Publications by authors named "Usha Samala"

7 Publications

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Postvaccination SARS-CoV-2 Infections Among Skilled Nursing Facility Residents and Staff Members - Chicago, Illinois, December 2020-March 2021.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021 Apr 30;70(17):632-638. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

Early studies suggest that COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe illness (1); however, postvaccination SARS-CoV-2 infections (i.e., breakthrough infections) can occur because COVID-19 vaccines do not offer 100% protection (2,3). Data evaluating the occurrence of breakthrough infections and impact of vaccination in decreasing transmission in congregate settings are limited. Skilled nursing facility (SNF) residents and staff members have been disproportionately affected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (4,5), and were prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination (6,7). Starting December 28, 2020, all 78 Chicago-based SNFs began COVID-19 vaccination clinics over several weeks through the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program (PPP). In February 2021, through routine screening, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) identified a SARS-CoV-2 infection in a SNF resident >14 days after receipt of the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccination series. SARS-CoV-2 cases, vaccination status, and possible vaccine breakthrough infections were identified by matching facility reports with state case and vaccination registries. Among 627 persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection across 75 SNFs since vaccination clinics began, 22 SARS-CoV-2 infections were identified among 12 residents and 10 staff members across 15 facilities ≥14 days after receiving their second vaccine dose (i.e., breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated persons). Nearly two thirds (14 of 22; 64%) of persons with breakthrough infections were asymptomatic; two residents were hospitalized because of COVID-19, and one died. No facility-associated secondary transmission occurred. Although few SARS-CoV-2 infections in fully vaccinated persons were observed, these cases demonstrate the need for SNFs to follow recommended routine infection prevention and control practices and promote high vaccination coverage among SNF residents and staff members.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7017e1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8084122PMC
April 2021

Outbreak of COVID-19 and interventions in a large jail - Cook County, IL, United States, 2020.

Am J Infect Control 2021 Apr 2. Epub 2021 Apr 2.

Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Electronic address:

Background: Correctional and detention facilities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 due to shared space, contact between staff and detained persons, and movement within facilities. On March 18, 2020, Cook County Jail, one of the United States' largest, identified its first suspected case of COVID-19 in a detained person.

Methods: This analysis includes SARS-CoV-2 cases confirmed by molecular detection among detained persons and Cook County Sheriff's Office staff. We examined occurrence of symptomatic cases in each building and proportions of asymptomatic detained persons testing positive, and timing of interventions including social distancing, mask use, and expanded testing and show outbreak trajectory in the jail compared to case counts in Chicago.

Results: During March 1-April 30, 907 symptomatic and asymptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection were detected among detained persons (n = 628) and staff (n = 279). Among asymptomatic detained persons in quarantine, 23.6% tested positive. Programmatic activity and visitation stopped March 9, cells were converted into single occupancy beginning March 26, and universal masking was implemented for staff (April 2) and detained persons (April 13). Cases at the jail declined while cases in Chicago increased.

Discussion/conclusions: Aggressive intervention strategies coupled with widespread diagnostic testing of detained and staff populations can limit introduction and mitigate transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection in correctional and detention facilities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2021.03.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8016534PMC
April 2021

Network Characteristics and Visualization of COVID-19 Outbreak in a Large Detention Facility in the United States - Cook County, Illinois, 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 Nov 6;69(44):1625-1630. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Correctional and detention facilities have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) because of shared space and movement of staff members and detained persons within facilities (1,2). During March 1-April 30, 2020, at Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois, >900 COVID-19 cases were diagnosed across all 10 housing divisions, representing 13 unique buildings. Movement within the jail was examined through network analyses and visualization, a field that examines elements within a network and the connections between them. This methodology has been used to supplement contact tracing investigations for tuberculosis and to understand how social networks contribute to transmission of sexually transmitted infections (3-5). Movements and connections of 5,884 persons (3,843 [65%] detained persons and 2,041 [35%] staff members) at the jail during March 1-April 30 were analyzed. A total of 472 (12.3%) COVID-19 cases were identified among detained persons and 198 (9.7%) among staff members. Among 103,701 shared-shift connections among staff members, 1.4% occurred between persons with COVID-19, a percentage that is significantly higher than the expected 0.9% by random occurrence alone (p<0.001), suggesting that additional transmission occurred within this group. The observed connections among detained persons with COVID-19 were significantly lower than expected (1.0% versus 1.1%, p<0.001) when considering only the housing units in which initial transmission occurred, suggesting that the systematic isolation of persons with COVID-19 is effective at limiting transmission. A network-informed approach can identify likely points of high transmission, allowing for interventions to reduce transmission targeted at these groups or locations, such as by reducing convening of staff members, closing breakrooms, and cessation of contact sports.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6944a3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7643900PMC
November 2020

Legionellosis Outbreak Associated With a Hotel Fountain.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2015 Dec 28;2(4):ofv164. Epub 2015 Dec 28.

Chicago Department of Public Health, Illinois.

Background.  In August 2012, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) was notified of acute respiratory illness, including 1 fatality, among a group of meeting attendees who stayed at a Chicago hotel during July 30-August 3, 2012. Suspecting Legionnaires' disease (LD), CDPH advised the hotel to close their swimming pool, spa, and decorative lobby fountain and began an investigation. Methods.  Case finding included notification of individuals potentially exposed during July 16-August 15, 2012. Individuals were interviewed using a standardized questionnaire. An environmental assessment was performed. Results.  One hundred fourteen cases were identified: 11 confirmed LD, 29 suspect LD, and 74 Pontiac fever cases. Illness onsets occurred July 21-August 22, 2012. Median age was 48 years (range, 22-82 years), 64% were male, 59% sought medical care (15 hospitalizations), and 3 died. Relative risks for hotel exposures revealed that persons who spent time near the decorative fountain or bar, both located in the lobby were respectively 2.13 (95%, 1.64-2.77) and 1.25 (95% CI, 1.09-1.44) times more likely to become ill than those who did not. Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 was isolated from samples collected from the fountain, spa, and women's locker room fixtures. Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 environmental isolates and a clinical isolate had matching sequence-based types. Hotel maintenance records lacked a record of regular cleaning and disinfection of the fountain. Conclusions.  Environmental testing identified Legionella in the hotel's potable water system. Epidemiologic and laboratory data indicated the decorative fountain as the source. Poor fountain maintenance likely created favorable conditions for Legionella overgrowth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofv164DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4692259PMC
December 2015

Outbreak of Gastroenteritis in Adults Due to Rotavirus Genotype G12P[8].

Clin Infect Dis 2015 Aug 13;61(4):e20-5. Epub 2015 Apr 13.

Chicago Department of Public Heath, Illinois.

Background: Rotavirus infection in adults is poorly understood and few rotavirus outbreaks among US adults have been reported in the literature. We describe an outbreak due to genotype G12P[8] rotavirus among medical students, faculty, and guests who attended a formal dinner event in April 2013.

Methods: A web-based questionnaire was distributed to event attendees to collect symptom and exposure data. A clinical case was defined as a person who developed diarrhea after attending the formal event. A laboratory-confirmed case was defined as a clinical case who attended the formal event, with rotavirus detected in stool by enzyme immunoassay or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay.

Results: Among 334 dinner attendees, 136 (41%) completed the web-based questionnaire; 58 (43%) respondents reported illness. Symptom onset ranged from 1 to 8 days, with peak onset 3 days after the event. In addition to diarrhea, predominant symptoms included fever (91%), abdominal pain (84%), and vomiting (49%). The median duration of illness was 2.5 days. Thirteen (22%) of 58 cases sought medical attention; none were hospitalized. Analysis of food exposures among questionnaire respondents did not identify significant associations between any specific food or drink item and illness. Stool specimens were negative for bacterial pathogens by culture and negative for norovirus by RT-PCR assay; 4 specimens were positive for rotavirus by enzyme immunoassay or PCR. G12P[8]-R1-C1-M1-A1-N1-T1-E1-H1 was identified as the causative full-genome genotype.

Conclusions: Rotavirus outbreaks can occur among adults, including young adults. Health professionals should consider rotavirus as a cause of acute gastroenteritis in adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/civ294DOI Listing
August 2015

Underimmunization in Chicago children who dropped out of WIC.

Am J Prev Med 2004 Jan;26(1):29-33

Epidemiology Program Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Background: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) serves a large proportion of Chicago infants, but some discontinue participation before age 1 year. To determine if children who remained active at WIC immunization-linked sites after their first birthday were more likely to be immunized by ages 19 and 25 months than those who dropped out, a retrospective cohort study was conducted.

Methods: Four Chicago WIC sites that used monthly voucher pick-up were chosen. Children born from July 1, 1997 to September 30, 1997 who attended these sites were eligible (N=1142). The cohort was divided into two groups: (1) active group (46%), who had a WIC visit on or after their first birthday; and (2) inactive group (54%), who had their last WIC visit before their first birthday. Children were enrolled through home visits.

Results: The records for 200 children were analyzed. By age 19 months, 65 (84%) of 77 active children had received one dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR), compared to 82 (67%) of 123 inactive children (risk ratio [RR]=1.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1- 1.5). By age 25 months, 64 (83%) active children had received four doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine (DTP), one MMR, and three doses of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine (Hib), compared with 64 (52%) inactive children (RR=1.6; 95% CI, 1.3-2.0).

Conclusions: In this cohort, children active in WIC after their first birthday were more likely to be immunized by ages 19 and 25 months, compared with those who were no longer active. Chicago children who drop out of WIC may represent those at highest risk for underimmunization and may require special strategies to improve coverage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2003.09.021DOI Listing
January 2004