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1.  Incidence of Pneumococcal Pneumonia among Adults in Rural Thailand, 2006–2011: Implications for Pneumococcal Vaccine Considerations 
The incidence of pneumococcal pneumonia among adults is a key driver for the cost-effectiveness of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine used among children. We sought to obtain more accurate incidence estimates among adults by including results of pneumococcal urine antigen testing (UAT) from population-based pneumonia surveillance in two Thai provinces. Active surveillance from 2006 to 2011 identified acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI)–related hospital admissions. Adult cases of pneumococcal pneumonia were defined as hospitalized ALRI patients aged ≥ 18 years with isolation of Streptococcus pneumoniae from blood or with positive UAT. Among 39,525 adult ALRI patients, we identified 481 pneumococcal pneumonia cases (105 by blood culture, 376 by UAT only). Estimated incidence of pneumococcal pneumonia hospitalizations was 30.5 cases per 100,000 persons per year (2.2 and 28.3 cases per 100,000 persons per year by blood culture and UAT, respectively). Incidence varied between 22.7 in 2007 and 43.5 in 2010, and increased with age to over 150 per 100,000 persons per year among persons aged ≥ 70 years. Viral coinfections including influenza A/B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and adenovirus occurred in 11% (44/409) of pneumococcal pneumonia cases tested. Use of UAT to identify cases of pneumococcal pneumonia among adults in rural Thailand substantially increases estimates of pneumococcal pneumonia burden, thereby informing cost-effectiveness analyses and vaccine policy decisions.
PMCID: PMC4674225  PMID: 26503277
2.  Incidence and Etiology of Acute Lower Respiratory Tract Infections in Hospitalized Children Younger Than 5 Years in Rural Thailand 
Pneumonia remains a leading cause of under-five morbidity and mortality globally. Comprehensive incidence, epidemiologic and etiologic data are needed to update prevention and control strategies.
We conducted active, population-based surveillance for hospitalized cases of acute lower respiratory tract infections (ALRI) among children <5 years of age in rural thailand. ALRI cases were systematically sampled for an etiology study that tested nasopharyngeal specimens by polymerase chain reaction; children without ALRI were enrolled as controls from outpatient clinics.
We identified 28,543 hospitalized ALRI cases from 2005 to 2010. Among the 49% with chest radiographs, 63% had findings consistent with pneumonia as identified by 2 study radiologists. The hospitalized ALRI incidence rate was 5772 per 100,000 child-years (95% confidence interval: 5707, 5837) and was higher in boys versus girls (incidence rate ratio 1.38, 95% confidence interval: 1.35–1.41) and in children 6–23 months of age versus other age groups (incidence rate ratio 1.76, 95% confidence interval: 1.69–1.84). Viruses most commonly detected in ALRI cases were respiratory syncytial virus (19.5%), rhinoviruses (18.7%), bocavirus (12.8%) and influenza viruses (8%). Compared with controls, ALRI cases were more likely to test positive for respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, adenovirus, human metapneumovirus and parainfluenza viruses 1 and 3 (P ≤ 0.01 for all). Bloodstream infections, most commonly Streptococcus pneumoniae and nontyphoidal Salmonella, accounted for 1.8% of cases.
Our findings underscore the high burden of hospitalization for ALRI and the importance of viral pathogens among children in Thailand. Interventions targeting viral pathogens coupled with improved diagnostic approaches, especially for bacteria, are critical for better understanding of ALRI etiology, prevention and control.
PMCID: PMC4667718  PMID: 24030346
pneumonia; respiratory illness; Thailand; pediatric
3.  Pneumococcal Bacteremia Requiring Hospitalization in Rural Thailand: An Update on Incidence, Clinical Characteristics, Serotype Distribution, and Antimicrobial Susceptibility, 2005–2010 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66038.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in Southeast Asia, but regional data is limited. Updated burden estimates are critical as pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) is highly effective, but not yet included in the Expanded Program on Immunization of Thailand or neighboring countries.
We implemented automated blood culture systems in two rural Thailand provinces as part of population-based surveillance for bacteremia. Blood cultures were collected from hospitalized patients as clinically indicated.
From May 2005– March 2010, 196 cases of pneumococcal bacteremia were confirmed in hospitalized patients. Of these, 57% had clinical pneumonia, 20% required mechanical ventilation, and 23% (n = 46) died. Antibiotic use before blood culture was confirmed in 25% of those with blood culture. Annual incidence of hospitalized pneumococcal bacteremia was 3.6 per 100,000 person-years; rates were higher among children aged <5 years at 11.7 and adults ≥65 years at 14.2, and highest among infants <1 year at 33.8. The median monthly case count was higher during December–March compared to the rest of the year 6.0 vs. 1.0 (p<0.001). The most common serotypes were 23F (16%) and 14 (14%); 61% (74% in patients <5 years) were serotypes in the 10-valent PCV (PCV 10) and 82% (92% in <5 years) in PCV 13. All isolates were sensitive to penicillin, but non-susceptibility was high for co-trimoxazole (57%), erythromycin (30%), and clindamycin (20%).
We demonstrated a high pneumococcal bacteremia burden, yet underestimated incidence because we captured only hospitalized cases, and because pre-culture antibiotics were frequently used. Our findings together with prior research indicate that PCV would likely have high serotype coverage in Thailand. These findings will complement ongoing cost effectiveness analyses and support vaccine policy evaluation in Thailand and the region.
PMCID: PMC3694083  PMID: 23840395
4.  Antibiotic Use in Thailand: Quantifying Impact on Blood Culture Yield and Estimates of Pneumococcal Bacteremia Incidence 
No studies have quantified the impact of pre-culture antibiotic use on the recovery of individual blood-borne pathogens or on population-level incidence estimates for Streptococcus pneumoniae. We conducted bloodstream infection surveillance in Thailand during November 2005–June 2008. Pre-culture antibiotic use was assessed by reported use and by serum antimicrobial activity. Of 35,639 patient blood cultures, 27% had reported pre-culture antibiotic use and 24% (of 24,538 tested) had serum antimicrobial activity. Pathogen isolation was half as common in patients with versus without antibiotic use; S. pneumoniae isolation was 4- to 9-fold less common (0.09% versus 0.37% by reported antibiotic use; 0.05% versus 0.45% by serum antimicrobial activity, P < 0.01). Pre-culture antibiotic use by serum antimicrobial activity reduced pneumococcal bacteremia incidence by 32% overall and 39% in children < 5 years of age. Our findings highlight the limitations of culture-based detection methods to estimate invasive pneumococcal disease incidence in settings where pre-culture antibiotic use is common.
PMCID: PMC2911175  PMID: 20682872
5.  Does smoking status affect the likelihood of consulting a doctor about respiratory symptoms? A pilot survey in Western Australia 
BMC Family Practice  2009;10:16.
Smokers attribute respiratory symptoms, even when severe, to everyday causes and not as indicative of ill-health warranting medical attention. The aim of this pilot study was to conduct a structured vignette survey of people attending general practice to determine when they would advise a person with respiratory symptoms to consult a medical practitioner. Particular reference was made to smoking status and lung cancer.
Participants were recruited from two general practices in Western Australia. Respondents were invited to complete self-administered questionnaires containing nine vignettes chosen at random from a pool of sixty four vignettes, based on six clinical variables. Twenty eight vignettes described cases with at least 5% risk of cancer. For analysis these were dubbed 'cancer vignettes'. Respondents were asked if they would advise a significant other to consult a doctor with their respiratory symptoms. Logistic regression and non-parametric tests were used to analyse the data.
Three hundred questionnaires were distributed and one hundred and forty completed responses were collected over six weeks. The majority (70.3%) of respondents were female aged forty and older. A history of six weeks' of symptoms, weight loss, cough and breathlessness independently increased the odds of recommending a consultation with a medical practitioner by a factor of 11.8, 2.11, 1.40 and 4.77 respectively. A history of smoking independently increased the odds of the person being thought 'likely' or 'very likely' to have cancer by a factor of 2.46. However only 32% of cancer vignettes with a history of cigarette smoking were recognised as presentations of possible cancer.
Even though a history of cigarette smoking was more likely to lead to the suggestion that a symptomatic person may have cancer we did not confirm that smokers would be more likely to be advised to consult a doctor, even when presenting with common symptoms of lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC2652431  PMID: 19220917
6.  Releasing pre-adoption birth records: a survey of Oregon adoptees. 
Public Health Reports  2002;117(5):463-471.
OBJECTIVE: In June 2000, Oregon implemented a citizen-initiated ballot measure that grants adult adoptees access to their birth records, which contain their birth parents' identifying information. Because other states are considering similar policy changes, the authors explored whether Oregon's new law is meeting the information needs of adoptees. METHODS: Birth records were abstracted for a 9% (221/2,529) random sample of adoptees who obtained their records from June 20, 2000, to July 20, 2000, to describe the population and the information they obtained. Telephone interviews documented their motivations, expectations, and whether they considered the birth record useful. RESULTS: The mean age of the adoptees was 41 years, 64% were female, and 97% were white. Virtually all received information about their birth mother; however, only one-third received information about their birth father. Of the 221 sampled, 123 (59%) participated in the telephone survey, 12 were ineligible, 84 could not be reached, and 2 refused. The most common motivations for requesting records were to find birth parents (29%) and to obtain medical information (29%). Twenty-nine percent received less information than they expected, with many expecting, but not receiving, birth father information. Thirty-three (47%) of the 70 adoptees who tried to find their birth mother were successful. The records were considered "very" useful by 52% of respondents, "somewhat" or "a little" useful by 42%, and "not at all" useful by 6%. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that many adoptees received less information than they expected, and many did not meet their goals of finding birth parents or obtaining medical information. Nonetheless, the majority considered their birth records useful and important.
PMCID: PMC1497462  PMID: 12500963
7.  Releasing pre-adoption birth records: the impact of Oregon's experience on its vital records department. 
Public Health Reports  2002;117(5):472-478.
OBJECTIVE: In November 1998, Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 58, which allowed Oregon adoptees > or = 21 years of age access to their original birth records, which are sealed at adoption. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of the measure on the Oregon Health Division (since renamed Oregon Health Services) by assessing procedures used and resources needed after implementation of Measure 58. METHODS: Vital records employees were interviewed about processing, storage, and archive retrieval procedures for pre-adoption birth records before, during, and after the implementation of Measure 58 and the effect on their usual workload. Personnel time, space, and fiscal resources used to process requests for pre-adoption records were also calculated. RESULTS: The Oregon Health Division began to receive requests from adoptees immediately following the passage of Measure 58 in November 1998, but due to legal challenges, they could not be processed until May 31, 2000. From June 2, 2000, through October 20, 2000, 12 staff members and two supervisors issued more than 4,700 pre-adoption birth records while also processing their normal workload, which averages more than 135,400 vital record orders annually. Due to the need for retrieval from archives, requests for pre-adoption birth records were estimated to take 75 hours to process vs. 2-3 minutes for standard requests. Each batch of approximately 75 pre-adoption birth records required approximately 12.5 person-hours from vital records staff and 3-4 person-hours from archive personnel; in addition, supervisors spent time responding to incomplete orders, informing the public and the media, and responding to concerns of adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents. Fewer than 1% of requests went unfilled. CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of Measure 58 utilized substantial resources of the Oregon Health Division. States contemplating similar legislation should consider increasing personnel and resources, preparing for intense public and media interest, and reorganizing the storage of adoptees' original birth records so they are easily retrieved.
PMCID: PMC1497469  PMID: 12500964

Results 1-7 (7)