Measles hotspots and epidemiological connectivity.

Penn State University, Biology Department and Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, University Park, PA, USA.
Epidemiology and Infection (Impact Factor: 2.49). 09/2010; 138(9):1308-16. DOI: 10.1017/S0950268809991385
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Though largely controlled in developed countries, measles remains a major global public health issue. Regional and local transmission patterns are rooted in human mixing behaviour across spatial scales. Identifying spatial interactions that contribute to recurring epidemics helps define and predict outbreak patterns. Using spatially explicit reported cases from measles outbreaks in Niger, we explored how regional variations in movement and contact patterns relate to patterns of measles incidence. Because we expected to see lower rates of re-introductions in small, compared to large, populations, we measured the population-size corrected proportion of weeks with zero cases across districts to understand relative rates of measles re-introductions. We found that critical elements of spatial disease dynamics in Niger are agricultural seasonality, transnational contact clusters, and roads networks that facilitate host movement and connectivity. These results highlight the need to understand local patterns of seasonality, demographic characteristics, and spatial heterogeneities to inform vaccination policy.

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    ABSTRACT: Measles cases may cluster in densely populated urban centers in sub-Saharan Africa as susceptible individuals share spatially dependent risk factors and may cluster among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected children despite high vaccination coverage. Children hospitalized with measles at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka, Zambia were enrolled in the study. The township of residence was recorded on the questionnaire and mapped; SaTScan software was used for cluster detection. A spatial-temporal scan statistic was used to investigate clustering of measles in children hospitalized during an endemic period (1998 to 2002) and during the 2010 measles outbreak in Lusaka, Zambia. Three sequential and spatially contiguous clusters of measles cases were identified during the 2010 outbreak but no clustering among HIV-infected children was identified. In contrast, a space-time cluster among HIV-infected children was identified during the endemic period. This cluster occurred prior to the introduction of intensive measles control efforts and during a period between seasonal peaks in measles incidence. Prediction and early identification of spatial clusters of measles will be critical to achieving measles elimination. HIV infection may contribute to spatial clustering of measles cases in some epidemiological settings.
    BMC Infectious Diseases 12/2015; 15(1):842. DOI:10.1186/s12879-015-0842-y · 2.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives To describe the variation in household crowding and social mixing patterns in the African meningitis belt and to assess any association with self-reported recent respiratory symptoms. Methods In 2010, the African Meningococcal Carriage Consortium (MenAfriCar) conducted cross-sectional surveys in urban and rural areas of seven countries. The number of household members, rooms per household, attendance at social gatherings and meeting places were recorded. Associations with self-reported recent respiratory symptoms were analysed by univariate and multivariate regression models. Results The geometric mean people per room ranged from 1.9 to 2.8 between Ghana and Ethiopia respectively. Attendance at different types of social gatherings was variable by country, ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 per week. Those who attended 3 or more different types of social gatherings a week (frequent mixers) were more likely to be older, male (OR 1.27, p<0.001) and live in urban areas (OR 1.45, p<0.001). Frequent mixing and young age, but not increased household crowding, were associated with higher odds of self-reported respiratory symptoms (aOR 2.2, p<0.001 and OR 2.8, p<0.001 respectively). A limitation is that we did not measure school and workplace attendance. Conclusion There are substantial variations in household crowding and social mixing patterns across the African meningitis belt. This study finds a clear association between age, increased social mixing and respiratory symptoms. It lays the foundation for designing and implementing more detailed studies of social contact patterns in this region.
    PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e101129. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0101129 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reactive vaccination has recently been adopted as an outbreak response tool for cholera and other infectious diseases. Owing to the global shortage of oral cholera vaccine, health officials must quickly decide who and where to distribute limited vaccine. Targeted vaccination in transmission hotspots (i.e. areas with high transmission efficiency) may be a potential approach to efficiently allocate vaccine, however its effectiveness will likely be context-dependent. We compared strategies for allocating vaccine across multiple areas with heterogeneous transmission efficiency. We constructed metapopulation models of a cholera-like disease and compared simulated epidemics where: vaccine is targeted at areas of high or low transmission efficiency, where vaccine is distributed across the population, and where no vaccine is used. We find that connectivity between populations, transmission efficiency, vaccination timing and the amount of vaccine available all shape the performance of different allocation strategies. In highly connected settings (e.g. cities) when vaccinating early in the epidemic, targeting limited vaccine at transmission hotspots is often optimal. Once vaccination is delayed, targeting the hotspot is rarely optimal, and strategies that either spread vaccine between areas or those targeted at non-hotspots will avert more cases. Although hotspots may be an intuitive outbreak control target, we show that, in many situations, the hotspot-epidemic proceeds so fast that hotspot-targeted reactive vaccination will prevent relatively few cases, and vaccination shared across areas where transmission can be sustained is often best.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 01/2015; 282(1798). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.1341 · 5.29 Impact Factor

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