Publications by authors named "Joshua C P Osborne"

3 Publications

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Predicting the environmental suitability for onchocerciasis in Africa as an aid to elimination planning.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2021 Jul 28;15(7):e0008824. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Department of Health Policy Planning and Management, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana.

Recent evidence suggests that, in some foci, elimination of onchocerciasis from Africa may be feasible with mass drug administration (MDA) of ivermectin. To achieve continental elimination of transmission, mapping surveys will need to be conducted across all implementation units (IUs) for which endemicity status is currently unknown. Using boosted regression tree models with optimised hyperparameter selection, we estimated environmental suitability for onchocerciasis at the 5 × 5-km resolution across Africa. In order to classify IUs that include locations that are environmentally suitable, we used receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis to identify an optimal threshold for suitability concordant with locations where onchocerciasis has been previously detected. This threshold value was then used to classify IUs (more suitable or less suitable) based on the location within the IU with the largest mean prediction. Mean estimates of environmental suitability suggest large areas across West and Central Africa, as well as focal areas of East Africa, are suitable for onchocerciasis transmission, consistent with the presence of current control and elimination of transmission efforts. The ROC analysis identified a mean environmental suitability index of 0·71 as a threshold to classify based on the location with the largest mean prediction within the IU. Of the IUs considered for mapping surveys, 50·2% exceed this threshold for suitability in at least one 5 × 5-km location. The formidable scale of data collection required to map onchocerciasis endemicity across the African continent presents an opportunity to use spatial data to identify areas likely to be suitable for onchocerciasis transmission. National onchocerciasis elimination programmes may wish to consider prioritising these IUs for mapping surveys as human resources, laboratory capacity, and programmatic schedules may constrain survey implementation, and possibly delaying MDA initiation in areas that would ultimately qualify.
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July 2021

Informing Rift Valley Fever preparedness by mapping seasonally varying environmental suitability.

Int J Infect Dis 2020 Oct 30;99:362-372. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Department of Health Metrics Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Rift Valley Fever (RVF) poses a threat to human and animal health throughout much of Africa and the Middle East and has been recognized as a global health security priority and a key preparedness target.

Methods: We combined RVF occurrence data from a systematic literature review with animal notification data from an online database. Using boosted regression trees, we made monthly environmental suitability predictions from January 1995 to December 2016 at a 5 × 5-km resolution throughout regions of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. We calculated the average number of months per year suitable for transmission, the mean suitability for each calendar month, and the "spillover potential," a measure incorporating suitability with human and livestock populations.

Results: Several countries where cases have not yet been reported are suitable for RVF. Areas across the region of interest are suitable for transmission at different times of the year, and some areas are suitable for multiple seasons each year. Spillover potential results show areas within countries where high populations of humans and livestock are at risk for much of the year.

Conclusions: The widespread environmental suitability of RVF highlights the need for increased preparedness, even in countries that have not previously experienced cases. These maps can aid in prioritizing long-term RVF preparedness activities and determining optimal times for recurring preparedness activities. Given an outbreak, our results can highlight areas often at risk for subsequent transmission that month, enabling decision-makers to target responses effectively.
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October 2020

A database of geopositioned Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus occurrences.

Sci Data 2019 12 13;6(1):318. Epub 2019 Dec 13.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, 2301 5th Ave., Suite 600, Seattle, WA, United States.

As a World Health Organization Research and Development Blueprint priority pathogen, there is a need to better understand the geographic distribution of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and its potential to infect mammals and humans. This database documents cases of MERS-CoV globally, with specific attention paid to zoonotic transmission. An initial literature search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus; after screening articles according to the inclusion/exclusion criteria, a total of 208 sources were selected for extraction and geo-positioning. Each MERS-CoV occurrence was assigned one of the following classifications based upon published contextual information: index, unspecified, secondary, mammal, environmental, or imported. In total, this database is comprised of 861 unique geo-positioned MERS-CoV occurrences. The purpose of this article is to share a collated MERS-CoV database and extraction protocol that can be utilized in future mapping efforts for both MERS-CoV and other infectious diseases. More broadly, it may also provide useful data for the development of targeted MERS-CoV surveillance, which would prove invaluable in preventing future zoonotic spillover.
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December 2019