Alexander Watts

Alexander Watts
St. Michael's Hospital | SMH · Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute

About

43
Publications
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3,180
Citations

Publications

Publications (43)
Article
Full-text available
Late in 2020, two genetically-distinct clusters of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with mutations of biological concern were reported, one in the United Kingdom and one in South Africa. Using a combination of data from routine surveillance, genomic sequencing and international travel we track the international dispersal...
Article
Full-text available
Late in 2020, two genetically-distinct clusters of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with mutations of biological concern were reported, one in the United Kingdom and one in South Africa. Using a combination of data from routine surveillance, genomic sequencing and international travel we track the international dispersal...
Preprint
Full-text available
The emergence of the early COVID-19 epidemic in the United States (U.S.) went largely undetected, due to a lack of adequate testing and mitigation efforts. The city of New Orleans, Louisiana experienced one of the earliest and fastest accelerating outbreaks, coinciding with the annual Mardi Gras festival, which went ahead without precautions. To ga...
Article
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Measles incidence in the United States has grown dramatically, as vaccination rates are declining and transmission internationally is on the rise. Because imported cases are necessary drivers of outbreaks in non-endemic settings, predicting measles outbreaks in the US depends on predicting imported cases. To assess the predictability of imported me...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives To assess changes in the mobility of staff between nursing homes in Ontario, Canada before and after enactment of public policy restricting staff from working at multiple homes. Design Pre-post observational study. Setting and Participants 623 nursing homes in Ontario, Canada between March 2020 and June 2020 Methods We used GPS locati...
Preprint
Measles incidence in the United States has grown dramatically, as vaccination rates are declining and transmission internationally is on the rise. Measles virus is highly infectious and can cause severe symptoms and even death. Because imported cases are necessary drivers of outbreaks in non-endemic settings, predicting measles outbreaks in the US...
Article
Full-text available
The UK’s COVID-19 epidemic during early 2020 was one of world’s largest and unusually well represented by virus genomic sampling. Here we reveal the fine-scale genetic lineage structure of this epidemic through analysis of 50,887 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, including 26,181 from the UK sampled throughout the country’s first wave of infection. Using large-s...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objectives To assess changes in the mobility of staff between long-term care homes in Ontario, Canada before and after enactment of public policy restricting staff from working at multiple homes. Design Pre-post observational study. Setting and Participants 623 long-term cares homes in Ontario, Canada between March 2020 and June 2020. Methods We...
Preprint
Full-text available
The UK’s COVID-19 epidemic during early 2020 was one of world’s largest and unusually well represented by virus genomic sampling. Here we reveal the fine-scale genetic lineage structure of this epidemic through analysis of 50,887 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, including 26,181 from the UK sampled throughout the country’s first wave of infection. Using large-s...
Article
Full-text available
A significant rise of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Arizona in June 2020 prompted the need to evaluate potential dispersion to other regions in the United States. We evaluate the potential for domestic dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 from Arizona using mobile device-location and scheduled flights data.
Article
Full-text available
The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States in January 2020, with subsequent COVID-19 outbreaks detected in all 50 states by early March. To uncover the sources of SARS-CoV-2 introductions and patterns of spread within the United States, we sequenced nine viral genomes from early reported...
Article
Background: Increased connectivity via air travel can facilitate the geographic spread of infectious diseases. The number of travelers alone does not explain risk; passenger origin and destination will also influence risk of disease introduction and spread. We described trends in international air passenger numbers and connectivity between countri...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Increased connectivity via air travel can facilitate the geographic spread of infectious diseases. The number of travelers alone does not explain risk; passenger origin and destination will also influence risk of disease introduction and spread. We described trends in international air passenger numbers and connectivity between countrie...
Article
Full-text available
Since its emergence and detection in Wuhan, China in late 2019, the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has spread to nearly every country around the world, resulting in hundreds of thousands of infections to date. The virus was first detected in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States in January, 2020, with subsequent COVID-19 outbreaks detecte...
Article
Full-text available
The global outbreak caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been declared a pandemic by the WHO. As the number of imported SARS-CoV-2 cases is on the rise in Brazil, we use incidence and historical air travel data to estimate the most important routes of importation into the country.
Preprint
Full-text available
Highlight The global outbreak caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been declared a pandemic by the WHO. As the number of imported SARS-CoV-2 cases is on the rise in Brazil, we use incidence and historical air travel data to estimate the most important routes of importation into the country.
Article
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Objective: To estimate the potential risk and geographic range of Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) spread within and beyond China from January through to April, 2020. Design: Travel network-based modelling study. Setting and participants: General population travelling from Wuhan and other high-risk cities in China. Main outcome measures: Based...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic began in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and continues to spread globally, with exported cases confirmed in 28 countries at the time of writing. During the interval between February 19 and 23, 2020, Iran reported its first 43 cases with eight deaths. Three exported cases originating in Iran were identified...
Preprint
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Background: A novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) emerged in Wuhan City, China, at the end of 2019 and has caused an outbreak of human-to-human transmission with a Public Health Emergency of International Concern declared by the World Health Organization on January 30, 2020. Aim: We aimed to estimate the potential risk and geographic range of Wuhan no...
Article
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An epidemic of a novel coronavirus emerged from Wuhan, China, in late December 2019 and has since spread to several large Chinese cities. Should a scenario arise where this coronavirus spreads more broadly across China, we evaluate how patterns of international disease transmission could change.
Article
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There is currently an outbreak of a pneumonia of unknown etiology in Wuhan, China. While there are still several unanswered questions, we evaluate the potential for international dissemination of this disease via commercial air travel should the outbreak continue.
Article
Background: Recent years have seen unprecedented growth in international travel. Travellers are at high risk for acquiring infections while abroad and potentially bringing these infections back to their home country. There are many ways to mitigate this risk by seeking pre-travel advice (PTA), including receiving recommended vaccinations and chemo...
Article
The Zika epidemic in the Americas has challenged surveillance and control. As the epidemic appears to be waning, it is unclear whether transmission is still ongoing, which is exacerbated by discrepancies in reporting. To uncover locations with lingering outbreaks, we investigated travel-associated Zika cases to identify transmission not captured by...
Article
The largest epidemic of Lassa fever in recent history occurred in Nigeria in 2018. We assessed the potential for cases of Lassa fever originating in Nigeria to arrive at international destinations via air travel using a probabilistic model. We estimated no exported cases in 62% of 1,000 model simulations. In 30% of simulations, a single exported ca...
Preprint
Full-text available
The ongoing Zika epidemic in the Americas has challenged public health surveillance, response, and control systems. Even as the epidemic appears to be near its end in the Americas, it is unclear whether substantial Zika virus transmission may still be ongoing. This issue is exacerbated by large discrepancies in local case reporting and significant...
Article
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Background: The ongoing economic and political crisis in Venezuela has resulted in a collapse of the healthcare system and the re-emergence of previously controlled or eliminated infectious diseases. There has also been an exodus of Venezuelan international migrants in response to the crisis. We sought to describe the infectious disease risks face...
Article
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Objective To examine the potential for international travel to spread yellow fever virus to cities around the world. Methods We obtained data on the international flight itineraries of travellers who departed yellow fever-endemic areas of the world in 2016 for cities either where yellow fever was endemic or which were suitable for viral transmissi...
Article
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Background: Cases of Zika virus were recently detected in Luanda, Angola, a major travel hub in Africa. The risk of Zika virus transmission throughout the continent from Angola is evaluated. Methods: Travel volumes were assessed using monthly passenger-level flight data from Luanda to all locations throughout Africa. Travel data was superimposed...
Article
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Introduction When Zika virus (ZIKV) first began its spread from Brazil to other parts of the Americas, national-level travel notices were issued, carrying with them significant economic consequences to affected countries. Although regions of some affected countries were likely unsuitable for mosquito-borne transmission of ZIKV, the absence of high...
Article
Summary Background As the epidemic of Zika virus expands in the Americas, countries across Africa and the Asia-Pacific region are becoming increasingly susceptible to the importation and possible local spread of the virus. To support public health readiness, we aim to identify regions and times where the potential health, economic, and social effec...
Article
Full-text available
Zika virus belongs to the genus Flavivirus of the family Flaviviridae; it is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (e.g., Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus) (1). Zika virus has been identified as a cause of congenital microcephaly and other serious brain defects (2). As of June 30, 2016, CDC had issued...

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