Publications by authors named "Kira A Barbre"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

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

Business travel-associated illness: a GeoSentinel analysis.

J Travel Med 2018 01;25(1)

Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Analysis of a large cohort of business travelers will help clinicians focus on frequent and serious illnesses. We aimed to describe travel-related health problems in business travelers.

Methods: GeoSentinel Surveillance Network consists of 64 travel and tropical medicine clinics in 29 countries; descriptive analysis was performed on ill business travelers, defined as persons traveling for work, evaluated after international travel 1 January 1997 through 31 December 2014.

Results: Among 12 203 business travelers seen 1997-2014 (14 045 eligible diagnoses), the majority (97%) were adults aged 20-64 years; most (74%) reported from Western Europe or North America; two-thirds were male. Most (86%) were outpatients. Fewer than half (45%) reported a pre-travel healthcare encounter. Frequent regions of exposure were sub-Saharan Africa (37%), Southeast Asia (15%) and South Central Asia (14%). The most frequent diagnoses were malaria (9%), acute unspecified diarrhea (8%), viral syndrome (6%), acute bacterial diarrhea (5%) and chronic diarrhea (4%). Species was reported for 973 (90%) of 1079 patients with malaria, predominantly Plasmodium falciparum acquired in sub-Saharan Africa. Of 584 (54%) with malaria chemoprophylaxis information, 92% took none or incomplete courses. Thirteen deaths were reported, over half of which were due to malaria; others succumbed to pneumonia, typhoid fever, rabies, melioidosis and pyogenic abscess.

Conclusions: Diarrheal illness was a major cause of morbidity. Malaria contributed substantial morbidity and mortality, particularly among business travelers to sub-Saharan Africa. Underuse or non-use of chemoprophylaxis contributed to malaria cases. Deaths in business travelers could be reduced by improving adherence to malaria chemoprophylaxis and targeted vaccination for vaccine-preventable diseases. Pre-travel advice is indicated for business travelers and is currently under-utilized and needs improvement.
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January 2018

The rationale and cost-effectiveness of a confirmatory mapping tool for lymphatic filariasis: Examples from Ethiopia and Tanzania.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2017 Oct 4;11(10):e0005944. Epub 2017 Oct 4.

Neglected Tropical Disease Support Center, Task Force for Global Health, Atlanta, United States of America.

Endemicity mapping is required to determining whether a district requires mass drug administration (MDA). Current guidelines for mapping LF require that two sites be selected per district and within each site a convenience sample of 100 adults be tested for antigenemia or microfilaremia. One or more confirmed positive tests in either site is interpreted as an indicator of potential transmission, prompting MDA at the district-level. While this mapping strategy has worked well in high-prevalence settings, imperfect diagnostics and the transmission potential of a single positive adult have raised concerns about the strategy's use in low-prevalence settings. In response to these limitations, a statistically rigorous confirmatory mapping strategy was designed as a complement to the current strategy when LF endemicity is uncertain. Under the new strategy, schools are selected by either systematic or cluster sampling, depending on population size, and within each selected school, children 9-14 years are sampled systematically. All selected children are tested and the number of positive results is compared against a critical value to determine, with known probabilities of error, whether the average prevalence of LF infection is likely below a threshold of 2%. This confirmatory mapping strategy was applied to 45 districts in Ethiopia and 10 in Tanzania, where initial mapping results were considered uncertain. In 42 Ethiopian districts, and all 10 of the Tanzanian districts, the number of antigenemic children was below the critical cutoff, suggesting that these districts do not require MDA. Only three Ethiopian districts exceeded the critical cutoff of positive results. Whereas the current World Health Organization guidelines would have recommended MDA in all 55 districts, the present results suggest that only three of these districts requires MDA. By avoiding unnecessary MDA in 52 districts, the confirmatory mapping strategy is estimated to have saved a total of $9,293,219.
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October 2017

Seroprevalence of Hepatitis E Among Boston Area Travelers, 2009-2010.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2017 Apr 30;96(4):929-934. Epub 2017 Jan 30.

Department of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

AbstractWe determined the prevalence of IgG antibodies to hepatitis E virus (anti-HEV IgG) among travelers attending Boston-area travel health clinics from 2009 to 2010. Pre-travel samples were available for 1,356 travelers, with paired pre- and post-travel samples for 450 (33%). Eighty of 1,356 (6%) pre-travel samples were positive for anti-HEV IgG. Compared with participants who had never lived in nor traveled to a highly endemic country, the pre-travel prevalence odds ratio (POR) of anti-HEV IgG among participants born in or with a history of previous travel to a highly endemic country was increased (POR = 4.8, 95% CI = 2.3-10.3 and POR = 2.6, 95% CI = 1.4-5.0, respectively). Among participants with previous travel to a highly endemic country, anti-HEV IgG was associated with age > 40 years (POR = 3.7, 95% CI = 1.3-10.2) and travel history to ≥ 3 highly endemic countries (POR = 2.7, 95% CI = 1.2-5.9). Two participants may have contracted HEV infection during their 2009-2010 trip.
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April 2017

Travel-Associated Zika Virus Disease Acquired in the Americas Through February 2016: A GeoSentinel Analysis.

Ann Intern Med 2017 01 22;166(2):99-108. Epub 2016 Nov 22.

From Boston University School of Public Health, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts; University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; University of Zürich Centre for Travel Medicine, WHO Collaborating Centre for Travellers' Health, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, Zürich, Switzerland; Harbor Hospital, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, PROSICS Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden; Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, UPMC University, Paris, France; Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Bronx, New York; Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany; Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland; Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium; Toronto General Hospital, University of Toronto, and Public Health Ontario Laboratories, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France; Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; Alberta Children's Hospital, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France; Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile; University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany; Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, and the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany; Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; and Umeå University, Umea, Sweden.

Background: Zika virus has spread rapidly in the Americas and has been imported into many nonendemic countries by travelers.

Objective: To describe clinical manifestations and epidemiology of Zika virus disease in travelers exposed in the Americas.

Design: Descriptive, using GeoSentinel records.

Setting: 63 travel and tropical medicine clinics in 30 countries.

Patients: Ill returned travelers with a confirmed, probable, or clinically suspected diagnosis of Zika virus disease seen between January 2013 and 29 February 2016.

Measurements: Frequencies of demographic, trip, and clinical characteristics and complications.

Results: Starting in May 2015, 93 cases of Zika virus disease were reported. Common symptoms included exanthema (88%), fever (76%), and arthralgia (72%). Fifty-nine percent of patients were exposed in South America; 71% were diagnosed in Europe. Case status was established most commonly by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing of blood and less often by PCR testing of other body fluids or serology and plaque-reduction neutralization testing. Two patients developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, and 3 of 4 pregnancies had adverse outcomes (microcephaly, major fetal neurologic abnormalities, and intrauterine fetal death).

Limitation: Surveillance data collected by specialized clinics may not be representative of all ill returned travelers, and denominator data are unavailable.

Conclusion: These surveillance data help characterize the clinical manifestations and adverse outcomes of Zika virus disease among travelers infected in the Americas and show a need for global standardization of diagnostic testing. The serious fetal complications observed in this study highlight the importance of travel advisories and prevention measures for pregnant women and their partners. Travelers are sentinels for global Zika virus circulation and may facilitate further transmission.

Primary Funding Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, International Society of Travel Medicine, and Public Health Agency of Canada.
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January 2017

Profile of illness in Syrian refugees: A GeoSentinel analysis, 2013 to 2015.

Euro Surveill 2016 ;21(10):30160

Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Screening of 488 Syrian unaccompanied minor refugees (< 18 years-old) in Berlin showed low prevalence of intestinal parasites (Giardia, 7%), positive schistosomiasis serology (1.4%) and absence of hepatitis B. Among 44 ill adult Syrian refugees examined at GeoSentinel clinics worldwide, cutaneous leishmaniasis affected one in three patients; other noteworthy infections were active tuberculosis (11%) and chronic hepatitis B or C (9%). These data can contribute to evidence-based guidelines for infectious disease screening of Syrian refugees.
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September 2016