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1.
Hum Resour Health ; 20(1): 33, 2022 04 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1785155

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Improving the epidemiological response to emergencies requires an understanding of who the responders are, their role and skills, and the challenges they face during responses. In this paper, we explore the role of the epidemiologist and identify challenges they face during emergency response. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey to learn more about epidemiologists who respond to public health emergencies. The online survey included open and closed-ended questions on challenges faced while responding, the roles of epidemiology responders, self-rating of skills, and support needed and received. We used purposive sampling to identify participants and a snowballing approach thereafter. We compared data by a number of characteristics, including national or international responder on their last response prior to the survey. We analysed the data using descriptive, content, and exploratory factor analysis. RESULTS: We received 166 responses from individuals with experience in emergency response. The most frequently reported challenge was navigating the political dynamics of a response, which was more common for international responders than national. National responders experienced fewer challenges related to culture, language, and communication. Epidemiology responders reported a lack of response role clarity, limited knowledge sharing, and communication issues during emergency response. Sixty-seven percent of participants reported they needed support to do their job well; males who requested support were statistically more likely to receive it than females who asked. CONCLUSIONS: Our study identified that national responders have additional strengths, such as better understanding of the local political environment, language, and culture, which may in turn support identification of local needs and priorities. Although this research was conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the results are even more relevant now. This research builds on emerging evidence on how to strengthen public health emergency response and provides a platform to begin a global conversation to address operational issues and the role of the international epidemiology responder.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Leadership , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communication , Cross-Sectional Studies , Emergencies , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Politics , Workforce
2.
Western Pac Surveill Response J ; 12(4): 1-11, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1633273

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Asymptomatic infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and test re-positivity after a negative test have raised concerns about the ability to effectively control the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We aimed to investigate the prevalence of COVID-19 asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic infections during the second wave of COVID-19 in Viet Nam, and to better understand the duration of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the dynamics between the evolution of clinical symptoms and SARS-CoV-2 test positivity among confirmed COVID-19 cases. METHODS: We conducted a cohort analysis on the first 50 confirmed cases during the second COVID-19 wave in Viet Nam using clinical, laboratory and epidemiological data collected from 9 March to 30 April 2020. Kaplan-Meier estimates were used to assess time to clearance of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and log-rank tests were used to explore factors related to time to SARS-CoV-2 infection clearance. RESULTS: Most cases (58%) had no typical signs or symptoms of COVID-19 at the time of diagnosis. Ten cases (20%) were re-positive for SARS-CoV-2 during infection. Eight cases (16%) experienced COVID-19 symptoms after testing negative for SARS-CoV-2. The median duration from symptom onset until clearance of infection was 14 days (range: 6-31); it was longer in re-positive and older patients and those with pre-existing conditions. CONCLUSION: Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic infections were common during the second wave of COVID-19 in Viet Nam. Re-positivity was frequent during hospitalization and led to a long duration of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Vietnam/epidemiology
3.
BMC Med ; 19(1): 203, 2021 09 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430426

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The sustainable development goals aim to improve health for all by 2030. They incorporate ambitious goals regarding tuberculosis (TB), which may be a significant cause of disability, yet to be quantified. Therefore, we aimed to quantify the prevalence and types of TB-related disabilities. METHODS: We performed a systematic review of TB-related disabilities. The pooled prevalence of disabilities was calculated using the inverse variance heterogeneity model. The maps of the proportions of common types of disabilities by country income level were created. RESULTS: We included a total of 131 studies (217,475 patients) that were conducted in 49 countries. The most common type of disabilities were mental health disorders (23.1%), respiratory impairment (20.7%), musculoskeletal impairment (17.1%), hearing impairment (14.5%), visual impairment (9.8%), renal impairment (5.7%), and neurological impairment (1.6%). The prevalence of respiratory impairment (61.2%) and mental health disorders (42.0%) was highest in low-income countries while neurological impairment was highest in lower middle-income countries (25.6%). Drug-resistant TB was associated with respiratory (58.7%), neurological (37.2%), and hearing impairments (25.0%) and mental health disorders (26.0%), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: TB-related disabilities were frequently reported. More uniform reporting tools for TB-related disability and further research to better quantify and mitigate it are urgently needed. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42019147488.


Subject(s)
Disabled Persons , Mental Disorders , Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant , Tuberculosis , Humans , Prevalence , Tuberculosis/epidemiology
4.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0255401, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398930

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Prolonged periods of confined living on a cruise ship increase the risk for respiratory disease transmission. We describe the epidemiology and clinical characteristics of a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Australian passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and provide recommendations to mitigate future cruise ship outbreaks. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of Australian passengers who travelled on the Diamond Princess from 20 January until 4 February 2020 and were either hospitalised, remained in Japan or repatriated. The main outcome measures included an epidemic curve, demographics, symptoms, clinical and radiological signs, risk factors and length of time to clear infection. RESULTS: Among 223 Australian passengers, 56 were confirmed SARS-CoV-2 positive. Forty-nine cases had data available and of these over 70% had symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Of symptomatic cases, 17% showed signs and symptoms before the ship implemented quarantine and a further two-thirds had symptoms within one incubation period of quarantine commencing. Prior to ship-based quarantine, exposure to a close contact or cabin mate later confirmed SARS-CoV-2 positive was associated with a 3.78 fold (95% CI, 2.24-6.37) higher risk of COVID-19 acquisition compared to non-exposed passengers. Exposure to a positive cabin mate during the ship's quarantine carried a relative risk of 6.18 (95% CI, 1.96-19.46) of developing COVID-19. Persistently asymptomatic cases represented 29% of total cases. The median time to the first of two consecutive negative PCR-based SARS-CoV-2 assays was 13 days for asymptomatic cases and 19 days for symptomatic cases (p = 0.002). CONCLUSION: Ship based quarantine was effective at reducing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 amongst Australian passengers, but the risk of infection was higher if an individual shared a cabin or was a close contact of a confirmed case. Managing COVID-19 in cruise ship passengers is challenging and requires enhanced health measures and access to onshore quarantine and isolation facilities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Australia/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Japan/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Quarantine , Retrospective Studies , Ships , Travel , Young Adult
5.
Bull World Health Organ ; 99(5): 351-358, 2021 May 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1229143

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To determine the challenges met by, and needs of, the epidemiology emergency response workforce, with the aim of informing the development of a larger survey, by conducting key informant interviews of public health experts. METHODS: We defined our study population as public health experts with experience of epidemiology deployment. Using purposive sampling techniques, we applied random number sampling to shortlists of potential interviewees provided by key organizations to obtain 10 study participants; we identified three additional interviewees through snowballing. The same interviewer conducted all key informant interviews during May-August 2019. We thematically analysed de-identified transcripts using a qualitative data analysis computer software package. FINDINGS: Despite our interviewees having a wide range of organizational and field experience, common themes emerged. Interviewees reported a lack of clarity in the definition of an emergency response epidemiologist; the need for a broader range of skills; and inadequate leadership and mentoring in the field. Interviewees identified the lack of interpersonal skills (e.g. communication) and a lack of career progression options as limitations to the effectiveness of emergency response. CONCLUSION: The epidemiology emergency response workforce is currently not achieving collective competence. The lack of a clear definition of the role must be addressed, and leadership is required to develop teams in which complementary skills are harmonized and those less experienced can be mentored. Epidemiology bodies must consider individual professional accreditation to ensure that the required skills are being achieved, as well as enabling continual professional development.


Subject(s)
Emergencies , Leadership , Epidemiologists , Humans , Public Health , Workforce
6.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 393, 2021 Apr 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1207592

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: International air travel plays an important role in the global spread of SARS-CoV-2, and tracing of close contacts is an integral part of the public health response to COVID-19. We aimed to assess the timeliness of contact tracing among airline passengers arriving in Vietnam on flights containing COVID-19 cases and investigated factors associated with timeliness of contact tracing. METHODS: We included data from 2228 passengers on 22 incoming flights between 2 and 19 March 2020. Contact tracing duration was assessed separately for the time between the date of index case confirmation and date of contact tracing initiation (interval I), and the date of contact tracing initiation and completion (interval II). We used log-rank tests and multivariable Poisson regression models to identify factors associated with timeliness. RESULTS: The median duration of interval I and interval II was one (IQR: 1-2) and 3 days (IQR: 2-5), respectively. The contact tracing duration was shorter for passengers from flights where the index case was identified through mandatory testing directly upon arrival (median = 4; IQR: 3-5) compared to flights with index case detection through self-presentation at health facilities after arrival (median = 7; IQR: 5-8) (p-value = 0.018). Cumulative hazards for successful tracing were higher for Vietnamese nationals compared to non-Vietnamese nationals (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Contact tracing among flight passengers in the early stage of the COVID-19 epidemic in Vietnam was timely though delays occurred on high workload days. Mandatory SARS-CoV-2 testing at arrival may reduce contact tracing duration and should be considered as an integrated screening tool for flight passengers from high-risk areas when entering low-transmission settings with limited contact tracing capacity. We recommend a standardized risk-based contact tracing approach for flight passengers during the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.


Subject(s)
Air Travel/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/transmission , Contact Tracing , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Time Factors , Vietnam/epidemiology
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