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1.  Investigation of a hepatitis A outbreak in children in an urban slum in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, using geographic information systems 
Background & objectives
An outbreak of symptomatic viral hepatitis in children less than 10 yr of age in Vellore, south India, was investigated and the disease pattern studied using serological and epidemiological methods, supplemented by geographic information systems (GIS) mapping.
Three cases of hepatitis A were identified during routine surveillance in a birth cohort House-to-house visits were undertaken to identify other symptomatic cases and samples collected for anti- HAV IgM, ELISA testing. All cases and controls were mapped and geo-referenced using Arc View GIS 3.3. Spatial clustering was investigated using SaTScan 7.0.1 software. Drinking water sources were tested for coliform counts with the most probable number technique.
Of the 965 children surveyed, 26 (2.78%) had jaundice between February to July 2006. From the 26 patients, 11 (42.3%) blood samples were obtained and tested for anti-HAV IgM; 10 (90.9%) were found to be positive. Water analysis showed high coliform counts in all samples. No spatial clustering of cases could be detected.
Interpretation & conclusions
The outbreak was identified because of the symptomatic presentation of the cases. Our study highlighted the increasing detection of symptomatic children with hepatitis A virus infection. Water sources in the area were contaminated and may have served as the source of infection. The lack of clustering in GIS analysis could be due to the common water source.
PMCID: PMC3855648  PMID: 18820356
Geographic information system; hepatitis A; outbreak
2.  Infant morbidity in an Indian slum birth cohort 
Archives of disease in childhood  2007;93(6):479-484.
To establish incidence rates, clinic referrals, hospitalisations, mortality rates and baseline determinants of morbidity among infants in an Indian slum.
A community-based birth cohort with twice-weekly surveillance.
Vellore, South India.
452 newborns recruited over 18 months, followed through infancy.
Main outcome measures
Incidence rates of gastrointestinal illness, respiratory illness, undifferentiated fever, other infections and non-infectious morbidity; rates of community-based diagnoses, clinic visits and hospitalisation; and rate ratios of baseline factors for morbidity.
Infants experienced 12 episodes (95% confidence interval (CI) 11 to 13) of illness, spending about one fifth of their infancy with an illness. Respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms were most common with incidence rates (95% CI) of 7.4 (6.9 to 7.9) and 3.6 (3.3 to 3.9) episodes per child-year. Factors independently associated with a higher incidence of respiratory and gastrointestinal illness were age (3-5 months), male sex, cold/wet season and household involved in beedi work. The rate (95% CI) of hospitalisation, mainly for respiratory and gastrointestinal illness, was 0.28 (0.22 to 0.35) per child-year.
The morbidity burden due to respiratory and gastrointestinal illness is high in a South Indian urban slum, with children ill for approximately one fifth of infancy, mainly with respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. The risk factors identified were younger age, male sex, cold/wet season and household involvement in beedi work.
PMCID: PMC2682775  PMID: 17916587
3.  Clinical features & risk factors associated with cryptosporidiosis in HIV infected adults in India 
Background & objectives
Cryptosporidiosis is a leading cause of protracted, life threatening diarrhoea in HIV infected patients. Although data on prevalence are available for Indian patients, no information on risk factors for transmission exists. We therefore undertook this study to identify risk factors for transmission of cryptosporidiosis in HIV infected adults.
Both symptomatic (diarrhoeal) and asymptomatic HIV infected patients were screened for cryptosporidiosis. All Cryptosporidium spp. positive cases were enrolled in the study and interviewed to record socio-demographic information, water supply and animal contact. Data were analysed to study clinical features and potential association with species and genotype.
Of the 28 cryptosporidial infections identified on screening 111 HIV positive patients with diarrhoea, 10 (35.7%) had chronic diarrhoea, 14 (50%) had associated fever and 8 (28.6%) had nausea. Symptomatic patients had a significantly higher number of co-infections with other enteric parasites (P=0.04) than 20 asymptomatics of 423 HIV positive individuals screened. Eleven of 17 (64%) patients with potentially zoonotic infections had diarrhoea. Patients with zoonotic species (64%) also tended to have fever more frequently than those infected with C. hominis (58%). Association between area of residence, rural or urban, water source and contact with animals and acquisition of cryptosporidiosis was not statistically significant.
Interpretation & conclusions
Cryptosporidiosis is an important cause of morbidity in HIV infected individuals in India, resulting in chronic diarrhoea. Risk factors for potentially zoonotic transmission of cryptosporidiosis were described in this study, but larger studies need to be done for a clearer understanding of the transmission dynamics of different cryptosporidial species in developing countries.
PMCID: PMC2673507  PMID: 18219083
Cryptosporidium; cryptosporidiosis; HIV; India; zoonotic
4.  Polymerase chain reaction in the detection of an ‘outbreak’ of asymptomatic viral infections in a community birth cohort in south India 
Epidemiology and infection  2007;136(3):399-405.
Asymptomatic enteric infections are important where sequelae or protection from subsequent illness is an outcome measure. The use of reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR) to identify asymptomatic enteric infections in a birth cohort followed for rotaviral infections in a south Indian urban slum is reported. Of 1191 non-diarrhoeal samples from 371 children collected in May–June 2003, 22 (1·9%) were positive by ELISA. A total of 147 (40·6%) of 362 samples tested by VP6 RT–PCR were positive. In those samples that could be typed, a high diversity of G types including G1, G2, G4, G8, G9 and G10, and a high proportion (34·4%) of mixed infections were detected. Noroviruses were identified in 6/28 (21·4%) samples tested. The identification of infections undetectable by conventional techniques indicates the importance of the use of sensitive diagnostic techniques in research studies. Asymptomatically infected children may also act as a source of infection for other susceptible hosts.
PMCID: PMC2467457  PMID: 17521476

Results 1-4 (4)