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1.  Accuracy of Physician Reporting in Routine Public Health Surveillance for Hepatitis C Virus Infection 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(1):64-72.
From January 2007 to December 2008, the Montréal Public Health Department sent postal questionnaires to physicians and conducted patient interviews for all those newly diagnosed with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We evaluated physician responses to risk factor questions for non-acute HCV cases.
We compared physician and patient responses with each of nine risk factor questions, determined the sensitivity and specificity of physician responses compared with patient responses, and evaluated agreement using Gwet's agreement coefficient (AC1). We ranked risk factors and compared the distributions by principal exposure category according to physician reporting vs. patient interview using the Chi-square test.
The completeness of physicians' responses (yes, no, or unknown) varied by risk factor question from 90.8% to 96.7%. For risk factors present among more than 5% of cases, sensitivity of physician responses ranged from 26.9% to 87.7% and specificity ranged from 93.0% to 98.6%. The AC1 coefficients for agreement between physician and patient responses to lifetime risk factors considered most important in HCV acquisition were 0.80 for injection drug use, 0.95 for blood transfusion before 1990, and 0.86 for birth in a country with high HCV prevalence. Risk distributions by principal exposure category according to physician reporting vs. patient interview were not statistically different (χ2[4] = 2.17, p=0.704).
Postal questionnaires completed by physicians appear valid for determining the principal exposure category among non-acute HCV cases. Physician reporting can be a useful and low-cost component of routine HCV surveillance.
PMCID: PMC3863005  PMID: 24381361
3.  Missed Opportunities for Concurrent HIV-STD Testing in an Academic Emergency Department 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):12-20.
We evaluated emergency department (ED) provider adherence to guidelines for concurrent HIV-sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing within an expanded HIV testing program and assessed demographic and clinical factors associated with concurrent HIV-STD testing.
We examined concurrent HIV-STD testing in a suburban academic ED with a targeted, expanded HIV testing program. Patients aged 18–64 years who were tested for syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia in 2009 were evaluated for concurrent HIV testing. We analyzed demographic and clinical factors associated with concurrent HIV-STD testing using multivariate logistic regression with a robust variance estimator or, where applicable, exact logistic regression.
Only 28.3% of patients tested for syphilis, 3.8% tested for gonorrhea, and 3.8% tested for chlamydia were concurrently tested for HIV during an ED visit. Concurrent HIV-syphilis testing was more likely among younger patients aged 25–34 years (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.36, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.78, 2.10) and patients with STD-related chief complaints at triage (AOR=11.47, 95% CI 5.49, 25.06). Concurrent HIV-gonorrhea/chlamydia testing was more likely among men (gonorrhea: AOR=3.98, 95% CI 2.25, 7.02; chlamydia: AOR=3.25, 95% CI 1.80, 5.86) and less likely among patients with STD-related chief complaints at triage (gonorrhea: AOR=0.31, 95% CI 0.13, 0.82; chlamydia: AOR=0.21, 95% CI 0.09, 0.50).
Concurrent HIV-STD testing in an academic ED remains low. Systematic interventions that remove the decision-making burden of ordering an HIV test from providers may increase HIV testing in this high-risk population of suspected STD patients.
PMCID: PMC3862983  PMID: 24385644
4.  Integrated Screening for Tuberculosis and HIV in Tuberculosis Contact Investigations: Lessons Learned in North Carolina 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):21-25.
Combating the syndemics of tuberculosis (TB) and HIV in the United States will require increasing efficiency as the incidence of TB declines. Fortunately, new tools such as the interferon gamma release assays can be combined with existing strategies such as opt-out HIV testing to facilitate simultaneous, integrated testing for both infections. We describe the lessons learned from our experience with integrated testing for TB and HIV in the setting of TB contact investigations in North Carolina. Integrated testing represents a unique opportunity to leverage TB and HIV program resources to enhance case detection and improve linkages to care. However, joint training in field investigations and diagnostics is critical prior to conducting contact investigations. Furthermore, integrated testing must be tightly coupled to treatment and prevention programs to reduce disease transmission and morbidity from untreated disease in communities.
PMCID: PMC3862984  PMID: 24385645
5.  Integrating Health and Prevention Services in Syringe Access Programs: A Strategy to Address Unmet Needs in a High-Risk Population 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):26-32.
Injection drug users are at a high risk for a number of preventable diseases and complications of drug use. This article describes the implementation of a nurse-led health promotion and disease prevention program in New Jersey's syringe access programs. Initially designed to target women as part of a strategy to decrease missed opportunities for perinatal HIV prevention, the program expanded by integrating existing programs and funding streams available through the state health department. The program now offers health and prevention services to both men and women, with 3,488 client visits in 2011. These services extend the reach of state health department programs, such as adult vaccination and hepatitis and tuberculosis screening, which clients would have had to seek out at multiple venues. The integration of prevention, treatment, and health promotion services in syringe access programs reaches a vulnerable and underserved population who otherwise may receive only urgent and episodic care.
PMCID: PMC3862985  PMID: 24385646
6.  Program Collaboration and Service Integration Activities Among HIV Programs in 59 U.S. Health Departments 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):33-42.
We identified the level and type of program collaboration and service integration (PCSI) among HIV prevention programs in 59 CDC-funded health department jurisdictions.
Annual progress reports (APRs) completed by all 59 health departments funded by CDC for HIV prevention activities were reviewed for collaborative and integrated activities reported by HIV programs for calendar year 2009. We identified associations between PCSI activities and funding, AIDS diagnosis rate, and organizational integration.
HIV programs collaborated with other health department programs through data-related activities, provider training, and providing funding for sexually transmitted disease (STD) activities in 24 (41%), 31 (53%), and 16 (27%) jurisdictions, respectively. Of the 59 jurisdictions, 57 (97%) reported integrated HIV and STD testing at the same venue, 39 (66%) reported integrated HIV and tuberculosis testing, and 26 (44%) reported integrated HIV and viral hepatitis testing. Forty-five (76%) jurisdictions reported providing integrated education/outreach activities for HIV and at least one other disease. Twenty-six (44%) jurisdictions reported integrated partner services among HIV and STD programs. Overall, the level of PCSI activities was not associated with HIV funding, AIDS diagnoses, or organizational integration.
HIV programs in health departments collaborate primarily with STD programs. Key PCSI activities include integrated testing, integrated education/outreach, and training. Future assessments are needed to evaluate PCSI activities and to identify the level of collaboration and integration among prevention programs.
PMCID: PMC3862986  PMID: 24385647
7.  Facebook-Augmented Partner Notification in a Cluster of Syphilis Cases in Milwaukee 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):43-49.
Public health professionals face many challenges in infectious disease cluster case identification and partner notification (PN), especially in populations using social media as a primary communication venue. We present a method using Facebook and social network diagram illustration to identify, link, and notify individuals in a cluster of syphilis cases in young black men who have sex with men (MSM). Use of Facebook was crucial in identifying two of 55 individuals with syphilis, and the cooperation of socially connected individuals with traditional PN methods yielded a high number of contacts per case. Integration of PN services for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as collaboration between the city and state information systems, assisted in the cluster investigation. Given that rates of syphilis and HIV infection are increasing significantly in young African American MSM, the use of social media can provide an additional avenue to facilitate case identification and notification.
PMCID: PMC3862987  PMID: 24385648
8.  Screening for Hepatitis C as a Prevention Enhancement (SHAPE) for HIV: An Integration Pilot Initiative in a Massachusetts County Correctional Facility 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):5-11.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the Barnstable County Sheriff's Department (BCSD) in Massachusetts initiated a pilot program in July 2009 offering education and hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody testing to inmates and detainees, concurrent with routine HIV testing. The initiative was implemented to assess the feasibility of integrating HCV screening into an HIV screening program in a correctional setting and the efficacy of linking HCV antibody-positive inmates to clinical care upon release.
Through the Screening for Hepatitis C as a Prevention Enhancement initiative, HCV and HIV testing were offered to inmates and detainees shortly after admission, and by request at any time during incarceration. In preparation for release, referrals were made to community-based medical providers for HCV follow-up care. Data from BCSD were compared with routine surveillance data received by MDPH. Confirmatory HCV test results received by April 15, 2012, were considered indicators of appropriate post-release clinical care.
From July 2009 through December 2011, 22% (n=596) and 25% (n=667) of 2,716 inmates/detainees accepted HCV and HIV testing, respectively. Of those tested for HCV antibody, 20.5% (n=122) were positive. Of those tested for HIV antibody, 0.8% (n=5) were positive. Of the inmates who tested HCV positive at BCSD and had been released, 37.8% were identified as receiving post-release medical care.
We determined that integration of HCV education and screening into correctional facilities is feasible and reveals high rates of HCV infection. Although this model presupposes programmatic infrastructure, elements of the service design and integration could inform a range of correctional programs. Effective linkage to care, while substantial, was not routine based on our analysis, and may require additional resources given its cost and complexity.
PMCID: PMC3862988  PMID: 24385643
9.  Partner Services as Targeted HIV Screening—Changing the Paradigm 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):50-55.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) has the goal of offering HIV partner services (PS) to all individuals newly diagnosed with HIV in San Francisco. However, measuring the potential impact of these services is challenging. Building on an existing syphilis partner notification program, we developed a framework for expanding and monitoring HIV PS in San Francisco.
We identified process and outcome measures to evaluate HIV PS in San Francisco, including the number of index patients interviewed, the proportion of named partners who had previously diagnosed HIV infection, the proportion of HIV-uninfected partners who tested through HIV PS, and the positivity rate among the partners tested. Results were recorded in a locally developed electronic surveillance and case-management system at SFDPH.
We examined HIV PS data from 2005–2011. In 2011, 426 new HIV diagnoses were reported, and 178 were assigned for HIV PS; of these, 124 (69.7%) patients were successfully interviewed, naming a total of 109 sex partners. Of the named partners, 34 (31.2%) had been previously diagnosed with HIV. Among the remaining named partners not known to be HIV infected, 31 (32.3%) were tested, for a positivity of 22.6% (n=7). The proportion of HIV that was newly diagnosed by a provider who participated in the citywide HIV PS program increased from 15.4% in 2005 to 69.5% in 2011.
As HIV PS expand, locally relevant outcome measures are increasingly important. Using these criteria, HIV PS as a targeted screening activity resulted in the identification of newly diagnosed HIV cases.
PMCID: PMC3862989  PMID: 24385649
10.  A Novel Integration Effort to Reduce the Risk for Alcohol-Exposed Pregnancy Among Women Attending Urban STD Clinics 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):56-62.
Alcohol-exposed pregnancy (AEP) is a significant public health problem in the United States. Sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics serve female clients with a high prevalence of heavy alcohol consumption coupled with ineffective contraceptive use. Project CHOICES (Changing High-Risk AlcOhol Use and Increasing Contraception Effectiveness) is an evidence-based, brief intervention to lower risk of AEP by targeting alcohol and contraceptive behaviors through motivational interviewing and individualized feedback. We describe our experience integrating and implementing CHOICES in STD clinics. This endeavor aligns with CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention's program collaboration and service integration strategic priority to strengthen collaborative work across disease areas and integrate services provided by related programs at the client level.
PMCID: PMC3862990  PMID: 24385650
11.  Data Harmonization Process for Creating the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Atlas 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):63-69.
In 2009, the CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) initiated the online, interactive NCHHSTP Atlas. The goal of the Atlas is to strengthen the capacity to monitor the diseases overseen by NCHHSTP and to illustrate demographic, spatial, and temporal variation in disease patterns. The Atlas includes HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted disease, and tuberculosis surveillance data, and aims to provide a single point of access to meet the analytical and data dissemination needs of NCHHSTP. To accomplish this goal, an NCHHSTP-wide Data Harmonization Workgroup reviewed surveillance data collected by each division to harmonize the data across diseases, allowing one to query data and generate comparable maps and tables via the same user interface. Although we were not able to harmonize all data elements, data standardization is necessary and work continues toward that goal.
PMCID: PMC3862991  PMID: 24385651
12.  A Public Health Framework for Developing Local Preventive Services Guidelines 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):70-78.
In this article, we describe the San Francisco Department of Public Health's (SFDPH's) framework for developing evidence-based screening and vaccination recommendations. We first reviewed our local data using surveillance and syndemic data. We then compiled and compared existing federal, state, and local recommendations. Then we identified differences as compared with our local evidence; where more evidence was required to make a recommendation, we culled from additional data sources and conducted additional analyses. Lastly, we developed our guidelines by confirming existing recommendations or making new recommendations based on this process. In the end, we successfully developed evidence-based clinical screening and prevention guidelines that have been adopted by the SFDPH Health Commission. We encourage the use of this framework in other public health settings at the local level.
PMCID: PMC3862992  PMID: 24385652
13.  The Effect of Case Rate and Coinfection Rate on the Positive Predictive Value of a Registry Data-Matching Algorithm 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):79-84.
Statistical modeling has suggested that the prevalence of false matches in data matching declines as the events become rarer or the number of matches increases. We examined the effect of case rate and coinfection rate in the population on the positive predictive value (PPV) of a matching algorithm for HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted disease (STD) surveillance registry data.
We used LinkPlus™, a probabilistic data-matching program, to match HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed in New York City (NYC) from 1981 to March 31, 2012, and reported to the NYC HIV/AIDS surveillance registry against syphilis and chlamydia cases diagnosed in NYC from January 1 to June 30, 2010, and reported to the NYC STD registry. Match results were manually reviewed to determine true matches.
With an agreement/disagreement comparison score cutoff value of 10.0, LinkPlus identified 3,013 matches, of which 1,582 were determined to be true by manual review. PPV varied greatly in subpopulations with different case rates and coinfection rates. PPV was the highest (91.6%) in male syphilis cases, who had a relatively low case rate but a high HIV coinfection rate, and lowest (18.0%) in female chlamydia cases, who had a high case rate but a low HIV coinfection rate. When the cutoff value was increased to 15.0, PPVs in male syphilis and female chlamydia cases increased to 98.3% and 90.5%, respectively.
Case rates and coinfection rates have a significant effect on the PPV of a registry data-matching algorithm: PPV decreases as the case rate increases and coinfection rate decreases. Before conducting registry data matching, program staff should assess the case rate and coinfection rate of the population included in the data matching and select an appropriate matching algorithm.
PMCID: PMC3862993  PMID: 24385653
14.  Trends in Reported Syphilis and Gonorrhea Among HIV-Infected People in Arizona: Implications for Prevention and Control 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):85-94.
HIV and sexually transmitted disease (STD) surveillance patterns in Arizona suggested the need for integrated data analyses to identify trends.
We compiled all HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed from 1998 to 2008 that were reported in Arizona and syphilis or gonorrhea cases diagnosed from 1998 to 2008 in Arizona. We used deterministic matching to identify individuals who were diagnosed with HIV and one or more STDs, and calculated time intervals between diagnoses.
Of 23,940 people with HIV/AIDS reported from 1998 to 2008, 1,899 (2.6%) had at least one syphilis or gonorrhea diagnosis from 1998 to 2008. Approximately 85% of these cases reported male-to-male sexual contact. Among males with syphilis, HIV coinfection increased from 0.5% in 1998 to 29.1% in 2008. Among males with gonorrhea, HIV coinfection increased from 2.0% in 1998 to 3.1% in 2008. Among HIV cases diagnosed from 2004 to 2008 and reported with at least one syphilis or gonorrhea diagnosis, the majority of syphilis cases (76.1%) were diagnosed at or after HIV diagnosis, whereas a majority of gonorrhea cases (54.9%) were diagnosed prior to HIV diagnosis.
Use of the deterministic matching method identified increases in STD infections among HIV-infected people. The routine performance of this cross-matching method may be a useful tool in identifying these high-risk individuals so that targeted partner services and appropriate care referrals may be used in a timely fashion.
PMCID: PMC3862994  PMID: 24385654
15.  Epidemiology of the Viral Hepatitis-HIV Syndemic in San Francisco: A Collaborative Surveillance Approach 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):95-101.
To describe the epidemiology of people coinfected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV in San Francisco, the San Francisco Department of Public Health's Communicable Disease Control and Prevention Section and the HIV Epidemiology Section collaborated to link their registries.
In San Francisco, hepatitis reporting is primarily through passive laboratory-based surveillance, and HIV/AIDS reporting is primarily through laboratory-initiated active surveillance. We conducted the registry linkage in 2010 using a sequential algorithm.
The registry match included 31,997 HBV-infected people who were reported starting in 1984; 10,121 HCV-infected people who were reported starting in 2001; and 34,551 HIV/AIDS cases reported beginning in 1981. Of the HBV and HCV cases, 6.3% and 12.6% were coinfected with HIV, respectively. The majority of cases were white males; however, black people were disproportionately affected. For more than 90% of the HBV/HIV cases, male-to-male sexual contact (men who have sex with men [MSM]) was the risk factor for HIV infection. Injection drug use was the most frequent risk factor for HIV infection among the HCV/HIV cases; however, 35.6% of the HCV/HIV coinfected males were MSM but not injection drug users.
By linking the two registries, we found new ways to foster collaborative work and expand our programmatic flexibility. This analysis identified particular populations at risk for coinfection, which can be used by viral hepatitis and HIV screening, prevention, and treatment programs to integrate, enhance, target, and prioritize prevention services and clinical care within the community to maximize health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3862995  PMID: 24385655
17.  Surgeon General's Perspectives 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(1):5-6.
PMCID: PMC3862997  PMID: 24381353
18.  Letter to the Editor 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(1):7.
PMCID: PMC3862998
19.  Geographic and Racial Patterns of Preventable Hospitalizations for Hypertension: Medicare Beneficiaries, 2004–2009 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(1):8-18.
Hypertension as the primary reason for hospitalization is often used to indicate failure of the outpatient health-care system to prevent and control high blood pressure. Investigators have reported increased rates of these preventable hospitalizations for black people compared with white people; however, none have mapped them nationally by race.
We used Medicare Part A data to estimate preventable hypertension hospitalizations from 2004–2009 using technical specifications published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Rates per 100,000 beneficiaries were age- and sex-standardized to 2000 U.S. Census data. We mapped county-level rates by race and identified clusters of counties with extreme rates.
Black people had higher crude rates of these hospitalizations than white people for every year studied, and the test for an increasing linear time trend for the standardized rates was significant for both black and white people; that is, the gap between the races increased over time. For both races, clusters of high-rate counties occurred primarily in parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Southern Alabama, and Louisiana. High rates for white people were also found in parts of Appalachia. Large differences in rates among black and white people were found in a number of large urban areas and in parts of Florida and Alabama.
Racial disparities in preventable hospitalizations for hypertension persisted through 2009. The gap between black and white people is increasing, and these inequities exist unevenly across the country. Although this study was intended to be purely descriptive, future studies should use multivariate analyses to examine reasons for these unequal distributions.
PMCID: PMC3862999  PMID: 24381355
20.  Urban-Rural Differences in Coronary Heart Disease Mortality in the United States: 1999–2009 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(1):19-29.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality has declined in the past few decades; however, it is unclear whether the reduction in CHD deaths has been similar across urbanization levels and in specific racial groups. We describe the pattern and magnitude of urban-rural variations in CHD mortality in the U.S.
Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics, we examined trends in death rates from CHD from 1999 to 2009 among people aged 35–84 years, in each geographic region (Northeast, Midwest, West, and South) and in specific racial-urbanization groups, including black and white people in large and medium metropolitan (urban) areas and in non-metropolitan (rural) areas. We also examined deaths from early-onset CHD in females aged <65 years and males aged <55 years.
From 1999 to 2009, there was a 40% decline in age-adjusted CHD mortality. The trend was similar in black and white people but was more pronounced in urban than in rural areas, resulting in a crossover in 2007, when rural areas began showing a higher CHD mortality than urban areas. White people in large metropolitan areas had the largest decline (43%). Throughout the study period, CHD mortality remained higher in black people than in white people, and, in the South, it remained higher in rural than in urban areas. For early-onset CHD, the mortality decline was more modest (30%), but overall trends by urbanization and region were similar.
Favorable national trends in CHD mortality conceal persisting disparities for some regions and population subgroups (e.g., rural areas and black people).
PMCID: PMC3863000  PMID: 24381356
21.  Physical Activity Patterns Among U.S. Adults with and without Serious Psychological Distress 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(1):30-38.
A physically active lifestyle is recommended for overall health—both physical and mental. Serious psychological distress (SPD) is associated with adverse health behaviors. We compared patterns of physical activity (PA) among adults with and without SPD using current public health guidelines for PA and examined whether adults with SPD were physically active at recommended levels.
We used data from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to assess SPD using the Kessler 6 (K6) scale of nonspecific psychological distress and PA categories based on the 2008 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines. Complete data were available for 78,886 adults in 16 states that used an optional BRFSS mental illness and stigma module containing the K6 scale. We performed multiple logistic regression analyses to estimate prevalence ratios (PRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
The unadjusted prevalence of SPD was 3.9% (95% CI 3.6, 4.2), and the age-adjusted prevalence of SPD was 3.8% (95% CI 3.5, 4.1). After adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, employment, body mass index, smoking status, and heavy drinking, adults with SPD were significantly less likely to be physically active at recommended levels than adults without SPD. PRs were attenuated but remained significant after further adjustment for limitations to PA.
Adults with SPD are less likely to meet current PA recommendations than adults without SPD, highlighting the need for targeted interventions.
PMCID: PMC3863001  PMID: 24381357
22.  How Might Immunization Rates Change if Cost Sharing Is Eliminated? 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(1):39-46.
There is a debate regarding the effect of cost sharing on immunization, particularly as the Affordable Care Act will eliminate cost sharing for recommended vaccines. This study estimates changes in immunization rates and spending associated with extending first-dollar coverage to privately insured children for four childhood vaccines.
We used the 2008 National Immunization Survey and peer-reviewed literature to generate estimates of immunization status for each vaccine by age group and insurance type. We used the Truven Health Analytics 2006 MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database of line-item medical claims to estimate changes in immunization rates that would result from eliminating cost sharing, and we used the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust Employer Health Benefits Survey to determine the prevalence of coverage for patients with first-dollar coverage, patients who face office visit cost sharing, and patients who face cost sharing for all vaccine cost components. We assumed that once cost sharing is removed, coverage rates in plans that impose cost sharing will rise to the level of plans that do not.
We estimate that immunization rates would increase modestly and result in additional direct spending of $26.0 million to insurers/employers. Further, these payers would have an additional $11.0 million in spending associated with eliminating cost sharing for children already receiving immunizations.
The effects of eliminating cost sharing for vaccines vary by vaccine. Overall, immunization rates will rise modestly given high insurance coverage for vaccinations, and these increases would be more substantial for those currently facing cost sharing. However, in addition to the removal of cost sharing for immunizations, these findings suggest other strategies to consider to further increase immunization rates.
PMCID: PMC3863002  PMID: 24381358
23.  Comparing Active and Passive Varicella Surveillance in Philadelphia, 2005–2010: Recommendations for the Transition to Nationwide Passive Varicella Disease Surveillance 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(1):47-54.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) conducts active surveillance for varicella in West Philadelphia. For its approximately 300 active surveillance sites, PDPH mandates biweekly reports of varicella (including zero cases) and performs intensive case investigations. Elsewhere in Philadelphia, surveillance sites passively report varicella cases, and abbreviated investigations are conducted. We used active varicella surveillance program data to inform the transition to nationwide passive varicella surveillance.
We compared classification of reported cases, varicella disease incidence, and reporting completeness for active and passive surveillance areas for 2005–2010. We assessed reporting completeness using capture-recapture analysis of 2- to 18-year-old cases reported by schools/daycare centers and health-care providers.
From 2005 to 2010, PDPH received 3,280 passive and 969 active surveillance varicella case reports. Most passive surveillance reports were classified as probable cases (18% confirmed, 56% probable, and 26% excluded), whereas nearly all of the active surveillance reports were either confirmed or excluded (36% confirmed, 11% probable, and 53% excluded). Overall incidence rates calculated using confirmed/probable cases were similar in the active and passive surveillance areas. Detection of laboratory-confirmed, breakthrough, and moderate-to-severe cases was equivalent for both surveillance areas.
Although active surveillance for varicella results in better classified cases, passive surveillance provides comparable data for monitoring disease trends in breakthrough and moderate-to-severe varicella. To further improve passive surveillance in the two-dose-varicella vaccine era, jurisdictions should consider conducting periodic enhanced surveillance, encouraging laboratory testing, and collecting additional varicella-specific variables for passive surveillance.
PMCID: PMC3863003  PMID: 24381359
24.  Automated Influenza-Like Illness Reporting—An Efficient Adjunct to Traditional Sentinel Surveillance 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(1):55-63.
We compared an electronic health record-based influenza-like illness (ILI) surveillance system with manual sentinel surveillance and virologic data to evaluate the utility of the automated system for routine ILI surveillance.
We obtained weekly aggregate ILI reports from the Electronic medical record Support for Public Health (ESP) disease-detection and reporting system, which used an automated algorithm to identify ILI visits among a patient population of about 700,000 in Eastern Massachusetts. The percentage of total visits for ILI (“percent ILI”) in ESP, percent ILI in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's sentinel surveillance system, and percentage of laboratory specimens submitted to participating Massachusetts laboratories that tested positive for influenza were compared for the period October 2007–September 2011. We calculated Spearman's correlation coefficients and compared ESP and sentinel surveillance systems qualitatively, in terms of simplicity, flexibility, data quality, acceptability, timeliness, and usefulness.
ESP and sentinel surveillance percent ILI always peaked within one week of each other. There was 80% correlation between the two and 71%–73% correlation with laboratory data. Sentinel surveillance percent ILI was higher than ESP percent ILI during influenza seasons. The amplitude of variation in ESP percent ILI was greatest for 5- to 49-year-olds and typically peaked for the 5- to 24-year-old age group before the others.
The ESP system produces percent ILI data of similar quality to sentinel surveillance and offers the advantages of shifting disease reporting burden from clinicians to information systems, allowing tracking of disease by age group, facilitating efficient surveillance for very large populations, and producing consistent and timely reports.
PMCID: PMC3863004  PMID: 24381360
25.  Validation of Self-Reported Veteran Status Among Two Sheltered Homeless Populations 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(1):73-77.
We assessed the accuracy of self-reported veteran status among sheltered homeless adults to assess the reliability of using self-report to determine the number of veterans in homeless populations and examine whether there are demographic correlates to inaccurate reporting of veteran status.
Records on 5,860 sheltered adults from Columbus, Ohio, and 16,346 sheltered adults from New York City (NYC) were matched with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) records. We analyzed the agreement between veteran self-reporting and official records using descriptive measures, diagnostic tests, and logistic regression.
The degree of concordance was moderate. Using VA records rather than self-report data to determine veteran status increased homeless veteran prevalence rates by 27% in Columbus and 39% in NYC. Veterans with discordant veteran status (i.e., false positive or false negative) showed lower levels of services use in the VA (both cities) and in the municipal shelter system (NYC only). Younger veterans and women were at higher risk of not being identified as veterans.
Administrative records can help to more accurately identify homeless veterans and to connect them to available services and benefits.
PMCID: PMC3863006  PMID: 24381362

Results 1-25 (5173)