To investigate the impact of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on long-term population-level tuberculosis disease (TB) incidence in sub-Saharan Africa.
We used a mathematical model to consider the effect of different assumptions about life expectancy and TB risk during long-term ART under alternative scenarios for trends in population HIV incidence and ART coverage.
All the scenarios we explored predicted that the widespread introduction of ART would initially reduce population-level TB incidence. However, many modelled scenarios projected a rebound in population-level TB incidence after around 20 years. This rebound was predicted to exceed the TB incidence present before ART scale-up if decreases in HIV incidence during the same period were not sufficiently rapid or if the protective effect of ART on TB was not sustained. Nevertheless, most scenarios predicted a reduction in the cumulative TB incidence when accompanied by a relative decline in HIV incidence of more than 10% each year.
Despite short-term benefits of ART scale-up on population TB incidence in sub-Saharan Africa, longer-term projections raise the possibility of a rebound in TB incidence. This highlights the importance of sustaining good adherence and immunologic response to ART and, crucially, the need for effective HIV preventive interventions, including early widespread implementation of ART.
While CD4 strongly predicts mortality on antiretroviral therapy (ART), estimates from programmatic data suffer from incomplete patient outcomes.
We conducted a pooled analysis of one-year mortality data on ART accounting for lost patients. We identified articles reporting one-year mortality by ART initiation CD4 count. We estimated the average mortality among those lost as the value that maximizes the fit of a regression of the natural log of mortality on the natural log of the imputed mean CD4 count in each band.
We found 20 studies representing 64,426 subjects and 51 CD4 observations. Without correcting for losses, one-year mortality was >4.8% for all CD4 counts <200 cells/mm3. When searching over different values for mortality among those lost, the best fitting model occurs at 60% mortality. In this model, those with a CD4≤200 had a one-year mortality above 8.7, while those with a CD4>500 had a one-year mortality <6.8%. Comparing those starting ART at 500 vs. 50, one-year mortality risk was reduced by 54% (6.8 vs. 12.5%). Regardless of CD4 count, mortality was substantially higher than when assuming no mortality among those lost, ranging from a 23–94% increase.
Our best fitting regression estimates that every 10% increase in CD4 count at initiation is associated with a 2.8% decline in one-year mortality, including those lost. Our study supports the health benefits of higher thresholds for CD4 count initiation and suggests that reports of programmatic ART outcomes can and should adjust results for mortality among those lost.
Theoretical biology encompasses a broad range of biological disciplines ranging from mathematical biology and biomathematics to philosophy of biology. Adopting a broad definition of "biology", Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, an open access journal, considers original research studies that focus on theoretical ideas and models associated with developments in biology and medicine.
Kawasaki disease (KD) is a common cause of acquired paediatric heart disease in developed countries. KD was first identified in the 1960s in Japan, and has been steadily increasing since it was first reported. The aetiology of KD has not been defined, but is assumed to be infection-related. The present study sought to identify the factor(s) that mediate the geographical variation and chronological increase of KD in Japan.
Methods and Findings
Based upon data reported between 1979 and 2010 from all 47 prefectures in Japan, the incidence and mean patient age at the onset of KD were estimated. Using spatial and time-series analyses, incidence and mean age were regressed against climatic/socioeconomic variables. Both incidence and mean age of KD were inversely correlated with the total fertility rate (TFR; i.e., the number of children that would be born to one woman). The extrapolation of a time-series regressive model suggested that KD emerged in the 1960s because of a dramatic decrease in TFR in the 1940s through the 1950s.
Mean patient age is an inverse surrogate for the hazard of contracting the aetiologic agent. Therefore, the observed negative correlation between mean patient age and TFR suggests that a higher TFR is associated with KD transmission. This relationship may be because a higher TFR facilitates sibling-to-sibling transmission. Additionally, the observed inverse correlation between incidence and TFR implies a paradoxical “negative” correlation between the incidence and the hazard of contracting the aetiologic agent. It was hypothesized that a decreasing TFR resulted in a reduced hazard of contracting the agent for KD, thereby increasing KD incidence.
Acute otitis media (AOM) is one of the most common forms of bacterial infection and cause for clinic visits in children. The incidence of AOM was 0.9–1.2 episodes per person-year during the first 2 years of life in previous reports conducted before 2000. The aim of this study was to 1) evaluate the latest AOM incidence in pediatric outpatients and 2) identify the bacterial pathogens from these patients and ascertain their serotypes and resistance.
The study was conducted in a closed population, involving all pediatricians and otolaryngologists in Sado Island allowing accurate determination of AOM incidence. In each month, one week was assigned as “surveillance week”, and all outpatients with acute illness aged 0–18 years examined during the surveillance weeks were enrolled. AOM was diagnosed on the basis of otoscopic findings and clinical symptoms were recorded. Specimens were collected from the nasopharynx or middle ear cavity of AOM patients and examined for bacteria. Antimicrobial susceptibilities, serotypes, and molecular typing for resistance were determined among Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae.
In total, 8,283 clinic visits were conducted, and 354 episodes (4.3%, 95% CI: 3.9–4.7%) among 312 children were diagnosed as AOM. The incidence of AOM was highest in children of 1 year of age (0.54 episodes/child/year, 95% CI: 0.44–0.64). Serotype coverage of 7- and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in this study were 38.0% (95% CI: 29.3–47.3) and 62.8% (95% CI: 53.6–71.4), respectively. Of 122 H.influenzae isolates available for typing, 120 were nontypeable and 2 were type b. A high proportion of S. pneumoniae isolates (46%) showed resistance to penicillin. Approximately half of H. influenzae isolates had genetic markers for beta-lactamase-negative ampicillin-resistance.
Approximately 4–5% of pediatric outpatients, even without AOM-related symptoms, had AOM in our study. Pediatricians as well as otolaryngologists should check the tympanic membrane findings of all pediatric outpatients.
During the 2009 influenza A(H1N1) pandemic, household transmission studies were implemented to understand better the characteristics of the transmission of the novel virus in a confined setting.
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess and summarize the findings of these studies. We identified 27 articles, around half of which reported studies conducted in May and June 2009.
In 13 of the 27 studies (48%) that collected respiratory specimens from household contacts, point estimates of the risk of secondary infection ranged from 3 to 38%, with substantial heterogeneity. Meta-regression analyses revealed that a part of the heterogeneity reflected varying case ascertainment and study designs. The estimates of symptomatic secondary infection risk, based on 20 studies identifying febrile acute respiratory illness among household contacts, also showed substantial variability, with point estimates ranging from 4% to 37%.
Transmission of the 2009 pandemic virus in households appeared to vary in different countries and settings, with differences in estimates of the secondary infection risk also partly due to differences in study designs.
Influenza A viruses are believed to spread between humans through contact, large respiratory droplets and small particle droplet nuclei (aerosols), but the relative importance of each of these modes of transmission is unclear. Volunteer studies suggest that infections via aerosol transmission may have a higher risk of febrile illness. Here we apply a mathematical model to data from randomized controlled trials of hand hygiene and surgical face masks in Hong Kong and Bangkok households. In these particular environments, inferences on the relative importance of modes of transmission are facilitated by information on the timing of secondary infections and apparent differences in clinical presentation of secondary infections resulting from aerosol transmission. We find that aerosol transmission accounts for approximately half of all transmission events. This implies that measures to reduce transmission by contact or large droplets may not be sufficient to control influenza A virus transmission in households.
We randomized 115 children to trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) or placebo. Over the following 9 months, TIV recipients had an increased risk of virologically-confirmed non-influenza infections (relative risk: 4.40; 95% confidence interval: 1.31-14.8). Being protected against influenza, TIV recipients may lack temporary non-specific immunity that protected against other respiratory viruses.
Prior research shows that work in agriculture and construction/extraction occupations increases the risk of environmental heat-associated death.
To assess the risk of environmental heat-associated death by occupation.
This was a case-control study. Cases were heat-caused and heat-related deaths occurring from May-October during the period 2002–2009 in Maricopa County, Arizona. Controls were selected at random from non-heat-associated deaths during the same period in Maricopa County. Information on occupation, age, sex, and race-ethnicity was obtained from death certificates. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate odds ratios for heat-associated death.
There were 444 cases of heat-associated deaths in adults (18+ years) and 925 adult controls. Of heat-associated deaths, 332 (75%) occurred in men; a construction/extraction or agriculture occupation was described on the death certificate in 115 (35%) of these men. In men, the age-adjusted odds ratios for heat-associated death were 2.32 (95% confidence interval 1.55, 3.48) in association with construction/extraction and 3.50 (95% confidence interval 1.94, 6.32) in association with agriculture occupations. The odds ratio for heat-associated death was 10.17 (95% confidence interval 5.38, 19.23) in men with unknown occupation. In women, the age-adjusted odds ratio for heat-associated death was 6.32 (95% confidence interval 1.48, 27.08) in association with unknown occupation. Men age 65 years and older in agriculture occupations were at especially high risk of heat-associated death.
The occurrence of environmental heat-associated death in men in agriculture and construction/extraction occupations in a setting with predictable periods of high summer temperatures presents opportunities for prevention.
As the human infections with novel influenza A(H7N9) virus have been reported from several different provinces in China, the pandemic potential of the virus has been questioned. The presence of human-to-human transmission has not been demonstrated, but the absence of demonstration does not guarantee that there is no such transmission.
A mathematical model of cluster size distribution is devised without imposing an assumption of subcriticality of the reproduction number and accounting for right censoring of new clusters. The proportion of cases with a history of bird contact is analytically derived, permitting us to fit the model to the observed data of confirmed cases. Using contact history with bird among confirmed cases (n = 129), we estimate the reproduction number of the novel influenza A(H7N9) from human to human.
Analysing twenty confirmed cases with known exposure, the reproduction number for human-to-human transmission was estimated at 0.28 (95% CI: 0.11, 0.45). Sensitivity analysis indicated that the reproduction number is substantially below unity.
It is unlikely to observe an immediate pandemic of novel influenza A(H7N9) virus with human to human transmission. Continued monitoring of cases and animals would be the key to elucidate additional epidemiological characteristics of the virus.
Infectious disease incidence is often male-biased. Two main hypotheses have been proposed to explain this observation. The physiological hypothesis (PH) emphasizes differences in sex hormones and genetic architecture, while the behavioral hypothesis (BH) stresses gender-related differences in exposure. Surprisingly, the population-level predictions of these hypotheses are yet to be thoroughly tested in humans.
Methods and Findings
For ten major pathogens, we tested PH and BH predictions about incidence and exposure-prevalence patterns. Compulsory-notification records (Brazil, 2006–2009) were used to estimate age-stratified ♂:♀ incidence rate ratios for the general population and across selected sociological contrasts. Exposure-prevalence odds ratios were derived from 82 published surveys. We estimated summary effect-size measures using random-effects models; our analyses encompass ∼0.5 million cases of disease or exposure. We found that, after puberty, disease incidence is male-biased in cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, pulmonary tuberculosis, leptospirosis, meningococcal meningitis, and hepatitis A. Severe dengue is female-biased, and no clear pattern is evident for typhoid fever. In leprosy, milder tuberculoid forms are female-biased, whereas more severe lepromatous forms are male-biased. For most diseases, male bias emerges also during infancy, when behavior is unbiased but sex steroid levels transiently rise. Behavioral factors likely modulate male–female differences in some diseases (the leishmaniases, tuberculosis, leptospirosis, or schistosomiasis) and age classes; however, average exposure-prevalence is significantly sex-biased only for Schistosoma and Leptospira.
Our results closely match some key PH predictions and contradict some crucial BH predictions, suggesting that gender-specific behavior plays an overall secondary role in generating sex bias. Physiological differences, including the crosstalk between sex hormones and immune effectors, thus emerge as the main candidate drivers of gender differences in infectious disease susceptibility.
The way we formulate a mathematical model of an infectious disease to capture symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission can greatly influence the likely effectiveness of vaccination in the presence of vaccine effect for preventing clinical illness. The present study aims to assess the impact of model building strategy on the epidemic threshold under vaccination.
We consider two different types of mathematical models, one based on observable variables including symptom onset and recovery from clinical illness (hereafter, the “observable model”) and the other based on unobservable information of infection event and infectiousness (the “unobservable model”). By imposing a number of modifying assumptions to the observable model, we let it mimic the unobservable model, identifying that the two models are fully consistent only when the incubation period is identical to the latent period and when there is no pre-symptomatic transmission. We also computed the reproduction numbers with and without vaccination, demonstrating that the data generating process of vaccine-induced reduction in symptomatic illness is consistent with the observable model only and examining how the effective reproduction number is differently calculated by two models.
To explicitly incorporate the vaccine effect in reducing the risk of symptomatic illness into the model, it is fruitful to employ a model that directly accounts for disease progression. More modeling studies based on observable epidemiological information are called for.
As an obesity epidemic has grown worldwide, a variety of intervention programs have been considered, but a scientific approach to comparatively assessing the control programs has still to be considered. The present study aims to describe an obesity epidemic by employing a simple mathematical model that accounts for both social contagion and non-contagious hazards of obesity, thereby comparing the effectiveness of different types of interventions.
An epidemiological model is devised to describe the time- and age-dependent risk of obesity, the hazard of which is dealt with as both dependent on and independent of obesity prevalence, and parameterizing the model using empirically observed data. The equilibrium prevalence is investigated as our epidemiological outcome, assessing its sensitivity to different parameters that regulate the impact of intervention programs and qualitatively comparing the effectiveness. We compare the effectiveness of different types of interventions, including those directed to never-obese individuals (i.e. primary prevention) and toward obese and ex-obese individuals (i.e. secondary prevention).
The optimal choice of intervention programs considerably varies with the transmission coefficient of obesity, and a limited transmissibility led us to favour preventing weight gain among never-obese individuals. An abrupt decline in the prevalence is expected when the hazards of obesity through contagious and non-contagious routes fall into a particular parameter space, with a high sensitivity to the transmission potential of obesity from person to person. When a combination of two control strategies can be selected, primary and secondary preventions yielded similar population impacts and the superiority of the effectiveness depends on the strength of the interventions at an individual level.
The optimality of intervention programs depends on the contagiousness of obesity. Filling associated data gaps of obesity transmission would help systematically understand the epidemiological dynamics and consider required control programs.
The objective of Web-based expert epidemic intelligence systems is to detect health threats. The Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) Early Alerting and Reporting (EAR) project was launched to assess the feasibility and opportunity for pooling epidemic intelligence data from seven expert systems. EAR participants completed a qualitative survey to document epidemic intelligence strategies and to assess perceptions regarding the systems performance. Timeliness and sensitivity were rated highly illustrating the value of the systems for epidemic intelligence. Weaknesses identified included representativeness, completeness and flexibility. These findings were corroborated by the quantitative analysis performed on signals potentially related to influenza A/H5N1 events occurring in March 2010. For the six systems for which this information was available, the detection rate ranged from 31% to 38%, and increased to 72% when considering the virtual combined system. The effective positive predictive values ranged from 3% to 24% and F1-scores ranged from 6% to 27%. System sensitivity ranged from 38% to 72%. An average difference of 23% was observed between the sensitivities calculated for human cases and epizootics, underlining the difficulties in developing an efficient algorithm for a single pathology. However, the sensitivity increased to 93% when the virtual combined system was considered, clearly illustrating complementarities between individual systems. The average delay between the detection of A/H5N1 events by the systems and their official reporting by WHO or OIE was 10.2 days (95% CI: 6.7–13.8). This work illustrates the diversity in implemented epidemic intelligence activities, differences in system's designs, and the potential added values and opportunities for synergy between systems, between users and between systems and users.
To study influenza viruses in pigs in Sri Lanka,we examined samples from pigs at slaughterhouses. Influenza (H3N2) and A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses were prevalent during 2004–2005 and 2009–2012, respectively. Genetic and epidemiologic analyses of human and swine influenza viruses indicated 2 events of A(H1N1)pdm09 virus spillover from humans to pigs.
swine influenza; Sri Lanka; epidemiology; viruses; spillover; ecology; A(H1N1)pdm09; influenza
While contact tracing and case isolation are considered as the first choice of interventions against a smallpox bioterrorist event, their effectiveness under vaccination is questioned, because not only susceptibility of host and infectiousness of case but also the risk of severe clinical manifestations among cases is known to be reduced by vaccine-induced immunity, thereby potentially delaying the diagnosis and increasing mobility among vaccinated cases. We employed a multi-type stochastic epidemic model, aiming to assess the feasibility of contact tracing and case isolation in a partially vaccinated population and identify data gaps. We computed four epidemiological outcome measures, i.e., (i) the threshold of a major epidemic under the interventions; (ii) the expected total number of cases; (iii) the probability of extinction, and (iv) the expected duration of an outbreak, demonstrating that all of these outcomes critically depend on the clinical impact of past vaccination on the diagnosis and movement of vaccinated cases. We discuss that, even in the absence of smallpox in the present day, one should consider the way to empirically quantify the delay in case detection and an increase in the frequency of contacts among previously vaccinated cases compared to unvaccinated during the early stage of an epidemic so that the feasibility of contact tracing and case isolation in a vaccinated population can be explicitly assessed.
symptom; immunization; epidemiology; mathematical model; contact tracing
Victoria was the first state in Australia to experience community transmission of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09. We undertook a descriptive epidemiological analysis of the first 1,000 notified cases to describe the epidemic associated with school children and explore implications for school closure and antiviral distribution policy in revised pandemic plans.
Records of the first 1,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 notified to the Victorian Government Department of Health between 20 May and 5 June 2009 were extracted from the state’s notifiable infectious diseases database. Descriptive analyses were conducted on case demographics, symptoms, case treatment, prophylaxis of contacts and distribution of cases in schools.
Two-thirds of the first 1,000 cases were school-aged (5–17 years) with cases in 203 schools, particularly along the north and western peripheries of the metropolitan area. Cases in one school accounted for nearly 8% of all cases but the school was not closed until nine days after symptom onset of the first identified case. Amongst all cases, cough (85%) was the most commonly reported symptom followed by fever (68%) although this was significantly higher in primary school children (76%). The risk of hospitalisation was 2%. The median time between illness onset and notification of laboratory confirmation was four days, with only 10% of cases notified within two days of onset and thus eligible for oseltamivir treatment. Nearly 6,000 contacts were followed up for prophylaxis.
With a generally mild clinical course and widespread transmission before its detection, limited and short-term school closures appeared to have minimal impact on influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 transmission. Antiviral treatment could rarely be delivered to cases within 48 hours of symptom onset. These scenarios and lessons learned from them need to be incorporated into revisions of pandemic plans.
The total number of influenza cases with medical attendance has been estimated from sentinel surveillance data in Japan under a random sampling assumption of sentinel medical institutions among the total medical institutions. The 2009 pandemic offered a research opportunity to validate the sentinel-based estimation method using the estimated proportion of infections measured by the population-wide seroepidemiological survey employing hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) assay. For the entire population, we estimated the age-standardized proportion of infections at 28.5% and 23.5% using cut-off values of HI titer at 1 : 20 and 1 : 40, respectively. Investigating the age profiles, we show that the estimated influenza-like illness (ILI) cases with medical attendance exceeded the estimated infections among those aged from 0 to 19 years, indicating an overestimation of the magnitude by sentinel-based estimation method. The ratio of estimated cases to estimated infections decreased as a function of age. Examining the geographic distributions, no positive correlation was identified between the estimated cases and infections. Our findings indicate a serious technical limitation of the so-called multiplier method in appropriately quantifying the risk of influenza due to limited specificity of ILI and reporting bias. A seroepidemiological study should be planned in advance of a pandemic.
Use of the final size distribution of minor outbreaks for the estimation of the reproduction numbers of supercritical epidemic processes has yet to be considered. We used a branching process model to derive the final size distribution of minor outbreaks, assuming a reproduction number above unity, and applying the method to final size data for pneumonic plague. Pneumonic plague is a rare disease with only one documented major epidemic in a spatially limited setting. Because the final size distribution of a minor outbreak needs to be normalized by the probability of extinction, we assume that the dispersion parameter (k) of the negative-binomial offspring distribution is known, and examine the sensitivity of the reproduction number to variation in dispersion. Assuming a geometric offspring distribution with k = 1, the reproduction number was estimated at 1.16 (95% confidence interval: 0.97–1.38). When less dispersed with k = 2, the maximum likelihood estimate of the reproduction number was 1.14. These estimates agreed with those published from transmission network analysis, indicating that the human-to-human transmission potential of the pneumonic plague is not very high. Given only minor outbreaks, transmission potential is not sufficiently assessed by directly counting the number of offspring. Since the absence of a major epidemic does not guarantee a subcritical process, the proposed method allows us to conservatively regard epidemic data from minor outbreaks as supercritical, and yield estimates of threshold values above unity.
Basic reproduction number; Branching process; Statistical model; Likelihood function; Confidence interval
Animal transmission studies can provide important insights into host, viral and environmental factors affecting transmission of viruses including influenza A. The basic unit of analysis in typical animal transmission experiments is the presence or absence of transmission from an infectious animal to a susceptible animal. In studies comparing two groups (e.g. two host genetic variants, two virus strains, or two arrangements of animal cages), differences between groups are evaluated by comparing the proportion of pairs with successful transmission in each group. The present study aimed to discuss the significance and power to estimate transmissibility and identify differences in the transmissibility based on one-to-one trials. The analyses are illustrated on transmission studies of influenza A viruses in the ferret model.
Employing the stochastic general epidemic model, the basic reproduction number, R0, is derived from the final state of an epidemic and is related to the probability of successful transmission during each one-to-one trial. In studies to estimate transmissibility, we show that 3 pairs of infectious/susceptible animals cannot demonstrate a significantly higher transmissibility than R0 = 1, even if infection occurs in all three pairs. In comparisons between two groups, at least 4 pairs of infectious/susceptible animals are required in each group to ensure high power to identify significant differences in transmissibility between the groups.
These results inform the appropriate sample sizes for animal transmission experiments, while relating the observed proportion of infected pairs to R0, an interpretable epidemiological measure of transmissibility. In addition to the hypothesis testing results, the wide confidence intervals of R0 with small sample sizes also imply that the objective demonstration of difference or similarity should rest on firmly calculated sample size.
Prisoners are at high risk of developing tuberculosis (TB), causing morbidity and mortality. Prison facilities encounter many challenges in TB screening procedures and TB control. This review explores screening practices for detection of TB and describes limitations of TB control in prison facilities worldwide.
A systematic search of online databases (e.g., PubMed and Embase) and conference abstracts was carried out. Research papers describing screening and diagnostic practices among prisoners were included. A total of 52 articles met the inclusion criteria. A meta-analysis of TB prevalence in prison facilities by screening and diagnostic tools was performed.
The most common screening tool was symptom questionnaires (63·5%), mostly reporting presence of cough. Microscopy of sputum with Ziehl-Neelsen staining and solid culture were the most frequently combined diagnostic methods (21·2%). Chest X-ray and tuberculin skin tests were used by 73·1% and 50%, respectively, as either a screening and/or diagnostic tool. Median TB prevalence among prisoners of all included studies was 1,913 cases of TB per 100,000 prisoners (interquartile range [IQR]: 332–3,517). The overall annual median TB incidence was 7·0 cases per 1000 person-years (IQR: 2·7–30·0). Major limitations for successful TB control were inaccuracy of diagnostic algorithms and the lack of adequate laboratory facilities reported by 61·5% of studies. The most frequent recommendation for improving TB control and case detection was to increase screening frequency (73·1%).
TB screening algorithms differ by income area and should be adapted to local contexts. In order to control TB, prison facilities must improve laboratory capacity and frequent use of effective screening and diagnostic tools. Sustainable political will and funding are critical to achieve this.
Many infections can be transmitted between animals and humans. The epidemiological roles of different species can vary from important reservoirs to dead-end hosts. Here, we present a method to identify transmission cycles in different combinations of species from field data. We used this method to synthesise epidemiological and ecological data from Bipindi, Cameroon, a historical focus of gambiense Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT, sleeping sickness), a disease that has often been considered to be maintained mainly by humans. We estimated the basic reproduction number of gambiense HAT in Bipindi and evaluated the potential for transmission in the absence of human cases. We found that under the assumption of random mixing between vectors and hosts, gambiense HAT could not be maintained in this focus without the contribution of animals. This result remains robust under extensive sensitivity analysis. When using the distributions of species among habitats to estimate the amount of mixing between those species, we found indications for an independent transmission cycle in wild animals. Stochastic simulation of the system confirmed that unless vectors moved between species very rarely, reintroduction would usually occur shortly after elimination of the infection from human populations. This suggests that elimination strategies may have to be reconsidered as targeting human cases alone would be insufficient for control, and reintroduction from animal reservoirs would remain a threat. Our approach is broadly applicable and could reveal animal reservoirs critical to the control of other infectious diseases.
Gambiense sleeping sickness is a disease transmitted by tsetse flies that mostly affects rural populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Although the parasite that causes the disease can be found in many different wild and domestic animal species, the disease has often been claimed to be maintained mostly by humans. Currently, fewer than 10,000 human cases are reported per year across Africa, and it has been suggested that elimination of gambiense sleeping sickness is feasible. We analysed human and animal case data from a well-known endemic focus of sleeping sickness in Cameroon, to quantify the contribution of the different species to the circulation of the parasite. In a wide range of scenarios, we found that animals are crucial for maintenance in the disease. When informing our model by the distribution of species among habitats as measured in the field, we found indications for independent transmission cycles in animals. This suggests that a risk of reintroduction from animal into human populations would remain even if the disease were eliminated from those human populations.
During the very early stage of the 2009 pandemic, mass chemoprophylaxis was implemented as part of containment measure. The purposes of the present study were to systematically review the retrospective studies that investigated the effectiveness of antiviral prophylaxis during the 2009 pandemic, and to explicitly estimate the effectiveness by employing a mathematical model.
A systematic review identified 17 articles that clearly defined the cases and identified exposed individuals based on contact tracing. Analysing a specific school-driven outbreak, we estimated the effectiveness of antiviral prophylaxis using a renewal equation model. Other parameters, including the reproduction number and the effectiveness of antiviral treatment and school closure, were jointly estimated.
Based on the systematic review, median secondary infection risks (SIRs) among exposed individuals with and without prophylaxis were estimated at 2.1% (quartile: 0, 12.2) and 16.6% (quartile: 8.4, 32.4), respectively. A very high heterogeneity in the SIR was identified with an estimated I2 statistic at 71.8%. From the outbreak data in Madagascar, the effectiveness of mass chemoprophylaxis in reducing secondary transmissions was estimated to range from 92.8% to 95.4% according to different model assumptions and likelihood functions, not varying substantially as compared to other parameters.
Only based on the meta-analysis of retrospective studies with different study designs and exposure settings, it was not feasible to estimate the effectiveness of antiviral prophylaxis in reducing transmission. However, modelling analysis of a single outbreak successfully yielded an estimate of the effectiveness that appeared to be robust to model assumptions. Future studies should fill the data gap that has existed in observational studies and allow mathematical models to be used for the analysis of meta-data.
Epidemiological determinants of successful vaccine development were explored using measurable biological variables including antigenic stability and requirement of T-cell immunity. Employing a logistic regression model, we demonstrate that a high affinity with blood and immune cells and pathogen interactions (e.g. interference) would be the risk factors of failure for vaccine development.
Vaccination; epidemiology; infectious disease; immunization; statistical model.
The transcriptional nuclear factor binding to the Y box of human leukocyte antigen genes (NF-Y) for the C5a receptor (C5aR) gene is active in erythroblasts. However, the roles of the C5aR in erythropoiesis are unclear. We have previously demonstrated that apoptotic cell-derived ribosomal protein S19 (RP S19) oligomers exhibit extraribosomal functions in promoting monocyte chemotaxis and proapoptosis via the C5aR without receptor internalisation. In contrast to the extraribosomal functions of the RP S19, a proapoptotic signal in pro-EBs, which is caused by mutations in the RP S19 gene, is associated with the inherited erythroblastopenia, Diamond-Blackfan anaemia. In this study, we detected C5aR expression and RP S19 oligomer generation in human erythroleukemia K562 cells during haemin-induced erythropoiesis. Under monocell culture conditions, the differentiation into K562 erythrocyte-like cells was enhanced following the overexpression of Wild-type RP S19. Conversely, the differentiation was repressed following the overexpression of mutant RP S19. An RP S19 oligomer inhibitor and a C5aR inhibitor blocked the association of the K562 basophilic EB-like cells and the THP-1 macrophage-like cells under coculture conditions. When bound to RP S19 oligomers, the C5aR may exhibit dual functions as a connector for the EB-macrophage island and as a sensor for EB differentiation in the bone marrow.