Publications by authors named "Danica E Kuncio"

5 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Influence of birth origin and risk factor profile on hepatitis B mortality: Philadelphia, PA 2003-2013.

Ann Epidemiol 2018 03 22;28(3):169-174. Epub 2017 Dec 22.

Division of Disease Control, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA.

Purpose: Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) affects specific subpopulations in the United States, including individuals born in HBV-endemic countries and persons engaging in high-risk behaviors.

Methods: The 2003-2013 HBV registry data and surveillance investigations for Philadelphia, PA were matched to death certificate data to examine demographic, risk factor, and cause of death characteristics among HBV-infected populations. Bivariate analysis compared investigated foreign-born (FB) and US-born chronic HBV individuals. Multivariable logistic regression assessed associations between HBV-status, birth origin, demographic information, and liver-related death.

Results: Of 773 investigated HBV-infected individuals, 159 were US-born and 614 were FB and of primarily non-Hispanic Asian descent. Behavioral risk factors were more often reported by US-born individuals. HBV-infected FB decedents were twice as likely as US-born decedents to have a liver-related cause of death, whereas HIV/AIDS and drug overdose were more likely causes of death among those born in the United States.

Conclusions: There are two HBV-infected populations in Philadelphia: 1) FB individuals most likely infected at birth or during early childhood and 2) US-born individuals with behaviors suggestive of risk-related HBV acquisition. These findings illustrate the need for both FB and US-born individuals with ongoing risk behaviors to receive routine HBV screening, vaccination if indicated, and medical care for outcomes of chronic HBV infection.
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March 2018

Capture-Recapture: Using Existing Data Sources to Improve Perinatal Hepatitis B Surveillance, Philadelphia, 2008-2014.

Public Health Rep 2017 May/Jun;132(3):376-380. Epub 2017 Apr 13.

1 Division of Disease Control, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Objective: The objective of this study was to describe the capture-recapture method used by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to enhance surveillance of perinatal hepatitis B virus (HBV), report on results and limitations of the process, and determine why some HBV-positive mother-infant pairs were not initially identified by Philadelphia's Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program (PHBPP).

Methods: We performed capture-recapture retrospectively for births in 2008 and 2009 in Philadelphia and prospectively for births from 2010 to 2014 by independently matching annual birth certificate data to PHBPP and HBV surveillance data. We compared the number of HBV-positive mother-infant pairs identified each year to the point estimates and lower-limit estimates calculated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the Philadelphia PHBPP.

Results: Of 156 605 pregnancy outcomes identified between 2008 and 2014, we found 1549 HBV-positive mother-infant pairs. Of 705 pairs that were initially determined, 358 (50.7%) were confirmed to be previously unidentified HBV-positive pairs. Reasons for failing to identify these mother-infant pairs prior to capture-recapture included internal administrative issues (n = 191, 53.4%), HBV testing and reporting issues (n = 92, 25.7%), and being lost to follow-up (n = 75, 20.9%). Each year that capture-recapture was used, the number of pairs identified by the Philadelphia PHBPP exceeded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's lower-limit estimates for HBV-positive mother-infant pairs.

Conclusions: Capture-recapture was useful for identifying HBV-positive pregnant women for Philadelphia's PHBPP and for highlighting inadequacies in health department protocols and HBV testing during pregnancy. Other health departments with access to similar data sources and staff members with the necessary technical skills can adapt this method.
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June 2017

Failure to Test and Identify Perinatally Infected Children Born to Hepatitis C Virus-Infected Women.

Clin Infect Dis 2016 Apr 20;62(8):980-5. Epub 2016 Jan 20.

Division of Disease Control, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Pennsylvania.

Background: Vertical transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common route of pediatric HCV infection. Approximately 5% of children born to HCV-infected mothers develop chronic infection. Recommendations employ risk-based HCV testing of pregnant women, and screening children at a young age. This study assesses testing rates of children born to mothers tested HCV-positive in a major US city with a high burden of HCV infection.

Methods: HCV surveillance data reported to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health are housed in the Hepatitis Registry. Additional tests, including negative results, were retrospectively collected. HCV data were matched with 2011-2013 birth certificates of children aged ≥20 months to identify mothers tested HCV-positive and screened children. The observed perinatal HCV seropositivity rate was compared to the expected rate (5%).

Results: A total of 8119 females aged 12-54 years tested HCV-positive and in the Hepatitis Registry. Of these, 500 (5%) had delivered ≥1 child, accounting for 537 (1%) of the 55 623 children born in Philadelphia during the study period. Eighty-four (16%) of these children had HCV testing; 4 (1% of the total) were confirmed cases. Twenty-three additional children are expected to have chronic HCV infection, but were not identified by 20 months of age.

Conclusions: These findings illustrate that a significant number of women giving birth in Philadelphia test positive for HCV and that most of their at-risk children remain untested. To successfully identify all HCV-infected children and integrate them into HCV-specific care, practices for HCV screening of pregnant women and their children should be improved.
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April 2016

Comparison of risk-based hepatitis C screening and the true seroprevalence in an urban prison system.

J Urban Health 2015 Apr;92(2):379-86

Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Division of Disease Control, 500 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA, 19146, USA,

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common blood-borne infection in the USA, though seroprevalence is elevated in certain high-risk groups such as inmates. Correctional facility screening protocols vary from universal testing to opt-in risk-based testing. This project assessed the success of a risk-based HCV screening strategy in the Philadelphia Prison System (PPS) by comparing results from current testing practices during 2011-2012 (Risk-Based Screening Group) to a September 2012 blinded seroprevalence study (Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) Study Cohort). PPS processed 51,562 inmates in 2011-2012; 2,727 were identified as high-risk and screened for HCV, of whom 57 % tested HCV antibody positive. Twelve percent (n = 154) of the 1,289 inmates in the PDPH Study Cohort were anti-HCV positive. Inmates ≥30 years of age had higher rates of seropositivity in both groups. Since only 5.3 % of the prison population was included in the Risk-Based Screening Group, an additional 4,877 HCV-positive inmates are projected to have not been identified in 2011-2012. Gaps in case identification exist when risk-based testing is utilized by PPS. A more comprehensive screening model such as opt-out universal testing should be considered to identify HCV-positive inmates. Identification of these individuals is an important opportunity to aid underserved high-risk populations and to provide medical care and secondary prevention.
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April 2015

Health care worker exposures to pertussis: missed opportunities for prevention.

Pediatrics 2014 Jan 16;133(1):15-21. Epub 2013 Dec 16.

MSHP, Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Division of Infectious Diseases, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, CHOP North, 3535 Market Street, Room 1511, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Objective: Pediatric health care workers (HCWs) are at particular risk for pertussis exposure, infection, and subsequent disease transmission to susceptible patients. This cross-sectional study describes the epidemiology of occupational exposures to pertussis and identifies factors that may inform interventions to promote effective implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC) guidelines.

Methods: We abstracted data from occupational health (OH) and IPC records for pertussis cases that resulted in an exposure investigation in a large quaternary pediatric care network, January 1, 2002 to July 18, 2011. We calculated the frequency of occupational exposures and measured associated characteristics. To assess the frequency of potential missed exposures, we reviewed electronic health record (EHR) data identifying laboratory-confirmed pertussis cases not documented in OH or IPC records.

Results: A total of 1193 confirmed HCW pertussis exposures were associated with 219 index cases during the study period. Of these, 38.8% were infants <6 months old and 7 were HCWs. Most (77.5%) of exposures occurred in the emergency department or an ambulatory site; 27.0% of exposures occurred after documented initiation of IPC precautions. We identified 450 laboratory-confirmed pertussis cases through EHR review, of which 49.8% (N = 224) had no OH or IPC investigation. The majority of uninvestigated cases (77.2%) were from ambulatory sites.

Conclusions: Occupational exposures to pertussis occur frequently in pediatric health care settings despite appropriate IPC guidelines. Interventions are needed to ensure consistent implementation of IPC practices and timely identification and reporting of pertussis index cases to prevent HCW exposures and potential transmission to patients.
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January 2014