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Issue 20, May 17, 2022

CDC Science Clips: Volume 14, Issue 20, May 17, 2022

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

  1. CDC Authored Publications
    The names of CDC authors are indicated in bold text.
    Articles published in the past 6-8 weeks authored by CDC or ATSDR staff.
    • Chronic Diseases and Conditions
      1. The association of chronic bronchitis and airflow obstruction with lifetime and current farm activities in a sample of rural adults in Iowaexternal icon
        Plombon S, Henneberger PK, Humann MJ, Liang X, Doney BC, Kelly KM, Cox-Ganser JM.
        Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2022 Apr 28.
        OBJECTIVE: Farmers have an increased risk for chronic bronchitis and airflow obstruction. The objective of this study was to investigate the association of these health outcomes with farm activities. METHODS: We evaluated the Keokuk County Rural Health Study (KCRHS) enrollment data for farm activities and the two health outcomes chronic bronchitis based on self-reported symptoms and airflow obstruction based on spirometry. We used logistic regression to model the health outcomes, yielding an odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) for farm activities while adjusting for potential confounders and other risk factors. RESULTS: Of the 1234 farmers, 104 (8.4%) had chronic bronchitis, 75 (6.1%) fulfilled the criteria for airflow obstruction, and the two outcomes overlapped by 18 participants. Chronic bronchitis without airflow obstruction (n = 86) had a statistically significant association with crop storage insecticides (OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.6, 6.1) and a low number of years (≤ 3) worked with turkeys (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.2, 9.4). The latter result should be interpreted with caution because it is based on a small number of cases (n = 5). Airflow obstruction with or without chronic bronchitis (n = 75) was significantly associated with ever working in a hog or chicken confinement setting (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.0, 4.5). CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that work with crop storage insecticides or turkeys may increase the risk for chronic bronchitis and work in hog or chicken confinement may increase the risk for airflow obstruction.

      2. Time to diagnosis of Duchenne muscular dystrophy remains unchanged: Findings from the Muscular Dystrophy Surveillance, Tracking, and Research Network, 2000-2015external icon
        Thomas S, Conway KM, Fapo O, Street N, Mathews KD, Mann JR, Romitti PA, Soim A, Westfield C, Fox DJ, Ciafaloni E.
        Muscle Nerve. 2022 Mar 21.
        INTRODUCTION/AIMS: With current and anticipated disease-modifying treatments, including gene therapy, an early diagnosis for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is crucial to assure maximum benefit. In 2009, a study from the Muscular Dystrophy Surveillance, Tracking, and Research Network (MD STARnet) showed an average diagnosis age of 5 years among males with DMD born from January 1, 1982 to December 31, 2000. Initiatives were implemented by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and patient organizations to reduce time to diagnosis. We conducted a follow-up study in a surveillance cohort born after January 1, 2000 to determine whether there has been an improvement in time to diagnosis. METHODS: We assessed the age of diagnosis among males with DMD born from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2015 using data collected by six US MD STARnet surveillance sites (Colorado, Iowa, western New York State, the Piedmont region of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Utah). The analytic cohort included 221 males with definite or probable DMD diagnosis without a documented family history. We computed frequency count and percentage for categorical variables, and mean, median, and standard deviation (SD) for continuous variables. RESULTS: The mean [median] ages in years of diagnostic milestones were: first signs, 2.7 [2.0]; first creatine kinase (CK), 4.6 [4.6]; DNA/muscle biopsy testing, 4.9 [4.8]; and time from first signs to diagnostic confirmation, 2.2 [1.4]. DISCUSSION: The time interval between first signs of DMD and diagnosis remains unchanged at 2.2 years. This results in lost opportunities for timely genetic counseling, implementation of standards of care, initiation of glucocorticoids, and participation in clinical trials.

      3. State-specific prevalence of inactivity, self-rated health status, and severe joint pain among adults with arthritis - United States, 2019external icon
        Duca LM, Helmick CG, Barbour KE, Murphy LB, Guglielmo D, Odom EL, Boring MA, Croft JB.
        Prev Chronic Dis. 2022 Apr 28;19:E23.
        Arthritis is associated with joint pain, disability, and physical inactivity, potentially resulting in poor quality of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data to estimate state-specific arthritis prevalence and, among adults with arthritis, the prevalence of physical inactivity, fair/poor self-rated health status, and severe joint pain. Among adults with arthritis, age-standardized prevalences of physical inactivity, fair/poor health status, and severe joint pain were high in all states and highest in southeastern states. Increased promotion and use of evidence-based public health interventions for arthritis may improve health-promoting behaviors and health outcomes among adults with arthritis.

    • Communicable Diseases
      1. Antibodies to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in All of Us research program participants, 2 January to 18 March 2020external icon
        Althoff KN, Schlueter DJ, Anton-Culver H, Cherry J, Denny JC, Thomsen I, Karlson EW, Havers FP, Cicek MS, Thibodeau SN, Pinto LA, Lowy D, Malin BA, Ohno-Machado L, Williams C, Goldstein D, Kouame A, Ramirez A, Roman A, Sharpless NE, Gebo KA, Schully SD.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2022 Mar 1;74(4):584-590.
        BACKGROUND: With limited severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) testing capacity in the United States at the start of the epidemic (January-March 2020), testing was focused on symptomatic patients with a travel history throughout February, obscuring the picture of SARS-CoV-2 seeding and community transmission. We sought to identify individuals with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the early weeks of the US epidemic. METHODS: All of Us study participants in all 50 US states provided blood specimens during study visits from 2 January to 18 March 2020. Participants were considered seropositive if they tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies with the Abbott Architect SARS-CoV-2 IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the EUROIMMUN SARS-CoV-2 ELISA in a sequential testing algorithm. The sensitivity and specificity of these ELISAs and the net sensitivity and specificity of the sequential testing algorithm were estimated, along with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). RESULTS: The estimated sensitivities of the Abbott and EUROIMMUN assays were 100% (107 of 107 [95% CI: 96.6%-100%]) and 90.7% (97 of 107 [83.5%-95.4%]), respectively, and the estimated specificities were 99.5% (995 of 1000 [98.8%-99.8%]) and 99.7% (997 of 1000 [99.1%-99.9%]), respectively. The net sensitivity and specificity of our sequential testing algorithm were 90.7% (97 of 107 [95% CI: 83.5%-95.4%]) and 100.0% (1000 of 1000 [99.6%-100%]), respectively. Of the 24 079 study participants with blood specimens from 2 January to 18 March 2020, 9 were seropositive, 7 before the first confirmed case in the states of Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings identified SARS-CoV-2 infections weeks before the first recognized cases in 5 US states.

      2. Suspected severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reinfections: Incidence, predictors, and healthcare use among patients at 238 US healthcare facilities, 1 June 2020 to 28 February 2021external icon
        Lawandi A, Warner S, Sun J, Demirkale CY, Danner RL, Klompas M, Gundlapalli A, Datta D, Harris AM, Morris SB, Natarajan P, Kadri SS.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2022 Apr 28;74(8):1489-1492.
        In a retrospective cohort study, among 131 773 patients with previous coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), reinfection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) was suspected in 253 patients (0.2%) at 238 US healthcare facilities between 1 June 2020 and 28 February 2021. Women displayed a higher cumulative reinfection risk. Healthcare burden and illness severity were similar between index and reinfection encounters.

      3. Uganda public health fellowship program's contributions to the National HIV and TB Programs, 2015-2020external icon
        Ario AR, Bulage L, Wibabara Y, Muwereza P, Eurien D, Kabwama SN, Kwesiga B, Kadobera D, Turyahabwe S, Musinguzi JB, Wanyenze RK, Nasirumbi PM, Lukoye D, Harris JR, Mills LA, Nelson LJ.
        Glob Health Sci Pract. 2022 Apr 28;10(2).
        Despite remarkable progress in controlling HIV and TB, Uganda is one of the 30 high-burden TB/HIV countries. Approximately 53,000 Ugandans had a new HIV diagnosis in 2019, and approximately 88,000 Ugandans had a TB diagnosis in 2020. Fellows in the Uganda Public Health Fellowship Program (UPHFP) work directly with the Ministry of Health AIDS and TB Control Programs, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UPHFP supervisors, and implementing partners to investigate and evaluate HIV-related and TB-related issues. These activities have contributed to the Uganda HIV and TB programs. UPHFP fellows complete projects in 7 competency domains, including outbreak investigations, surveillance evaluations, and data quality improvement. Priority HIV/AIDS/TB information gaps/topics are identified in consultation with key stakeholders, and fellows complete projects to guide program improvements and policy decisions. During 2015-2020, UPHFP fellows implemented 127 HIV and TB projects covering key program areas in AIDS and TB control programs, including care and treatment (16 projects), TB/HIV (18), prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (24), key and priority populations (9), pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis (7), adolescent girls and young women (6), service delivery (13), and diagnosis of TB including drug-resistant TB and TB in high-risk groups (32). These projects have helped improve retention, quality of care, and treatment outcomes for people living with HIV, HIV and TB coinfected patients, and TB patients. They have also contributed to the decrease in pediatric TB and infant HIV positivity rates and improved service delivery for key populations. UPHFP results were disseminated to relevant stakeholders such as government departments, implementing partners, districts, and the general community and guided decision making. UPHFP has significantly improved HIV and TB control in Uganda. Other countries with similar programs could benefit from this approach and utilize program fellows to support HIV and TB control.

      4. Remote infection control assessments of US nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, April to June 2020external icon
        Walters MS, Prestel C, Fike L, Shrivastwa N, Glowicz J, Benowitz I, Bulens S, Curren E, Dupont H, Marcenac P, Mahon G, Moorman A, Ogundimu A, Weil LM, Kuhar D, Cochran R, Schaefer M, Slifka KJ, Kallen A, Perz JF.
        J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2022 Apr 6.
        BACKGROUND: Nursing homes (NHs) provide care in a congregate setting for residents at high risk of severe outcomes from SARS-CoV-2 infection. In spring 2020, NHs were implementing new guidance to minimize SARS-CoV-2 spread among residents and staff. OBJECTIVE: To assess whether telephone and video-based infection control assessment and response (TeleICAR) strategies could efficiently assess NH preparedness and help resolve gaps. DESIGN: We incorporated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 guidance for NH into an assessment tool covering 6 domains: visitor restrictions; health care personnel COVID-19 training; resident education, monitoring, screening, and cohorting; personal protective equipment supply; core infection prevention and control (IPC); and communication to public health. We performed TeleICAR consultations on behalf of health departments. Adherence to each element was documented and recommendations provided to the facility. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Health department-referred NHs that agreed to TeleICAR consultation. METHODS: We assessed overall numbers and proportions of NH that had not implemented each infection control element (gap) and proportion of NH that reported making ≥1 change in practice following the assessment. RESULTS: During April 13 to June 12, 2020, we completed TeleICAR consultations in 629 NHs across 19 states. Overall, 524 (83%) had ≥1 implementation gaps identified; the median number of gaps was 2 (interquartile range: 1-4). The domains with the greatest number of facilities with gaps were core IPC practices (428/625; 68%) and COVID-19 education, monitoring, screening, and cohorting of residents (291/620; 47%). CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: TeleICAR was an alternative to onsite infection control assessments that enabled public health to efficiently reach NHs across the United States early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Assessments identified widespread gaps in core IPC practices that put residents and staff at risk of infection. TeleICAR is an important strategy that leverages infection control expertise and can be useful in future efforts to improve NH IPC.

      5. BACKGROUND: The novel coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV-2) threatens to disrupt global progress towards HIV epidemic control. Opportunities exist to leverage ongoing public health responses to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on HIV services, and novel approaches to care provision might help address both epidemics. OBJECTIVE: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, novel approaches to maintain comprehensive HIV prevention service delivery are needed. We describe adaptations that could address potential COVID-19-related service interruptions. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review and searched six databases: OVID/Medline, Scopus, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, PsychInfo, and Embase for studies published between January 1, 2010, and October 26, 2021 for recent technology-based interventions for virtual service delivery. Search terms included "telemedicine, telehealth, mobile health, ehealth, mhealth, telecommunication, social media, mobile device, internet" among others. Of the 6,685 abstracts identified, 1,254 focused on HIV virtual service delivery and of those, 120 were relevant for HIV prevention efforts; 48 were pertaining to PrEP and 19 of these focused on evaluations of interventions for virtual service delivery of PrEP. Of the 16 systematic reviews identified, three were specific to PrEP. All 35 papers were reviewed for outcomes of efficacy, feasibility, and/or acceptability. Limitations included heterogeneity of the studies' methodological approaches and outcomes; thus, a meta-analysis was not conducted. We considered the evidence-based interventions found in our review and developed a virtual service delivery model for HIV prevention interventions. We also considered how this platform could be leveraged for COVID-19 prevention and care. RESULTS: We summarize 19 studies of virtual service delivery of PrEP and 16 relevant reviews. Examples of technology-based interventions that were effective, feasible, and/or acceptable for PrEP service delivery include: use of SMS, internet, and smartphone applications such as iText (50% [95%CI: 16-71%]) reduction in discontinuation of PrEP) and PrEPmate (OR=2.62. 95%CI:1.24-5.5.4); telehealth and eHealth platforms for virtual visits such as PrEPTECH and IowaTelePrEP; and platforms for training of health care workers such as ECHO. We suggest a virtual service delivery model for PrEP that can be leveraged for COVID-19 using the internet and social media for demand creation, community-based self-testing, telehealth platforms for risk assessment and follow-up, applications for support groups and adherence/appointment reminders, and applications and internet for monitoring. CONCLUSIONS: Innovations in virtual service provision of PrEP occurred before COVID-19 but have new relevance in the COVID-19 pandemic. The innovations we describe might strengthen HIV prevention service delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the long-run by engaging traditionally hard-to-reach populations, reducing stigma, and creating a more accessible healthcare platform. These virtual service delivery platforms can mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV services and be leveraged to facilitate COVID-19 pandemic control now and for future responses.

      6. Public health actions to control measles among Afghan evacuees during Operation Allies Welcome - United States, September-November 2021external icon
        Masters NB, Mathis AD, Leung J, Raines K, Clemmons NS, Miele K, Balajee SA, Lanzieri TM, Marin M, Christensen DL, Clarke KR, Cruz MA, Gallagher K, Gearhart S, Gertz AM, Grady-Erickson O, Habrun CA, Kim G, Kinzer MH, Miko S, Oberste MS, Petras JK, Pieracci EG, Pray IW, Rosenblum HG, Ross JM, Rothney EE, Segaloff HE, Shepersky LV, Skrobarcek KA, Stadelman AM, Sumner KM, Waltenburg MA, Weinberg M, Worrell MC, Bessette NE, Peake LR, Vogt MP, Robinson M, Westergaard RP, Griesser RH, Icenogle JP, Crooke SN, Bankamp B, Stanley SE, Friedrichs PA, Fletcher LD, Zapata IA, Wolfe HO, Gandhi PH, Charles JY, Brown CM, Cetron MS, Pesik N, Knight NW, Alvarado-Ramy F, Bell M, Talley LE, Rotz LD, Rota PA, Sugerman DE, Gastañaduy PA.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022 Apr 29;71(17):592-596.
        On August 29, 2021, the United States government oversaw the emergent establishment of Operation Allies Welcome (OAW), led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and implemented by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Department of State (DoS), to safely resettle U.S. citizens and Afghan nationals from Afghanistan to the United States. Evacuees were temporarily housed at several overseas locations in Europe and Asia* before being transported via military and charter flights through two U.S. international airports, and onward to eight U.S. military bases,(†) with hotel A used for isolation and quarantine of persons with or exposed to certain infectious diseases.(§) On August 30, CDC issued an Epi-X notice encouraging public health officials to maintain vigilance for measles among Afghan evacuees because of an ongoing measles outbreak in Afghanistan (25,988 clinical cases reported nationwide during January-November 2021) (1) and low routine measles vaccination coverage (66% and 43% for the first and second doses, respectively, in 2020) (2).

      7. Notes from the field: Response to measles among persons evacuated from Afghanistan - Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, August-October 2021external icon
        Pritchard N, Worrell MC, Shahum A, Nwankwo A, Smith D, Koch JJ, Ballard T.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022 Apr 29;71(17):609-610.

      8. Provisional COVID-19 age-adjusted death rates, by race and ethnicity - United States, 2020-2021external icon
        Truman BI, Chang MH, Moonesinghe R.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022 Apr 29;71(17):601-605.
        Disparities in COVID-19 death rates by race and ethnicity have been reported in the United States (1,2). In response to these disparities, preventive, medical care, and social service assistance programs were implemented to lessen disparities in COVID-19 outcomes, including grants to support state, tribal, local, and territorial health department responses (3). The potential impact of such efforts on annual changes in racial and ethnic disparities in mortality rates that identify COVID-19 as the underlying cause of death has not been previously reported. This analysis used U.S. provisional mortality data from death certificates collected by CDC's National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) to estimate changes in COVID-19-related age-adjusted death rates (AADRs) by race and ethnicity during 2020-2021. Compared with non-Hispanic multiracial persons (the group with the lowest death rate), significant decreases in AADR ratios occurred during 2020-2021 among non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) persons (34.0%), non-Hispanic Asian (Asian) persons (37.6%), non-Hispanic Black or African American (Black) persons (40.2%), Hispanic persons (37.1%), and non-Hispanic White (White) persons (14%); a non-statistically significant 7.2% increase in AADR ratio occurred among non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (NH/OPI) persons. Despite reductions in AADR disparities from 2020 to 2021, large disparities in AADR by race and ethnicity remained in 2021. Providing effective preventive interventions, including vaccination and clinical care, to all communities in proportion to their need for these interventions is necessary to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 deaths.

      9. Assessment of country implementation of the WHO Global Health Sector Strategy on Sexually Transmitted Infections (2016-2021)external icon
        Taylor MM, Wi T, Gerbase A, Thwin SS, Gottlieb S, Babovic MT, Low-Beer D, Alonso M, Mello MB, Ishikawa N, Brink A, Hermez J, Sabry A, Sanni S, Ouedraogo L, Rewari B, Sharma M, Seguy N, Vovc E, Askew I, Doherty M, Broutet N.
        PLoS One. 2022 ;17(5):e0263550.
        BACKGROUND: In 2016, WHO launched the Global Health Sector Strategy on STIs, 2016-2021 (GHSS) to provide guidance and benchmarks for country achievement by 2020 and four global targets for achievement by 2030. METHODS: A country survey jointly developed by experienced technical personnel at WHO Headquarters (HQ) and WHO regional offices was reviewed and distributed by WHO regional advisors to 194 WHO Member States in September-March 2020. The survey sought to assess implementation and prioritization of STI policy, surveillance, service delivery, commodity availability, and surveillance based on targets of the GHSS. RESULTS: A majority (58%, 112/194) of countries returned a completed survey reflecting current (2019) STI activities. The regions with the highest survey completion rates were South-East Asia Region (91%, 10/11), Region of the Americas (71%, 25/35) and Western Pacific Region (67%, 18/27). Having a national STI strategy was reported by 64% (72/112) and performing STI surveillance activities by 88% (97/110) of reporting countries. Availability of STI services within primary health clinics was reported by 88% of countries (99/112); within HIV clinics by 92% (103/112), and within reproductive health services by 85% (95/112). Existence of a national strategy to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis (EMTCT) was reported by 70% of countries (78/112). Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) monitoring for gonococcal infection (gonorrhoea) was reported by 64% (57/89) of reporting countries with this laboratory capacity. Inclusion of HPV vaccine for young women in the national immunization schedule was reported by 59% (65/110) and availability of cervical cancer screening was reported by 91% (95/104). Stockouts of STI medicines, primarily benzathine penicillin, within the prior four years were reported by 34% (37/110) of countries. CONCLUSIONS: Mechanisms to support improvements to STI service delivery through national-level policy, commitment, programming and surveillance are needed to operationalize, accelerate and monitor progress towards achievement of the 2030 global STI strategy targets.

      10. OBJECTIVES: About half of the pregnancies among women living with HIV (WLWH) receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan African countries are reported to be unintended. Unintended pregnancy is associated with late initiation of antenatal care (ANC), and may delay provision of viral load monitoring services, antenatal adherence counselling and support, and other services that promote sustained viral suppression throughout pregnancy. This study examines the association between unsuppressed viral load during the third trimester of pregnancy and unintended pregnancy among women who initiated ART before pregnancy. METHODS: This was an analysis of data from a national antenatal survey conducted at 1 589 public health facilities in South Africa between 1 October and 15 November 2019. Consenting pregnant women aged 15-49 years attending ANC during the survey period were enrolled. Demographic and clinical data were collected through interview and medical record review. Pregnancy intention was assessed using two questions from the London Measure of Unplanned Pregnancy, and responses were categorized as "unintended," "undecided," and "intended." Blood specimens were collected from all women and tested for HIV; and if positive, a viral load test was performed. A survey domain-based poisson regression model examined the association between unsuppressed viral load during the third trimester of pregnancy and unintended pregnancy among women who initiated ART before pregnancy. Viral suppression was defined as viral load <50 copies/mL. RESULTS: Of 10 901 WLWH with viral load data available, 63.3% (95% confidence interval (CI): 62.4%-64.1%) were virally suppressed. Among the 2 681 women (representing 24.1% of all WLWH with viral load data) who initiated ART before pregnancy and were in their third trimester at the time of enrolment, 74.4% (95% CI: 73.0%-75.8%) were virally suppressed. In the same population, the proportion virally suppressed was lower among women whose current pregnancies were unintended (72.1%, 95% CI: 70.1%-74.1%) compared to women whose pregnancies were intended (78.3%, 95% CI: 75.9%-80.5%). In multivariable analyses adjusted for age, gravity, marital status, education, location of facility and syphilis status, unintended pregnancy was associated with unsuppressed viral load during the third trimester (adjusted relative risk: 1.3, 95% CI: 1.1-1.4) among women who initiated ART before pregnancy. CONCLUSION: The identified association between unsuppressed viral load and unintended pregnancy among pregnant women who initiated ART before pregnancy highlights the need to strengthen routine assessment of fertility preferences and provision of contraceptive services to reproductive age WLWH receiving ART.

      11. As of 2 September 2021, United States nursing homes have reported >675,000 COVID-19 cases and >134,000 deaths according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). More than 205,000,000 persons in the United States had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (62% of total population) as of 2 September 2021. We investigate the role of vaccination in controlling future COVID-19 outbreaks. We developed a stochastic, compartmental model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a 100-bed nursing home with a staff of 99 healthcare personnel (HCP) in a community of 20,000 people. We parameterized admission and discharge of residents in the model with CMS data, for a within-facility basic reproduction number (R(0)) of 3.5 and a community R(0) of 2.5. The model also included: importation of COVID-19 from the community, isolation of SARS-CoV-2 positive residents, facility-wide adherence to personal protective equipment (PPE) use by HCP, and testing. We systematically varied coverage of mRNA vaccine among residents, HCP, and the community. Simulations were run for 6 months after the second dose in the facility, with results summarized over 1,000 simulations. Expected resident cases decreased as community vaccination increased, with large reductions at high HCP coverage. The probability of a COVID-19 outbreak was lower as well: at HCP vaccination coverage of 60%, probability of an outbreak was below 20% for community coverage of 50% or above. At high coverage, stopping asymptomatic screening and facility-wide testing yielded similar results. Results suggest that high coverage among HCP and in the community can prevent infections in residents. When vaccination is high in nursing homes, but not in their surrounding communities, asymptomatic and facility-wide testing remains necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19. High adherence to PPE may increase the likelihood of containing future COVID-19 outbreaks if they occur.

    • Environmental Health
      1. A nested case-control study of serum polychlorinated biphenyls and papillary thyroid cancer risk among U.S. military service membersexternal icon
        Zhuo H, Huang H, Sjodin A, Jin L, Ma S, Denic-Roberts H, Warren JL, Jones R, Davis M, Sun P, Yu H, Ward MH, Udelsman R, Zhang Y, Rusiecki J.
        Environ Res. 2022 Apr 30:113367.
        BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Although polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned decades ago, populations are continuously exposed to PCBs due to their persistence and bioaccumulation/biomagnification in the environment. Results from limited epidemiologic studies linking PCBs to thyroid cancer have been inconclusive. This study aimed to investigate the association between individual PCBs and PCB mixture and papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), the most common thyroid cancer histologic subtype. METHODS: We carried out a nested case-control study including 742 histologically confirmed PTC cases diagnosed in 2000-2013 and 742 individually matched controls from among U.S. military service members. Pre-diagnostic serum samples that were collected on average nine years before PTC diagnosis were used to measure PCB congeners by gas chromatography isotope dilution high resolution mass spectrometry (GC/ID-HRMS). Conditional logistic regression, Bayesian kernel machine regression (BKMR), and weighted quantile sum (WQS) regression were employed to estimate the association between single PCB congeners as well as their mixture and PTC. RESULTS: Four PCB congeners (PCB-74, PCB-99, PCB-105, PCB-118) had significant associations and dose-response relationships with increased risk of PTC in single congener models. When considering PCB congeners as a mixture in the BKMR model, PCB-118 showed positive trends of association with PTC. Increased exposure to the PCB mixture identified by WQS was also associated with an increased risk of PTC, with the mixture dominated by PCB-118, followed by PCB-74 and PCB-99. DISCUSSION: This study suggests that exposure to certain PCBs as well as a mixture of PCBs were associated with an increased risk of PTC. The observed association was mainly driven by PCB-118, and to a lesser extent by PCB-74 and PCB-99. The findings warrant further investigation.

      2. Open database for international and national indoor environmental quality guidelinesexternal icon
        Toyinbo O, Hägerhed L, Dimitroulopoulou S, Dudzinska M, Emmerich S, Hemming D, Park JH, Haverinen-Shaughnessy U.
        Indoor Air. 2022 Apr;32(4):e13028.

      3. Characterization of reported legionellosis outbreaks associated with buildings served by public drinking water systems: United States, 2001-2017external icon
        Holsinger H, Tucker N, Regli S, Studer K, Roberts VA, Collier S, Hannapel E, Edens C, Yoder JS, Rotert K.
        J Water Health. 2022 Apr;20(4):702-711.
        This study examined 184 legionellosis outbreaks in the United States reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System, from 2001 to 2017. Drinking water characteristics examined include source water type, disinfectant type, exposure setting, geographical distribution by U.S. Census Divisions, and the public water system size (population served). This study found that most of the reported drinking water-associated legionellosis outbreaks occurred in eastern United States, including 35% in the South Atlantic, 32% in the Middle Atlantic, and 16% in the East North Central Census Divisions were linked with building water systems in healthcare and hotel settings; and were associated with buildings receiving drinking water from public water systems serving >10,000 people. Targeted evaluations and interventions may be useful to further determine the combination of factors, such as disinfectant residual type and drinking water system size that may lead to legionellosis outbreaks.

      4. Pregnancy urinary concentrations of bisphenol A, parabens and other phenols in relation to serum levels of lipid biomarkers: Results from the EARTH studyexternal icon
        Mínguez-Alarcón L, Frueh L, Williams PL, James-Todd T, Souter I, Ford JB, Rexrode KM, Calafat AM, Hauser R, Chavarro JE.
        Sci Total Environ. 2022 Apr 12;833:155191.
        The epidemiologic literature on associations between urinary phenol concentrations and lipid profiles during pregnancy is limited. We examined whether urinary concentrations of phenol and phenol replacement biomarkers were associated with serum lipid levels among pregnant women. This cross-sectional study included 175 women attending the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center who enrolled in the Environment and Reproductive Health (EARTH) Study between 2005 and 2017 and had data available on urinary phenol biomarkers and serum lipids during pregnancy. We used linear regression models to assess the relationship between groups of urinary phenol and phenol replacement biomarkers and serum lipid levels [total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL), non-HDL, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides], while adjusting for age at sample collection, pre-pregnancy BMI, education, race, infertility diagnosis, cycle type, number of fetuses, trimester and specific gravity. In adjusted models, pregnant women with urinary propylparaben concentrations in the highest tertile had 10% [22 (95% CI = 5, 40) mg/dL], 12% [19 (95% CI = 2, 36) mg/dL] and 16% [19 (95% CI = 3, 35) mg/dL] higher mean total, non-HDL and LDL cholesterol, respectively, compared to women with concentrations in the lowest tertile. Similar elevations were observed for urinary bisphenol A concentrations. Urinary bisphenol S, benzophenone-3, triclosan, methylparaben, ethylparaben, and butylparaben were unrelated to serum lipids. Among pregnant women, urinary concentrations of bisphenol A and propylparaben were associated with higher serum levels of total, non-HDL and LDL cholesterol.

    • Genetics and Genomics
      1. Selective whole-genome amplification as a tool to enrich specimens with low treponema pallidum genomic DNA copies for whole-genome sequencingexternal icon
        Thurlow CM, Joseph SJ, Ganova-Raeva L, Katz SS, Pereira L, Chen C, Debra A, Vilfort K, Workowski K, Cohen SE, Reno H, Sun Y, Burroughs M, Sheth M, Chi KH, Danavall D, Philip SS, Cao W, Kersh EN, Pillay A.
        mSphere. 2022 May 2:e0000922.
        Downstream next-generation sequencing (NGS) of the syphilis spirochete Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum (T. pallidum) is hindered by low bacterial loads and the overwhelming presence of background metagenomic DNA in clinical specimens. In this study, we investigated selective whole-genome amplification (SWGA) utilizing multiple displacement amplification (MDA) in conjunction with custom oligonucleotides with an increased specificity for the T. pallidum genome and the capture and removal of 5'-C-phosphate-G-3' (CpG) methylated host DNA using the NEBNext Microbiome DNA enrichment kit followed by MDA with the REPLI-g single cell kit as enrichment methods to improve the yields of T. pallidum DNA in isolates and lesion specimens from syphilis patients. Sequencing was performed using the Illumina MiSeq v2 500 cycle or NovaSeq 6000 SP platform. These two enrichment methods led to 93 to 98% genome coverage at 5 reads/site in 5 clinical specimens from the United States and rabbit-propagated isolates, containing >14 T. pallidum genomic copies/μL of sample for SWGA and >129 genomic copies/μL for CpG methylation capture with MDA. Variant analysis using sequencing data derived from SWGA-enriched specimens showed that all 5 clinical strains had the A2058G mutation associated with azithromycin resistance. SWGA is a robust method that allows direct whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of specimens containing very low numbers of T. pallidum, which has been challenging until now. IMPORTANCE Syphilis is a sexually transmitted, disseminated acute and chronic infection caused by the bacterial pathogen Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. Primary syphilis typically presents as single or multiple mucocutaneous lesions and, if left untreated, can progress through multiple stages with various clinical manifestations. Molecular studies often rely on direct amplification of DNA sequences from clinical specimens; however, this can be impacted by inadequate samples due to disease progression or timing of patients seeking clinical care. While genotyping has provided important data on circulating strains over the past 2 decades, WGS data are needed to better understand strain diversity, perform evolutionary tracing, and monitor antimicrobial resistance markers. The significance of our research is the development of an SWGA DNA enrichment method that expands the range of clinical specimens that can be directly sequenced to include samples with low numbers of T. pallidum.

    • Health Economics
      1. Clinical and socioeconomic burden of rhinoviruses/enteroviruses in the communityexternal icon
        Halabi KC, Stockwell MS, Alba L, Vargas C, Reed C, Saiman L.
        Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2022 Apr 29.
        BACKGROUND: The epidemiology, clinical features, and socioeconomic burden associated with detection of rhinoviruses (RV)/enteroviruses (EV) from individuals in the community with acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are not fully understood. METHODS: To assess the clinical and socioeconomic burden associated with RV/EV, a secondary analysis of data collected during a prospective, community-based ARI surveillance study was performed. From December 2012 to September 2017, adult and pediatric participants with ARIs had nasopharyngeal specimens obtained and tested by multiplex polymerase chain reaction assay. Characteristics and socioeconomic burden including missed school or work and/or antibiotic use among participants who did and did not seek medical care and among participants with and without co-detection of another respiratory pathogen with RV/EV were compared. RESULTS: Throughout the study period, RV/EV was detected in 54.7% (885/1617) of ARIs with a respiratory pathogen detected. Most ARI episodes associated with RV/EV occurred in females (59.1%) and children ≤17 years old (64.2%). Those ≤17 years were more likely to seek medical care. Compared to those not seeking medical care (n = 686), those seeking medical care (n = 199) had a longer duration of illness (5 vs. 7 days) and were more likely to miss work/school (16.4% vs. 47.7%) and/or use antibiotics (3.6% vs. 34.2%). Co-detection occurred in 8% of ARIs of which 81% occurred in children. Co-detection was not associated with longer illness, more missed work/or school, or antibiotic use. CONCLUSION: Non-medically attended and medically attended ARIs associated with RV/EV resulted in clinical and socioeconomic burden, regardless of co-detection of other respiratory pathogens.

    • Health Equity and Health Disparities
      1. Health equity in the implementation of genomics and precision medicine: A public health imperativeexternal icon
        Khoury MJ, Bowen S, Dotson WD, Drzymalla E, Green RF, Goldstein R, Kolor K, Liburd LC, Sperling LS, Bunnell R.
        Genet Med. 2022 Apr 28.
        Recent reviews have emphasized the need for a health equity agenda in genomics research. To ensure that genomic discoveries can lead to improved health outcomes for all segments of the population, a health equity agenda needs to go beyond research studies. Advances in genomics and precision medicine have led to an increasing number of evidence-based applications that can reduce morbidity and mortality for millions of people (tier 1). Studies have shown lower implementation rates for selected diseases with tier 1 applications (familial hypercholesterolemia, Lynch syndrome, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer) among racial and ethnic minority groups, rural communities, uninsured or underinsured people, and those with lower education and income. We make the case that a public health agenda is needed to address disparities in implementation of genomics and precision medicine. Public health actions can be centered on population-specific needs and outcomes assessment, policy and evidence development, and assurance of delivery of effective and ethical interventions. Crucial public health activities also include engaging communities, building coalitions, improving genetic health literacy, and building a diverse workforce. Without concerted public health action, further advances in genomics with potentially broad applications could lead to further widening of health disparities in the next decade.

      2. Public health lessons learned in responding to COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness in the United Statesexternal icon
        Mosites E, Harrison B, Montgomery MP, Meehan AA, Leopold J, Barranco L, Schwerzler L, Carmichael AE, Clarke KE, Butler JC.
        Public Health Rep. 2022 Apr 29:333549221083643.

    • Immunity and Immunization
      1. BACKGROUND: Approximately 20,000 people died from influenza in the US in the 2019-2020 season. The best way to prevent influenza is to receive the influenza vaccine. Persons who are foreign-born experience disparities in access to, and utilization of, preventative healthcare, including vaccination. METHODS: National Health Interview Survey data were analyzed to assess differences in influenza vaccination coverage during the 2012-2013 through 2017-2018 influenza seasons among adults by nativity, citizenship status of foreign-born persons, race/ethnicity, and language of the interview. RESULTS: Influenza vaccination coverage increased significantly during the study period for US-born adults but did not change significantly among foreign-born racial/ethnic groups except for increases among foreign-born Hispanic adults. Coverage for foreign-born adults, those who completed an interview in a non-English language, and non-US citizens, had lower vaccination coverage during most influenza seasons studied, compared with US-born, English-interviewed, and US-citizen adults, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Strategies to improve influenza vaccination uptake must consider foreign-born adults as an underserved population in need of focused, culturally-tailored outreach. Achieving high influenza vaccination coverage among the foreign-born population will help reduce illness among the essential workforce, achieve national vaccination goals, and reduce racial and ethnic disparities in vaccination coverage in the US.

      2. Public health impact of COVID-19 vaccines in the US: Observational studyexternal icon
        Suthar AB, Wang J, Seffren V, Wiegand RE, Griffing S, Zell E.
        BMJ. 2022 Apr 27;377:e069317.
        OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of vaccine scale-up on population level covid-19 mortality and incidence in the United States. DESIGN: Observational study. SETTING: US county level case surveillance and vaccine administration data reported from 14 December 2020 to 18 December 2021. PARTICIPANTS: Residents of 2558 counties from 48 US states. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was county covid-19 mortality rates (deaths/100 000 population/county week). The secondary outcome was incidence of covid-19 (cases/100 000 population/county week). Incidence rate ratios were used to compare rates across vaccination coverage levels. The impact of a 10% improvement in county vaccination coverage (defined as at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine among adults ≥18 years of age) was estimated During the eras of alpha and delta variant predominance, the impact of very low (0-9%), low (10-39%), medium (40-69%), and high (≥70%) vaccination coverage levels was compared. RESULTS: In total, 30 643 878 cases of covid-19 and 439 682 deaths associated with covid-19 occurred over 132 791 county weeks. A 10% improvement in vaccination coverage was associated with an 8% (95% confidence interval 8% to 9%) reduction in mortality rates and a 7% (6% to 8%) reduction in incidence. Higher vaccination coverage levels were associated with reduced mortality and incidence rates during the eras of alpha and delta variant predominance. CONCLUSIONS: Higher vaccination coverage was associated with lower rates of population level covid-19 mortality and incidence in the US.

      3. CD4 cell count: A critical tool in the human immunodeficiency virus responseexternal icon
        Ford N, Chiller T.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2022 Apr 28;74(8):1360-1361.

      4. Impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines on antibiotic-nonsusceptible invasive pneumococcal disease in the United Statesexternal icon
        Bajema KL, Gierke R, Farley MM, Schaffner W, Thomas A, Reingold AL, Harrison LH, Lynfield R, Burzlaff KE, Petit S, Barnes M, Torres S, Snippes Vagnone PM, Beall B, Pilishvili T.
        J Infect Dis. 2022 Apr 28.
        BACKGROUND: Antibiotic-nonsusceptible invasive pneumococcal disease (NS-IPD) incidence declined dramatically in the United States following introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) into the infant immunization schedule (7-valent PCV7 in 2000, replaced by the 13-valent PCV13 in 2010). We evaluated the long-term impact of PCVs on NS-IPD. METHODS: We identified IPD cases through the Centers for Disease Control Active Bacterial Core surveillance during 1998-2018. Isolates intermediate or resistant to ≥1 antibiotic class were classified as nonsusceptible. We calculated annual rates of IPD (cases per 100,000 persons). RESULTS: From 1998 through 2018, NS-IPD incidence decreased from 43.9 to 3.2 among children <5 years and from 19.8 to 9.4 among adults ≥65 years. Incidence of vaccine-type NS-IPD decreased in all age groups, while incidence of NVT NS-IPD increased in all age groups; the greatest absolute increase in NVT NS-IPD occurred among adults ≥65 years (2.3 to 7.2). During 2014-18, NVTs 35B, 33F, 22F, and 15A were the most common NS-IPD serotypes. CONCLUSIONS: NS-IPD incidence decreased following PCV7 and PCV13 introduction in the United States. However, recent increases in NVT NS-IPD, most pronounced among older adults, have been observed. New higher valency PCVs containing the most common nonsusceptible serotypes, including 22F and 33F, could help further reduce NS-IPD.

      5. Seroprevalence of infection-induced SARS-CoV-2 antibodies - United States, September 2021-February 2022external icon
        Clarke KE, Jones JM, Deng Y, Nycz E, Lee A, Iachan R, Gundlapalli AV, Hall AJ, MacNeil A.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022 Apr 29;71(17):606-608.
        In December 2021, the B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, became predominant in the United States. Subsequently, national COVID-19 case rates peaked at their highest recorded levels.* Traditional methods of disease surveillance do not capture all COVID-19 cases because some are asymptomatic, not diagnosed, or not reported; therefore, the proportion of the population with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (i.e., seroprevalence) can improve understanding of population-level incidence of COVID-19. This report uses data from CDC's national commercial laboratory seroprevalence study and the 2018 American Community Survey to examine U.S. trends in infection-induced SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence during September 2021-February 2022, by age group.

      6. A community intervention effectiveness study of single dose or two doses of bivalent HPV vaccine (CERVARIX®) in female school students in Thailandexternal icon
        Jiamsiri S, Rhee C, Ahn HS, Poudyal N, Seo HW, Klinsupa W, Nilyanimit P, Premsri N, Namwat C, Vonpunsawad S, Chon Y, Park S, Kim DR, Unger ER, Markowitz L, Poovorawan Y, Rerks-Ngarm S, Excler JL, Lynch J.
        PLoS One. 2022 ;17(4):e0267294.
        Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common infection principally spread through sexual activity. Most HPV infections are asymptomatic and resolve spontaneously. However, persistent infection may progress to cervical cancer. Highly efficacious HPV vaccines have been available since 2006, yet uptake into national programs has been slow in part due to cost. WHO guidelines call for a two-dose (0,6 month) schedule for girls 9-14 years of age. Post-hoc analyses of randomized trials have found high vaccine effectiveness following a single dose of vaccine. In order to provide additional data on the potential impact of single dose HPV vaccination in a real-world setting, we are conducting an effectiveness study among Thai schoolgirls. This is an observational study of a single dose (SD) or two doses (2D) of the bivalent HPV vaccine CERVARIX® (GlaxoSmithKline plc.) administered in a school-based program to 8-9,000 Grade 8 female students in two provinces of Thailand beginning in 2018; one province is assigned the SD, and the other the standard 2D regimen. The reduction in HPV vaccine-type prevalence will be assessed in each province two and four years after vaccination by comparing HPV prevalence in urine samples obtained through cross-sectional surveys of the immunized grade cohort as they age and compared to a historical "baseline" HPV prevalence of same age students.

      7. Post-authorization surveillance of adverse events following COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant persons in the vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS), December 2020 - October 2021external icon
        Moro PL, Olson CK, Clark E, Marquez P, Strid P, Ellington S, Zhang B, Mba-Jonas A, Alimchandani M, Cragan J, Moore C.
        Vaccine. 2022 Apr 12.
        BACKGROUND: Pregnant persons are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 infection, including intensive care unit admission, mechanical ventilation, and death compared with non-pregnant persons of reproductive age. Limited data are available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines administered during and around the time of pregnancy. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate and summarize reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a national spontaneous reporting system, in pregnant persons who received a COVID-19 vaccine to assess for potential vaccine safety problems. METHODS: We searched VAERS for US reports of adverse events (AEs) in pregnant persons who received a COVID-19 vaccine from 12/14/2020-10/31/2021. Clinicians reviewed reports and available medical records. Crude reporting rates for selected AEs were calculated, and disproportional reporting was assessed using data mining methods. RESULTS: VAERS received 3,462 reports of AEs in pregnant persons who received a COVID-19 vaccine; 1,831 (52.9%) after BNT162b2, 1,350 (38.9%) after mRNA-1273, and 275 (7.9%) after Ad26.COV2.S. Eight maternal deaths and 12 neonatal deaths were reported. Six-hundred twenty-one (17.9%) reports were serious. Pregnancy-specific outcomes included: 878 spontaneous abortions (<20 weeks), 101 episodes of vaginal bleeding, 76 preterm deliveries (<37 weeks), 62 stillbirths (≥20 weeks), and 33 outcomes with birth defects. Crude reporting rates for preterm deliveries and stillbirths, as well as maternal and neonatal mortality rates were below background rates from published sources. No disproportional reporting for any AE was observed. CONCLUSIONS: Review of reports to VAERS following COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant persons did not identify any concerning patterns of maternal or infant-fetal outcomes.

    • Informatics
      1. User perceptions and use of an enhanced electronic health record in Rwanda with and without clinical alerts: Cross-sectional surveyexternal icon
        Fraser HS, Mugisha M, Remera E, Ngenzi JL, Richards J, Santas X, Naidoo W, Seebregts C, Condo J, Umubyeyi A.
        JMIR Med Inform. 2022 May 3;10(5):e32305.
        BACKGROUND: Electronic health records (EHRs) have been implemented in many low-resource settings but lack strong evidence for usability, use, user confidence, scalability, and sustainability. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate staff use and perceptions of an EHR widely used for HIV care in >300 health facilities in Rwanda, providing evidence on factors influencing current performance, scalability, and sustainability. METHODS: A randomized, cross-sectional, structured interview survey of health center staff was designed to assess functionality, use, and attitudes toward the EHR and clinical alerts. This study used the associated randomized clinical trial study sample (56/112, 50% sites received an enhanced EHR), pulling 27 (50%) sites from each group. Free-text comments were analyzed thematically using inductive coding. RESULTS: Of the 100 participants, 90 (90% response rate) were interviewed at 54 health centers: 44 (49%) participants were clinical and 46 (51%) were technical. The EHR top uses were to access client data easily or quickly (62/90, 69%), update patient records (56/89, 63%), create new patient records (49/88, 56%), generate various reports (38/85, 45%), and review previous records (43/89, 48%). In addition, >90% (81/90) of respondents agreed that the EHR made it easier to make informed decisions, was worth using, and has improved patient information quality. Regarding availability, (66/88) 75% said they could always or almost always count on the EHR being available, whereas (6/88) 7% said never/almost never. In intervention sites, staff were significantly more likely to update existing records (P=.04), generate summaries before (P<.001) or during visits (P=.01), and agree that "the EHR provides useful alerts, and reminders" (P<.01). CONCLUSIONS: Most users perceived the EHR as well accepted, appropriate, and effective for use in low-resource settings despite infrastructure limitation in 25% (22/88) of the sites. The implementation of EHR enhancements can improve the perceived usefulness and use of key functions. Successful scale-up and use of EHRs in small health facilities could improve clinical documentation, care, reporting, and disease surveillance in low- and middle-income countries.

      2. Provisional mortality data - United States, 2021external icon
        Ahmad FB, Cisewski JA, Anderson RN.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022 Apr 29;71(17):597-600.
        The CDC National Center for Health Statistics' (NCHS) National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) collects and reports annual mortality statistics using U.S. death certificate data. Because of the time needed to investigate certain causes of death and to process and review death data, final annual mortality data for a given year are typically released 11 months after the end of the calendar year. Provisional data, which are based on death certificate data received but not fully reviewed by NCHS, provide an early estimate of deaths before the release of final data. NVSS routinely releases provisional mortality data for all causes of death and for deaths involving COVID-19.* This report presents an overview of provisional U.S. mortality data for 2021, including a comparison of death rates for 2020 and 2021. In 2021, approximately 3,458,697 deaths(†) occurred in the United States. From 2020 to 2021, the age-adjusted death rate (AADR) increased by 0.7%, from 835.4 to 841.6 per 100,000 standard population. COVID-19 was reported as the underlying cause or a contributing cause in an estimated 460,513 (13.3%) of those deaths (111.4 deaths per 100,000). The highest overall death rates by age occurred among persons aged ≥85 years, and the highest overall AADRs by sex and race and ethnicity occurred among males and non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) and non-Hispanic Black or African American (Black) populations. COVID-19 death rates were highest among persons aged ≥85 years, non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (NH/OPI) and AI/AN populations, and males. For a second year, the top three leading causes of death by underlying cause were heart disease, cancer, and COVID-19. Provisional death estimates provide an early indication of shifts in mortality trends and can guide public health policies and interventions aimed at reducing mortality directly or indirectly associated with the pandemic and among persons most affected, including persons who are older, male, or from certain race and ethnic minority groups.

    • Injury and Violence
      1. BACKGROUND Evidence suggests that those who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are at increased risk of adverse behaviors and health indicators, such as certain chronic physical and mental health conditions. However, little is known about the prevalence of these behaviors and health indicators among these individuals, information that could help decrease their risk of developing such conditions.METHODS Data (N = 4733) from the 2018 North Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) were analyzed to determine the prevalence of behaviors and health indicators among individuals who report having a lifetime history of TBI with loss of consciousness (LOC).RESULTS North Carolinians who report a lifetime history of TBI with LOC were at increased risk of reporting a range of 3 negative health behaviors: less than always seatbelt use (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.7; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.2-2.4), HIV risk behaviors (AOR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.1-2.6), and reporting less than 7 hours of sleep (AOR = 1.5; 95% CI = 1.2-1.8); more difficulty obtaining health care (not seeing a doctor due to health care cost in the past 12 months [AOR = 1.3; 95% CI = 1.0-1.8]; not getting a routine medical check-up in the past 12 months [AOR = 1.5; 95% CI = 1.2-2.0]); worse self-reported health (fair or poor general health [AOR = 1.8; 95% CI = 1.4-2.3]); and reporting fair or poor mental health (AOR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.6-2.8) compared with individuals who did not report a history of TBI.LIMITATIONS There are several limitations to the study, such as the sample being biased toward more severe brain injuries. Additionally, because the data in the BRFSS are retrospective and cross-sectional, it is not possible to determine temporality and causality between TBI history and the behaviors and health indicators examined.CONCLUSION Despite these limitations, this paper is one of the first to directly examine the association between history of TBI with LOC and a range of current behaviors and health care utilization. Assessing positive and negative behaviors and health indicators can help identify and tailor evidence-based interventions for those who have a history of TBI.

    • Laboratory Sciences
      1. Evaluation of SAMBA II: A qualitative and semiquantitative HIV point-of-care nucleic acid testexternal icon
        Violette LR, Cornelius-Hudson A, Snidarich M, Niemann LA, Assennato SM, Ritchie A, Goel N, Chavez PR, Ethridge SF, Katz DA, Lee H, Delaney KP, Stekler JD.
        J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2022 Apr 15;89(5):537-545.
        BACKGROUND: Point-of-care (POC) nucleic acid tests (NATs) have potential to diagnose acute HIV infection and monitor persons taking pre-exposure prophylaxis or antiretroviral therapy (ART). POC NATs have not yet been evaluated in the US. METHODS: From June 2018-March 2019, we conducted a cross-sectional evaluation of the Simple Amplification-Based Assay version II (SAMBA II) POC NAT. People with HIV (PWH) and persons testing for HIV were tested with the SAMBA II qualitative (Qual) whole blood (WB) test. From April-September 2019, the Qual test was used on persons who were ART-naive, and SAMBA II Semi-quantitative (Semi-Q) WB was used with ART-experienced PWH. Both were performed on unprocessed venipuncture (VP) and, when indicated by protocol, fingerstick (FS) WB and plasma. SAMBA results were compared with Abbott RealTime HIV-1 polymerase chain reaction results on plasma. We calculated sensitivity, specificity, and concordance between tests. RESULTS: SAMBA was used in 330 visits among 280 participants: 202 (61.2%) visits from PWH, and 128 (38.8%) from HIV-negative persons. Qual test sensitivity with ART-naive participants was 91.4% [32/35, 95% confidence interval (CI): 77.6% to 97.0%] using VP WB and 100% (27/27, 95% CI: 87.5% to 100%) using FS WB. Specificity was 100% using both specimen types. Concordance between the gold standard and Semi-Q at 1000 copies/mL among PWH on ART was 97.7% (86/88, 95% CI: 92.1% to 99.4%) and 100% (30/30, 95% CI: 88.7% to 100%) using VP and FS WB, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The SAMBA II POC NATs showed high sensitivity, specificity, and concordance with the gold standard assay, indicating its potential use in diagnostics and monitoring. Future work will evaluate POC NAT implementation in the US.

      2. Comparison of home antigen testing with RT-PCR and viral culture during the course of SARS-CoV-2 infectionexternal icon
        Chu VT, Schwartz NG, Donnelly MA, Chuey MR, Soto R, Yousaf AR, Schmitt-Matzen EN, Sleweon S, Ruffin J, Thornburg N, Harcourt JL, Tamin A, Kim G, Folster JM, Hughes LJ, Tong S, Stringer G, Albanese BA, Totten SE, Hudziec MM, Matzinger SR, Dietrich EA, Sheldon SW, Stous S, McDonald EC, Austin B, Beatty ME, Staples JE, Killerby ME, Hsu CH, Tate JE, Kirking HL, Matanock A.
        JAMA Intern Med. 2022 Apr 29.
        IMPORTANCE: As self-collected home antigen tests become widely available, a better understanding of their performance during the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection is needed. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of home antigen tests compared with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and viral culture by days from illness onset, as well as user acceptability. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This prospective cohort study was conducted from January to May 2021 in San Diego County, California, and metropolitan Denver, Colorado. The convenience sample included adults and children with RT-PCR-confirmed infection who used self-collected home antigen tests for 15 days and underwent at least 1 nasopharyngeal swab for RT-PCR, viral culture, and sequencing. EXPOSURES: SARS-CoV-2 infection. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was the daily sensitivity of home antigen tests to detect RT-PCR-confirmed cases. Secondary outcomes included the daily percentage of antigen test, RT-PCR, and viral culture results that were positive, and antigen test sensitivity compared with same-day RT-PCR and cultures. Antigen test use errors and acceptability were assessed for a subset of participants. RESULTS: This study enrolled 225 persons with RT-PCR-confirmed infection (median [range] age, 29 [1-83] years; 117 female participants [52%]; 10 [4%] Asian, 6 [3%] Black or African American, 50 [22%] Hispanic or Latino, 3 [1%] Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 145 [64%] White, and 11 [5%] multiracial individuals) who completed 3044 antigen tests and 642 nasopharyngeal swabs. Antigen test sensitivity was 50% (95% CI, 45%-55%) during the infectious period, 64% (95% CI, 56%-70%) compared with same-day RT-PCR, and 84% (95% CI, 75%-90%) compared with same-day cultures. Antigen test sensitivity peaked 4 days after illness onset at 77% (95% CI, 69%-83%). Antigen test sensitivity improved with a second antigen test 1 to 2 days later, particularly early in the infection. Six days after illness onset, antigen test result positivity was 61% (95% CI, 53%-68%). Almost all (216 [96%]) surveyed individuals reported that they would be more likely to get tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection if home antigen tests were available over the counter. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The results of this cohort study of home antigen tests suggest that sensitivity for SARS-CoV-2 was moderate compared with RT-PCR and high compared with viral culture. The results also suggest that symptomatic individuals with an initial negative home antigen test result for SARS-CoV-2 infection should test again 1 to 2 days later because test sensitivity peaked several days after illness onset and improved with repeated testing.

      3. Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is a common cause of vaginitis, but the national burden is unknown, and clinical diagnosis without diagnostic testing is often inaccurate. We aimed to calculate rates and evaluate diagnosis and treatment practices of VVC and recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC) in the United States. We used the 2018 IBM® MarketScan® Research Databases, which include health insurance claims data on outpatient visits and prescriptions for >28 million people. We used diagnosis and procedure codes to examine underlying conditions, vaginitis-related symptoms and conditions, diagnostic testing, and antibacterial and antifungal treatment among female patients with VVC. Among 12.3 million female patients in MarketScan, 149,934 (1.2%) had a diagnosis code for VVC; of those, 3.4% had RVVC. The VVC rate was highest in the South census region (14.3 per 1,000 female patients) and lowest in the West (9.9 per 1000). Over 60% of patients with VVC did not have codes for any diagnostic testing, and microscopy was the most common test type performed in 29.5%. Higher rates of diagnostic testing occurred among patients who visited an OB/GYN (53.4%) compared with a family practice or internal medicine provider (24.2%) or other healthcare provider types (31.9%); diagnostic testing rates were lowest in the South (34.0%) and highest in the Midwest (41.0%). Treatments on or in the 7 days after diagnosis included systemic fluconazole (70.0%), topical antifungal medications (19.4%), and systemic antibacterial medications (17.2%). The low frequencies of diagnostic testing for VVC and high rates of antifungal and antibacterial use suggest substantial empiric treatment, including likely overprescribing of antifungal medications and potentially unnecessary antibacterial medications. These findings support a need for improved clinical care for VVC to improve both patient outcomes and antimicrobial stewardship, particularly in the South and among non-OB/GYN providers.

    • Maternal and Child Health
      1. A comprehensive approach to improving emergency obstetric and newborn care in Kigoma, Tanzaniaexternal icon
        Dominico S, Serbanescu F, Mwakatundu N, Kasanga MG, Chaote P, Subi L, Maro G, Prasad N, Ruiz A, Mongo W, Schmidt K, Lobis S.
        Glob Health Sci Pract. 2022 Apr 28;10(2).
        INTRODUCTION: To address high levels of maternal mortality in Kigoma, Tanzania, stakeholders increased women's access to high-quality comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC) by decentralizing services from hospitals to health centers where EmONC was delivered mostly by associate clinicians and nurses. To ensure that women used services, implementers worked to continuously improve and sustain quality of care while creating demand. METHODS: Program evaluation included periodic health facility assessments, pregnancy outcome monitoring, and enhanced maternal mortality detection region-wide in program- and nonprogram-supported health facilities. RESULTS: Between 2013 and 2018, the average number of lifesaving interventions performed per facility increased from 2.8 to 4.7. The increase was higher in program-supported than nonprogram-supported health centers and dispensaries. The institutional delivery rate increased from 49% to 85%; the greatest increase occurred through using health centers (15% to 25%) and dispensaries (21% to 46%). The number of cesarean deliveries almost doubled, and the population cesarean delivery rate increased from 2.6% to 4.5%. Met need for emergency obstetric care increased from 44% to 61% while the direct obstetric case fatality rate declined from 1.8% to 1.4%. The institutional maternal mortality ratio across all health facilities declined from 303 to 174 deaths per 100,000 live births. The total stillbirth rate declined from 26.7 to 12.8 per 1,000 births. The predischarge neonatal mortality rate declined from 10.7 to 7.6 per 1,000 live births. Changes in case fatality rate and maternal mortality were driven by project-supported facilities. Changes in neonatal mortality varied depending on facility type and program support status. CONCLUSION: Decentralizing high-quality comprehensive EmONC delivered mostly by associate clinicians and nurses led to significant improvements in the availability and utilization of lifesaving care at birth in Kigoma. Dedicated efforts to sustain high-quality EmONC along with supplemental programmatic components contributed to the reduction of maternal and perinatal mortality.

      2. Improving maternal and reproductive health in Kigoma, Tanzania: A 13-year initiativeexternal icon
        Prasad N, Mwakatundu N, Dominico S, Masako P, Mongo W, Mwanshemele Y, Maro G, Subi L, Chaote P, Rusibamayila N, Ruiz A, Schmidt K, Kasanga MG, Lobis S, Serbanescu F.
        Glob Health Sci Pract. 2022 Apr 28;10(2).
        The Program to Reduce Maternal Deaths in Tanzania was a 13-year (2006-2019) effort in the Kigoma region that evolved over 3 phases to improve and sustain the availability of, access to, and demand for high-quality maternal and reproductive health care services. The Program intended to bring high-quality care closer to more communities. Cutting across the Program was the routine collection of monitoring and evaluation data. The Program achieved significant reductions in maternal and perinatal mortality, a significant increase in the modern contraceptive prevalence rate, and a significant decline in the unmet need for contraception. By 2017, it was apparent that the Program was on track to meet or surpass many of the targets established by the Government of Tanzania. Over the following 2-plus years, efforts to sustain Program interventions intensified. In April 2019, the Program fully transitioned to Government of Tanzania oversight. Four key lessons were learned during implementation that are relevant to governments, donors, and implementing organizations working to reduce maternal mortality: (1) multistakeholder partnerships are critical; (2) demand creation for services, while critical, must rest on a foundation of well-functioning and high-quality clinical services; (3) it is imperative to not only collect robust monitoring and evaluation data, but to be responsive in real time to what the data reveal; and, (4) it is necessary to develop a deliberate sustainability strategy from the start. The Program in Kigoma demonstrates that decentralizing high-quality maternal and reproductive health services in remote, low-resource settings is both feasible and effective and should be considered in places with similar contexts. By embedding the Program in the existing health system, and through efforts to build local capacity, the improvements seen in Kigoma are likely to be sustained. Follow-up evaluations are planned, providing an opportunity to more directly assess sustainability.

      3. Context matters: Strategies to improve maternal and newborn health services in Sub-Saharan Africaexternal icon
        Serbanescu F, Kruk ME, Dominico S, Nimako K.
        Glob Health Sci Pract. 2022 Apr 28;10(2).
        Identifying context-appropriate features to maximize the effectiveness of maternal and newborn health interventions in sub-Saharan Africa is a prerequisite to successful programs. Although effective evidence-based interventions at birth to save mother's and newborns' lives exist, challenges related to context-specific health system design and service quality hinder progress in reducing maternal and newborn mortality. To reduce maternal and newborn mortality, mothers should labor and deliver at a facility that can perform advanced services and provide appropriate care when complications arise. When designing and implementing maternal and newborn health programs, the local context should be centered to maximize the impact of these programs. eng

      4. Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy and mortality at delivery hospitalization - United States, 2017-2019external icon
        Ford ND, Cox S, Ko JY, Ouyang L, Romero L, Colarusso T, Ferre CD, Kroelinger CD, Hayes DK, Barfield WD.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022 Apr 29;71(17):585-591.
        Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy (HDPs), defined as prepregnancy (chronic) or pregnancy-associated hypertension, are common pregnancy complications in the United States.* HDPs are strongly associated with severe maternal complications, such as heart attack and stroke (1), and are a leading cause of pregnancy-related death in the United States.(†) CDC analyzed nationally representative data from the National Inpatient Sample to calculate the annual prevalence of HDP among delivery hospitalizations and by maternal characteristics, and the percentage of in-hospital deaths with an HDP diagnosis code documented. During 2017-2019, the prevalence of HDP among delivery hospitalizations increased from 13.3% to 15.9%. The prevalence of pregnancy-associated hypertension increased from 10.8% in 2017 to 13.0% in 2019, while the prevalence of chronic hypertension increased from 2.0% to 2.3%. Prevalence of HDP was highest among delivery hospitalizations of non-Hispanic Black or African American (Black) women, non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women, and women aged ≥35 years, residing in zip codes in the lowest median household income quartile, or delivering in hospitals in the South or the Midwest Census regions. Among deaths that occurred during delivery hospitalization, 31.6% had any HDP documented. Clinical guidance for reducing complications from HDP focuses on prompt identification and preventing progression to severe maternal complications through timely treatment (1). Recommendations for identifying and monitoring pregnant persons with hypertension include measuring blood pressure throughout pregnancy,(§) including self-monitoring. Severe complications and mortality from HDP are preventable with equitable implementation of strategies to identify and monitor persons with HDP (1) and quality improvement initiatives to improve prompt treatment and increase awareness of urgent maternal warning signs (2).

    • Occupational Safety and Health - Mining
      1. Health burdens of uranium miners will extend beyond the radiation exposure compensation act deadlineexternal icon
        Kelly-Reif K, Bertke SJ, Samet J, Sood A, Schubauer-Berigan MK.
        Occup Environ Med. 2022 May 2.

    • Parasitic Diseases
      1. Cross-sectional assessment of the association of eosinophilia with intestinal parasitic infection in U.S.-bound refugees in Thailand: Prevalent, age dependent, but of limited clinical utilityexternal icon
        Webster J, Stauffer W, Mitchell T, Lee D, O'Connell E, Weinberg M, Nutman T, Sakulrak P, Tongsukh D, Phares C.
        Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2022 Mar 7.
        The most common causes of eosinophilia globally are helminth parasites. Refugees from high endemic areas are at increased risk of infection compared with the general U.S. population. It is widely accepted that eosinophilia is a good marker for helminth infection in this population, yet its absence has little predictive value for excluding infection. During an enhanced premigration health program, the CDC offered voluntary testing and management of intestinal parasites, among other conditions, to U.S.-bound refugees in Thailand. Stool specimens were tested for Ascaris lumbricoides, Strongyloides stercoralis, Trichuris trichiura, hookworms, Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium spp., and Entamoeba histolytica using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Complete blood counts were performed to identify eosinophilia. Predictive values of eosinophilia for parasitic infections were calculated within nematode groups. Between July 9, 2012 and November 29, 2013, 2,004 participants were enrolled. About 73% were infected with at least one parasite. The overall median eosinophil count was 483 cells/μL (interquartile range [IQR] = 235-876 cells/μL). Compared with participants who did not test positive for any infection, higher eosinophil counts were observed in those infected with A. lumbricoides (RR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.1-1.4), S. stercoralis (RR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.4-2.4), Necator americanus (RR = 1.2, 95% CI = 1.1-1.4), and Ancylostoma ceylanicum (RR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.5-2.2). Eosinophil counts were higher in younger participants (2-4 years versus 65+ years: RR = 4.2, 95% CI = 2.5-6.9), and lower in female participants (RR = 0.9, 95% CI = 0.8-0.9). Sensitivities ranged from 51% to 73%, specificities from 48% to 65%, and predictive values from 4% to 98%. The predictive value of eosinophilia is poor for the most common parasitic infections, and it should not be used alone for screening refugees.

      2. End malaria faster: Taking lifesaving tools beyond "access" to "reach" all people in needexternal icon
        Emerson C, Meline J, Linn A, Wallace J, Kapella BK, Venkatesan M, Steketee R.
        Glob Health Sci Pract. 2022 Apr 28;10(2).
        To “reach the unreached” with preventive and curative malaria services, we must know which individuals and communities remain unreached and then bring tailored services from the clinic to the community and home. To effectively address malaria control and elimination worldwide, we must endeavor to “reach the unreached,” to deliver malaria services from the clinic to the community and home. Reach moves beyond access and requires that we have the data to know who are unreached, where they are located, and how to ensure they receive malaria services. Reach can only be achieved with community health workers that are adequately supported and equipped to diagnose and treat malaria in every person in their communities regardless of age. Reach incorporates equity and responsibility for service delivery more expansively. eng

      3. OBJECTIVES: Different methods detecting Plasmodium parasite infection or exposure are available, but systematic comparison of all these methodologies to predict malaria infection is lacking. Understanding the characteristics of respective tests is helpful to choose the most appropriate tests for epidemiological or research purposes. METHODS: Microscopy, RDT, and PCR was performed for 496 patients presenting with febrile illness in Dakar, Senegal in 2015. Blood samples had laboratory multiplex assays performed for IgG serology and detection of HRP2 antigen. Sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp) for different tests were calculated using PCR as the gold standard for detecting active infection. Modeling through latent class analysis (LCA) compared each test to a modeled gold standard for Se/Sp estimates. RESULTS: Against PCR, Se/Sp were 95.2%/93.7% for RDT, 90.4%/100.0% for microscopy, and 97.9%/48.1% for lab HRP2 detection. Compared to the modeled gold standard, Se of microscopy was 93.5%, and Se of RDT, PCR, and lab HRP2 detection were all greater than 99%. Se/Sp of IgG serology were substantially for detecting active infection. CONCLUSIONS: Compared to single tests, a combinatorial LCA approach of multiple biomarkers for detecting malaria infection from patient samples provides greater sensitivity and specificity for epidemiological estimates and research objectives.

    • Public Health Leadership and Management
      1. Strengthening the global One Health workforce: Veterinarians in CDC-supported field epidemiology training programsexternal icon
        Seffren V, Lowther S, Guerra M, Kinzer MH, Turcios-Ruiz R, Henderson A, Shadomy S, Baggett HC, Harris JR, Njoh E, Salyer SJ.
        One Health. 2022 ;14.
        Background: Effective prevention, detection, and response to disease threats at the human-animal-environment interface rely on a multisectoral, One Health workforce. Since 2009, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has supported Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) to train veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals (VPPs) alongside their human health counterparts in the principles of epidemiology, disease surveillance, and outbreak investigations. We aim to describe and evaluate characteristics of CDC-supported FETPs enrolling veterinarians/VPPs to understand these programs contribution to the strengthening of the global One Health workforce. Methods: We surveyed staff from CDC-supported FETPs that enroll veterinarians and VPPs regarding cohort demographics, graduate retention, and veterinary and One Health relevant curriculum inclusion. Descriptive data was analyzed using R Version 3.5.1. Results: Forty-seven FETPs reported veterinarian/VPP trainees, 68% responded to our questionnaire, and 64% reported veterinary/VPP graduates in 2017. The veterinary/VPP graduates in 2017 made up 12% of cohorts. Programs reported 74% of graduated veterinarians/VPPs retained employment within national ministries of agriculture. Common veterinary and One Health curriculum topics were specimen collection and submission (93%), zoonotic disease (90%) and biosafety practices (83%); least covered included animal/livestock production and health promotion (23%) and transboundary animal diseases (27%). Less than half (41%) of programs reported the curriculum being sufficient for veterinarians/VPPs to perform animal health specific job functions, despite most programs being linked to the ministry of agriculture (75%) and providing veterinary-specific mentorship (63%). Conclusions: Our results indicate that FETPs provide valuable training opportunities for animal health sector professionals, strengthening the epidemiology capacity within the ministries retaining them. While veterinary/VPP trainees could benefit from the inclusion of animal-specific curricula needed to fulfill their job functions, at present, FETPs continue to serve as multisectoral, competency-based, in-service training important in strengthening the global One Health workforce by jointly training the animal and human health sectors. © 2022

      2. OBJECTIVE: To identify changes in opioid prescribing across a diverse array of medical specialties following release of the 2016 CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. DESIGN: Interrupted time-series analysis using a commercial prescribing database. SUBJECTS: De-identified recipients of opioid prescriptions dispensed at U.S. retail pharmacies between 2015 to 2019. METHODS: Opioid dispensing data were obtained from the IQVIA Longitudinal Prescription (LRx) database, representing over 800 million opioid prescriptions. Monthly dispensing rates, dosage in morphine milligram equivalents (MME), and mean prescription duration were calculated across 29 medical specialties. Changes in dispensing following release of the 2016 CDC Guideline were assessed using interrupted time-series analysis. RESULTS: Declining trends in opioid dispensing accelerated in 24 of 29 specialty groups after the release of the CDC Guideline (p < 0.05 for 15 groups). Decreases were greatest among family medicine clinicians, where declines accelerated by 4.4 prescriptions per month per 100,000 persons (p = 0.005), and surgeons, where declines accelerated by 3.6 prescriptions per month per 100,000 (p = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: These results illustrate that clinicians likely to provide primary care exhibited the greatest decreases in opioid dispensing. However, specialties outside the scope of the CDC Guideline (e.g., surgery) also exhibited accelerated decreases in prescribing. These declines illustrate that specialties beyond primary care may have interest in evaluating opioid prescribing practices, supporting the importance of specialty-specific guidance that balances individualized risks and benefits of opioids and the role of non-opioid treatments.

    • Substance Use and Abuse
      1. Electronic cigarette use among adults in 14 countries: A cross-sectional studyexternal icon
        Pan L, Morton J, Mbulo L, Dean A, Ahluwalia IB.
        EClinicalMedicine. 2022 May;47:101401.
        BACKGROUND: The tobacco product landscape continues to change. No recent data for electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use have been reported for multiple countries based on nationally representative surveys. We examined prevalence of e-cigarette use and variations by sociodemographic characteristics in 14 countries using Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) data between Jan 1, 2015, and Dec 31, 2018. METHODS: GATS is a nationally representative household survey of tobacco use among adults aged ≥15 years. The analytic sample size ranged from 4347 in Senegal to 74,037 in India. Prevalence of current e-cigarette use was stratified by sociodemographic subgroups. Age-standardized prevalence was estimated according to world 2000-2025 standard population. Significant differences in adjusted prevalence across sociodemographic subgroup was determined by p value for marginal effect contrast in multivariable logistic regression models. FINDINGS: More than 50% of adults in Russia, Romania, and Ukraine and additionally more than 30% of adults in China, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Mexico, and Philippines were aware of e-cigarettes. Crude prevalence of current e-cigarette use ranged from 0.02% (95% CI 0.01%-0.04%) in India to 3.5% (2.9%-4.2%) in Russia. Prevalence was <1% in nine countries. Approximately 18.3 million adults currently used e-cigarettes across the 14 countries. Men had a significantly higher prevalence of current e-cigarette use than women in eight countries. Additionally, higher adjusted prevalence was observed in some countries among young adults aged 15‒24 years, urban residents, and adults with higher education levels and higher wealth index. INTERPRETATION: The study provides needed baseline data on e-cigarette awareness and use. Continued surveillance is essential to inform interventions and policies to prevent initiation and enhance cessation support. FUNDING: None.

      2. Objective: Clinical interventions targeting co-occurring psychiatric disorders may represent a tangible target for improving retention in buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder. The aims of this study are to characterize receipt of antidepressants among patients receiving buprenorphine treatment and to examine the association between receiving antidepressants and retention in treatment. Methods: A retrospective cohort design was used. Using data from a large national commercially insured population, the cohort was selected as adults aged 18 to 64 years who initiated buprenorphine treatment in outpatient settings between January 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. Receiving antidepressants was identified as prescription fills in the period between 6 months prior to buprenorphine initiation and during buprenorphine treatment. Buprenorphine discontinuation was defined as no buprenorphine prescription supply for at least 60 days following the end of the last buprenorphine prescription. Results: The cohort consisted of 11,619 individuals who initiated buprenorphine treatment and met our inclusion criteria. The cohort had a mean age of 36.3 years, 63% were male, and 55.7% received at least 1 antidepressant prescription at any time between 6 months prior to buprenorphine initiation and during treatment. Compared with those receiving no antidepressants at all, individuals starting antidepressants during buprenorphine treatment had an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for treatment discontinuation of 0.72 (95% CI = 0.67-0.77), while receiving antidepressants only prior to buprenorphine initiation was associated with an increased risk of treatment discontinuation (HR = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.28-1.53). Conclusions: Findings suggest that receiving antidepressants during buprenorphine treatment is associated with improved retention. This highlights the critical importance of screening for and treating mental disorders concomitantly with treatment of opioid use disorder.

      3. Protective environments, health, and substance use among transgender and gender expansive youthexternal icon
        Kennedy KS, Harper CR, Li J, Suarez NA, Johns MM.
        LGBT Health. 2022 May 3.
        Purpose: Transgender and gender expansive (TGE) youth experience elevated risk for substance use and other health inequities compared to cisgender peers. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between protective environments-perceived community tolerance, perceived family support, and housing stability-and recent binge drinking, lifetime high-risk substance use (HRSU; cocaine, methamphetamines, and/or heroin), and self-rated health in a sample of TGE youth. Methods: This secondary analysis of 1567 TGE youth aged 13-24 years draws from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2018 web-based Survey of Today's Adolescent Relationships and Transitions, which used a nonprobabilistic recruiting strategy via social media. Logistic regression was used to test the associations between protective environments and substance use and health outcomes. Results: Overall, 28.1% of participants reported that people who lived near them were tolerant of transgender people, 32.8% reported that their family was at least somewhat supportive of their TGE identity, and 77.0% were stably housed. In the logistic regression models, community tolerance and housing stability were associated with lower odds of self-rated poor health. Housing stability was associated with lower odds of recent binge drinking and lifetime HRSU. Conclusion: Perceived community tolerance and housing stability were associated with several health outcomes among TGE youth in this study. Protective factors, including safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments, are critical to youth health and wellbeing. The findings in this study highlight the need for prevention strategies to promote protective environments and reduce known substance use and overall health inequities among TGE youth.

      4. Associations between microbial communities and key chemical constituents in U.S. domestic moist snuffexternal icon
        Tyxobert RE, Rivera AJ, Satten GA, Keong LM, Kuklenyik P, Lee GE, Lawler TS, Kimbrell JB, Stanfill SB, Valentin-Blasini L, Watson CH.
        PLoS One. 2022 ;17(5):e0267104.
        BACKGROUND: Smokeless tobacco (ST) products are widely used throughout the world and contribute to morbidity and mortality in users through an increased risk of cancers and oral diseases. Bacterial populations in ST contribute to taste, but their presence can also create carcinogenic, Tobacco-Specific N-nitrosamines (TSNAs). Previous studies of microbial communities in tobacco products lacked chemistry data (e.g. nicotine, TSNAs) to characterize the products and identify associations between carcinogen levels and taxonomic groups. This study uses statistical analysis to identify potential associations between microbial and chemical constituents in moist snuff products. METHODS: We quantitatively analyzed 38 smokeless tobacco products for TSNAs using liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), and nicotine using gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Moisture content determinations (by weight loss on drying), and pH measurements were also performed. We used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to characterize the microbial composition, and additionally measured total 16S bacterial counts using a quantitative PCR assay. RESULTS: Our findings link chemical constituents to their associated bacterial populations. We found core taxonomic groups often varied between manufacturers. When manufacturer and flavor were controlled for as confounding variables, the genus Lactobacillus was found to be positively associated with TSNAs. while the genera Enteractinococcus and Brevibacterium were negatively associated. Three genera (Corynebacterium, Brachybacterium, and Xanthomonas) were found to be negatively associated with nicotine concentrations. Associations were also investigated separately for products from each manufacturer. Products from one manufacturer had a positive association between TSNAs and bacteria in the genus Marinilactibacillus. Additionally, we found that TSNA levels in many products were lower compared with previously published chemical surveys. Finally, we observed consistent results when either relative or absolute abundance data were analyzed, while results from analyses of log-ratio-transformed abundances were divergent.

    • Zoonotic and Vectorborne Diseases
      1. Viral RNA and infectious virus in mucosal specimens from guinea pigs modeling early phases of lethal and non-lethal Lassa feverexternal icon
        Welch SR, Genzer SC, Coleman-McCray JD, Harmon JR, Scholte FE, Montgomery JM, Spiropoulou CF, Spengler JR.
        Emerg Microbes Infect. 2022 Apr 28:1-17.
        ABSTRACTLassa fever (LF) is endemic to broad regions of West Africa. Infection with Lassa virus (LASV), the etiologic agent of LF, results in a spectrum of clinical signs in humans, including severe and lethal hemorrhagic disease. Person-to-person transmission occurs through direct contact with body fluids or contaminated bedding and clothing. To investigate transmission risk in acute LASV infection, we evaluated viral RNA and infectious virus obtained from conjunctival, nasal, oral, genital, and rectal swab specimens from guinea pigs modeling lethal and non-lethal LF. Viral RNA and infectious virus were detected in all specimen types beginning 8 days post infection, prior to onset of fever. In the pre-clinical and clinical period, virus was isolated from a subset of nasal, oral, genital, and rectal swabs, and from all conjunctival swabs. Overall, conjunctival and nasal specimens most frequently yielded infectious virus. These findings indicate mucosal transmission risk based on virus isolation from various sites early in infection and support potential utility of minimally invasive specimen evaluation by RT-qPCR for LASV diagnostics.

      2. United Against Rabies Forum: The One Health concept at workexternal icon
        Tidman R, Thumbi SM, Wallace R, de Balogh K, Iwar V, Dieuzy-Labaye I, Song J, Shadomy S, Qiu Y, Torres G, Hutchison J, Abela-Ridder B, Bote K, Beeching S, Cronin K, Trees A.
        Front Public Health. 2022 ;10:854419.
        Human deaths from rabies are preventable and can be eliminated by applying a systematic One Health approach. However, this ancient disease still threatens the lives of millions of people in up to 150 countries and kills an estimated 59, 000 people every year. Rabies today is largely a disease of poverty, almost always linked to dog bites, with most deaths occurring in neglected communities in Africa and Asia. The disease places an immense economic burden on its victims, a cost that far outweighs the investment needed to control it. A global framework for rabies elimination in humans is set out in Zero by 30: The Global Strategic Plan to end human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030. Despite the existence of proven control strategies and agreement on the path to eliminating human rabies deaths, mortality numbers from rabies remain high, and COVID-19 has set back efforts even further. But COVID-19 has also highlighted the value of a One Health approach to zoonotic disease and pandemic prevention. Rabies control programs offer a practical route to building One Health capacities that can also address other zoonotic threats, including those with pandemic potential. The United Against Rabies Forum aims to accelerate progress on rabies elimination while applying a One Health approach. The Forum promotes cross-sector collaboration among stakeholders and supports countries in their rabies elimination efforts. Increased political engagement and resource mobilization, both internationally and nationally, will be needed to achieve global rabies goals and can also make One Health implementation a reality.

DISCLAIMER: Articles listed in the CDC Science Clips are selected by the Stephen B. Thacker CDC Library to provide current awareness of the public health literature. An article's inclusion does not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor does it imply endorsement of the article's methods or findings. CDC and DHHS assume no responsibility for the factual accuracy of the items presented. The selection, omission, or content of items does not imply any endorsement or other position taken by CDC or DHHS. Opinion, findings and conclusions expressed by the original authors of items included in the Clips, or persons quoted therein, are strictly their own and are in no way meant to represent the opinion or views of CDC or DHHS. References to publications, news sources, and non-CDC Websites are provided solely for informational purposes and do not imply endorsement by CDC or DHHS.

Page last reviewed: May 23, 2022, 12:00 AM