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Mortality and Transmissibility Patterns of the 1957 Influenza Pandemic in Maricopa County, Arizona

Description

Background: While prior studies have quantified the mortality burden of the 1957 H2N2 influenza pandemic at broad geographic regions in the United States, little is known about the pandemic impact at a local level. Here we focus on analyzing the transmissibility

Background: While prior studies have quantified the mortality burden of the 1957 H2N2 influenza pandemic at broad geographic regions in the United States, little is known about the pandemic impact at a local level. Here we focus on analyzing the transmissibility and mortality burden of this pandemic in Arizona, a setting where the dry climate was promoted as reducing respiratory illness transmission yet tuberculosis prevalence was high.

Methods: Using archival death certificates from 1954 to 1961, we quantified the age-specific seasonal patterns, excess-mortality rates, and transmissibility patterns of the 1957 H2N2 pandemic in Maricopa County, Arizona. By applying cyclical Serfling linear regression models to weekly mortality rates, the excess-mortality rates due to respiratory and all-causes were estimated for each age group during the pandemic period. The reproduction number was quantified from weekly data using a simple growth rate method and assumed generation intervals of 3 and 4 days. Local newspaper articles published during 1957–1958 were also examined.

Results: Excess-mortality rates varied between waves, age groups, and causes of death, but overall remained low. From October 1959-June 1960, the most severe wave of the pandemic, the absolute excess-mortality rate based on respiratory deaths per 10,000 population was 16.59 in the elderly (≥65 years). All other age groups exhibit very low excess-mortality and the typical U-shaped age-pattern was absent. However, the standardized mortality ratio was greatest (4.06) among children and young adolescents (5–14 years) from October 1957-March 1958, based on mortality rates of respiratory deaths. Transmissibility was greatest during the same 1957–1958 period, when the mean reproduction number was estimated at 1.08–1.11, assuming 3- or 4-day generation intervals with exponential or fixed distributions.

Conclusions: Maricopa County exhibited very low mortality impact associated with the 1957 influenza pandemic. Understanding the relatively low excess-mortality rates and transmissibility in Maricopa County during this historic pandemic may help public health officials prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks of influenza.

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Created

Date Created
2016-08-11

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The Influence of Geographic and Climate Factors on the Timing of Dengue Epidemics in Perú, 1994-2008

Description

Background: Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that affects between 50 and 100 million people each year. Increasing our understanding of the heterogeneous transmission patterns of dengue at different spatial scales could have considerable public health value by guiding intervention strategies.

Methods: Based

Background: Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that affects between 50 and 100 million people each year. Increasing our understanding of the heterogeneous transmission patterns of dengue at different spatial scales could have considerable public health value by guiding intervention strategies.

Methods: Based on the weekly number of dengue cases in Perú by province, we investigated the association between dengue incidence during the period 1994-2008 and demographic and climate factors across geographic regions of the country.

Results: Our findings support the presence of significant differences in the timing of dengue epidemics between jungle and coastal regions, with differences significantly associated with the timing of the seasonal cycle of mean temperature.

Conclusions: Dengue is highly persistent in jungle areas of Perú where epidemics peak most frequently around March when rainfall is abundant. Differences in the timing of dengue epidemics in jungle and coastal regions are significantly associated with the seasonal temperature cycle. Our results suggest that dengue is frequently imported into coastal regions through infective sparks from endemic jungle areas and/or cities of other neighboring endemic countries, where propitious environmental conditions promote year-round mosquito breeding sites. If jungle endemic areas are responsible for multiple dengue introductions into coastal areas, our findings suggest that curtailing the transmission of dengue in these most persistent areas could lead to significant reductions in dengue incidence in coastal areas where dengue incidence typically reaches low levels during the dry season.

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Created

Date Created
2011-06-08

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The Influence of Climatic Conditions on the Transmission Dynamics of the 2009 A/H1N1 Influenza Pandemic in Chile

Description

Background: The role of demographic factors, climatic conditions, school cycles, and connectivity patterns in shaping the spatio-temporal dynamics of pandemic influenza is not clearly understood. Here we analyzed the spatial, age and temporal evolution of the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic in

Background: The role of demographic factors, climatic conditions, school cycles, and connectivity patterns in shaping the spatio-temporal dynamics of pandemic influenza is not clearly understood. Here we analyzed the spatial, age and temporal evolution of the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic in Chile, a southern hemisphere country covering a long and narrow strip comprising latitudes 17°S to 56°S.

Methods: We analyzed the dissemination patterns of the 2009 A/H1N1 pandemic across 15 regions of Chile based on daily hospitalizations for severe acute respiratory disease and laboratory confirmed A/H1N1 influenza infection from 01-May to 31-December, 2009. We explored the association between timing of pandemic onset and peak pandemic activity and several geographical and demographic indicators, school vacations, climatic factors, and international passengers. We also estimated the reproduction number (R) based on the growth rate of the exponential pandemic phase by date of symptoms onset, estimated using maximum likelihood methods.

Results: While earlier pandemic onset was associated with larger population size, there was no association with connectivity, demographic, school or climatic factors. In contrast, there was a latitudinal gradient in peak pandemic timing, representing a 16-39-day lag in disease activity from the southern regions relative to the northernmost region (P < 0.001). Geographical differences in latitude of Chilean regions, maximum temperature and specific humidity explained 68.5% of the variability in peak timing (P = 0.01). In addition, there was a decreasing gradient in reproduction number from south to north Chile (P < 0.0001). The regional mean R estimates were 1.6-2.0, 1.3-1.5, and 1.2-1.3 for southern, central and northern regions, respectively, which were not affected by the winter vacation period.

Conclusions: There was a lag in the period of most intense 2009 pandemic influenza activity following a South to North traveling pattern across regions of Chile, significantly associated with geographical differences in minimum temperature and specific humidity. The latitudinal gradient in timing of pandemic activity was accompanied by a gradient in reproduction number (P < 0.0001). Intensified surveillance strategies in colder and drier southern regions could lead to earlier detection of pandemic influenza viruses and improved control outcomes.

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Created

Date Created
2012-11-13

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Impact of Antiviral Treatment and Hospital Admission Delay on Risk of Death Associated With 2009 A/H1N1 Pandemic Influenza in Mexico

Description

Background: Increasing our understanding of the factors affecting the severity of the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic in different regions of the world could lead to improved clinical practice and mitigation strategies for future influenza pandemics. Even though a number of studies

Background: Increasing our understanding of the factors affecting the severity of the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic in different regions of the world could lead to improved clinical practice and mitigation strategies for future influenza pandemics. Even though a number of studies have shed light into the risk factors associated with severe outcomes of 2009 A/H1N1 influenza infections in different populations (e.g., [1-5]), analyses of the determinants of mortality risk spanning multiple pandemic waves and geographic regions are scarce. Between-country differences in the mortality burden of the 2009 pandemic could be linked to differences in influenza case management, underlying population health, or intrinsic differences in disease transmission [6]. Additional studies elucidating the determinants of disease severity globally are warranted to guide prevention efforts in future influenza pandemics.

In Mexico, the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic was characterized by a three-wave pattern occurring in the spring, summer, and fall of 2009 with substantial geographical heterogeneity [7]. A recent study suggests that Mexico experienced high excess mortality burden during the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic relative to other countries [6]. However, an assessment of potential factors that contributed to the relatively high pandemic death toll in Mexico are lacking. Here, we fill this gap by analyzing a large series of laboratory-confirmed A/H1N1 influenza cases, hospitalizations, and deaths monitored by the Mexican Social Security medical system during April 1 through December 31, 2009 in Mexico. In particular, we quantify the association between disease severity, hospital admission delays, and neuraminidase inhibitor use by demographic characteristics, pandemic wave, and geographic regions of Mexico.

Methods: We analyzed a large series of laboratory-confirmed pandemic A/H1N1 influenza cases from a prospective surveillance system maintained by the Mexican Social Security system, April-December 2009. We considered a spectrum of disease severity encompassing outpatient visits, hospitalizations, and deaths, and recorded demographic and geographic information on individual patients. We assessed the impact of neuraminidase inhibitor treatment and hospital admission delay (≤ > 2 days after disease onset) on the risk of death by multivariate logistic regression.

Results: Approximately 50% of all A/H1N1-positive patients received antiviral medication during the Spring and Summer 2009 pandemic waves in Mexico while only 9% of A/H1N1 cases received antiviral medications during the fall wave (P < 0.0001). After adjustment for age, gender, and geography, antiviral treatment significantly reduced the risk of death (OR = 0.52 (95% CI: 0.30, 0.90)) while longer hospital admission delays increased the risk of death by 2.8-fold (95% CI: 2.25, 3.41).

Conclusions: Our findings underscore the potential impact of decreasing admission delays and increasing antiviral use to mitigate the mortality burden of future influenza pandemics.

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Created

Date Created
2012-04-20

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L2 Writing Practice: Game Enjoyment as a Key to Engagement

Description

The Writing Pal (W-Pal) is an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) designed to provide students with explicit writing strategy instruction and practice. W-Pal includes a suite of educational games developed to increase writing engagement and provide opportunities to practice writing strategies.

The Writing Pal (W-Pal) is an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) designed to provide students with explicit writing strategy instruction and practice. W-Pal includes a suite of educational games developed to increase writing engagement and provide opportunities to practice writing strategies. In this study, first (L1) (n = 26) and second (L2) language (n = 16) students interacted with W-Pal over eight sessions. We collected students’ daily self- reports of engagement, motivation, and perceptions of performance, as well as their reported game attitudes (difficulty, helpfulness for learning, and enjoyment). Results indicated that, for all students, interactions with W-Pal led to increases in writing performance and more positive attitudes towards the system (engagement, motivation, and perceived performance). For L1 students, game difficulty was a significant predictor of boredom; however, for the L2 students, game enjoyment predicted both their motivation and perceived writing improvement. Notably, the L2 students’ game ratings accounted for more variance in these daily reports than did the ratings of L1 students. This study suggests that L1 and L2 students experience similar benefits offered by game-based strategy practice in an ITS. Further, the link between game attitudes and overall daily perceptions of training may be stronger for L2 students than L1 students.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2014-06-01

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A Data-Driven Mathematical Model of CA-MRSA Transmission Among Age Groups: Evaluating the Effect of Control Interventions

Description

Community associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) has become a major cause of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) in the US. We developed an age-structured compartmental model to study the spread of CA-MRSA at the population level and assess the

Community associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) has become a major cause of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) in the US. We developed an age-structured compartmental model to study the spread of CA-MRSA at the population level and assess the effect of control intervention strategies. We used Monte-Carlo Markov Chain (MCMC) techniques to parameterize our model using monthly time series data on SSTIs incidence in children (≤19 years) during January 2004 -December 2006 in Maricopa County, Arizona. Our model-based forecast for the period January 2007–December 2008 also provided a good fit to data. We also carried out an uncertainty and sensitivity analysis on the control reproduction number, Rc which we estimated at 1.3 (95% CI [1.2,1.4]) based on the model fit to data. Using our calibrated model, we evaluated the effect of typical intervention strategies namely reducing the contact rate of infected individuals owing to awareness of infection and decolonization strategies targeting symptomatic infected individuals on both and the long-term disease dynamics. We also evaluated the impact of hypothetical decolonization strategies targeting asymptomatic colonized individuals. We found that strategies focused on infected individuals were not capable of achieving disease control when implemented alone or in combination. In contrast, our results suggest that decolonization strategies targeting the pediatric population colonized with CA-MRSA have the potential of achieving disease elimination.

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Created

Date Created
2013-11-21

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Multiple Trigger Points for Quantifying Heat-Health Impacts: New Evidence From a Hot Climate

Description

Background: Extreme heat is a public health challenge. The scarcity of directly comparable studies on the association of heat with morbidity and mortality and the inconsistent identification of threshold temperatures for severe impacts hampers the development of comprehensive strategies aimed

Background: Extreme heat is a public health challenge. The scarcity of directly comparable studies on the association of heat with morbidity and mortality and the inconsistent identification of threshold temperatures for severe impacts hampers the development of comprehensive strategies aimed at reducing adverse heat-health events.

Objectives: This quantitative study was designed to link temperature with mortality and morbidity events in Maricopa County, Arizona, USA, with a focus on the summer season.
Methods: Using Poisson regression models that controlled for temporal confounders, we assessed daily temperature–health associations for a suite of mortality and morbidity events, diagnoses, and temperature metrics. Minimum risk temperatures, increasing risk temperatures, and excess risk temperatures were statistically identified to represent different “trigger points” at which heat-health intervention measures might be activated.

Results: We found significant and consistent associations of high environmental temperature with all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, heat-related mortality, and mortality resulting from conditions that are consequences of heat and dehydration. Hospitalizations and emergency department visits due to heat-related conditions and conditions associated with consequences of heat and dehydration were also strongly associated with high temperatures, and there were several times more of those events than there were deaths. For each temperature metric, we observed large contrasts in trigger points (up to 22°C) across multiple health events and diagnoses.

Conclusion: Consideration of multiple health events and diagnoses together with a comprehensive approach to identifying threshold temperatures revealed large differences in trigger points for possible interventions related to heat. Providing an array of heat trigger points applicable for different end-users may improve the public health response to a problem that is projected to worsen in the coming decades.

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Created

Date Created
2015-07-28

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The Age Distribution of Mortality Due to Influenza: Pandemic and Peri-Pandemic

Description

Background:
Pandemic influenza is said to 'shift mortality' to younger age groups; but also to spare a subpopulation of the elderly population. Does one of these effects dominate? Might this have important ramifications?

Methods: We estimated age-specific excess mortality rates for all-years

Background:
Pandemic influenza is said to 'shift mortality' to younger age groups; but also to spare a subpopulation of the elderly population. Does one of these effects dominate? Might this have important ramifications?

Methods: We estimated age-specific excess mortality rates for all-years for which data were available in the 20th century for Australia, Canada, France, Japan, the UK, and the USA for people older than 44 years of age. We modeled variation with age, and standardized estimates to allow direct comparison across age groups and countries. Attack rate data for four pandemics were assembled.

Results: For nearly all seasons, an exponential model characterized mortality data extremely well. For seasons of emergence and a variable number of seasons following, however, a subpopulation above a threshold age invariably enjoyed reduced mortality. 'Immune escape', a stepwise increase in mortality among the oldest elderly, was observed a number of seasons after both the A(H2N2) and A(H3N2) pandemics. The number of seasons from emergence to escape varied by country. For the latter pandemic, mortality rates in four countries increased for younger age groups but only in the season following that of emergence. Adaptation to both emergent viruses was apparent as a progressive decrease in mortality rates, which, with two exceptions, was seen only in younger age groups. Pandemic attack rate variation with age was estimated to be similar across four pandemics with very different mortality impact.

Conclusions: In all influenza pandemics of the 20th century, emergent viruses resembled those that had circulated previously within the lifespan of then-living people. Such individuals were relatively immune to the emergent strain, but this immunity waned with mutation of the emergent virus. An immune subpopulation complicates and may invalidate vaccine trials. Pandemic influenza does not 'shift' mortality to younger age groups; rather, the mortality level is reset by the virulence of the emerging virus and is moderated by immunity of past experience. In this study, we found that after immune escape, older age groups showed no further mortality reduction, despite their being the principal target of conventional influenza vaccines. Vaccines incorporating variants of pandemic viruses seem to provide little benefit to those previously immune. If attack rates truly are similar across pandemics, it must be the case that immunity to the pandemic virus does not prevent infection, but only mitigates the consequences.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2012-12-12

Accounting for Behavioral Responses During a Flu Epidemic Using Home Television Viewing

Description

Background:
Theory suggests that individual behavioral responses impact the spread of flu-like illnesses, but this has been difficult to empirically characterize. Social distancing is an important component of behavioral response, though analyses have been limited by a lack of behavioral

Background:
Theory suggests that individual behavioral responses impact the spread of flu-like illnesses, but this has been difficult to empirically characterize. Social distancing is an important component of behavioral response, though analyses have been limited by a lack of behavioral data. Our objective is to use media data to characterize social distancing behavior in order to empirically inform explanatory and predictive epidemiological models.

Methods:
We use data on variation in home television viewing as a proxy for variation in time spent in the home and, by extension, contact. This behavioral proxy is imperfect but appealing since information on a rich and representative sample is collected using consistent techniques across time and most major cities. We study the April-May 2009 outbreak of A/H1N1 in Central Mexico and examine the dynamic behavioral response in aggregate and contrast the observed patterns of various demographic subgroups. We develop and calibrate a dynamic behavioral model of disease transmission informed by the proxy data on daily variation in contact rates and compare it to a standard (non-adaptive) model and a fixed effects model that crudely captures behavior.

Results:
We find that after a demonstrable initial behavioral response (consistent with social distancing) at the onset of the outbreak, there was attenuation in the response before the conclusion of the public health intervention. We find substantial differences in the behavioral response across age subgroups and socioeconomic levels. We also find that the dynamic behavioral and fixed effects transmission models better account for variation in new confirmed cases, generate more stable estimates of the baseline rate of transmission over time and predict the number of new cases over a short horizon with substantially less error.

Conclusions:
Results suggest that A/H1N1 had an innate transmission potential greater than previously thought but this was masked by behavioral responses. Observed differences in behavioral response across demographic groups indicate a potential benefit from targeting social distancing outreach efforts.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2015-01-23

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Epidemiological Characteristics and Underlying Risk Factors for Mortality During the Autumn 2009 Pandemic Wave in Mexico

Description

Background: Elucidating the role of the underlying risk factors for severe outcomes of the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic could be crucial to define priority risk groups in resource-limited settings in future pandemics.

Methods: We use individual-level clinical data on a large series of

Background: Elucidating the role of the underlying risk factors for severe outcomes of the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic could be crucial to define priority risk groups in resource-limited settings in future pandemics.

Methods: We use individual-level clinical data on a large series of ARI (acute respiratory infection) hospitalizations from a prospective surveillance system of the Mexican Social Security medical system to analyze clinical features at presentation, admission delays, selected comorbidities and receipt of seasonal vaccine on the risk of A/H1N1-related death. We considered ARI hospitalizations and inpatient-deaths, and recorded demographic, geographic, and medical information on individual patients during August-December, 2009.

Results: Seasonal influenza vaccination was associated with a reduced risk of death among A/H1N1 inpatients (OR = 0.43 (95% CI: 0.25, 0.74)) after adjustment for age, gender, geography, antiviral treatment, admission delays, comorbidities and medical conditions. However, this result should be interpreted with caution as it could have been affected by factors not directly measured in our study. Moreover, the effect of antiviral treatment against A/H1N1 inpatient death did not reach statistical significance (OR = 0.56 (95% CI: 0.29, 1.10)) probably because only 8.9% of A/H1N1 inpatients received antiviral treatment. Moreover, diabetes (OR = 1.6) and immune suppression (OR = 2.3) were statistically significant risk factors for death whereas asthmatic persons (OR = 0.3) or pregnant women (OR = 0.4) experienced a reduced fatality rate among A/H1N1 inpatients. We also observed an increased risk of death among A/H1N1 inpatients with admission delays >2 days after symptom onset (OR = 2.7). Similar associations were also observed for A/H1N1-negative inpatients.

Conclusions: Geographical variation in identified medical risk factors including prevalence of diabetes and immune suppression may in part explain between-country differences in pandemic mortality burden. Furthermore, access to care including hospitalization without delay and antiviral treatment and are also important factors, as well as vaccination coverage with the 2008–09 trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2012-07-16