381 research outputs found

    Real-Time Modeling Should Be Routinely Integrated into Outbreak Response.

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    A mathematical model of Marburg virus disease outbreaks and the potential role of vaccination in control.

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    BACKGROUND: Marburg virus disease is an acute haemorrhagic fever caused by Marburg virus. Marburg virus is zoonotic, maintained in nature in Egyptian fruit bats, with occasional spillover infections into humans and nonhuman primates. Although rare, sporadic cases and outbreaks occur in Africa, usually associated with exposure to bats in mines or caves, and sometimes with secondary human-to-human transmission. Outbreaks outside of Africa have also occurred due to importation of infected monkeys. Although all previous Marburg virus disease outbreaks have been brought under control without vaccination, there is nevertheless the potential for large outbreaks when implementation of public health measures is not possible or breaks down. Vaccines could thus be an important additional tool, and development of several candidate vaccines is under way. METHODS: We developed a branching process model of Marburg virus transmission and investigated the potential effects of several prophylactic and reactive vaccination strategies in settings driven primarily by multiple spillover events as well as human-to-human transmission. Linelist data from the 15 outbreaks up until 2022, as well as an Approximate Bayesian Computational framework, were used to inform the model parameters. RESULTS: Our results show a low basic reproduction number which varied across outbreaks, from 0.5 [95% CI 0.05-1.8] to 1.2 [95% CI 1.0-1.9] but a high case fatality ratio. Of six vaccination strategies explored, the two prophylactic strategies (mass and targeted vaccination of high-risk groups), as well as a combination of ring and targeted vaccination, were generally most effective, with a probability of potential outbreaks being terminated within 1 year of 0.90 (95% CI 0.90-0.91), 0.89 (95% CI 0.88-0.90), and 0.88 (95% CI 0.87-0.89) compared with 0.68 (0.67-0.69) for no vaccination, especially if the outbreak is driven by zoonotic spillovers and the vaccination campaign initiated as soon as possible after onset of the first case. CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that various vaccination strategies can be effective in helping to control outbreaks of MVD, with the best approach varying with the particular epidemiologic circumstances of each outbreak

    The epochs of early-type galaxy formation as a function of environment

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    The aim of this paper is to set constraints of the epochs of early-type galaxy formation through the 'archaeology' of the stellar populations in local galaxies. Using our models of absorption line indices that account for variable abundance ratios, we derive the stellar population parameters of 124 early-type galaxies in high and low density environments. We find that all three parameters age, metallicity, and alpha/Fe ratio are correlated with velocity dispersion. We further find evidence for an influence of the environment on the stellar population properties. Massive early-type galaxies in low-density environments appear on average ~2 Gyrs younger and slightly more metal-rich than their counterparts in high density environments. No offsets in the alpha/Fe ratios, instead, are detected. We translate the derived ages and alpha/Fe ratios into star formation histories. We show that most star formation activity in early-type galaxies is expected to have happened between redshifts 3 and 5 in high density and between redshifts 1 and 2 in low density environments. We conclude that at least 50 per cent of the total stellar mass density must have already formed at z 1, in good agreement with observational estimates of the total stellar mass density as a function of redshift. Our results suggest that significant mass growth in the early-type galaxy population below z 1 must be restricted to less massive objects, and a significant increase of the stellar mass density between redshifts 1 and 2 should be present caused mainly by the field galaxy population. The results of this paper further imply vigorous star formation episodes in massive objects at z 2-5 and the presence of evolved ellipticals around z 1, both observationally identified as SCUBA galaxies and EROs.Comment: 20 pages, 10 figures, plus appendix, accepted by Ap

    The impact of COVID-19 control measures on social contacts and transmission in Kenyan informal settlements.

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    BACKGROUND: Many low- and middle-income countries have implemented control measures against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, it is not clear to what extent these measures explain the low numbers of recorded COVID-19 cases and deaths in Africa. One of the main aims of control measures is to reduce respiratory pathogen transmission through direct contact with others. In this study, we collect contact data from residents of informal settlements around Nairobi, Kenya, to assess if control measures have changed contact patterns, and estimate the impact of changes on the basic reproduction number (R0). METHODS: We conducted a social contact survey with 213 residents of five informal settlements around Nairobi in early May 2020, 4 weeks after the Kenyan government introduced enhanced physical distancing measures and a curfew between 7 pm and 5 am. Respondents were asked to report all direct physical and non-physical contacts made the previous day, alongside a questionnaire asking about the social and economic impact of COVID-19 and control measures. We examined contact patterns by demographic factors, including socioeconomic status. We described the impact of COVID-19 and control measures on income and food security. We compared contact patterns during control measures to patterns from non-pandemic periods to estimate the change in R0. RESULTS: We estimate that control measures reduced physical contacts by 62% and non-physical contacts by either 63% or 67%, depending on the pre-COVID-19 comparison matrix used. Masks were worn by at least one person in 92% of contacts. Respondents in the poorest socioeconomic quintile reported 1.5 times more contacts than those in the richest. Eighty-six percent of respondents reported a total or partial loss of income due to COVID-19, and 74% reported eating less or skipping meals due to having too little money for food. CONCLUSION: COVID-19 control measures have had a large impact on direct contacts and therefore transmission, but have also caused considerable economic and food insecurity. Reductions in R0 are consistent with the comparatively low epidemic growth in Kenya and other sub-Saharan African countries that implemented similar, early control measures. However, negative and inequitable impacts on economic and food security may mean control measures are not sustainable in the longer term

    Spatial Effects of Permethrin-Impregnated Bed Nets on Child Mortality: 26 Years on, a Spatial Reanalysis of a Cluster Randomized Trial.

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    In addition to the direct effect of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), there has been evidence for spatial indirect effects. Spatial analyses in cluster randomized trials (CRTs) are rare, but a large-scale CRT from 1993 was one of the first to conduct a spatial analysis of ITNs in CRTs. We revisit these data by applying a broader range of contemporary spatial methods to further explore spatial spillover. We conducted three analyses: 1) exploratory spatial analysis, considering spatial patterns and spillover in the data; 2) spatial modeling, estimating the intervention effect considering spatial effects; and 3) analysis of distance-based spillover and interaction with the intervention, characterizing the functional distance over which the spillover effect was present. There were consistent indications of spatial patterns from the exploratory analysis. Bed nets were associated with a 17% reduction in all-cause mortality for children aged 6-59 months, and the intervention estimate remained robust when allowing for the spatial structure of the data. There was strong evidence of a spatial spillover effect: for every additional 100 m that a control household was from an intervention household (and vice versa), the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) increased by 1.7% (SMR 1.017, 95% credible interval 1.006-1.026). Despite evidence of a spatial spillover effect, the conclusions of the trial remain unaffected by spatial model specifications. Use of ITNs was clearly beneficial for individuals, and there was compelling evidence that they provide an indirect benefit to individuals living nearby. This article demonstrates the extra utility that spatial methods can provide when analyzing a CRT

    The investigation of health-related topics on TikTok: A descriptive study protocol

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    The social media application TikTok allows users to view and upload short-form videos. Recent evidence suggests it has significant potential for both industry and health promoters to influence public health behaviours. This protocol describes a standardised, replicable process for investigations that can be tailored to various areas of research interest, allowing comparison of content and features across public health topics. The first 50 appearing videos in each of five relevant hashtags are sampled for analysis. Utilising a codebook with detailed definitions, engagement metadata and content variables applicable to any content area is captured, including an assessment of the video’s overall sentiment (positive, negative, neutral). Additional specific coding variables can be developed to provide targeted information about videos posted within selected hashtags. A descriptive, cross-sectional content analysis is applied to the generic and specific data collected for a research topic area. This flexible protocol can be replicated for any health-related topic and may have a wider application on other platforms or to assess changes in content and sentiment over time. This protocol was developed by a collaborative team of child health and development researchers for application to a series of topics. Findings will be used to inform health promotion messaging and counter-advertising

    Is authorship sufficient for today’s collaborative research? A call for contributor roles

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    Assigning authorship and recognizing contributions to scholarly works is challenging on many levels. Here we discuss ethical, social, and technical challenges to the concept of authorship that may impede the recognition of contributions to a scholarly work. Recent work in the field of authorship shows that shifting to a more inclusive contributorship approach may address these challenges. Recent efforts to enable better recognition of contributions to scholarship include the development of the Contributor Role Ontology (CRO), which extends the CRediT taxonomy and can be used in information systems for structuring contributions. We also introduce the Contributor Attribution Model (CAM), which provides a simple data model that relates the contributor to research objects via the role that they played, as well as the provenance of the information. Finally, requirements for the adoption of a contributorship-based approach are discussed

    Report of the 13th Genomic Standards Consortium Meeting, Shenzhen, China, March 4–7, 2012

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    This report details the outcome of the 13th Meeting of the Genomic Standards Consortium. The three-day conference was held at the Kingkey Palace Hotel, Shenzhen, China, on March 5–7, 2012, and was hosted by the Beijing Genomics Institute. The meeting, titled From Genomes to Interactions to Communities to Models, highlighted the role of data standards associated with genomic, metagenomic, and amplicon sequence data and the contextual information associated with the sample. To this end the meeting focused on genomic projects for animals, plants, fungi, and viruses; metagenomic studies in host-microbe interactions; and the dynamics of microbial communities. In addition, the meeting hosted a Genomic Observatories Network session, a Genomic Standards Consortium biodiversity working group session, and a Microbiology of the Built Environment session sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundatio
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