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1.  Water-Borne Diseases and Extreme Weather Events in Cambodia: Review of Impacts and Implications of Climate Change 
Cambodia is prone to extreme weather events, especially floods, droughts and typhoons. Climate change is predicted to increase the frequency and intensity of such events. The Cambodian population is highly vulnerable to the impacts of these events due to poverty; malnutrition; agricultural dependence; settlements in flood-prone areas, and public health, governance and technological limitations. Yet little is known about the health impacts of extreme weather events in Cambodia. Given the extremely low adaptive capacity of the population, this is a crucial knowledge gap. A literature review of the health impacts of floods, droughts and typhoons in Cambodia was conducted, with regional and global information reviewed where Cambodia-specific literature was lacking. Water-borne diseases are of particular concern in Cambodia, in the face of extreme weather events and climate change, due to, inter alia, a high pre-existing burden of diseases such as diarrhoeal illness and a lack of improved sanitation infrastructure in rural areas. A time-series analysis under quasi-Poisson distribution was used to evaluate the association between floods and diarrhoeal disease incidence in Cambodian children between 2001 and 2012 in 16 Cambodian provinces. Floods were significantly associated with increased diarrhoeal disease in two provinces, while the analysis conducted suggested a possible protective effect from toilets and piped water. Addressing the specific, local pre-existing vulnerabilities is vital to promoting population health resilience and strengthening adaptive capacity to extreme weather events and climate change in Cambodia.
PMCID: PMC4306857  PMID: 25546280
flood; drought; extreme weather event; climate change; Cambodia; health; water-borne disease; diarrhoea
2.  Tropical influenza and weather variability among children in an urban low-income population in Bangladesh 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.24413.
Influenza seasonality in the tropics is poorly understood and not as well documented as in temperate regions. In addition, low-income populations are considered highly vulnerable to such acute respiratory disease, owing to limited resources and overcrowding. Nonetheless, little is known about their actual disease burden for lack of data. We therefore investigated associations between tropical influenza incidence and weather variability among children under five in a poor urban area of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Acute respiratory illness data were obtained from a population-based respiratory and febrile illness surveillance dataset of Kamalapur, a low-income urban area in southeast Dhaka. Analyzed data were from January 2005 through December 2008. Nasopharyngeal wash specimens were collected from every fifth eligible surveillance participant during clinic visits to identify influenza virus infection with viral culture and reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction. Time series analysis was conducted to determine associations between the number of influenza cases per week and weather factors. Zero-inflated Poisson and generalized linear Poisson models were used in the analysis for influenza A and B, respectively.
Influenza A had associations with minimum temperature, relative humidity (RH), sunlight duration, and rainfall, whereas only RH was associated with influenza B. Although associations of the other weather factors varied between the two subtypes, RH shared a similar positive association when humidity was approximately 50–70%.
Our findings of a positive RH association is consistent with prior studies, and may suggest the viral response in the tropics. The characteristics of settlement areas, population demographics, and typical overcrowding of urban poverty may also contribute to different impacts of rainfall from higher economic population. Further investigations of associations between tropical influenza and weather variability for urban low-income populations are required for better understanding.
PMCID: PMC4134673  PMID: 25128806
influenza; tropics; weather; low-income; poor; urban; children; time series
3.  Mitochondrial Targeted Endonuclease III DNA Repair Enzyme Protects against Ventilator Induced Lung Injury in Mice 
Pharmaceuticals  2014;7(8):894-912.
The mitochondrial targeted DNA repair enzyme, 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase 1, was previously reported to protect against mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage and ventilator induced lung injury (VILI). In the present study we determined whether mitochondrial targeted endonuclease III (EndoIII) which cleaves oxidized pyrimidines rather than purines from damaged DNA would also protect the lung. Minimal injury from 1 h ventilation at 40 cmH2O peak inflation pressure (PIP) was reversed by EndoIII pretreatment. Moderate lung injury due to ventilation for 2 h at 40 cmH2O PIP produced a 25-fold increase in total extravascular albumin space, a 60% increase in W/D weight ratio, and marked increases in MIP-2 and IL-6. Oxidative mtDNA damage and decreases in the total tissue glutathione (GSH) and the GSH/GSSH ratio also occurred. All of these indices of injury were attenuated by mitochondrial targeted EndoIII. Massive lung injury caused by 2 h ventilation at 50 cmH2O PIP was not attenuated by EndoIII pretreatment, but all untreated mice died prior to completing the two hour ventilation protocol, whereas all EndoIII-treated mice lived for the duration of ventilation. Thus, mitochondrial targeted DNA repair enzymes were protective against mild and moderate lung damage and they enhanced survival in the most severely injured group.
PMCID: PMC4167202  PMID: 25153040
endonuclease III; albumin spaces; MIP-2; IL-6; glutathione; pulmonary edema; vascular permeability
4.  Risk Factors and Spatial Distribution of Schistosoma mansoni Infection among Primary School Children in Mbita District, Western Kenya 
An increasing risk of Schistosoma mansoni infection has been observed around Lake Victoria, western Kenya since the 1970s. Understanding local transmission dynamics of schistosomiasis is crucial in curtailing increased risk of infection.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We carried out a cross sectional study on a population of 310 children from eight primary schools. Overall, a total of 238 (76.8%) children were infected with S. mansoni, while seven (2.3%) had S. haematobium. The prevalence of hookworm, Trichuris trichiura and Ascaris lumbricoides were 6.1%, 5.2% and 2.3%, respectively. Plasmodium falciparum was the only malaria parasite detected (12.0%). High local population density within a 1 km radius around houses was identified as a major independent risk factor of S. mansoni infection. A spatial cluster of high infection risk was detected around the Mbita causeway following adjustment for population density and other potential risk factors.
Population density was shown to be a major factor fuelling schistosome infection while individual socio-economic factors appeared not to affect the infection risk. The high-risk cluster around the Mbita causeway may be explained by the construction of an artificial pathway that may cause increased numbers of S. mansoni host snails through obstruction of the waterway. This construction may have, therefore, a significant negative impact on the health of the local population, especially school-aged children who frequently come in contact with lake water.
Author Summary
It is estimated that more than ten percent of the world's population is at risk of schistosome transmission, with over 90% of infections occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, schistosomiasis remains a major public health concern particularly around Lake Victoria. The objective of this study was to identify the risk factors associated with Schistosoma mansoni infection among schoolchildren on the shores and adjacent islands of Lake Victoria in Mbita district, western Kenya. High local population density was identified as an important risk factor for S. mansoni infection. Socio-economic factors were not found to be significantly associated with infection risk. Our study suggests that environmental changes related to causeway construction and the dense human population around Mbita town may result in favourable ecological conditions for S. mansoni transmission.
PMCID: PMC4109881  PMID: 25058653
5.  A systematic review of the influence of occupational organophosphate pesticides exposure on neurological impairment 
BMJ Open  2014;4(6):e004798.
The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the published literature and to estimate whether or not there is a causal relationship between occupational exposure to organophosphate pesticides (OPs) and either neurological impairment or depressive symptoms.
Data sources
EMBASE, MEDLINE, Global Health and PsycINFO (1980 to April 2014).
Observational studies (cross-sectional, cohort and case–control studies) with exposed and unexposed groups.
People who occupationally use OPs for more than 1 month and their family.
Primary outcome
Results of neurological core test batteries or depressive symptoms such as headaches, anxiety and dizziness.
Study appraisal and synthesis methods
After an extensive search of various literature databases, one author screened titles and abstracts, searched the relevant publications manually and conducted data extraction. All extracted data from the selected articles were synthesised for analysis. Quality appraisal was conducted using the Newcastle Ottawa Scale.
Of the 1024 articles retrieved by database search, 24 studies that met the inclusion and exclusion criteria were selected for analysis. Of the selected studies, 17 were cross-sectional and the remaining 7 were cohort and nested case–control studies. The geographical areas included in the studies were the USA (10 studies), the UK (4 studies), Africa (4 studies), Asia (3 studies), Europe (2 studies) and South America (1 study). Each of the included studies used different exposure and outcome assessments such as neurological scores and depressive symptoms, making it difficult to compare the results exactly. Most studies showed that exposed groups had poorer results than unexposed groups; however, owing to the inconsistent neurological test batteries, there was not enough pooling evidence to conduct a meta-analysis.
The findings of this literature review indicate that it is necessary to standardise the neurological or neuropsychological test battery and methods of measuring exposure to OPs.
PMCID: PMC4078784  PMID: 24961715
Environmental Health
6.  Tumor Size and Computed Tomography Attenuation of Pulmonary Pure Ground-Glass Nodules Are Useful for Predicting Pathological Invasiveness 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97867.
Pulmonary ground-glass nodules (GGNs) are occasionally diagnosed as invasive adenocarcinomas. This study aimed to evaluate the clinicopathological features of patients with pulmonary GGNs to identify factors predictive of pathological invasion.
We retrospectively evaluated 101 pulmonary GGNs resected between July 2006 and November 2013 and pathologically classified them as adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS; n = 47), minimally invasive adenocarcinoma (MIA; n = 30), or invasive adenocarcinoma (I-ADC; n = 24). The age, sex, smoking history, tumor size, and computed tomography (CT) attenuation of the 3 groups were compared. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were performed to identify factors that could predict the presence of pathologically invasive adenocarcinomas.
Tumor size was significantly larger in the MIA and I-ADC groups than in the AIS group. CT attenuation was significantly greater in the I-ADC group than in the AIS and MIA groups. In ROC curve analyses, the sensitivity and specificity of tumor size (cutoff, 11 mm) were 95.8% and 46.8%, respectively, and those for CT attenuation (cutoff, −680 HU) were 95.8% and 35.1%, respectively; the areas under the curve (AUC) were 0.75 and 0.77, respectively. A combination of tumor size and CT attenuation (cutoffs of 11 mm and −680 HU for tumor size and CT attenuation, respectively) yielded in a sensitivity and specificity of 91.7% and 71.4%, respectively, with an AUC of 0.82.
Tumor size and CT attenuation were predictive factors of pathological invasiveness for pulmonary GGNs. Use of a combination of tumor size and CT attenuation facilitated more accurate prediction of invasive adenocarcinoma than the use of these factors independently.
PMCID: PMC4028326  PMID: 24846292
7.  Regional Differences in the Growing Incidence of Dengue Fever in Vietnam Explained by Weather Variability 
Tropical Medicine and Health  2013;42(1):25-33.
Dengue fever is a major health problem in Vietnam, but its incidence differs from province to province. To understand this at the local level, we assessed the effect of four weather components (humidity, rainfall, temperature and sunshine) on the number of dengue cases in nine provinces of Vietnam. Monthly data from 1999 to 2009 were analysed by time-series regression using negative binomial models. A test for heterogeneity was applied to assess the weather-dengue association in the provinces. Those associations were significantly heterogeneous (for temperature, humidity, and sunshine: P < 0.001 heterogeneity test; for rainfall: P = 0.018 heterogeneity test). This confirms that weather components strongly affect dengue transmission at a lag time of 0 to 3 months, with considerable variation in their influence among different areas in Vietnam. This finding may promote the strategic prevention of dengue disease by suggesting specific plans at the local level, rather than a nationally unified approach.
PMCID: PMC3965842  PMID: 24808744
Dengue; temperature; rainfall; humidity; sunshine; weather variability
8.  Non-communicable diseases in antiretroviral therapy recipients in Kagera Tanzania: a cross-sectional study 
The aim of this study was to describe the extent of self-reported non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) recipients in Kagera region in Tanzania and their effect on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). This study was conducted 2 years after HAART administration was started in Kagera region.
The SF-36 questionnaire was used to collect the HRQOL data of 329 HAART recipients. Questions on the NCDs, socio-demographic characteristics and treatment information were validated and added to the SF-36. Bivariate analyses involving socio-demographic characteristics and SF-36 scores of the recipients were performed. Multiple logistic regression was employed to compute adjusted odds ratios for different explanatory variables on physical functioning and mental health scores.
Respondents who reported having 1 or more NCDs were 57.8% of all the respondents. Arthritis was the commonest NCD (57.8%). Respondents with the NCDs were more likely to have HRQOL scores below the mean of the general Tanzanian population. The population attributable fraction (PAF) for the NCDs on physical functioning was 0.28 and on mental health was 0.22.
Self-reported NCDs were prevalent among the HAART recipients in Kagera region. They accounted for 28% of the physical functioning scores and 22% of the mental health scores that were below the mean of the general Tanzanian population. Therefore, the integration of NCD care is important in the management of HIV/AIDS.
PMCID: PMC3976665  PMID: 24711874
Non-communicable diseases; HIV/AIDS; highly active antiretroviral therapy; health-related quality of life; Tanzania
9.  Risk Factors Associated with Clinical Malaria Episodes in Bangladesh: A Longitudinal Study 
Malaria is endemic to Bangladesh. In this longitudinal study, we used hydrologic, topographic, and socioeconomic risk factors to explain single and multiple malaria infections at individual and household levels. Malaria incidence was determined for 1,634 households in 54 villages in 2009 and 2010. During the entire study period 21.8% of households accounted for all (n = 497) malaria cases detected; 15.4% of households had 1 case and 6.4% had ≥ 2 cases. The greatest risk factors for malaria infection were low bed net ratio per household, house construction materials (wall), and high density of houses. Hydrologic and topographic factors were not significantly associated with malaria risk. This study identifies stable malaria hotspots and risk factors that should be considered for cost-effective targeting of malaria interventions that may contribute to potential elimination of malaria in Bangladesh.
PMCID: PMC3617860  PMID: 23419363
10.  A Differential Effect of Indian Ocean Dipole and El Niño on Cholera Dynamics in Bangladesh 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e60001.
A stationary (i.e., constant through time) association between El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and epidemics of cholera in Bangladesh has been widely assumed. However, whether or not elements of the local climate that are relevant for cholera transmission have stationary signatures of the IOD on their dynamics over different time scales is still not clear. Here we report results on the time-varying relationships between the various remote and local environmental drivers and cholera incidence in Bangladesh.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We performed a cross wavelet coherency analysis to examine patterns of association between monthly cholera cases in the hospitals in Dhaka and Matlab (1983–2008) and indices for both IOD and ENSO. Our results showed that the strength of both the IOD and ENSO associations with cholera hospitalizations changed across time scales during the study period. In Dhaka, 4-year long coherent cycles were observed between cholera and the index of IOD in 1988–1997. In Matlab, the effect of ENSO was more dominant while there was no evidence for an IOD effect on cholera hospitalizations.
Our results call for the consideration of non-stationary, possibly non-linear, patterns of association between cholera hospitalizations and climatic factors in cholera epidemic early warning systems.
PMCID: PMC3612031  PMID: 23555861
11.  Modelling typhoid risk in Dhaka Metropolitan Area of Bangladesh: the role of socio-economic and environmental factors 
Developing countries in South Asia, such as Bangladesh, bear a disproportionate burden of diarrhoeal diseases such as Cholera, Typhoid and Paratyphoid. These seem to be aggravated by a number of social and environmental factors such as lack of access to safe drinking water, overcrowdedness and poor hygiene brought about by poverty. Some socioeconomic data can be obtained from census data whilst others are more difficult to elucidate. This study considers a range of both census data and spatial data from other sources, including remote sensing, as potential predictors of typhoid risk. Typhoid data are aggregated from hospital admission records for the period from 2005 to 2009. The spatial and statistical structures of the data are analysed and Principal Axis Factoring is used to reduce the degree of co-linearity in the data. The resulting factors are combined into a Quality of Life index, which in turn is used in a regression model of typhoid occurrence and risk.
The three Principal Factors used together explain 87% of the variance in the initial candidate predictors, which eminently qualifies them for use as a set of uncorrelated explanatory variables in a linear regression model. Initial regression result using Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) were disappointing, this was explainable by analysis of the spatial autocorrelation inherent in the Principal factors. The use of Geographically Weighted Regression caused a considerable increase in the predictive power of regressions based on these factors. The best prediction, determined by analysis of the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) was found when the three factors were combined into a quality of life index, using a method previously published by others, and had a coefficient of determination of 73%.
The typhoid occurrence/risk prediction equation was used to develop the first risk map showing areas of Dhaka Metropolitan Area whose inhabitants are at greater or lesser risk of typhoid infection. This, coupled with seasonal information on typhoid incidence also reported in this paper, has the potential to advise public health professionals on developing prevention strategies such as targeted vaccination.
PMCID: PMC3610306  PMID: 23497202
12.  Typhoid Fever and Its Association with Environmental Factors in the Dhaka Metropolitan Area of Bangladesh: A Spatial and Time-Series Approach 
Typhoid fever is a major cause of death worldwide with a major part of the disease burden in developing regions such as the Indian sub-continent. Bangladesh is part of this highly endemic region, yet little is known about the spatial and temporal distribution of the disease at a regional scale. This research used a Geographic Information System to explore, spatially and temporally, the prevalence of typhoid in Dhaka Metropolitan Area (DMA) of Bangladesh over the period 2005–9. This paper provides the first study of the spatio-temporal epidemiology of typhoid for this region. The aims of the study were: (i) to analyse the epidemiology of cases from 2005 to 2009; (ii) to identify spatial patterns of infection based on two spatial hypotheses; and (iii) to determine the hydro-climatological factors associated with typhoid prevalence. Case occurrences data were collected from 11 major hospitals in DMA, geocoded to census tract level, and used in a spatio-temporal analysis with a range of demographic, environmental and meteorological variables. Analyses revealed distinct seasonality as well as age and gender differences, with males and very young children being disproportionately infected. The male-female ratio of typhoid cases was found to be 1.36, and the median age of the cases was 14 years. Typhoid incidence was higher in male population than female (χ2 = 5.88, p<0.05). The age-specific incidence rate was highest for the 0–4 years age group (277 cases), followed by the 60+ years age group (51 cases), then there were 45 cases for 15–17 years, 37 cases for 18–34 years, 34 cases for 35–39 years and 11 cases for 10–14 years per 100,000 people. Monsoon months had the highest disease occurrences (44.62%) followed by the pre-monsoon (30.54%) and post-monsoon (24.85%) season. The Student's t test revealed that there is no significant difference on the occurrence of typhoid between urban and rural environments (p>0.05). A statistically significant inverse association was found between typhoid incidence and distance to major waterbodies. Spatial pattern analysis showed that there was a significant clustering of typhoid distribution in the study area. Moran's I was highest (0.879; p<0.01) in 2008 and lowest (0.075; p<0.05) in 2009. Incidence rates were found to form three large, multi-centred, spatial clusters with no significant difference between urban and rural rates. Temporally, typhoid incidence was seen to increase with temperature, rainfall and river level at time lags ranging from three to five weeks. For example, for a 0.1 metre rise in river levels, the number of typhoid cases increased by 4.6% (95% CI: 2.4–2.8) above the threshold of 4.0 metres (95% CI: 2.4–4.3). On the other hand, with a 1°C rise in temperature, the number of typhoid cases could increase by 14.2% (95% CI: 4.4–25.0).
Author Summary
This research studies the spatial and temporal distribution of typhoid infections in the Dhaka metropolitan area of Bangladesh in the period 2005 to 2009. Data from hospital admission records was analysed together with a range of demographic, environmental and climatic data, in what is believed to be the first study of this nature; clear periodicity was found in the timing of case occurrences, with most cases occurring in the monsoon season. Men and very young children appear to be at greatest risk of contracting the disease. Closeness to rivers was also found to be a contributor to increased typhoid risk. While a difference in rates between urban and rural locations suggested by other studies was not found, distinct clustering of the disease was uncovered. Two of these clusters are located in central Dhaka with a third in the north of the metropolitan area.
PMCID: PMC3554574  PMID: 23359825
13.  Epidemiological Characteristics of Novel Influenza A (H1N1) in Antiviral Drug Users in Korea 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47634.
Soon after the first novel influenza A (H1N1) death was documented in Korea on August 15, 2009, prompt treatment with antiviral drugs was recommended when an infection was suspected. Free antiviral drugs were distributed to patients who met the case definition in the treatment guidelines, and patients prescribed the antiviral drugs were included in the Antiviral Drug Surveillance System (ADSS). A total of 2,825,821 patients were reported to the ADSS from September 1 to December 31, 2009. Odds ratios were calculated to compare the risks of severe diseases, as indicated by general hospital admissions or intensive care unit (ICU) admissions according to demographic characteristics, underlying medical conditions, and behavioral factors. Approximately 6% of the total population received antiviral drugs during the study period. Of these, 2,709,611 (95.9%) were outpatients, 114,840 (4.06%) were hospitalized, and 1,370 (0.05%) were admitted to the ICU. Children aged 0–9 yr accounted for 33.94% of all reported cases, whereas only 3.89% of the patients were ≥ 60 yr. The estimated incidence of novel influenza A (H1N1) during the pandemic was 5.68/100 of all reported cases. Mortality due to influenza A (H1N1) during the pandemic was 0.33/100,000, with the highest mortality of 1.31/100,000 for patients aged ≥ 60 years. Severe pandemic H1N1 influenza was associated with the presence of one or more underlying medical conditions in elderly aged ≥ 60 years and with lower economic status. Moreover, influenza A (H1N1) appeared to be age-specific in terms of mortality. Although the incidence and admission rates of influenza A (H1N1) were higher in younger age groups, fatal cases were much more likely to occur in the elderly (≥60 years). In contrast to earlier influenza A (H1N1) reports, the risks of a severe outcome were elevated among those who were underweight (body mass index < 18.5 kg/m2).
PMCID: PMC3474727  PMID: 23082184
14.  Hydroclimatological variability and dengue transmission in Dhaka, Bangladesh: a time-series study 
While floods can potentially increase the transmission of dengue, only few studies have reported the association of dengue epidemics with flooding. We estimated the effects of river levels and rainfall on the hospital admissions for dengue fever at 11 major hospitals in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
We examined time-series of the number of hospital admissions of dengue fever in relation to river levels from 2005 to 2009 using generalized linear Poisson regression models adjusting for seasonal, between-year variation, public holidays and temperature.
There was strong evidence for an increase in dengue fever at high river levels. Hospitalisations increased by 6.9% (95% CI: 3.2, 10.7) for each 0.1 metre increase above a threshold (3.9 metres) for the average river level over lags of 0–5 weeks. Conversely, the number of hospitalisations increased by 29.6% (95% CI: 19.8, 40.2) for a 0.1 metre decrease below the same threshold of the average river level over lags of 0–19 weeks.
Our findings provide evidence that factors associated with both high and low river levels increase the hospitalisations of dengue fever cases in Dhaka.
PMCID: PMC3528427  PMID: 22530873
Bangladesh; Climate; Dengue; River level; Time-series
15.  Modelling malaria treatment practices in Bangladesh using spatial statistics 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:63.
Malaria treatment-seeking practices vary worldwide and Bangladesh is no exception. Individuals from 88 villages in Rajasthali were asked about their treatment-seeking practices. A portion of these households preferred malaria treatment from the National Control Programme, but still a large number of households continued to use drug vendors and approximately one fourth of the individuals surveyed relied exclusively on non-control programme treatments. The risks of low-control programme usage include incomplete malaria treatment, possible misuse of anti-malarial drugs, and an increased potential for drug resistance.
The spatial patterns of treatment-seeking practices were first examined using hot-spot analysis (Local Getis-Ord Gi statistic) and then modelled using regression. Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression identified key factors explaining more than 80% of the variation in control programme and vendor treatment preferences. Geographically weighted regression (GWR) was then used to assess where each factor was a strong predictor of treatment-seeking preferences.
Several factors including tribal affiliation, housing materials, household densities, education levels, and proximity to the regional urban centre, were found to be effective predictors of malaria treatment-seeking preferences. The predictive strength of each of these factors, however, varied across the study area. While education, for example, was a strong predictor in some villages, it was less important for predicting treatment-seeking outcomes in other villages.
Understanding where each factor is a strong predictor of treatment-seeking outcomes may help in planning targeted interventions aimed at increasing control programme usage. Suggested strategies include providing additional training for the Building Resources across Communities (BRAC) health workers, implementing educational programmes, and addressing economic factors.
PMCID: PMC3350424  PMID: 22390636
Malaria treatment; Malaria control; Bangladesh; Local Getis-Ord Gi statistic; Spatial regression; Hot-spot analysis; Geographically weighted regression (GWR); GIS
16.  Indian Ocean Dipole drives malaria resurgence in East African highlands 
Scientific Reports  2012;2:269.
Malaria resurgence in African highlands in the 1990s has raised questions about the underlying drivers of the increase in disease incidence including the role of El-Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). However, climatic anomalies other than the ENSO are clearly associated with malaria outbreaks in the highlands. Here we show that the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), a coupled ocean-atmosphere interaction in the Indian Ocean, affected highland malaria re-emergence. Using cross-wavelet coherence analysis, we found four-year long coherent cycles between the malaria time series and the dipole mode index (DMI) in the 1990s in three highland localities. Conversely, we found a less pronounced coherence between malaria and DMI in lowland localities. The highland/lowland contrast can be explained by the effects of mesoscale systems generated by Lake Victoria on its climate basin. Our results support the need to consider IOD as a driving force in the resurgence of malaria in the East African highlands.
PMCID: PMC3280600  PMID: 22355781
17.  Anemia and Related Factors in Preschool Children in the Southern Rural Lao People’s Democratic Republic 
Tropical Medicine and Health  2011;39(4):95-103.
Anemia is a severe public health problem in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). Consequently, a new control strategy to reduce the burden of anemia has been introduced for preschool children (aged 6–52 months). The objective of this study was to assess the current prevalence of anemia and related factors in preschool children in southern rural Lao PDR. A population-based cross-sectional study was carried out in six communities in Songkhone district, Savannakheth province, in February 2009. As a result, the prevalence of anemia was found to be 48.9% (95% confidence interval (CI), 43.5–54.3), although most cases were mild. A multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that there was no protective effect of breastfeeding against anemia. The anemia prevalence was higher in 1) children aged 6–23 months (Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.73, 95% CI, 1.02–2.90) than in older children, 2) children in large families (6 or more members) (OR = 1.96, 95% CI, 1.17–3.29), and 3) children in three remote villages with relatively difficult access to markets (OR = 3.01, 95% CI, 1.25–7.47).
In Lao PDR, improvement of food practices and home-fortified food supplementation interventions are essential. High-risk groups should be targeted and a long-term health education program that aims to modify food habits implemented. Furthermore, in settings where iron deficiency is not the only cause of anemia, combining an iron supplement with other measures is necessary.
PMCID: PMC3289278  PMID: 22438698
Anemia; prevalence; potential factors; preschool children; Lao PDR
18.  Effect of daily versus weekly home fortification with multiple micronutrient powder on haemoglobin concentration of young children in a rural area, Lao People's Democratic Republic: a randomised trial 
Nutrition Journal  2011;10:129.
Multiple micronutrient deficiencies, in particular iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) is a severe public health problem in Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Because of the practical difficulties encountered in improving the nutritional adequacy of traditional complementary foods and the limitations associated with the use of liquid iron supplementation for the treatment and prevention of IDA in infants and young children, recently, home-fortification with multivitamins and minerals sprinkles was recommended. This study aims to compare the effect of twice weekly versus daily supplementation with multivitamins and minerals powder (MMP) on anaemia prevalence, haemoglobin concentration, and growth in infants and young children in a rural community in Lao PDR.
A randomized trial was conducted in six rural communities. Children aged 6 to 52 months (n = 336) were randomly assigned to a control group (n = 110) or to one of two intervention groups receiving either two sachets per week (n = 115) or a daily sachet (n = 111) of MMP for 24 weeks; 331 children completed the study. A finger prick of blood was taken at baseline, at week 12, and again at week 24 to determine haemoglobin concentration. Anthropometric measurements were taken every 4 weeks. The McNemar test was used to assess within group differences at three time points in the study subjects with anaemia and one-way ANOVA was used to assess changes in mean haemoglobin concentration in the treatment groups.
MMP supplementation resulted in significant improvements in haemoglobin concentration and in the reduction of anaemia prevalence in the two treatment groups compared with the control group (p <0.001). The severely to moderately anaemic children (Hb <100 g/L) on daily supplementation recovered faster than those on twice weekly supplementation. MMP was well accepted and compliance was high in both treatment groups. Overall, the improvement in the weight for age Z-score was very small and not statistically significant across the three study groups.
MMP supplementation had positive effects in reduction of anaemia prevalence and in improving haemoglobin concentration. For severely to moderately anaemic children, daily MMP supplementation was more effective in improving haemoglobin concentration and reducing anaemia prevalence. A longer intervention period is probably needed to have a positive effect on growth.
PMCID: PMC3266642  PMID: 22111770
Anaemia; multiple micronutrient powder; supplementation; home fortified food; Lao PDR
19.  Optimal Timing of Insecticide Fogging to Minimize Dengue Cases: Modeling Dengue Transmission among Various Seasonalities and Transmission Intensities 
Dengue infection is endemic in many regions throughout the world. While insecticide fogging targeting the vector mosquito Aedes aegypti is a major control measure against dengue epidemics, the impact of this method remains controversial. A previous mathematical simulation study indicated that insecticide fogging minimized cases when conducted soon after peak disease prevalence, although the impact was minimal, possibly because seasonality and population immunity were not considered. Periodic outbreak patterns are also highly influenced by seasonal climatic conditions. Thus, these factors are important considerations when assessing the effect of vector control against dengue. We used mathematical simulations to identify the appropriate timing of insecticide fogging, considering seasonal change of vector populations, and to evaluate its impact on reducing dengue cases with various levels of transmission intensity.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We created the Susceptible-Exposed-Infectious-Recovered (SEIR) model of dengue virus transmission. Mosquito lifespan was assumed to change seasonally and the optimal timing of insecticide fogging to minimize dengue incidence under various lengths of the wet season was investigated. We also assessed whether insecticide fogging was equally effective at higher and lower endemic levels by running simulations over a 500-year period with various transmission intensities to produce an endemic state. In contrast to the previous study, the optimal application of insecticide fogging was between the onset of the wet season and the prevalence peak. Although it has less impact in areas that have higher endemicity and longer wet seasons, insecticide fogging can prevent a considerable number of dengue cases if applied at the optimal time.
The optimal timing of insecticide fogging and its impact on reducing dengue cases were greatly influenced by seasonality and the level of transmission intensity. We suggest that these factors should be considered when planning a control strategy against dengue vectors.
Author Summary
Dengue virus infection is a serious infectious disease transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes in the tropics and sub-tropics. Disease control often involves the use of insecticide fogging against mosquito vectors. However, the effectiveness of this method for reducing dengue cases, in addition to appropriate application procedures, is still debated. The previous mathematical simulation study reported that insecticide fogging reduces dengue cases most effectively when applied soon after the epidemic peak; however, the model did not take into account seasonality and population immunity, which strongly affect the epidemic pattern of dengue infection. Considering these important factors, we used a mathematical simulation model to explore the most effective time for insecticide fogging and to evaluate its impact on reducing dengue cases. Simulations were conducted with various lengths of the wet season and population immunity levels. We found that insecticide fogging substantially reduces dengue cases if conducted at an appropriate time. In contrast to the previously suggested application time during the peak of disease prevalence, the optimal timing is relatively early: between the beginning of the dengue season and the prevalence peak.
PMCID: PMC3201920  PMID: 22039560
20.  Malaria Prevalence, Risk Factors and Spatial Distribution in a Hilly Forest Area of Bangladesh 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e18908.
Malaria is a major public health concern in Bangladesh and it is highly endemic in the Chittagong Hill Tracts where prevalence was 11.7% in 2007. One sub-district, Rajasthali, had a prevalence of 36%. Several interventions were introduced in early 2007 to control malaria. This study was undertaken to evaluate the impacts of these intensive early stage interventions on malaria in Bangladesh. This prevalence study assesses whether or not high malaria prevalence remains, and if so, which areas and individuals remain at high risk of infection.
Methods and Principal Findings
A 2-stage cluster sampling technique was used to sample 1,400 of 5,322 (26.3%) households in Rajasthali, and screened using a rapid diagnostic test (Falci-vax). Overall malaria prevalence was 11.5%. The proportions of Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax and infection with both species were 93.2%, 1.9% and 5.0%, respectively. Univariate, multivariate logistic regression, and spatial cluster analyses were performed separately. Sex, age, number of bed nets, forest cover, altitude and household density were potential risk factors. A statistically significant malaria cluster was identified. Significant differences among risk factors were observed between cluster and non-cluster areas.
Conclusion and Significance
Malaria has significantly decreased within 2 years after onset of intervention program. Both aspects of the physical and social environment, as well as demographic characteristics are associated with spatial heterogeneity of risk. The ability to identify and locate these areas provides a strategy for targeting interventions during initial stages of intervention programs. However, in high risk clusters of transmission, even extensive coverage by current programs leaves transmission ongoing at reduced levels. This indicates the need for continued development of new strategies for identification and treatment as well as improved understanding of the patterns and determinants of parasitaemia.
PMCID: PMC3080915  PMID: 21533048
21.  The Indian Ocean Dipole and Cholera Incidence in Bangladesh: A Time-Series Analysis 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2010;119(2):239-244.
It has been reported that the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) influences the interannual variation of endemic cholera in Bangladesh. There is increased interest in the influence of the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD), a climate mode of coupled ocean–atmosphere variability, on regional ocean climate in the Bay of Bengal and on Indian monsoon rainfall.
We explored the relationship between the IOD and the number of cholera patients in Bangladesh, controlling for the effects of ENSO.
Time-series regression was performed. Negative binomial models were used to estimate associations between the monthly number of hospital visits for cholera in Dhaka and Matlab (1993–2007) and the dipole mode index (DMI) controlling for ENSO index [NINO3, a measure of the average sea surface temperature (SST) in the Niño 3 region], seasonal, and interannual variations. Associations between cholera cases and SST and sea surface height (SSH) of the northern Bay of Bengal were also examined.
A 0.1-unit increase in average DMI during the current month through 3 months before was associated with an increase in cholera incidence of 2.6% [(95% confidence interval (CI), 0.0–5.2; p = 0.05] in Dhaka and 6.9% (95% CI, 3.2–10.8; p < 0.01) in Matlab. Cholera incidence in Dhaka increased by 2.4% (95% CI, 0.0–5.0; p = 0.06) after a 0.1-unit decrease in DMI 4–7 months before. Hospital visits for cholera in both areas were positively associated with SST 0–3 months before, after adjusting for SSH (p < 0.01).
These findings suggest that both negative and positive dipole events are associated with an increased incidence of cholera in Bangladesh with varying time lags.
PMCID: PMC3040612  PMID: 20980219
Bangladesh; cholera; El Niño-Southern Oscillation; Indian Ocean dipole; time-series analysis
22.  The Role of Climate Variability in the Spread of Malaria in Bangladeshi Highlands 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e14341.
Malaria is a major public health problem in Bangladesh, frequently occurring as epidemics since the 1990s. Many factors affect increases in malaria cases, including changes in land use, drug resistance, malaria control programs, socioeconomic issues, and climatic factors. No study has examined the relationship between malaria epidemics and climatic factors in Bangladesh. Here, we investigate the relationship between climatic parameters [rainfall, temperature, humidity, sea surface temperature (SST), El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)], and malaria cases over the last 20 years in the malaria endemic district of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).
Methods and Principal Findings
Monthly malaria case data from January 1989 to December 2008, monthly rainfall, temperature, humidity sea surface temperature in the Bay of Bengal and ENSO index at the Niño Region 3 (NIÑO3) were used. A generalized linear negative binomial regression model was developed using the number of monthly malaria cases and each of the climatic parameters. After adjusting for potential mutual confounding between climatic factors there was no evidence for any association between the number of malaria cases and temperature, rainfall and humidity. Only a low NDVI was associated with an increase in the number of malaria cases. There was no evidence of an association between malaria cases and SST in the Bay of Bengal and NIÑO3.
Conclusion and Significance
It seems counterintuitive that a low NDVI, an indicator of low vegetation greenness, is associated with increases in malaria cases, since the primary vectors in Bangladesh, such as An. dirus, are associated with forests. This relationship can be explained by the drying up of rivers and streams creating suitable breeding sites for the vector fauna. Bangladesh has very high vector species diversity and vectors suited to these habitats may be responsible for the observed results.
PMCID: PMC3002939  PMID: 21179555
23.  Electroencephalogram abnormalities in panic disorder patients: a study of symptom characteristics and pathology 
Since the 1980s, a high EEG abnormality rate has been reported for patients with panic disorder. However, how the EEG abnormalities of panic disorder patients are related to the clinical features and pathology of these patients has yet to be clarified. In this study we investigated whether or not EEG abnormalities are related to the 13 symptoms in the DSM-IV criteria for a diagnosis of panic attacks.
Subjects were 70 patients diagnosed with panic disorder.
Logistic regression analysis was performed with EEG findings as dependent variables and age, sex and with or without the 13 symptoms as independent variables.
(1)EEG findings for panic disorder patients with EEG abnormalities: Of the 17 patients, 13 had repeated slow waves in the θ-band; the most prevalent EEG abnormality found in this study. Paroxysmal abnormality interpreted as epileptiform was found in only two cases. (2)Nausea or abdominal distress (37.7% vs 82.45%, OR-12.5), derealization or depersonalization (7.5% vs 47.1%, OR = 13.9,) and paresthesias (43.4% vs 64.7%, OR = 7.9,) were extracted by multivariate analysis as factors related to EEG abnormalities.
Of the 70 patients studied, 17 had EEG abnormalities. Among these 17 cases, "repeated slow waves in the θ-band" was the most common abnormality. The factors identified as being related to EEG abnormalities are nausea or abdominal distress, derealization or depersonalization, and paresthesias. The study indicated that physiological predispositions are closely related to panic attacks.
PMCID: PMC2940923  PMID: 20731860
24.  Progress and challenges to control malaria in a remote area of Chittagong hill tracts, Bangladesh 
Malaria Journal  2010;9:156.
Malaria is endemic in 13 eastern districts where the overall infection prevalence is 3.97%. In 2006, Bangladesh received US$ 36.9 million from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) to support the national malaria control programme of Bangladesh.
The objective of this study was to i) clarify factors associated with treatment seeking behaviours of malaria ii) distribution of LLIN, and iii) re-treatment of ITN in remote area of a CHT district of Bangladesh two years after implementation of national control programme.
All households of Rajasthali sub-district of Rangamati district (households about 5,322, population about 24,097), all BRAC health workers (n = 15), health facilities and drug vendors' locations were mapped. Distances from households to health facilities, BRAC health workers and drug vendors were calculated. Logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the associations between the choice of the treatment and the distance to various treatment sources, education, occupation and ethnicity. SaTScan was used to detect clustering of treatment-seeking approaches.
LLIN distribution and the re-treatment of ITN exceeded target goals. The most common treatment facility for malaria-associated fever was malaria control programme led by BRAC and government (66.6%) followed by the drug vendor (48.8%).
Closeness to health facilities run by the malaria control programme and drug vendors were significantly associated with the choice of treatment. A high proportion of people preferred drug vendors without having a proper diagnosis. Drug vendors are highly patronized and thus there is a need to improve their services for public health good. Otherwise it may cause incomplete treatment, misuse of anti-malarial drugs that will contribute to the risk of drug resistance and jeopardize the present malaria control efforts in Bangladesh.
PMCID: PMC2910016  PMID: 20537127
25.  Stress and psychological factors before a migraine attack: A time-based analysis 
The objective of this study is to examine the stress and mood changes of Japanese subjects over the 1–3 days before a migraine headache.
The study participants were 16 patients with migraines who consented to participate in this study. Each subject kept a headache diary four times a day for two weeks. They evaluated the number of stressful events, daily hassles, domestic and non-domestic stress, anxiety, depressive tendency and irritability by visual analog scales. The days were classified into migraine days, pre-migraine days, buffer days and control days based on the intensity of the headaches and accompanying symptoms, and a comparative study was conducted for each factor on the migraine days, pre-migraine days and control days.
The stressful event value of pre-migraine days showed no significant difference compared to other days. The daily hassle value of pre-migraine days was the highest and was significantly higher than that of buffer days. In non-domestic stress, values on migraine days were significantly higher than on other days, and there was no significant difference between pre-migraine days and buffer days or between pre-migraine days and control days. There was no significant difference in the values of domestic stress between the categories. In non-domestic stress, values on migraine days were significantly higher than other days, and there was no significant difference between pre-migraine days and buffer days or between pre-migraine days and control days.
There was little difference in sleep quality on migraine and pre-migraine days, but other psychological factors were higher on migraine days than on pre-migraine days.
Psychosocial stress preceding the onset of migraines by several days was suggested to play an important role in the occurrence of migraines. However, stress 2–3 days before a migraine attack was not so high as it has been reported to be in the United States and Europe. There was no significant difference in the values of psychological factors between pre-migraine days and other days.
PMCID: PMC2556692  PMID: 18799013

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