Jay K Varma

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, לאנג איילענד סיטי, New York, United States

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Publications (122)683.31 Total impact

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    Full-text · Dataset · Feb 2016
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    Full-text · Dataset · Feb 2016
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    ABSTRACT: The Ebola virus disease (Ebola) outbreak in West Africa has claimed approximately 11,300 lives (1), and the magnitude and course of the epidemic prompted many nonaffected countries to prepare for Ebola cases imported from affected countries. In October 2014, CDC and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented enhanced entry risk assessment and management at five U.S. airports: John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in New York City (NYC), O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, and Dulles International Airport in Virginia (2). Enhanced entry risk assessment began at JFK on October 11, 2014, and at the remaining airports on October 16 (3). On October 21, DHS exercised its authority to direct all travelers flying into the United States from an Ebola-affected country to arrive at one of the five participating airports. At the time, the Ebola-affected countries included Guinea, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone. On October 27, CDC issued updated guidance for monitoring persons with potential Ebola virus exposure (4), including recommending daily monitoring of such persons to ascertain the presence of fever or symptoms for a period of 21 days (the maximum incubation period of Ebola virus) after the last potential exposure; this was termed "active monitoring." CDC also recommended "direct active monitoring" of persons with a higher risk for Ebola virus exposure, including health care workers who had provided direct patient care in Ebola-affected countries. Direct active monitoring required direct observation of the person being monitored by the local health authority at least once daily (5). This report describes the operational structure of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's (DOHMH) active monitoring program during its first 6 months (October 2014-April 2015) of operation. Data collected on persons who required direct active monitoring are not included in this report.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report
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    ABSTRACT: Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is characterised by the presence of immune responses to previously acquired Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection without clinical evidence of active tuberculosis (TB). Here we report evidence-based guidelines from the World Health Organization for a public health approach to the management of LTBI in high risk individuals in countries with high or middle upper income and TB incidence of <100 per 100 000 per year. The guidelines strongly recommend systematic testing and treatment of LTBI in people living with HIV, adult and child contacts of pulmonary TB cases, patients initiating anti-tumour necrosis factor treatment, patients receiving dialysis, patients preparing for organ or haematological transplantation, and patients with silicosis. In prisoners, healthcare workers, immigrants from high TB burden countries, homeless persons and illicit drug users, systematic testing and treatment of LTBI is conditionally recommended, according to TB epidemiology and resource availability. Either commercial interferon-gamma release assays or Mantoux tuberculin skin testing could be used to test for LTBI. Chest radiography should be performed before LTBI treatment to rule out active TB disease. Recommended treatment regimens for LTBI include: 6 or 9 month isoniazid; 12 week rifapentine plus isoniazid; 3-4 month isoniazid plus rifampicin; or 3-4 month rifampicin alone.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · European Respiratory Journal
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    ABSTRACT: To control an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) among men who have sex with men (MSM) in New York City (NYC), the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) recommended vaccination of all HIV-infected MSM and at-risk HIV-uninfected MSM in October 2012. A decision analytic model estimated the cost-effectiveness of meningococcal vaccination compared to no vaccination. Model inputs, including IMD incidence of 20.5 per 100,000 HIV-positive MSM (42% fatal) and 7.6 per 100,000 HIV-negative MSM (20% fatal), were from DOHMH reported data and published sources. Outcomes included costs (2012 US dollars), IMD cases averted, IMD deaths averted, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER; $/QALY). Scenarios with and without herd immunity were considered and sensitivity analyses were performed on key inputs. Compared to no vaccination, the targeted vaccination campaign averted an estimated 2.7 IMD cases, 1.0 IMD deaths, with an ICER of $66,000/QALY when herd immunity was assumed. Without herd immunity, vaccination prevented 1.1 IMD cases, 0.4 IMD deaths, with an ICER of $177,000/QALY. In one-way sensitivity analyses, variables that exerted the greatest influence on results in order of effect were the magnitude of herd immunity, IMD case fatality ratio and IMD incidence. In probabilistic sensitivity analyses, at a cost-effectiveness threshold of $100,000/QALY, vaccination was preferred in 97% of simulations with herd immunity and 20% of simulations without herd immunity. Vaccination during an IMD outbreak among MSM with and without HIV infection was projected to avert IMD cases and deaths and could be cost-effective depending on IMD incidence, case fatality, and herd immunity.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
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    ABSTRACT: The objectives of the study were to identify dietary and medical risk factors for Vibrio parahaemolyticus (VP) infection in the coastal city Shenzhen in China. In April-October 2012, we conducted a case-control study in two hospitals in Shenzhen, China. Laboratory-confirmed VP cases (N = 83) were matched on age, sex, and other social factors to healthy controls (N = 249). Subjects were interviewed using a questionnaire on medical history; contact with seawater; clinical symptoms and outcome; travel history over the past week; and dietary history 3 days prior to onset. Laboratory tests were used to culture, serotype, and genotype VP strains. We used logistic regression to calculate the odds ratios for the association of VP infection with potential risk factors. In multivariate analysis, VP infection was associated with having pre-existing chronic disease (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 6.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5-23.7), eating undercooked seafood (aOR, 8.0; 95% CI, 1.3-50.4), eating undercooked meat (aOR, 29.1; 95% CI, 3.0-278.2), eating food from a street food vendor (aOR, 7.6; 95% CI, 3.3-17.6), and eating vegetable salad (aOR, 12.1; 95% CI, 5.2-28.2). Eating raw (undercooked) seafood and meat is an important source of VP infection among the study population. Cross-contamination of VP in other food (e.g., vegetables and undercooked meat) likely plays a more important role. Intervention should be taken to lower the risks of cross-contamination with undercooked seafood/meat, especially targeted at people with low income, transient workers, and people with medical risk factors.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Foodborne Pathogens and Disease
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    ABSTRACT: In September 2012, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene identified an outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C invasive meningococcal disease among men who have sex with men (MSM). Twenty-two case-patients and 7 deaths were identified during August 2010-February 2013. During this period, 7 cases in non-MSM were diagnosed. The slow-moving outbreak was linked to the use of websites and mobile phone applications that connect men with male sexual partners, which complicated the epidemiologic investigation and prevention efforts. We describe the outbreak and steps taken to interrupt transmission, including an innovative and wide-ranging outreach campaign that involved direct, internet-based, and media-based communications; free vaccination events; and engagement of community and government partners. We conclude by discussing the challenges of managing an outbreak affecting a discrete community of MSM and the benefits of using social networking technology to reach this at-risk population.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Emerging infectious diseases
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    DESCRIPTION: Check Hep C was implemented in 2012-2013 by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) as a year-long demonstration project designed to increase screening, diagnosis, and linkage to care for persons chronically infected with HCV in NYC.
    Full-text · Research · Jun 2015
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    ABSTRACT: In late October 2014, Ebola virus disease (Ebola) was diagnosed in a humanitarian aid worker who recently returned from West Africa to New York City (NYC). The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) actively monitored three close contacts of the patient and 114 health care personnel. No secondary cases of Ebola were detected. In collaboration with local and state partners, DOHMH had developed protocols to respond to such an event beginning in July 2014. These protocols included safely transporting a person at the first report of symptoms to a local hospital prepared to treat a patient with Ebola, laboratory testing for Ebola, and monitoring of contacts. In response to this single case of Ebola, initial health care worker active monitoring protocols needed modification to improve clarity about what types of exposure should be monitored. The response costs were high in both human resources and money: DOHMH alone spent $4.3 million. However, preparedness activities that include planning and practice in effectively monitoring the health of workers involved in Ebola patient care can help prevent transmission of Ebola.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report
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    ABSTRACT: Foodborne botulism is a severe, paralytic illness caused by ingestion of preformed neurotoxins produced by Clostridium botulinum. In 2003, we conducted a population-based household survey of home canning practices to explore marked regional variations in botulism incidence in the Republic of Georgia (ROG). We designed a cluster sampling scheme and subdivided each of the 10 regions of the ROG into a variable number of strata. Households were selected from each stratum using a two-step cluster sampling methodology. We administered a questionnaire about home canning practices to household members responsible for food preparation. Using multivariate logistic regression analysis, we modeled high (eastern ROG) against low (western ROG) incidence areas. Overall, we surveyed 2,742 households nationwide. Home canning with a capping device hermetically sealing the lid covering the jar was practiced by 1,909 households (65.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 59.8 to 72.1%). Canning was more prevalent in regions of low botulism incidence (34 versus 32%; P 1 tablespoon of salt per liter (aOR = 5.1; 95% CI: 1.2 to 22.6); vinegar (aOR = 2.2; 95% CI: 1.3 to 3.7), and greens (aOR = 5.6; 95% CI: 1.7 to 18.2). The following practices were associated with a decreased risk in high-botulism areas: >57 jars canned per household annually (aOR = 0.5; 95% CI: 0.3 to 0.9), covering or immersing vegetables in boiling water before placing them into the jar (aOR = 0.3 95% CI: 0.2 to 0.6), covering or immersing vegetables in boiling water after placing them into the jar (aOR = 0.4; 95% CI: 0.2 to 0.9), or adding garlic (aOR = 0.2; 95% CI: 0.1 to 0.5) or aspirin (aOR = 0.1; 95% CI: 0.1 to 0.2) to the jar at the time of preparation.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Journal of food protection
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    ABSTRACT: In July 2014, as the Ebola virus disease (Ebola) epidemic expanded in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, an air traveler brought Ebola to Nigeria and two American health care workers in West Africa were diagnosed with Ebola and later medically evacuated to a U.S. hospital. New York City (NYC) is a frequent port of entry for travelers from West Africa, a home to communities of West African immigrants who travel back to their home countries, and a home to health care workers who travel to West Africa to treat Ebola patients. Ongoing transmission of Ebolavirus in West Africa could result in an infected person arriving in NYC. The announcement on September 30 of an Ebola case diagnosed in Texas in a person who had recently arrived from an Ebola-affected country further reinforced the need in NYC for local preparedness for Ebola.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · American Journal of Transplantation
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    ABSTRACT: Background: To control an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) among men who have sex with men (MSM) in New York City (NYC), the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) recommended vaccination of all HIV-positive MSM and HIV-negative MSM with intimate contact with a man met through an online Web site, digital application or at a bar or party Methods: We used a decision analytic model to estimate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the meningococcal quadrivalent conjugate vaccination campaign as compared to no vaccination. We estimated approximately 60,000 NYC MSM to be targeted through DOHMH recommendations based on NYC Community Health Survey and NYC HIV/AIDS surveillance registry data. Model inputs, including IMD incidence of 20.5 per 100,000 HIV-positive MSM (42% fatal) and 7.6 per 100,000 HIV-negative MSM (20% fatal), were from DOHMH data and published sources. Outcome measures included costs (2012 US dollars), IMD cases averted, IMD deaths averted, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios ($/QALY). Sensitivity analyses were performed on key inputs including herd immunity (base case 20% protection in all unvaccinated MSM). Results: Compared to no vaccination, the targeted vaccination campaign averted an estimated 2.7 IMD cases (modeled range 0.9-6.0) and 1.0 IMD deaths (modeled range 0.2-2.5) and had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $60,100/QALY. At a cost-effectiveness threshold of $100,000/QALY, vaccination remained cost-effective at an IMD incidence as low as 10 per 100,000 persons or at a case fatality rate greater than 13% in all MSM. At a societal willingness to pay consistent with adopted meningococcal vaccination guidelines for adolescents ($230,000/QALY), vaccination was cost-effective at an IMD incidence as low as 5 per 100,000 persons. Results were sensitive to assumptions regarding herd immunity (Figure). Conclusion: Vaccination during a community-wide IMD outbreak among MSM in NYC was projected to avert IMD cases and deaths and had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio less than $100,000/QALY. Cost-effectiveness was highly dependent on herd immunity.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Oct 2014

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Jun 2014
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    ABSTRACT: In New York City, which was the epicenter of the U.S. tuberculosis epidemic in the 1990s, funding for tuberculosis control has been cut by more than 50%, and in 2014 the city reported its first increase in cases after a decade of continuous reductions.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · New England Journal of Medicine
  • M Rose Gasner · Jennifer Fuld · Ann Drobnik · Jay K Varma
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    ABSTRACT: Integration of public health surveillance data within health departments is important for public health activities and cost-efficient coordination of care. Access to and use of surveillance data are governed by public health law and by agency confidentiality and security policies. In New York City, we examined public health laws and agency policies for data sharing across HIV, sexually transmitted disease, tuberculosis, and viral hepatitis surveillance programs. We found that recent changes to state laws provide greater opportunities for data sharing but that agency policies must be updated because they limit increased data integration. Our case study can help other health departments conduct similar reviews of laws and policies to increase data sharing and integration of surveillance data.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · American Journal of Public Health
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) increases the risk of death from liver and nonliver-related diseases. Coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) further increases this risk. Methods: Surveillance data (2000-2010) and mortality data (2000-2011) maintained by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) were deterministically cross-matched. Factors associated with and causes of death among HCV-infected adult decedents were analyzed. Results: Between 2000 and 2011, 13 307 HCV-monoinfected adults died, and 5475 adults coinfected with HCV/HIV died. Decedents with HCV monoinfection were more likely to have died of liver cancer (odds ratio [OR] = 9.2), drug-related causes (OR = 4.3), and cirrhosis (OR = 3.7), compared with persons with neither infection. HCV/HIV-coinfected decedents were more likely to have died of liver cancer (OR = 2.2) and drug-related causes (OR = 3.1), compared with persons with neither infection. Among coinfected decedents, 53.6% of deaths were attributed to HIV/AIDS, and 94% of deaths occurred prematurely (before age 65). Among persons with HCV who died, more than half died within 3 years of an HCV report to DOHMH. Conclusions: HCV-infected adults were at increased risk of dying and of dying prematurely, particularly from conditions associated with HCV, such as HIV/AIDS or drug use. The short interval between HCV report and death suggests a need for earlier testing and improved treatment.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Clinical Infectious Diseases
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    ABSTRACT: Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common childhood illness caused by enteroviruses. Increasingly, the disease has a substantial burden throughout east and southeast Asia. To better inform vaccine and other interventions, we characterised the epidemiology of hand, foot, and mouth disease in China on the basis of enhanced surveillance. We extracted epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory data from cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease reported to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention between Jan 1, 2008, and Dec 31, 2012. We then compiled climatic, geographical, and demographic information. All analyses were stratified by age, disease severity, laboratory confirmation status, and enterovirus serotype. The surveillance registry included 7 200 092 probable cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease (annual incidence, 1·2 per 1000 person-years from 2010-12), of which 267 942 (3·7%) were laboratory confirmed and 2457 (0·03%) were fatal. Incidence and mortality were highest in children aged 12-23 months (38·2 cases per 1000 person-years and 1·5 deaths per 100 000 person-years in 2012). Median duration from onset to diagnosis was 1·5 days (IQR 0·5-2·5) and median duration from onset to death was 3·5 days (2·5-4·5). The absolute number of patients with cardiopulmonary or neurological complications was 82 486 (case-severity rate 1·1%), and 2457 of 82486 patients with severe disease died (fatality rate 3·0%); 1617 of 1737 laboratory confirmed deaths (93%) were associated with enterovirus 71. Every year in June, hand, foot, and mouth disease peaked in north China, whereas southern China had semiannual outbreaks in May and September-October. Geographical differences in seasonal patterns were weakly associated with climate and demographic factors (variance explained 8-23% and 3-19%, respectively). This is the largest population-based study up to now of the epidemiology of hand, foot, and mouth disease. Future mitigation policies should take into account the heterogeneities of disease burden identified. Additional epidemiological and serological studies are warranted to elucidate the dynamics and immunity patterns of local hand, foot, and mouth disease and to optimise interventions. China-US Collaborative Program on Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases, WHO, The Li Ka Shing Oxford Global Health Programme and Wellcome Trust, Harvard Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, and Health and Medical Research Fund, Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2014 · The Lancet Infectious Diseases
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    ABSTRACT: For nearly a decade, interest groups, from politicians to economists to physicians, have touted digitization of the nation's health information. One frequently mentioned benefit is the transmission of information electronically from laboratories to public health personnel, allowing them to rapidly analyze and act on these data. Switching from paper to electronic laboratory reports (ELRs) was thought to solve many public health surveillance issues, including workload, accuracy, and timeliness. However, barriers remain for both laboratories and public health agencies to realize the full benefits of ELRs. The New York City experience highlights several successes and challenges of electronic reporting and is supported by peer-reviewed literature. Lessons learned from ELR systems will benefit efforts to standardize electronic medical records reporting to health departments. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print January 16, 2014: e1-e6. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301753).
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · American Journal of Public Health
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    ABSTRACT: In 2012, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene matched HIV, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted disease surveillance data to identify the burden of infection with multiple diseases. HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis surveillance data from 2000 to 2010 were matched using a deterministic method. Data on deaths from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Office of Vital Statistics were also matched. The final data set contained 840,248 people; 13% had 2 or more diseases. People with a report of syphilis had the highest proportion of matches with other diseases (64%), followed by gonorrhea (52%), HIV (31%), tuberculosis (23%), hepatitis C (20%), chlamydia (16%), and hepatitis B (11%). The findings indicate several possible infectious disease syndemics in New York City and highlight the need to integrate surveillance data from different infectious disease programs. Conducting the match brought surveillance programs together to work collaboratively and has resulted in ongoing partnerships on programmatic activities that address multiple diseases.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of public health management and practice: JPHMP
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    ABSTRACT: Severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) surveillance began in Jingzhou City, China, in 2010. A subset of 511 children aged <5 years enrolled in the SARI study during 2011 were tested for influenza and noninfluenza respiratory viral infection by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was most commonly detected. Children aged 12–23 and 24–60 months were equally likely to test positive for RSV. Although cases of RSV infection could be detected throughout the year, the greatest numbers were detected from autumn to early winter.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2013 · The Journal of Infectious Diseases

Publication Stats

2k Citations
683.31 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2012-2015
    • New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
      לאנג איילענד סיטי, New York, United States
  • 2004-2015
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
      • • Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
      • • Division of Bacterial Diseases
      Атланта, Michigan, United States
    • National Center for Disease Control and Public Health
      Tbilsi, T'bilisi, Georgia
  • 2010-2013
    • Beijing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
      Peping, Beijing, China
  • 2008-2010
    • Ministry of Public Health, Thailand
      Krung Thep, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 2003
    • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
      Maryland, United States