their newborns. Recent developments in the science and safety of maternal vaccinations have made possible development of new maternal vaccines ready for introduction in low- and middle-income countries. Decisions at the policy level remain the entry point for maternal immunization programs. We describe the policy and decision-making process in Kenya for the introduction of new vaccines, with particular emphasis on maternal vaccines, and identify opportunities to improve vaccine policy formulation and implementation process. METHODS: We conducted 29 formal interviews with government officials and policy makers, including high-level officials at the Kenya National Immunization Technical Advisory Group, and Ministry of Health officials at national and county levels. All interviews were recorded and transcribed. We analyzed the qualitative data using NVivo 11.0 software. RESULTS: All key informants understood the vaccine policy formulation and implementation processes, although national officials appeared more informed compared to county officials. County officials reported feeling left out of policy development. The recent health system decentralization had both positive and negative impacts on the policy process; however, the negative impacts outweighed the positive impacts. Other factors outside vaccine policy environment such as rumours, sociocultural practices, and anti-vaccine campaigns influenced the policy development and implementation process. CONCLUSIONS: Public policy development process is complex and multifaceted by its nature. As Kenya prepares for introduction of other maternal vaccines, it is important that the identified policy gaps and challenges are addressed.

      3. Progress in Immunization Safety Monitoring - Worldwide, 2010-2019external icon
        Salman O, Topf K, Chandler R, Conklin L.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Apr 16;70(15):547-551.
        High levels of coverage with safe and effective immunizations are critical to the successful control and prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases worldwide. In addition to stringent standards to regulate the safety of vaccines, robust postlicensure monitoring systems help ensure that the benefits of vaccines continue to outweigh the risks for the populations who receive them. National Expanded Programmes on Immunization (EPI) are typically responsible for identifying and investigating adverse events following immunization (AEFI), including assessment of causality. National regulatory authorities (NRAs) are mandated to perform postlicensure surveillance of adverse drug reactions, including those associated with receipt of vaccines. This report describes global progress toward meeting World Health Organization (WHO) indicators on minimal country capacity for vaccine safety surveillance and coordination of AEFI reporting between countries' EPI and NRAs. In 2019, among 194 countries, 129 (66.5%) reported having an operational national AEFI causality review committee, compared with 94 (48.5%) in 2010. During 2010-2019, the proportion of countries reporting ≥10 AEFI per 100,000 surviving infants per year (an indicator of country capacity to monitor immunization safety) increased, from 41.2% to 56.2%. In 2019, however, only 46 (23.7%) countries reported AEFI data from both EPI and NRAs. Although global progress has been made toward strengthening systems for vaccine safety monitoring over the past decade, new indicators for monitoring global immunization safety performance are needed to better reflect program functionality. Continued global efforts will be vital to address barriers to routine reporting of AEFI, build national capacity for AEFI investigation and data management, and improve sharing of AEFI data at national, regional, and global levels.

    • Injury and Violence
      1. The Science of Scale for Violence Prevention: A New Agenda for Family Strengthening in Low- and Middle-Income Countriesexternal icon
        Shenderovich Y, Lachman JM, Ward CL, Wessels I, Gardner F, Tomlinson M, Oliver D, Janowski R, Martin M, Okop K, Sacolo-Gwebu H, Ngcobo LL, Fang Z, Alampay L, Baban A, Baumann AA, de Barros RB, Bojo S, Butchart A, Dippenaar W, Exavery A, Fang X, Ferdinandi I, Foran HM, Heinrichs N, Hutchings J, Kisyombe D, Massetti G, Mazak J, Mbuyi H, Singh P, Polsky K, Rakotomalala S, Raleva M, Savo R, Cluver L.
        Front Public Health. 2021 ;9.
        Ending all violence against children by 2030 is a core part of Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 16. A number of promising violence reduction strategies have been identified in research studies. However, we lack an understanding of the implementation and impact of these programs in respect to their delivery at a large scale or within existing service systems, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We advocate for greater collaboration between researchers, policymakers, donors, governments, non-governmental organizations, and program managers and staff to study how violence prevention programs operate on a large scale. We describe a new initiative aiming to foster such collaborations in the field of family strengthening programs.

    • Laboratory Sciences
      1. Validation of a diphtheria toxoid multiplex bead assay for serosurveysexternal icon
        Scobie HM, Khetsuriani N, Efstratiou A, Priest JW.
        Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2021 Mar 13;100(3):115371.
        We validated a multiplex bead assay for diphtheria toxoid IgG antibodies against the Vero cell toxin neutralization test using 1300 specimens (correlation = 0.88). At the ≥0.01 IU/mL cutoff for minimal seroprotection, sensitivity was 95% and specificity was 83%. Agreement for three categories (<0.01, 0.01-<0.1, ≥0.1 IU/mL) was 81% (kappa = 0.71).

    • Maternal and Child Health
      1. Comparison of Two Case Definitions for Ascertaining Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder among 8-Year-Old Childrenexternal icon
        Maenner MJ, Graves SJ, Peacock G, Honein MA, Boyle CA, Dietz PM.
        Am J Epidemiol. 2021 Apr 13.
        The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network conducts population-based surveillance of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in multiple US communities among 8-year-old children. To classify ASD, ADDM sites collected text descriptions of behaviors from medical and educational evaluations which were reviewed and coded by ADDM clinicians. This process took at least four years to publish data from a given surveillance year. In 2018, we developed an alternative case definition utilizing ASD diagnoses or classifications made by community professionals. Using surveillance years 2014 and 2016 data, we compared the new and previous ASD case definitions. Compared to the prevalence based on the previous case definition, the prevalence based on the new case definition was similar for 2014 and slightly lower for 2016. Sex and race/ethnicity prevalence ratios were nearly unchanged. Compared to the previous case definition, the new case definition's sensitivity was 86% and positive predictive value was 89%. The new case definition does not require clinical review and collects about half as much data yielding more timely reporting. It also more directly measures community identification of ASD, thus allowing for more valid comparisons among communities, and reduces resource requirements while retaining similar measurement properties to the previous definition.

    • Nutritional Sciences
      1. Cyclone Idai as a Trigger for Pellagra Outbreak in Nhamatanda, Mozambique: A Case-Control Studyexternal icon
        Mugabe VA, Mahumane A, Semá C, Rossetto É V, Nhabomba CS, Fataha N, Nyamula U, Sotomane A, Irugula W, Canze B, Inlamea OF, Kitron U, Ribeiro GS, Samo Gudo E.
        Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2021 Apr 12.
        In mid-June 2019, 3 months after cyclone Idai landfall in Mozambique, health authorities of Nhamatanda district reported an outbreak of Pellagra. Applying a mixed-method protocol, we carried out an investigation to characterize cases of pellagra, identify the associated factors for the outbreak using a case-control study, and explore the perceived impact on food security (availability, access, and usage) before and after Idai. We collected data from 121 cases and 121 controls and conducted in-depth interviews with 69 heads of households. The cases were more likely to be female (P < 0.01) and less educated (P < 0.01) than controls. Insufficient consumption of chicken and peanut before cyclone Idai arrival were statistically associated with pellagra (P < 0.05). From interviewed households' heads, 51% were experiencing food shortages even before the cyclone hit. Cyclone Idai served as a trigger to reduce niacin consumption below the threshold that protected Nhamatanda population from pellagra and caused a ≈2,300 case (707.9/100,000 inhabitants) outbreak.

    • Occupational Safety and Health
      1. Sociopolitical values and social institutions: Studying work and health equity through the lens of political economyexternal icon
        Fujishiro K, Ahonen EQ, Gimeno Ruiz de Porras D, Chen IC, Benavides FG.
        SSM - Population Health. 2021 ;14.
        Work contributes to health and health inequity in complex ways. The traditional exposure-disease framework used in occupational health research is not equipped to address societal contexts in which work is embedded. The political economy approach to public health directly examines macro-level societal contexts, but the attention to work in this literature is mostly on unemployment. As a result, we have limited understanding of work as a social determinant of health and health inequity. To fill this gap, we propose a conceptual framework that facilitates research on work, health, and health equity in institutional contexts. As an illustration of different social institutions creating different work-related health, we present characteristics of work and health in the United States and the European Union using the 2015 Working Conditions Surveys data. The results also highlight limitations of the traditional exposure-disease approach used in occupational health research. Applying the proposed framework, we discuss how work and health could be investigated from a broader perspective that involves multiple social institutions and the sociopolitical values that underpin them. Such investigations would inform policy interventions that are congruent with existing social institutions and thus have the potential for being adopted and effective. Further, we clarify the role of research in generating knowledge that would contribute to institutional change in support of population health and health equity.

      2. Free Food at Work: A Concept Analysisexternal icon
        Horton Dias C, Dawson RM, Abshire DA, Harris D, Wirth MD.
        Workplace Health Saf. 2021 Apr 13.
        BACKGROUND: Employees who spend substantial amounts of time in a workplace away from home are likely to acquire and consume food during work hours. Reportedly, free food at work is a common occurrence in various workplace settings such as business offices and hospitals. Little is known about the nutritional quality, prevalence, or health impact of free food at work. Furthermore, free food at work as a theoretical concept has not been previously analyzed or defined, but it is necessary to differentiate free food from other food sources in the workplace. METHODS: A concept analysis of free food at work was conducted using the 8-step Walker and Avant framework. A literature review in June and July 2020 provided the basis to delineate the concept and identify its defining attributes including antecedents, consequences, and empirical referents. FINDINGS: Free food at work is defined as food that is available for consumption in the workplace at no financial cost to employees. Critical attributes of free food at work include nutritional value, quantity, frequency, and location within the workplace. Antecedents are sources and reasons for free food provision. Consequences include influence on consumption, behaviors, attitudes, emotions, and health outcomes. Additional measurable aspects of the concept and implications are discussed. CONCLUSION/APPLICATION TO PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE: The concept of free food at work was analyzed; defining attributes and empirical referents were discussed and presented in a conceptual model to encourage further study and theory development. Identifying the health impact of free food at work is an issue requiring consideration for workplace health-promoting programs.

    • Occupational Safety and Health - Mining
      1. Complexity of respirable dust found in mining operations as characterized by x‐ray diffraction and ftir analysisexternal icon
        Walker RL, Cauda E, Chubb L, Krebs P, Stach R, Mizaikoff B, Johnston C.
        Minerals. 2021 ;11(4).
        The mineralogical complexity of mine dust complicates exposure monitoring methods for occupational, respirable hazards. Improved understanding of the variability in respirable dust char-acteristics, e.g., mineral phase occurrence and composition, is required to advance on‐site monitoring techniques that can be applied across diverse mining sectors. Principal components analysis (PCA) models were applied separately to XRD and FTIR datasets collected on 130 respirable dust samples from seven mining commodities to explore similarities and differences among the samples. Findings from both PCA models classified limestone, iron, and granite mine samples via their analytical responses. However, the results also cautioned that respirable samples from these commodities may not always fit patterns observed within the model. For example, one unique sample collected in a limestone mine contained no carbonate minerals. Future predictive quantification models should account for unique samples. Differences between gold and copper mine dust samples were difficult to observe. Further investigation suggested that the key to their differentiation by FTIR may lie in the characterization of clays. The results presented in this study provide foundational information for guiding the development of quantification models for respirable mineral hazards in the mining industry.

    • Parasitic Diseases
      1. Intensity and mechanisms of deltamethrin and permethrin resistance in Anopheles gambiae s.l. populations in southern Beninexternal icon
        Sagbohan HW, Kpanou CD, Osse R, Dagnon F, Padonou GG, Sominahouin AA, Salako AS, Sidick A, Sewade W, Akinro B, Ahmed S, Impoinvil D, Agbangla C, Akogbeto M.
        Parasit Vectors. 2021 Apr 14;14(1):202.
        BACKGROUND: Insecticide resistance is threatening the effectiveness of efforts to control malaria vectors in Benin. This study explores the levels and mechanisms of insecticide resistance in An. gambiae s.l. to pyrethroids. METHODS: Larvae were collected from August 2017 to July 2018 in five communes in southern Benin (Adjohoun, Allada, Bohicon, Cotonou, and Porto-Novo) representing diverse ecological regions, and were reared in Benin's insectary. Two- to five-day-old female mosquitoes from each district were exposed to multiple doses of deltamethrin and permethrin (1×, 2×, 5×, and 10×) using the WHO insecticide resistance intensity bioassay. The effect of pre-exposure to the synergist, piperonyl butoxide (PBO), was also tested at different pyrethroid doses. Molecular allele frequencies of kdr (1014F) and ace-1R (119S) insecticide resistance mutations and levels of detoxification enzymes were determined for mosquitoes sampled from each study area. RESULTS: An. gambiae s.l. were resistant to pyrethroid-only exposure up to 10× the diagnostic doses in all the study sites for both deltamethrin and permethrin. Mortality was significantly higher in An. gambiae s.l. pre-exposed to PBO followed by exposure to deltamethrin or permethrin compared to mosquitoes exposed to deltamethrin or permethrin only (p < 0.001). The difference in mortality between deltamethrin only and PBO plus deltamethrin was the smallest in Cotonou (16-64%) and the greatest in Bohicon (12-93%). The mortality difference between permethrin only and PBO plus permethrin was the smallest in Cotonou (44-75%) and the greatest in Bohicon (22-72%). In all the study sites, the kdr resistance allele (1014F) frequency was high (75-100%), while the ace-1 resistance allele (G119S) frequency was low (0-3%). Analysis of the metabolic enzymatic activity of An. gambiae s.l. showed overexpression of nonspecific esterases and glutathione S-transferases (GST) in all study sites. In contrast to the PBO results, oxidase expression was low and was similar to the susceptible An. gambiae s.s. Kisumu strain in all sites. CONCLUSION: There is high-intensity resistance to pyrethroids in southern Benin. However, pre-exposure to PBO significantly increased susceptibility to the pyrethroids in the different An. gambiae s.l. populations sampled. The use of PBO insecticide-treated bed nets may help maintain the gains in An. gambiae (s.l.) control in southern Benin.

    • Public Health Leadership and Management
      1. The role of Namibia Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme in strengthening the public health workforce in Namibia, 2012-2019external icon
        Nyarko KM, Miller LA, Baughman AL, Katjiuanjo P, Evering-Watley M, Antara S, Angula P, Mitonga HK, Prybylski D, Dziuban EJ, Ndevaetela EE.
        BMJ Glob Health. 2021 Apr;6(4).
        Namibia faces a critical shortage of skilled public health workers to perform emergency response operations, preparedness activities and real-time surveillance. The Namibia Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NamFELTP) increases the number of skilled public health professionals and strengthens the public health system in Namibia. We describe the NamFELTP during its first 7 years, assess its impact on the public health workforce and provide recommendations to further strengthen the workforce. We reviewed disease outbreak investigations and response reports, field projects and epidemiological investigations conducted during 2012-2019. The data were analysed using descriptive methods such as frequencies and rates. Maps representing the geographical distribution of NamFELTP workforce were produced using QGIS software V.3.2. There were no formally trained field epidemiologists working in Namibia before the NamFELTP. In its 7 years of operation, the programme graduated 189 field epidemiologists, of which 28 have completed the Advanced FELTP. The graduates increased epidemiological capacity for surveillance and response in Namibia at the national and provincial levels, and enhanced epidemiologist-led outbreak responses on 35 occasions, including responses to outbreaks of human and zoonotic diseases. Trainees analysed data from 51 surveillance systems and completed 31 epidemiological studies. The NamFELTP improved outcomes in the Namibia's public health systems; including functional and robust public health surveillance systems that timely and effectively respond to public health emergencies. However, the current epidemiological capacity is insufficient and there is a need to continue training and mentorship to fill key leadership and strategic roles in the public health system.

    • Substance Use and Abuse
      1. In this study, we assessed tobacco product use among US women aged 18 years or older using data from the 2018-2019 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey. State-specific current use of any tobacco product (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, regular pipes, water pipes or hookah, and smokeless tobacco) ranged from 6.6% (California) to 23.1% (West Virginia); current use of 2 or more tobacco products ranged from 0.6% (New York) to 3.0% (Oklahoma). Current tobacco product use among US women differed significantly by age, education, race/ethnicity, household income, marital status, disability status, and US region. Comprehensive tobacco control strategies, including targeted interventions, can reduce tobacco use among all women.

Page last reviewed: April 27, 2021, 12:00 AM