Publications by authors named "E Claire Newbern"

36 Publications

Sensitivity and specificity of surveillance case definitions in detection of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus among hospitalized patients, New Zealand, 2012-2016.

J Infect 2022 02 22;84(2):216-226. Epub 2021 Dec 22.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA. Electronic address:

Background: The WHO is exploring the value of adding RSV testing to existing influenza surveillance systems to inform RSV control programs. We evaluate the usefulness of four commonly used influenza surveillance case-definitions for influenza and RSV surveillance.

Methods: SHIVERS, a multi-institutional collaboration, conducted surveillance for influenza and RSV in four New Zealand hospitals. Nurses reviewed admission logs, enrolled patients with suspected acute respiratory infections (ARI), and obtained nasopharyngeal swabs for RT-PCR. We compared the performance characteristics for identifying laboratory-confirmed influenza and RSV severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), defined as persons admitted with measured or reported fever and cough within 10 days of illness, to three other case definitions: 1. reported fever and cough or shortness of breath, 2. cough and shortness of breath, or 3. cough.

Results: During April-September 2012-2016, SHIVERS identified 16,055 admissions with ARI; of 6374 cases consented and tested for influenza or RSV, 5437 (85%) had SARI and 937 (15%) did not. SARI had the highest specificity in detecting influenza (40.6%) and RSV (40.8%) but the lowest sensitivity (influenza 78.8%, RSV 60.3%) among patients of all ages. Cough or shortness of breath had the highest sensitivity (influenza 99.3%, RSV 99.9%) but the lowest specificity (influenza 1.6%, RSV 1.9%). SARI sensitivity among children aged <3 months was 60.8% for influenza and 43.6% for RSV-both lower than in other age groups.

Conclusions: While SARI had the highest specificity, its sensitivity was limited, especially among children aged <3 months. Cough or shortness of breath was the most sensitive.
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February 2022

Modelling the impact of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine and immunoprophylaxis strategies in New Zealand.

Vaccine 2021 07 17;39(31):4383-4390. Epub 2021 Jun 17.

MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

Background: Mathematical models of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) transmission can help describe seasonal epidemics and assess the impact of potential vaccines and immunoprophylaxis with monoclonal antibodies (mAb).

Methods: We developed a deterministic, compartmental model for RSV transmission, which was fitted to population-based RSV hospital surveillance data from Auckland, New Zealand. The model simulated the introduction of either a maternal vaccine or a seasonal mAb among infants aged less than 6 months and estimated the reduction in RSV hospitalizations for a range of effectiveness and coverage values.

Results: The model accurately reproduced the annual seasonality of RSV epidemics in Auckland. We found that a maternal vaccine with effectiveness of 30-40% in the first 90 days and 15-20% for the next 90 days could reduce RSV hospitalizations by 18-24% in children younger than 3 months, by 11-14% in children aged 3-5 months, and by 2-3% in children aged 6-23 months. A seasonal infant mAb with 40-60% effectiveness for 150 days could reduce RSV hospitalizations by 30-43%, 34-48% and by 14-21% in children aged 0-2 months, 3-5 months and 6-23 months, respectively.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that either a maternal RSV vaccine or mAb would effectively reduce RSV hospitalization disease burden in New Zealand. Overall, a seasonal mAb resulted in a larger disease prevention impact than a maternal vaccine.
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July 2021

Potential Early Identification of a Large Campylobacter Outbreak Using Alternative Surveillance Data Sources: Autoregressive Modelling and Spatiotemporal Clustering.

JMIR Public Health Surveill 2020 09 17;6(3):e18281. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.

Background: Over one-third of the population of Havelock North, New Zealand, approximately 5500 people, were estimated to have been affected by campylobacteriosis in a large waterborne outbreak. Cases reported through the notifiable disease surveillance system (notified case reports) are inevitably delayed by several days, resulting in slowed outbreak recognition and delayed control measures. Early outbreak detection and magnitude prediction are critical to outbreak control. It is therefore important to consider alternative surveillance data sources and evaluate their potential for recognizing outbreaks at the earliest possible time.

Objective: The first objective of this study is to compare and validate the selection of alternative data sources (general practice consultations, consumer helpline, Google Trends, Twitter microblogs, and school absenteeism) for their temporal predictive strength for Campylobacter cases during the Havelock North outbreak. The second objective is to examine spatiotemporal clustering of data from alternative sources to assess the size and geographic extent of the outbreak and to support efforts to attribute its source.

Methods: We combined measures derived from alternative data sources during the 2016 Havelock North campylobacteriosis outbreak with notified case report counts to predict suspected daily Campylobacter case counts up to 5 days before cases reported in the disease surveillance system. Spatiotemporal clustering of the data was analyzed using Local Moran's I statistics to investigate the extent of the outbreak in both space and time within the affected area.

Results: Models that combined consumer helpline data with autoregressive notified case counts had the best out-of-sample predictive accuracy for 1 and 2 days ahead of notified case reports. Models using Google Trends and Twitter typically performed the best 3 and 4 days before case notifications. Spatiotemporal clusters showed spikes in school absenteeism and consumer helpline inquiries that preceded the notified cases in the city primarily affected by the outbreak.

Conclusions: Alternative data sources can provide earlier indications of a large gastroenteritis outbreak compared with conventional case notifications. Spatiotemporal analysis can assist in refining the geographical focus of an outbreak and can potentially support public health source attribution efforts. Further work is required to assess the location of such surveillance data sources and methods in routine public health practice.
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September 2020

Respiratory Virus-related Emergency Department Visits and Hospitalizations Among Infants in New Zealand.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2020 08;39(8):e176-e182

From the Institute of Environmental Science and Research, Wellington, New Zealand.

Background: Estimates of the contribution of respiratory viruses to emergency department (ED) utilization remain limited.

Methods: We conducted surveillance of infants with acute respiratory infection (ARI) associated ED visits, which then resulted in either hospital admission or discharge home. Seasonal rates of specific viruses stratified by age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status were estimated for both visits discharged directly from ED and hospitalizations using rates of positivity for each virus.

Results: During the 2014-2016 winter seasons, 3585 (66%) of the 5412 ARI ED visits were discharged home directly and 1827 (34%) were admitted to hospital. Among visits tested for all respiratory viruses, 601/1111 (54.1%) of ED-only and 639/870 (73.4%) of the hospital-admission groups were positive for at least one respiratory virus. Overall, respiratory virus-associated ED visit rates were almost twice as high as hospitalizations. Respiratory syncytial virus was associated with the highest ED (34.4 per 1000) and hospitalization rates (24.6 per 1000) among infants. ED visit and hospitalization rates varied significantly by age and virus. Māori and Pacific children had significantly higher ED visit and hospitalization rates for all viruses compared with children of other ethnicities.

Conclusions: Many infants with acute respiratory virus infections are managed in the ED rather than admitted to the hospital. Higher rates of ED-only versus admitted acute respiratory virus infections occur among infants living in lower socioeconomic households, older infants and infants of Māori or Pacific versus European ethnicity. Respiratory virus infections resulting in ED visits should be included in measurements of ARI disease burden.
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August 2020