Publications by authors named "Sarah E Ray"

20 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Mental Models of Infectious Diseases and Public Understanding of COVID-19 Prevention.

Health Commun 2020 Dec 21;35(14):1707-1710. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

Translational Health Sciences Division, RTI International.

The emergence of viral diseases such as Ebola virus disease, Zika virus disease, and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has posed considerable challenges to health care systems around the world. Public health strategy to address emerging infectious diseases has depended in part on human behavior change and yet the perceptions and knowledge motivating that behavior have been at times inconsistent with the latest consensus of peer-reviewed science. Part of that disjuncture likely involves the existence and persistence of past ideas about other diseases. To forecast and prepare for future epidemic and pandemic response, we need to better understand how people approach emerging infectious diseases as objects of public opinion during the periods when such diseases first become salient at a population level. In this essay, we explore two examples of how existing mental models of past infectious diseases appear to have conditioned and constrained public response to novel viral diseases. We review previously reported experiences related to Zika virus in Central America and discuss public opinion data collected in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the case of Zika virus disease, we assess how thinking about earlier mosquito-borne disease seems to have affected public consideration of the virus in Guatemala. In the case of COVID-19, we assess how previous vaccination behavior for a different disease is associated with intention to obtain vaccination for COVID-19 in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2020.1837462DOI Listing
December 2020

Epidemiologic Changes of Scrub Typhus in China, 1952-2016.

Emerg Infect Dis 2020 06;26(6):1091-1101

Scrub typhus, a miteborne rickettsiosis, has emerged in many areas globally. We analyzed the incidence and spatial-temporal distribution of scrub typhus in China during 1952-1989 and 2006-2016 using national disease surveillance data. A total of 133,623 cases and 174 deaths were recorded. The average annual incidence was 0.13 cases/100,000 population during 1952-1989; incidence increased sharply from 0.09/100,000 population in 2006 to 1.60/100,000 population in 2016. The disease, historically endemic to southern China, has expanded to all the provinces across both rural and urban areas. We identified 3 distinct seasonal patterns nationwide; infections peaked in summer in the southwest, summer-autumn in the southeast, and autumn in the middle-east. Persons >40 years of age and in nonfarming occupations had a higher risk for death. The changing epidemiology of scrub typhus in China warrants an enhanced disease control and prevention program.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2606.191168DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7258452PMC
June 2020

Factors That Mattered in Helping Travelers From Countries With Ebola Outbreaks Participate in Post-Arrival Monitoring During the 2014-2016 Ebola Epidemic.

Inquiry 2019 Jan-Dec;56:46958019894795

RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA.

During the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the CARE+ program to help travelers arriving to the United States from countries with Ebola outbreaks to meet US government requirements of post-arrival monitoring. We assessed 2 outcomes: (1) factors associated with travelers' intention to monitor themselves and report to local or state public health authority (PHA) and (2) factors associated with self-reported adherence to post-arrival monitoring and reporting requirements. We conducted 1195 intercept in-person interviews with travelers arriving from countries with Ebola outbreaks at 2 airports between April and June 2015. In addition, 654 (54.7%) of these travelers participated in a telephone interview 3 to 5 days after intercept, and 319 (26.7%) participated in a second telephone interview 2 days before the end of their post-arrival monitoring. We used regression modeling to examine variance in the 2 outcomes due to 4 types of factors: (1) programmatic, (2) perceptual, (3) demographic, and (4) travel-related factors. Factors associated with the intention to adhere to requirements included clarity of the purpose of screening ( = 0.051, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.011-0.092), perceived approval of others ( = 0.103, 95% CI, 0.058-0.148), perceived seriousness of Ebola ( = 0.054, 95% CI, 0.031-0.077), confidence in one's ability to perform behaviors ( = 0.250, 95% CI, 0.193-0.306), ease of following instructions ( = 0.053, 95% CI, 0.010-0.097), and trust in CARE Ambassador ( = 0.056, 95% CI, 0.009-0.103). Respondents' perception of the seriousness of Ebola was the single factor associated with adherence to requirements (odds ratio [OR] = 0.81, 95% CI, 0.673-0.980, for non-adherent vs adherent participants and OR = 0.86, 95% CI, 0.745-0.997, for lost to follow-up vs adherent participants). Results from this assessment can guide public health officials in future outbreaks by identifying factors that may affect adherence to public health programs designed to prevent the spread of epidemics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0046958019894795DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6920593PMC
May 2020

Developing and Testing the Detén El Zika Campaign in Puerto Rico.

J Health Commun 2019 31;24(12):900-911. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Center for Communication Science, RTI International, Rockville, MD, USA.

Responding to an emerging health threat often requires rapid deployment of behavior change communication. Health communication best practices include developing and testing draft messages and materials to ensure that they resonate with and inspire priority groups to act. However, when faced with an emergency health threat, the timeline for these activities can be compressed from months to weeks. This article discusses the rapid development and implementation of a Zika virus prevention campaign for pregnant women in Puerto Rico. The goal of the campaign was to increase knowledge among and motivate pregnant women, their partners and family members, and the community to follow Zika virus prevention recommendations. The steps in campaign development include environmental scanning, concept development and testing, and message testing to ensure development of campaign materials that resonated with and were well-received by key audience groups. The materials adhere to principles of behavior change communication, and offer our insights for development of future campaigns when under time constraints.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10810730.2019.1683655DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7747955PMC
September 2020

Identifying residual hotspots and mapping lower respiratory infection morbidity and mortality in African children from 2000 to 2017.

Nat Microbiol 2019 12 30;4(12):2310-2318. Epub 2019 Sep 30.

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

Lower respiratory infections (LRIs) are the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5, despite the existence of vaccines against many of their aetiologies. Furthermore, more than half of these deaths occur in Africa. Geospatial models can provide highly detailed estimates of trends subnationally, at the level where implementation of health policies has the greatest impact. We used Bayesian geostatistical modelling to estimate LRI incidence, prevalence and mortality in children under 5 subnationally in Africa for 2000-2017, using surveys covering 1.46 million children and 9,215,000 cases of LRI. Our model reveals large within-country variation in both health burden and its change over time. While reductions in childhood morbidity and mortality due to LRI were estimated for almost every country, we expose a cluster of residual high risk across seven countries, which averages 5.5 LRI deaths per 1,000 children per year. The preventable nature of the vast majority of LRI deaths mandates focused health system efforts in specific locations with the highest burden.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41564-019-0562-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6877470PMC
December 2019

The current and future global distribution and population at risk of dengue.

Nat Microbiol 2019 09 10;4(9):1508-1515. Epub 2019 Jun 10.

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

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that has spread throughout the tropical world over the past 60 years and now affects over half the world's population. The geographical range of dengue is expected to further expand due to ongoing global phenomena including climate change and urbanization. We applied statistical mapping techniques to the most extensive database of case locations to date to predict global environmental suitability for the virus as of 2015. We then made use of climate, population and socioeconomic projections for the years 2020, 2050 and 2080 to project future changes in virus suitability and human population at risk. This study is the first to consider the spread of Aedes mosquito vectors to project dengue suitability. Our projections provide a key missing piece of evidence for the changing global threat of vector-borne disease and will help decision-makers worldwide to better prepare for and respond to future changes in dengue risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41564-019-0476-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6784886PMC
September 2019

Mapping diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine coverage in Africa, 2000-2016: a spatial and temporal modelling study.

Lancet 2019 May 5;393(10183):1843-1855. Epub 2019 Apr 5.

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

Background: Routine childhood vaccination is among the most cost-effective, successful public health interventions available. Amid substantial investments to expand vaccine delivery throughout Africa and strengthen administrative reporting systems, most countries still require robust measures of local routine vaccine coverage and changes in geographical inequalities over time.

Methods: This analysis drew from 183 surveys done between 2000 and 2016, including data from 881 268 children in 49 African countries. We used a Bayesian geostatistical model calibrated to results from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2017, to produce annual estimates with high-spatial resolution (5 ×    5 km) of diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) vaccine coverage and dropout for children aged 12-23 months in 52 African countries from 2000 to 2016.

Findings: Estimated third-dose (DPT3) coverage increased in 72·3% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 64·6-80·3) of second-level administrative units in Africa from 2000 to 2016, but substantial geographical inequalities in DPT coverage remained across and within African countries. In 2016, DPT3 coverage at the second administrative (ie, district) level varied by more than 25% in 29 of 52 countries, with only two (Morocco and Rwanda) of 52 countries meeting the Global Vaccine Action Plan target of 80% DPT3 coverage or higher in all second-level administrative units with high confidence (posterior probability ≥95%). Large areas of low DPT3 coverage (≤50%) were identified in the Sahel, Somalia, eastern Ethiopia, and in Angola. Low first-dose (DPT1) coverage (≤50%) and high relative dropout (≥30%) together drove low DPT3 coverage across the Sahel, Somalia, eastern Ethiopia, Guinea, and Angola.

Interpretation: Despite substantial progress in Africa, marked national and subnational inequalities in DPT coverage persist throughout the continent. These results can help identify areas of low coverage and vaccine delivery system vulnerabilities and can ultimately support more precise targeting of resources to improve vaccine coverage and health outcomes for African children.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30226-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6497987PMC
May 2019

The association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly in Brazil 2015-2017: An observational analysis of over 4 million births.

PLoS Med 2019 03 5;16(3):e1002755. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

Background: In 2015, high rates of microcephaly were reported in Northeast Brazil following the first South American Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak. Reported microcephaly rates in other Zika-affected areas were significantly lower, suggesting alternate causes or the involvement of arboviral cofactors in exacerbating microcephaly rates.

Methods And Findings: We merged data from multiple national reporting databases in Brazil to estimate exposure to 9 known or hypothesized causes of microcephaly for every pregnancy nationwide since the beginning of the ZIKV outbreak; this generated between 3.6 and 5.4 million cases (depending on analysis) over the time period 1 January 2015-23 May 2017. The association between ZIKV and microcephaly was statistically tested against models with alternative causes or with effect modifiers. We found no evidence for alternative non-ZIKV causes of the 2015-2017 microcephaly outbreak, nor that concurrent exposure to arbovirus infection or vaccination modified risk. We estimate an absolute risk of microcephaly of 40.8 (95% CI 34.2-49.3) per 10,000 births and a relative risk of 16.8 (95% CI 3.2-369.1) given ZIKV infection in the first or second trimester of pregnancy; however, because ZIKV infection rates were highly variable, most pregnant women in Brazil during the ZIKV outbreak will have been subject to lower risk levels. Statistically significant associations of ZIKV with other birth defects were also detected, but at lower relative risks than that of microcephaly (relative risk < 1.5). Our analysis was limited by missing data prior to the establishment of nationwide ZIKV surveillance, and its findings may be affected by unmeasured confounding causes of microcephaly not available in routinely collected surveillance data.

Conclusions: This study strengthens the evidence that congenital ZIKV infection, particularly in the first 2 trimesters of pregnancy, is associated with microcephaly and less frequently with other birth defects. The finding of no alternative causes for geographic differences in microcephaly rate leads us to hypothesize that the Northeast region was disproportionately affected by this Zika outbreak, with 94% of an estimated 8.5 million total cases occurring in this region, suggesting a need for seroprevalence surveys to determine the underlying reason.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002755DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6400331PMC
March 2019

Global variation in bacterial strains that cause tuberculosis disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

BMC Med 2018 10 30;16(1):196. Epub 2018 Oct 30.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, 2301 5th Ave, Suite 600, Seattle, WA, 98121, USA.

Background: The host, microbial, and environmental factors that contribute to variation in tuberculosis (TB) disease are incompletely understood. Accumulating evidence suggests that one driver of geographic variation in TB disease is the local ecology of mycobacterial genotypes or strains, and there is a need for a comprehensive and systematic synthesis of these data. The objectives of this study were to (1) map the global distribution of genotypes that cause TB disease and (2) examine whether any epidemiologically relevant clinical characteristics were associated with those genotypes.

Methods: We performed a systematic review of PubMed and Scopus to create a comprehensive dataset of human TB molecular epidemiology studies that used representative sampling techniques. The methods were developed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). We extracted and synthesized data from studies that reported prevalence of bacterial genotypes and from studies that reported clinical characteristics associated with those genotypes.

Results: The results of this study are twofold. First, we identified 206 studies for inclusion in the study, representing over 200,000 bacterial isolates collected over 27 years in 85 countries. We mapped the genotypes and found that, consistent with previously published maps, Euro-American lineage 4 and East Asian lineage 2 strains are widespread, and West African lineages 5 and 6 strains are geographically restricted. Second, 30 studies also reported transmission chains and 4 reported treatment failure associated with genotypes. We performed a meta-analysis and found substantial heterogeneity across studies. However, based on the data available, we found that lineage 2 strains may be associated with increased risk of transmission chains, while lineages 5 and 6 strains may be associated with reduced risk, compared with lineage 4 strains.

Conclusions: This study provides the most comprehensive systematic analysis of the evidence for diversity in bacterial strains that cause TB disease. The results show both geographic and epidemiological differences between strains, which could inform our understanding of the global burden of TB. Our findings also highlight the challenges of collecting the clinical data required to inform TB diagnosis and treatment. We urge future national TB programs and research efforts to prioritize and reinforce clinical data collection in study designs and results dissemination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-018-1180-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6206891PMC
October 2018

Variation in Childhood Diarrheal Morbidity and Mortality in Africa, 2000-2015.

N Engl J Med 2018 09;379(12):1128-1138

From the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (R.C.R., N.G., D.C.C., C.T., G.M.G., J.F.M., A.D., S.J.S., S.E.R., B.F.B., P.C.R., A.O.-Z., R.B., D.M.P., I.M.D., I.D.L., L.E., J.M.R., I.A.K., T.H.F., D.L.S., N.J.K., A.H.M., C.J.L.M., S.I.H.) and the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine (J.M.R.), University of Washington, and the Divisions of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (J.F.M.) and Pediatric Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine (N.J.K.), Seattle Children's Hospital - all in Seattle; the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (O.J.B.), and the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London (S.B.), London, and the Department of Zoology (M.U.G.K.) and the Big Data Institute, Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery (S.B., D.J.W., P.W.G.), University of Oxford, Oxford - all in the United Kingdom; and the Computational Epidemiology Lab, Boston Children's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School - both in Boston (M.U.G.K.).

Background: Diarrheal diseases are the third leading cause of disease and death in children younger than 5 years of age in Africa and were responsible for an estimated 30 million cases of severe diarrhea (95% credible interval, 27 million to 33 million) and 330,000 deaths (95% credible interval, 270,000 to 380,000) in 2015. The development of targeted approaches to address this burden has been hampered by a paucity of comprehensive, fine-scale estimates of diarrhea-related disease and death among and within countries.

Methods: We produced annual estimates of the prevalence and incidence of diarrhea and diarrhea-related mortality with high geographic detail (5 km) across Africa from 2000 through 2015. Estimates were created with the use of Bayesian geostatistical techniques and were calibrated to the results from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2016.

Results: The results revealed geographic inequality with regard to diarrhea risk in Africa. Of the estimated 330,000 childhood deaths that were attributable to diarrhea in 2015, more than 50% occurred in 55 of the 782 first-level administrative subdivisions (e.g., states). In 2015, mortality rates among first-level administrative subdivisions in Nigeria differed by up to a factor of 6. The case fatality rates were highly varied at the national level across Africa, with the highest values observed in Benin, Lesotho, Mali, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

Conclusions: Our findings showed concentrated areas of diarrheal disease and diarrhea-related death in countries that had a consistently high burden as well as in countries that had considerable national-level reductions in diarrhea burden. (Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1716766DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6078160PMC
September 2018

Progress toward eliminating TB and HIV deaths in Brazil, 2001-2015: a spatial assessment.

BMC Med 2018 09 6;16(1):144. Epub 2018 Sep 6.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, 2301 5th Ave Suite 600, Seattle, WA, 98121, USA.

Background: Brazil has high burdens of tuberculosis (TB) and HIV, as previously estimated for the 26 states and the Federal District, as well as high levels of inequality in social and health indicators. We improved the geographic detail of burden estimation by modelling deaths due to TB and HIV and TB case fatality ratios for the more than 5400 municipalities in Brazil.

Methods: This ecological study used vital registration data from the national mortality information system and TB case notifications from the national communicable disease notification system from 2001 to 2015. Mortality due to TB and HIV was modelled separately by cause and sex using a Bayesian spatially explicit mixed effects regression model. TB incidence was modelled using the same approach. Results were calibrated to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Case fatality ratios were calculated for TB.

Results: There was substantial inequality in TB and HIV mortality rates within the nation and within states. National-level TB mortality in people without HIV infection declined by nearly 50% during 2001 to 2015, but HIV mortality declined by just over 20% for males and 10% for females. TB and HIV mortality rates for municipalities in the 90th percentile nationally were more than three times rates in the 10th percentile, with nearly 70% of the worst-performing municipalities for male TB mortality and more than 75% for female mortality in 2001 also in the worst decile in 2015. The same municipality ranking metric for HIV was observed to be between 55% and 61%. Within states, the TB mortality rate ratios by sex for municipalities in the worst decile versus the best decile varied from 1.4 to 2.9, and HIV varied from 1.4 to 4.2. The World Health Organization target case fatality rate for TB of less than 10% was achieved in 9.6% of municipalities for males versus 38.4% for females in 2001 and improved to 38.4% and 56.6% of municipalities for males versus females, respectively, by 2014.

Conclusions: Mortality rates in municipalities within the same state exhibited nearly as much relative variation as within the nation as a whole. Monitoring the mortality burden at this level of geographic detail is critical for guiding precision public health responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-018-1131-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6125942PMC
September 2018

Vulnerability to snakebite envenoming: a global mapping of hotspots.

Lancet 2018 08 17;392(10148):673-684. Epub 2018 Jul 17.

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

Background: Snakebite envenoming is a frequently overlooked cause of mortality and morbidity. Data for snake ecology and existing snakebite interventions are scarce, limiting accurate burden estimation initiatives. Low global awareness stunts new interventions, adequate health resources, and available health care. Therefore, we aimed to synthesise currently available data to identify the most vulnerable populations at risk of snakebite, and where additional data to manage this global problem are needed.

Methods: We assembled a list of snake species using WHO guidelines. Where relevant, we obtained expert opinion range (EOR) maps from WHO or the Clinical Toxinology Resources. We also obtained occurrence data for each snake species from a variety of websites, such as VertNet and iNaturalist, using the spocc R package (version 0.7.0). We removed duplicate occurrence data and categorised snakes into three groups: group A (no available EOR map or species occurrence records), group B (EOR map but <5 species occurrence records), and group C (EOR map and ≥5 species occurrence records). For group C species, we did a multivariate environmental similarity analysis using the 2008 WHO EOR maps and newly available evidence. Using these data and the EOR maps, we produced contemporary range maps for medically important venomous snake species at a 5 × 5 km resolution. We subsequently triangulated these data with three health system metrics (antivenom availability, accessibility to urban centres, and the Healthcare Access and Quality [HAQ] Index) to identify the populations most vulnerable to snakebite morbidity and mortality.

Findings: We provide a map showing the ranges of 278 snake species globally. Although about 6·85 billion people worldwide live within range of areas inhabited by snakes, about 146·70 million live within remote areas lacking quality health-care provisioning. Comparing opposite ends of the HAQ Index, 272·91 million individuals (65·25%) of the population within the lowest decile are at risk of exposure to any snake for which no effective therapy exists compared with 519·46 million individuals (27·79%) within the highest HAQ Index decile, showing a disproportionate coverage in reported antivenom availability. Antivenoms were available for 119 (43%) of 278 snake species evaluated by WHO, while globally 750·19 million (10·95%) of those living within snake ranges live more than 1 h from population centres. In total, we identify about 92·66 million people living within these vulnerable geographies, including many sub-Saharan countries, Indonesia, and other parts of southeast Asia.

Interpretation: Identifying exact populations vulnerable to the most severe outcomes of snakebite envenoming at a subnational level is important for prioritising new data collection and collation, reinforcing envenoming treatment, existing health-care systems, and deploying currently available and future interventions. These maps can guide future research efforts on snakebite envenoming from both ecological and public health perspectives and better target future estimates of the burden of this neglected tropical disease.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31224-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6115328PMC
August 2018

Assessing hearing and cognition challenges in consumer processing of televised risk information: Validation of self-reported measures using performance indicators.

Prev Med Rep 2018 Sep 22;11:145-147. Epub 2018 Jun 22.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.

Public health researchers face important challenges if they wish to include measures of hearing or cognitive ability in risk communication studies. We sought validity evidence for self-report measures of hearing and cognitive ability by comparing those measures to performance-based measures and risk information recall. We measured hearing ability (with audiologist-assisted assessment and self report), cognitive ability (with an established performance task and self report), and reactions to direct-to-consumer prescription drug promotion with adults 18 and older ( = 1064) in North Carolina, USA, in 2017. We found moderate correspondence between self-reported hearing loss and audiologist-assessed hearing loss. Both measures also showed a small negative association with recall of presented risk information. Cognitive ability results suggested less substantial correspondence between self report and performance task and the measures differed in predicting risk recall. Our results suggested a moderately efficient measure for hearing ability for research on risk information exposure and retention, and yet also suggested the need for caution regarding future use of self-reported cognitive ability as a substitute for a performance-based measure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.06.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6039885PMC
September 2018

On the road to universal health care in Indonesia, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016.

Lancet 2018 08 28;392(10147):581-591. Epub 2018 Jun 28.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Oxford Big Data Institute, Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. Electronic address:

Background: As Indonesia moves to provide health coverage for all citizens, understanding patterns of morbidity and mortality is important to allocate resources and address inequality. The Global Burden of Disease 2016 study (GBD 2016) estimates sources of early death and disability, which can inform policies to improve health care.

Methods: We used GBD 2016 results for cause-specific deaths, years of life lost, years lived with disability, disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), life expectancy at birth, healthy life expectancy, and risk factors for 333 causes in Indonesia and in seven comparator countries. Estimates were produced by location, year, age, and sex using methods outlined in GBD 2016. Using the Socio-demographic Index, we generated expected values for each metric and compared these against observed results.

Findings: In Indonesia between 1990 and 2016, life expectancy increased by 8·0 years (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 7·3-8·8) to 71·7 years (71·0-72·3): the increase was 7·4 years (6·4-8·6) for males and 8·7 years (7·8-9·5) for females. Total DALYs due to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional causes decreased by 58·6% (95% UI 55·6-61·6), from 43·8 million (95% UI 41·4-46·5) to 18·1 million (16·8-19·6), whereas total DALYs from non-communicable diseases rose. DALYs due to injuries decreased, both in crude rates and in age-standardised rates. The three leading causes of DALYs in 2016 were ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and diabetes. Dietary risks were a leading contributor to the DALY burden, accounting for 13·6% (11·8-15·4) of DALYs in 2016.

Interpretation: Over the past 27 years, health across many indicators has improved in Indonesia. Improvements are partly offset by rising deaths and a growing burden of non-communicable diseases. To maintain and increase health gains, further work is needed to identify successful interventions and improve health equity.

Funding: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30595-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6099123PMC
August 2018

"Rapid impact" 10 years after: The first "decade" (2006-2016) of integrated neglected tropical disease control.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2018 05 24;12(5):e0006137. Epub 2018 May 24.

Department of Parasitology, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0006137DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5967703PMC
May 2018

A Mental Models Approach to Assessing Public Understanding of Zika Virus, Guatemala.

Emerg Infect Dis 2018 05;24(5):938-939

Mental models are cognitive representations of phenomena that can constrain efforts to reduce infectious disease. In a study of Zika virus awareness in Guatemala, many participants referred to experiences with other mosquitoborne diseases during discussions of Zika virus. These results highlight the importance of past experiences for Zika virus understanding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2405.171570DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938769PMC
May 2018

Mapping child growth failure in Africa between 2000 and 2015.

Nature 2018 02;555(7694):41-47

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.

Insufficient growth during childhood is associated with poor health outcomes and an increased risk of death. Between 2000 and 2015, nearly all African countries demonstrated improvements for children under 5 years old for stunting, wasting, and underweight, the core components of child growth failure. Here we show that striking subnational heterogeneity in levels and trends of child growth remains. If current rates of progress are sustained, many areas of Africa will meet the World Health Organization Global Targets 2025 to improve maternal, infant and young child nutrition, but high levels of growth failure will persist across the Sahel. At these rates, much, if not all of the continent will fail to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target-to end malnutrition by 2030. Geospatial estimates of child growth failure provide a baseline for measuring progress as well as a precision public health platform to target interventions to those populations with the greatest need, in order to reduce health disparities and accelerate progress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature25760DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6346257PMC
February 2018

Mapping local variation in educational attainment across Africa.

Nature 2018 02;555(7694):48-53

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98121, USA.

Educational attainment for women of reproductive age is linked to reduced child and maternal mortality, lower fertility and improved reproductive health. Comparable analyses of attainment exist only at the national level, potentially obscuring patterns in subnational inequality. Evidence suggests that wide disparities between urban and rural populations exist, raising questions about where the majority of progress towards the education targets of the Sustainable Development Goals is occurring in African countries. Here we explore within-country inequalities by predicting years of schooling across five by five kilometre grids, generating estimates of average educational attainment by age and sex at subnational levels. Despite marked progress in attainment from 2000 to 2015 across Africa, substantial differences persist between locations and sexes. These differences have widened in many countries, particularly across the Sahel. These high-resolution, comparable estimates improve the ability of decision-makers to plan the precisely targeted interventions that will be necessary to deliver progress during the era of the Sustainable Development Goals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature25761DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6346272PMC
February 2018

Existing and potential infection risk zones of yellow fever worldwide: a modelling analysis.

Lancet Glob Health 2018 03 2;6(3):e270-e278. Epub 2018 Feb 2.

Quantitative & Applied Ecology Group, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Background: Yellow fever cases are under-reported and the exact distribution of the disease is unknown. An effective vaccine is available but more information is needed about which populations within risk zones should be targeted to implement interventions. Substantial outbreaks of yellow fever in Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Brazil, coupled with the global expansion of the range of its main urban vector, Aedes aegypti, suggest that yellow fever has the propensity to spread further internationally. The aim of this study was to estimate the disease's contemporary distribution and potential for spread into new areas to help inform optimal control and prevention strategies.

Methods: We assembled 1155 geographical records of yellow fever virus infection in people from 1970 to 2016. We used a Poisson point process boosted regression tree model that explicitly incorporated environmental and biological explanatory covariates, vaccination coverage, and spatial variability in disease reporting rates to predict the relative risk of apparent yellow fever virus infection at a 5 × 5 km resolution across all risk zones (47 countries across the Americas and Africa). We also used the fitted model to predict the receptivity of areas outside at-risk zones to the introduction or reintroduction of yellow fever transmission. By use of previously published estimates of annual national case numbers, we used the model to map subnational variation in incidence of yellow fever across at-risk countries and to estimate the number of cases averted by vaccination worldwide.

Findings: Substantial international and subnational spatial variation exists in relative risk and incidence of yellow fever as well as varied success of vaccination in reducing incidence in several high-risk regions, including Brazil, Cameroon, and Togo. Areas with the highest predicted average annual case numbers include large parts of Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan, where vaccination coverage in 2016 was estimated to be substantially less than the recommended threshold to prevent outbreaks. Overall, we estimated that vaccination coverage levels achieved by 2016 avert between 94 336 and 118 500 cases of yellow fever annually within risk zones, on the basis of conservative and optimistic vaccination scenarios. The areas outside at-risk regions with predicted high receptivity to yellow fever transmission (eg, parts of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand) were less extensive than the distribution of the main urban vector, A aegypti, with low receptivity to yellow fever transmission in southern China, where A aegypti is known to occur.

Interpretation: Our results provide the evidence base for targeting vaccination campaigns within risk zones, as well as emphasising their high effectiveness. Our study highlights areas where public health authorities should be most vigilant for potential spread or importation events.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30024-XDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5809716PMC
March 2018

Virtual Versus In-Person Focus Groups: Comparison of Costs, Recruitment, and Participant Logistics.

J Med Internet Res 2017 03 22;19(3):e80. Epub 2017 Mar 22.

Center for Communication Science, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, United States.

Background: Virtual focus groups-such as online chat and video groups-are increasingly promoted as qualitative research tools. Theoretically, virtual groups offer several advantages, including lower cost, faster recruitment, greater geographic diversity, enrollment of hard-to-reach populations, and reduced participant burden. However, no study has compared virtual and in-person focus groups on these metrics.

Objective: To rigorously compare virtual and in-person focus groups on cost, recruitment, and participant logistics. We examined 3 focus group modes and instituted experimental controls to ensure a fair comparison.

Methods: We conducted 6 1-hour focus groups in August 2014 using in-person (n=2), live chat (n=2), and video (n=2) modes with individuals who had type 2 diabetes (n=48 enrolled, n=39 completed). In planning groups, we solicited bids from 6 virtual platform vendors and 4 recruitment firms. We then selected 1 platform or facility per mode and a single recruitment firm across all modes. To minimize bias, the recruitment firm employed different recruiters by mode who were blinded to recruitment efforts for other modes. We tracked enrollment during a 2-week period. A single moderator conducted all groups using the same guide, which addressed the use of technology to communicate with health care providers. We conducted the groups at the same times of day on Monday to Wednesday during a single week. At the end of each group, participants completed a short survey.

Results: Virtual focus groups offered minimal cost savings compared with in-person groups (US $2000 per chat group vs US $2576 per in-person group vs US $2,750 per video group). Although virtual groups did not incur travel costs, they often had higher management fees and miscellaneous expenses (eg, participant webcams). Recruitment timing did not differ by mode, but show rates were higher for in-person groups (94% [15/16] in-person vs 81% [13/16] video vs 69% [11/16] chat). Virtual group participants were more geographically diverse (but with significant clustering around major metropolitan areas) and more likely to be non-white, less educated, and less healthy. Internet usage was higher among virtual group participants, yet virtual groups still reached light Internet users. In terms of burden, chat groups were easiest to join and required the least preparation (chat = 13 minutes, video = 40 minutes, in-person = 78 minutes). Virtual group participants joined using laptop or desktop computers, and most virtual participants (82% [9/11] chat vs 62% [8/13] video) reported having no other people in their immediate vicinity.

Conclusions: Virtual focus groups offer potential advantages for participant diversity and reaching less healthy populations. However, virtual groups do not appear to cost less or recruit participants faster than in-person groups. Further research on virtual group data quality and group dynamics is needed to fully understand their advantages and limitations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/jmir.6980DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5382259PMC
March 2017
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