Publications by authors named "Mohamed Al-Thani"

23 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Mathematical modeling of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Qatar and its impact on the national response to COVID-19.

J Glob Health 2021 Jan 16;11:05005. Epub 2021 Jan 16.

Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, Cornell University, Doha, Qatar.

Background: Mathematical modeling constitutes an important tool for planning robust responses to epidemics. This study was conducted to guide the Qatari national response to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic. The study investigated the epidemic's time-course, forecasted health care needs, predicted the impact of social and physical distancing restrictions, and rationalized and justified easing of restrictions.

Methods: An age-structured deterministic model was constructed to describe SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics and disease progression throughout the population.

Results: The enforced social and physical distancing interventions flattened the epidemic curve, reducing the peaks for incidence, prevalence, acute-care hospitalization, and intensive care unit (ICU) hospitalizations by 87%, 86%, 76%, and 78%, respectively. The daily number of new infections was predicted to peak at 12 750 on May 23, and active-infection prevalence was predicted to peak at 3.2% on May 25. Daily acute-care and ICU-care hospital admissions and occupancy were forecast accurately and precisely. By October 15, 2020, the basic reproduction number had varied between 1.07-2.78, and 50.8% of the population were estimated to have been infected (1.43 million infections). The proportion of actual infections diagnosed was estimated at 11.6%. Applying the concept of tuning, gradual easing of restrictions was rationalized and justified to start on June 15, 2020, when declined to 0.7, to buffer the increased interpersonal contact with easing of restrictions and to minimize the risk of a second wave. No second wave has materialized as of October 15, 2020, five months after the epidemic peak.

Conclusions: Use of modeling and forecasting to guide the national response proved to be a successful strategy, reducing the toll of the epidemic to a manageable level for the health care system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7189/jogh.11.05005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7897910PMC
January 2021

A diabetes risk score for Qatar utilizing a novel mathematical modeling approach to identify individuals at high risk for diabetes.

Sci Rep 2021 Jan 19;11(1):1811. Epub 2021 Jan 19.

Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group, Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar, Cornell University, Qatar Foundation - Education City, Doha, Qatar.

We developed a diabetes risk score using a novel analytical approach and tested its diagnostic performance to detect individuals at high risk of diabetes, by applying it to the Qatari population. A representative random sample of 5,000 Qataris selected at different time points was simulated using a diabetes mathematical model. Logistic regression was used to derive the score using age, sex, obesity, smoking, and physical inactivity as predictive variables. Performance diagnostics, validity, and potential yields of a diabetes testing program were evaluated. In 2020, the area under the curve (AUC) was 0.79 and sensitivity and specificity were 79.0% and 66.8%, respectively. Positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV) were 36.1% and 93.0%, with 42.0% of Qataris being at high diabetes risk. In 2030, projected AUC was 0.78 and sensitivity and specificity were 77.5% and 65.8%. PPV and NPV were 36.8% and 92.0%, with 43.0% of Qataris being at high diabetes risk. In 2050, AUC was 0.76 and sensitivity and specificity were 74.4% and 64.5%. PPV and NPV were 40.4% and 88.7%, with 45.0% of Qataris being at high diabetes risk. This model-based score demonstrated comparable performance to a data-derived score. The derived self-complete risk score provides an effective tool for initial diabetes screening, and for targeted lifestyle counselling and prevention programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-81385-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7815783PMC
January 2021

TRPV2: A Cancer Biomarker and Potential Therapeutic Target.

Dis Markers 2020 10;2020:8892312. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Translational Research Institute, Academic Health System, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar.

The Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid type-2 (TRPV2) channel exhibits oncogenicity in different types of cancers. TRPV2 is implicated in signaling pathways that mediate cell survival, proliferation, and metastasis. In leukemia and bladder cancer, the oncogenic activity of TRPV2 was linked to alteration of its expression profile. In multiple myeloma patients, TRPV2 overexpression correlated with bone tissue damage and poor prognosis. In prostate cancer, TRPV2 overexpression was associated with the castration-resistant phenotype and metastasis. Loss or inactivation of TRPV2 promoted glioblastoma cell proliferation and increased resistance to CD95-induced apoptotic cell death. TRPV2 overexpression was associated with high relapse-free survival in triple-negative breast cancer, whereas the opposite was found in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma or gastric cancer. Another link was found between TRPV2 expression and either drug-induced cytotoxicity or stemness of liver cancer. Overall, these findings validate TRPV2 as a prime candidate for cancer biomarker and future therapeutic target.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2020/8892312DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7746447PMC
December 2020

Two prolonged viremic SARS-CoV-2 infections with conserved viral genome for two months.

Infect Genet Evol 2021 03 24;88:104684. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Ministry of Public Health, Doha, Qatar.

We document two cases of viremic and prolonged active infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) where the viral genome was conserved for two months, but infection was with little or no symptoms. The first infection persisted for 80 days and the second for 62 days. Clearance of infection occurred 40 and 41 days, respectively, after development of detectable antibodies. Both cases were identified incidentally in an investigation of reinfection in a cohort of 133,266 laboratory-confirmed infected persons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2020.104684DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7759339PMC
March 2021

Assessment of the risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection in an intense re-exposure setting.

Clin Infect Dis 2020 Dec 14. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Ministry of Public Health, Doha, Qatar.

Background: Risk of reinfection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is unknown. We assessed risk and incidence rate of documented SARS-CoV-2 reinfection in a cohort of laboratory-confirmed cases in Qatar.

Methods: All SARS-CoV-2 laboratory-confirmed cases with at least one PCR positive swab that is ≥45 days after a first-positive swab were individually investigated for evidence of reinfection, and classified as showing strong, good, some, or weak/no evidence for reinfection. Viral genome sequencing of the paired first-positive and reinfection viral specimens was conducted to confirm reinfection. Risk and incidence rate of reinfection were estimated.

Results: Out of 133,266 laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases, 243 persons (0.18%) had at least one subsequent positive swab ≥45 days after the first-positive swab. Of these, 54 cases (22.2%) had strong or good evidence for reinfection. Median time between first and reinfection swab was 64.5 days (range: 45-129). Twenty-three of the 54 cases (42.6%) were diagnosed at a health facility suggesting presence of symptoms, while 31 (57.4%) were identified incidentally through random testing campaigns/surveys or contact tracing. Only one person was hospitalized at time of reinfection, but was discharged the next day. No deaths were recorded. Viral genome sequencing confirmed four reinfections out of 12 cases with available genetic evidence. Reinfection risk was estimated at 0.02% (95% CI: 0.01-0.02%) and reinfection incidence rate at 0.36 (95% CI: 0.28-0.47) per 10,000 person-weeks.

Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2 reinfection can occur but is a rare phenomenon suggestive of protective immunity against reinfection that lasts for at least a few months post primary infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa1846DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7799253PMC
December 2020

Epidemiological investigation of the first 5685 cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Qatar, 28 February-18 April 2020.

BMJ Open 2020 10 7;10(10):e040428. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Department of Medicine, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Objective: To define the epidemiological curve of COVID-19 in Qatar and determine factors associated with severe or critical illness.

Design: Case series of first 5685 COVID-19 cases in Qatar.

Setting And Participants: All confirmed COVID-19 cases in the State of Qatar between 28 February and 18 April 2020.

Main Outcome Measures: Number of total and daily new COVID-19 infections; demographic characteristics and comorbidity burden and severity of infection; factors associated with severe or critical illness.

Results: Between 28 February and 18 April 2020, 5685 cases of COVID-19 were identified. Median age was 34 (IQR 28-43) years, 88.9% were male and 8.7% were Qatari nationals. Overall, 83.6% had no concomitant comorbidity, and 3.0% had three or more comorbidities. The overwhelming majority (90.9%) were asymptomatic or with minimal symptoms, with 2.0% having severe or critical illness. Seven deaths were observed during the time interval studied. Presence of hypertension or diabetes was associated with a higher risk of severe or critical illness, but age was not. The epidemiological curve indicated two distinct patterns of infection, a larger cluster among expatriate craft and manual workers and a smaller one among Qatari nationals returning from abroad during the epidemic.

Conclusion: COVID-19 infections in Qatar started in two distinct clusters, but then became more widespread in the population through community transmission. Infections were mostly asymptomatic or with minimal symptoms and associated with very low mortality. Severe/critical illness was associated with presence of hypertension or diabetes but not with increasing age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-040428DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7542927PMC
October 2020

Prevalence and trends of transfusion transmissible infections among blood donors in the State of Qatar, 2013-2017.

BMC Infect Dis 2020 Aug 20;20(1):617. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

Gastroenterology and Hepatology Department- Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar.

Background: Millions of lives around the world are being saved annually through blood transfusion. However, blood transfusion is among the essential vehicles for transmitting infections. The overall prevalence of Transfusion Transmissible Infections among blood donors differs around the world, reflecting the variation in the prevalence of these infections. This study aims to assess the prevalence and trends of Transfusion Transmissible Infections among blood donors in Qatar.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study utilizing donation records of 5 years from January 2013 to December 2017. We included in the study results for all screening and confirmatory tests for Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus, Human T-lymphotropic Virus-I/II, Syphilis and Malaria.

Results: Among the 190,509 donations received at the donation centre during the study period, about 91% of donations were received from males and 9% from females. The overall positivity rate for all tests was 1.87, 2.23, 1.78, 2.31, 2.67% for the years 2013 through 2017, with an increasing yearly trend by 6% each year. The overall positivity rates for Hepatitis C Virus, Human T-lymphotropic Virus-I/II, Hepatitis B Virus, Syphilis and Malaria (2013-2017) were 0.60, 0.18, 0.30, 0.43 and 0.20%, respectively.

Conclusion: The overall positivity rate of all tests combined for the Transfusion Transmissible Infections demonstrated a gradually increasing trend from 2013 to 2017. However, the trend for each infection (Hepatitis C Virus, Hepatitis B Virus, Syphilis and Malaria) was fluctuating except for Human T-lymphotropic Virus-I/II, which was increasing. Supporting the development of effective prevention and control strategies requires further comprehensive investigations for better estimation of the burden of these infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-020-05344-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7441652PMC
August 2020

An overview of the Hepatitis C control plan in Qatar.

East Mediterr Health J 2019 Jul 24;25(5):362-365. Epub 2019 Jul 24.

Public Health Department, Ministry of Public Health, Doha, Qatar.

Since the development and approval of new direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs, chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is now considered a curable disease. However, the emphasis on DAA therapies might disregard other preventive measures, and limits the strategy for a clinical cure rather than comprehensive disease control. The Qatar National plan for HCV control was launched in December 2014 to prioritize and proactively manage HCV with the ultimate aim of eliminating viral hepatitis. The plan is based on four pillars: primary prevention, early detection, clinical management, and continuous monitoring. This report describes the activities undertaken in Qatar to prepare for the programme and the early results of its initial phase, given the fact that countries with comprehensive HCV plans are providing better access to care and prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.26719/emhj.18.046DOI Listing
July 2019

Survey on Implementation of One Health Approach for MERS-CoV Preparedness and Control in Gulf Cooperation Council and Middle East Countries.

Emerg Infect Dis 2019 03;25(3)

In 2015, a One Health Working Group was established in Qatar to conduct a survey in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Egypt, and Jordan to monitor preparedness of public health and veterinary health authorities in response to the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus epidemic. All but 1 country indicated they established joint One Health policy teams for investigation and response. However, the response to the questionnaires was largely limited to veterinary authorities. Critical barriers and limitations were identified. National and regional leaders, policy makers, and stakeholders should be prompted to advocate and enhance adoption of the One Health framework to mitigate the risk for Middle East respiratory syndrome and other emerging zoonotic diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2503.171702DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6390738PMC
March 2019

How Do the First Days Count? A Case Study of Qatar Experience in Emergency Risk Communication during the MERS-CoV Outbreak.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2017 12 19;14(12). Epub 2017 Dec 19.

Division of Policy Translation & Leadership Development, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

This case study is the first to be developed in the Middle East region to document what happened during the response to the 2013 MERS outbreak in Qatar. It provides a description of key epidemiologic events and news released from a prime daily newspaper and main Emergency Risk Communication (ERC) actions that were undertaken by public health authorities. Using the Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) theoretical framework, the study analyzes how the performed ERC strategies during the first days of the outbreak might have contributed to the outbreak management.

Methods: MERS-CoV related events were chronologically tracked, together with the relevant stories that were published in a major newspaper over the course of three distinct phases of the epidemic. The collected media stories were then assessed against the practiced emergency risk communication (ERC) activities during the same time frame.

Results: The Crisis & Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) framework was partially followed during the early days of the MERS-CoV epidemic, which were characterized by overwhelming uncertainty. The SCH's commitment to a proactive and open risk communication strategy since day one, contributed to creating the SCH's image as a credible source of information and allowed for the quick initiation of the overall response efforts. Yet, conflicting messages and over reassurance were among the observed pitfalls of the implemented ERC strategy.

Conclusion: The adoption of CERC principles can help restore and maintain the credibility of responding agencies. Further work is needed to develop more rigorous and comprehensive research strategies that address sharing of information by mainstream as well as social media for a more accurate assessment of the impact of the ERC strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121597DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5751014PMC
December 2017

Risk Factors for Primary Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infection in Camel Workers in Qatar During 2013-2014: A Case-Control Study.

J Infect Dis 2017 06;215(11):1702-1705

Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center,Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The transmission routes and risk factors for zoonotic Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections are still unknown. We used the World Health Organization questionnaire for MERS-CoV case-control studies to assess risk factors for human MERS-CoV seropositivity at a farm complex in Qatar. Nine camel workers with MERS-CoV antibodies and 43 workers without antibodies were included. Some camel-related activities may pose a higher risk of MERS-CoV infection, as may cross-border movements of camels, poor hand hygiene, and overnight hospital stays with respiratory complaints. The risk factors identified in this study can be used to develop infection prevention and control measures for human MERS-CoV infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jix174DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7107360PMC
June 2017

Oral health behavior and factors associated with poor oral status in Qatar: results from a national health survey.

J Public Health Dent 2017 Sep 28;77(4):308-316. Epub 2017 Mar 28.

Department of Global and Public Health, Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar, Doha, Qatar.

Objectives: Oral health is a crucial determinant of quality of life. We aimed to determine oral health condition and factors associated with poor oral status in the adult national population of Qatar.

Methods: We used data from the World Health Organization supported STEPS (STEPwise approach to Surveillance) Survey conducted by the Supreme Council of Health, Qatar in 2012. A total of 2,496 Qataris (1,053 men, 1,443 women) answered the national survey. The Rao-Scott Chi-Square test was used to analyze oral health characteristics and multinomial logistic regression to assess risk factors.

Results: The self-perceived oral status of approximately 40 percent of respondents was either "average" or "poor" rather than "good." Poor oral status was more often reported by women (OR = 1.93; 95%CI = 1.30-2.80), by older (OR = 3.38; 95%CI = 1.59-7.19) and less educated respondents (OR = 3.58; 95%CI = 2.15-5.96). Other risk groups included people with diabetes (OR = 1.87; 95%CI = 1.24-2.81), smokeless tobacco users (OR = 3.90; 95%CI = 1.75-8.68), or ever tobacco users (OR = 1.66; 95%CI = 1.03-2.67). Oral health status appeared to be independent of diet, BMI status, and history of hypertension. Difficulties and behaviors related to oral health were more frequently reported by women than by men. These included pain (P < 0.001), difficulty chewing (P < 0.001), and discomfort over appearance of teeth (P < 0.001). Participants used toothbrushes, toothpicks, dental floss, and miswak to maintain oral hygiene.

Conclusion: Our results provide evidence that oral health remains a public health concern in Qatar.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jphd.12209DOI Listing
September 2017

Prevalence and determinants of metabolic syndrome in Qatar: results from a National Health Survey.

BMJ Open 2016 09 6;6(9):e009514. Epub 2016 Sep 6.

Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.

Objectives: To determine optimum measurements for abdominal obesity and to assess the prevalence and determinants of metabolic syndrome in Qatar.

Design: National health survey.

Setting: Qatar National STEPwise Survey conducted by the Supreme Council of Health during 2012.

Participants: 2496 Qatari citizens aged 18-64 representative of the general population.

Primary And Secondary Outcome Measures: Measure of obesity (body mass index, waist circumference or waist-to-height ratio) that best identified the presence of at least 2 other factors of metabolic syndrome; cut-off values of waist circumference; frequency of metabolic syndrome.

Results: Waist circumference ≥102 for men and ≥94 cm for women was the best predictor of the presence of other determinants of metabolic syndrome (raised blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, triglycerides and reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol). Using these values, we identified 28% of Qataris with metabolic syndrome, which is considerably lower than the estimate of 37% calculated using the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria. Restricting the analysis to participants without known elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar or diabetes 16.5% would be classified as having metabolic syndrome. In a multivariable logistic regression analysis, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome increased steadily with age (OR=3.40 (95% CI 2.02 to 5.74), OR=5.66 (3.65 to 8.78), OR=10.2 (5.98 to 17.6) and OR=18.2 (7.01 to 47.5) for those in the age group '30-39', '40-49', '50-59', '60-64' vs '18-29'; p<0.0001), decreased with increasing educational attainment (OR=0.61 (0.39 to 0.96) for those who attained 'secondary school or more' compared with 'less than primary school'; p=0.03) and exercise (OR=0.60 (0.42 to 0.86) for those exercising ≥3000 vs <600 MET-min/week; p=0.006) but was not associated with smoking or diet.

Conclusions: Waist circumference was the best measure of obesity to combine with other variables to construct a country-specific definition of metabolic syndrome in Qatar. Approximately 28% of adult Qatari citizens satisfy the criteria for metabolic syndrome, which increased significantly with age. Education and physical activity were inversely associated with this syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009514DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5020868PMC
September 2016

Health in times of uncertainty in the eastern Mediterranean region, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013.

Authors:
Ali H Mokdad Mohammad Hossein Forouzanfar Farah Daoud Charbel El Bcheraoui Maziar Moradi-Lakeh Ibrahim Khalil Ashkan Afshin Marwa Tuffaha Raghid Charara Ryan M Barber Joseph Wagner Kelly Cercy Hannah Kravitz Matthew M Coates Margaret Robinson Kara Estep Caitlyn Steiner Sara Jaber Ali A Mokdad Kevin F O'Rourke Adrienne Chew Pauline Kim Mohamed Magdy Abd El Razek Safa Abdalla Foad Abd-Allah Jerry P Abraham Laith J Abu-Raddad Niveen M E Abu-Rmeileh Abdulwahab A Al-Nehmi Ali S Akanda Hanan Al Ahmadi Mazin J Al Khabouri Faris H Al Lami Zulfa A Al Rayess Deena Alasfoor Fadia S AlBuhairan Saleh F Aldhahri Suliman Alghnam Samia Alhabib Nawal Al-Hamad Raghib Ali Syed Danish Ali Mohammad Alkhateeb Mohammad A AlMazroa Mahmoud A Alomari Rajaa Al-Raddadi Ubai Alsharif Nihaya Al-Sheyab Shirina Alsowaidi Mohamed Al-Thani Khalid A Altirkawi Azmeraw T Amare Heresh Amini Walid Ammar Palwasha Anwari Hamid Asayesh Rana Asghar Ali M Assabri Reza Assadi Umar Bacha Alaa Badawi Talal Bakfalouni Mohammed O Basulaiman Shahrzad Bazargan-Hejazi Neeraj Bedi Amit R Bhakta Zulfiqar A Bhutta Aref A Bin Abdulhak Soufiane Boufous Rupert R A Bourne Hadi Danawi Jai Das Amare Deribew Eric L Ding Adnan M Durrani Yousef Elshrek Mohamed E Ibrahim Babak Eshrati Alireza Esteghamati Imad A D Faghmous Farshad Farzadfar Andrea B Feigl Seyed-Mohammad Fereshtehnejad Irina Filip Florian Fischer Fortuné G Gankpé Ibrahim Ginawi Melkamu Dedefo Gishu Rahul Gupta Rami M Habash Nima Hafezi-Nejad Randah R Hamadeh Hayet Hamdouni Samer Hamidi Hilda L Harb Mohammad Sadegh Hassanvand Mohammad T Hedayati Pouria Heydarpour Mohamed Hsairi Abdullatif Husseini Nader Jahanmehr Vivekanand Jha Jost B Jonas Nadim E Karam Amir Kasaeian Nega Assefa Kassa Anil Kaul Yousef Khader Shams Eldin A Khalifa Ejaz A Khan Gulfaraz Khan Tawfik Khoja Ardeshir Khosravi Yohannes Kinfu Barthelemy Kuate Defo Arjun Lakshmana Balaji Raimundas Lunevicius Carla Makhlouf Obermeyer Reza Malekzadeh Morteza Mansourian Wagner Marcenes Habibolah Masoudi Farid Alem Mehari Abla Mehio-Sibai Ziad A Memish George A Mensah Karzan A Mohammad Ziad Nahas Jamal T Nasher Haseeb Nawaz Chakib Nejjari Muhammad Imran Nisar Saad B Omer Mahboubeh Parsaeian Emmanuel K Peprah Aslam Pervaiz Farshad Pourmalek Dima M Qato Mostafa Qorbani Amir Radfar Anwar Rafay Kazem Rahimi Vafa Rahimi-Movaghar Sajjad Ur Rahman Rajesh K Rai Saleem M Rana Sowmya R Rao Amany H Refaat Serge Resnikoff Gholamreza Roshandel Georges Saade Mohammad Y Saeedi Mohammad Ali Sahraian Shadi Saleh Lidia Sanchez-Riera Maheswar Satpathy Sadaf G Sepanlou Tesfaye Setegn Amira Shaheen Saeid Shahraz Sara Sheikhbahaei Kawkab Shishani Karen Sliwa Mohammad Tavakkoli Abdullah S Terkawi Olalekan A Uthman Ronny Westerman Mustafa Z Younis Maysaa El Sayed Zaki Faiez Zannad Gregory A Roth Haidong Wang Mohsen Naghavi Theo Vos Abdullah A Al Rabeeah Alan D Lopez Christopher J L Murray

Lancet Glob Health 2016 10 25;4(10):e704-13. Epub 2016 Aug 25.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

Background: The eastern Mediterranean region is comprised of 22 countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Since our Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010), the region has faced unrest as a result of revolutions, wars, and the so-called Arab uprisings. The objective of this study was to present the burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors in the eastern Mediterranean region as of 2013.

Methods: GBD 2013 includes an annual assessment covering 188 countries from 1990 to 2013. The study covers 306 diseases and injuries, 1233 sequelae, and 79 risk factors. Our GBD 2013 analyses included the addition of new data through updated systematic reviews and through the contribution of unpublished data sources from collaborators, an updated version of modelling software, and several improvements in our methods. In this systematic analysis, we use data from GBD 2013 to analyse the burden of disease and injuries in the eastern Mediterranean region specifically.

Findings: The leading cause of death in the region in 2013 was ischaemic heart disease (90·3 deaths per 100 000 people), which increased by 17·2% since 1990. However, diarrhoeal diseases were the leading cause of death in Somalia (186·7 deaths per 100 000 people) in 2013, which decreased by 26·9% since 1990. The leading cause of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) was ischaemic heart disease for males and lower respiratory infection for females. High blood pressure was the leading risk factor for DALYs in 2013, with an increase of 83·3% since 1990. Risk factors for DALYs varied by country. In low-income countries, childhood wasting was the leading cause of DALYs in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen, whereas unsafe sex was the leading cause in Djibouti. Non-communicable risk factors were the leading cause of DALYs in high-income and middle-income countries in the region. DALY risk factors varied by age, with child and maternal malnutrition affecting the younger age groups (aged 28 days to 4 years), whereas high bodyweight and systolic blood pressure affected older people (aged 60-80 years). The proportion of DALYs attributed to high body-mass index increased from 3·7% to 7·5% between 1990 and 2013. Burden of mental health problems and drug use increased. Most increases in DALYs, especially from non-communicable diseases, were due to population growth. The crises in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Syria have resulted in a reduction in life expectancy; life expectancy in Syria would have been 5 years higher than that recorded for females and 6 years higher for males had the crisis not occurred.

Interpretation: Our study shows that the eastern Mediterranean region is going through a crucial health phase. The Arab uprisings and the wars that followed, coupled with ageing and population growth, will have a major impact on the region's health and resources. The region has historically seen improvements in life expectancy and other health indicators, even under stress. However, the current situation will cause deteriorating health conditions for many countries and for many years and will have an impact on the region and the rest of the world. Based on our findings, we call for increased investment in health in the region in addition to reducing the conflicts.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(16)30168-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6660972PMC
October 2016

Estimation of the Prevalence of Inadequate and Excessive Iodine Intakes in School-Age Children from the Adjusted Distribution of Urinary Iodine Concentrations from Population Surveys.

J Nutr 2016 06 4;146(6):1204-11. Epub 2016 May 4.

Department of Statistics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.

Background: The urinary iodine concentration (UIC), a biomarker of iodine intake, is used to assess population iodine status by deriving the median UIC, but this does not quantify the percentage of individuals with habitually deficient or excess iodine intakes. Individuals with a UIC <100 μg/L or ≥300 μg/L are often incorrectly classified as having deficient or excess intakes, but this likely overestimates the true prevalence.

Objective: Our aim was to estimate the prevalence of inadequate and excess iodine intake in children (aged 4-14 y) with the distribution of spot UIC from iodine surveys.

Methods: With the use of data from national iodine studies (Kuwait, Oman, Thailand, and Qatar) and a regional study (China) in children (n = 6117) in which a repeat UIC was obtained in a subsample (n = 1060), we calculated daily iodine intake from spot UICs from the relation between body weight and 24-h urine volume and within-person variation by using the repeat UIC. We also estimated pooled external within-person proportion of total variances by region. We used within-person variance proportions to obtain the prevalence of inadequate or excess usual iodine intake by using the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR)/Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) cutoff method.

Results: Median UICs in Kuwait, Oman, China, Thailand, and Qatar were 132, 192, 199, 262, and 333 μg/L, respectively. Internal within-person variance proportions ranged from 25.0% to 80.0%, and pooled regional external estimates ranged from 40.4% to 77.5%. The prevalence of inadequate and excess intakes as defined by the adjusted EAR/UL cutoff method was ∼45-99% lower than those defined by a spot UIC <100 μg/L or ≥300 μg/L (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Applying the EAR/UL cutoff method to iodine intakes from adjusted UIC distributions is a promising approach to estimate the number of individuals with deficient or excess iodine intakes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/jn.115.229005DOI Listing
June 2016

Occupational Exposure to Dromedaries and Risk for MERS-CoV Infection, Qatar, 2013-2014.

Emerg Infect Dis 2015 Aug;21(8):1422-5

We determined the presence of neutralizing antibodies to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in persons in Qatar with and without dromedary contact. Antibodies were only detected in those with contact, suggesting dromedary exposure as a risk factor for infection. Findings also showed evidence for substantial underestimation of the infection in populations at risk in Qatar.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2108.150481DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4517733PMC
August 2015

High proportion of MERS-CoV shedding dromedaries at slaughterhouse with a potential epidemiological link to human cases, Qatar 2014.

Infect Ecol Epidemiol 2015 15;5:28305. Epub 2015 Jul 15.

Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Two of the earliest Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) cases were men who had visited the Doha central animal market and adjoining slaughterhouse in Qatar. We show that a high proportion of camels presenting for slaughter in Qatar show evidence for nasal MERS-CoV shedding (62/105). Sequence analysis showed the circulation of at least five different virus strains at these premises, suggesting that this location is a driver of MERS-CoV circulation and a high-risk area for human exposure. No correlation between RNA loads and levels of neutralizing antibodies was observed, suggesting limited immune protection and potential for reinfection despite previous exposure.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4505336PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/iee.v5.28305DOI Listing
July 2015

The global relationship between the prevalence of diabetes mellitus and incidence of tuberculosis: 2000-2012.

Glob J Health Sci 2014 Oct 28;7(2):183-91. Epub 2014 Oct 28.

Office of Biotechnology, Genomics and Population Health, Public Health Agency of Canada Toronto, ON Canada.

Background: The dual burden of tuberculosis (TB) and diabetes mellitus (DM) has increased over the past decade with DM prevalence increasing in countries already afflicted with a high burden of TB. The coexistence of the two conditions presents a serious threat to global public health.

Objective: The present study examines the global relationship between the prevalence of DM and the incidence of TB to evaluate their coexistence worldwide and their contribution to one another.

Methods: This is an ecological longitudinal study covering the period between years 2000 to 2012. We utilized data from the WHO and World Bank sources and International Diabetes Federation to estimate prevalence of DM (%) and the incidence of TB (per 100,000). Measures of central tendency and dispersion as well as the harmonic mean and linear regression were used for different WHO regions. The association between DM prevalence and TB incidence was examined by quartile of DM prevalence.

Results: The worldwide average (±S.D.) prevalence of DM within the study period was 6.6±3.8% whereas TB incidence was 135.0±190.5 per 100,000. DM prevalence was highest in the Eastern Mediterranean (8.3±4.1) and West Pacific (8.2±5.6) regions and lowest in the Africa (3.5±2.6). TB incidence was highest in Africa (313.1±275.9 per 100,000) and South-East Asia (216.7±124.9) and lowest in the European (46.5±68.6) and American (47.2±52.9) regions. Only countries with high DM prevalence (>7.6%) showed a significant positive association with TB incidence (r=0.17, p=0.013).

Conclusion: A positive association between DM and TB may exist in some - but not all - world regions, a dual burden that necessitates identifying the nature of this coexistence to assist in developing public health approaches that curb their rising burden.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/gjhs.v7n2p183DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4796449PMC
October 2014

Change in the structures, dynamics and disease-related mortality rates of the population of Qatari nationals: 2007-2011.

J Epidemiol Glob Health 2014 Dec 2;4(4):277-87. Epub 2014 Jun 2.

Office of Biotechnology, Genomics and Population Health, Public Health Agency of Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Developing effective public health policies and strategies for interventions necessitates an assessment of the structure, dynamics, disease rates and causes of death in a population. Lately, Qatar has undertaken development resurgence in health and economy that resulted in improving the standard of health services and health status of the entire Qatari population (i.e., Qatari nationals and non-Qatari residents). No study has attempted to evaluate the population structure/dynamics and recent changes in disease-related mortality rates among Qatari nationals.

Objective: The present study examines the population structure/dynamics and the related changes in the cause-specific mortality rates and disease prevalence in the Qatari nationals.

Methods: This is a retrospective, analytic descriptive analysis covering a period of 5years (2007-2011) and utilizes a range of data sources from the State of Qatar including the population structure, disease-related mortality rates, and the prevalence of a range of chronic and infectious diseases. Factors reflecting population dynamics such as crude death (CDR), crude birth (CBR), total fertility (TFR) and infant mortality (IMR) rates were also calculated.

Results: The Qatari nationals is an expansive population with an annual growth rate of ∼4% and a stable male:female ratio. The CDR declined by 15% within the study period, whereas the CBR was almost stable. The total disease-specific death rate, however, was decreased among the Qatari nationals by 23% due to the decline in mortality rates attributed to diseases of the blood and immune system (43%), nervous system (44%) and cardiovascular system (41%). There was a high prevalence of a range of chronic diseases, whereas very low frequencies of the infectious diseases within the study population.

Conclusion: Public health strategies, approaches and programs developed to reduce disease burden and the related death, should be tailored to target the population of Qatari nationals which exhibits characteristics that vary from the entire Qatari population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jegh.2014.04.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7320335PMC
December 2014

Isolation of MERS coronavirus from a dromedary camel, Qatar, 2014.

Emerg Infect Dis 2014 Aug;20(8):1339-42

We obtained the full genome of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) from a camel in Qatar. This virus is highly similar to the human England/Qatar 1 virus isolated in 2012. The MERS-CoV from the camel efficiently replicated in human cells, providing further evidence for the zoonotic potential of MERS-CoV from camels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2008.140663DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4111206PMC
August 2014

Relationship between insulin resistance and plasma vitamin D in adults.

Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes 2014 7;7:297-303. Epub 2014 Jul 7.

Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada.

A recent relationship between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and insulin resistance has been established through several studies. Research suggests a correlation between serum vitamin D and glycemic status measures. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the plasma vitamin D levels (25[OH]D) and the factors linked to insulin resistance in a representative sample of Canadians ranging in age from 16-79 years. Data were used from the Canadian Health Measures Survey where direct measures of health and wellness were reported from 1,928 subjects. These data were gathered from March 2007-February 2009 at 15 sites selected through a multistage sampling strategy. An inverse relationship between insulin resistance and plasma vitamin D level in both men and women was observed. This study provides additional evidence for the role of vitamin D in T2DM. If causally associated, the supplementation of vitamin D may help in preventing insulin resistance and subsequent T2DM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/DMSO.S60569DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4094570PMC
July 2014

The state of health in the Arab world, 1990-2010: an analysis of the burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors.

Lancet 2014 Jan 20;383(9914):309-20. Epub 2014 Jan 20.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

Background: The Arab world has a set of historical, geopolitical, social, cultural, and economic characteristics and has been involved in several wars that have affected the burden of disease. Moreover, financial and human resources vary widely across the region. We aimed to examine the burden of diseases and injuries in the Arab world for 1990, 2005, and 2010 using data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010).

Methods: We divided the 22 countries of the Arab League into three categories according to their gross national income: low-income countries (LICs; Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritania, Yemen, and Somalia), middle-income countries (MICs; Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, occupied Palestinian territory, Sudan, Syria, and Tunisia), and high-income countries (HICs; Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates). For the whole Arab world, each income group, and each individual country, we estimated causes of death, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), DALY-attributable risk factors, years of life lived with disability (YLDs), years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLLs), and life expectancy by age and sex for 1990, 2005, and 2010.

Findings: Ischaemic heart disease was the top cause of death in the Arab world in 2010 (contributing to 14·3% of deaths), replacing lower respiratory infections, which were the leading cause of death in 1990 (11·0%). Lower respiratory infections contributed to the highest proportion of DALYs overall (6·0%), and in female indivduals (6·1%), but ischaemic heart disease was the leading cause of DALYs in male individuals (6·0%). DALYs from non-communicable diseases--especially ischaemic heart disease, mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, musculoskeletal disorders including low back pain and neck pain, diabetes, and cirrhosis--increased since 1990. Major depressive disorder was ranked first as a cause of YLDs in 1990, 2005, and 2010, and lower respiratory infections remained the leading cause of YLLs in 2010 (9·2%). The burden from HIV/AIDS also increased substantially, specifically in LICs and MICs, and road injuries continued to rank highly as a cause of death and DALYs, especially in HICs. Deaths due to suboptimal breastfeeding declined from sixth place in 1990 to tenth place in 2010, and childhood underweight declined from fifth to 11th place.

Interpretation: Since 1990, premature death and disability caused by communicable, newborn, nutritional, and maternal disorders (with the exception of HIV/AIDS) has decreased in the Arab world--although these disorders do still persist in LICs--whereas the burden of non-communicable diseases and injuries has increased. The changes in the burden of disease will challenge already stretched human and financial resources because many Arab countries are now dealing with both non-communicable and infectious diseases. A road map for health in the Arab world is urgently needed.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62189-3DOI Listing
January 2014

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in dromedary camels: an outbreak investigation.

Lancet Infect Dis 2014 Feb 17;14(2):140-5. Epub 2013 Dec 17.

Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Centre for Infectious Disease Research, Diagnostics and Screening, Division of Virology, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes severe lower respiratory tract infection in people. Previous studies suggested dromedary camels were a reservoir for this virus. We tested for the presence of MERS-CoV in dromedary camels from a farm in Qatar linked to two human cases of the infection in October, 2013.

Methods: We took nose swabs, rectal swabs, and blood samples from all camels on the Qatari farm. We tested swabs with RT-PCR, with amplification targeting the E gene (upE), nucleocapsid (N) gene, and open reading frame (ORF) 1a. PCR positive samples were tested by different MERS-CoV specific PCRs and obtained sequences were used for phylogentic analysis together with sequences from the linked human cases and other human cases. We tested serum samples from the camels for IgG immunofluorescence assay, protein microarray, and virus neutralisation assay.

Findings: We obtained samples from 14 camels on Oct 17, 2013. We detected MERS-CoV in nose swabs from three camels by three independent RT-PCRs and sequencing. The nucleotide sequence of an ORF1a fragment (940 nucleotides) and a 4·2 kb concatenated fragment were very similar to the MERS-CoV from two human cases on the same farm and a MERS-CoV isolate from Hafr-Al-Batin. Eight additional camel nose swabs were positive on one or more RT-PCRs, but could not be confirmed by sequencing. All camels had MERS-CoV spike-binding antibodies that correlated well with the presence of neutralising antibodies to MERS-CoV.

Interpretation: Our study provides virological confirmation of MERS-CoV in camels and suggests a recent outbreak affecting both human beings and camels. We cannot conclude whether the people on the farm were infected by the camels or vice versa, or if a third source was responsible.

Funding: European Union projects EMPERIE (contract number 223498), ANTIGONE (contract number 278976), and the VIRGO consortium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70690-XDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7106553PMC
February 2014