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2.
S Afr J Commun Disord ; 69(2): e1-e15, 2022 Sep 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36226974

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND:  Since the advent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the speech-language and hearing (SLH) professions globally have been confronted with novel and unexpected challenges. OBJECTIVE:  The aim of this article was to explore the impact of COVID-19 on SLH professions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) as presented in the Special Issue of the South African Journal of Communication Disorders in the year 2022. METHOD:  Divergent from the standard editorial writing style, this editorial adopted a research approach where a qualitative, descriptive scoping review design was conducted to meet the objectives of the study. Three specific objectives were targeted: (1) exploring the challenges to SLH research, teaching and practice; (2) establishing evidence-based solutions available for these challenges that can be used to improve the professions' response in the post-pandemic era; and (3) determining the areas that require further investigation, alternative solutions and innovation for improved readiness for future pandemics. A total of 21 manuscripts were reviewed that covered three predetermined themes - research, teaching and practice - that were constructed through a deductive approach as part of the call for papers for the special issue. These manuscripts were from academics, researchers and clinicians from various institutions in LMICs. The review is presented using thematic analysis. RESULTS:  The review raised important challenges, presented under various subthemes, to the three key themes. These challenges reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on the SLH professions in terms of research, teaching, service provision and ethical challenges, as well as its impact on speech language, hearing, swallowing and balance functions. The review also advanced solutions and future directions during and beyond COVID-19. CONCLUSION:  These findings raise global implications for research, teaching and practice that are not only relevant to the SLH professions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communication Disorders , COVID-19/epidemiology , Developing Countries , Hearing , Humans , Speech
3.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 28(10): 2016-2026, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36048756

ABSTRACT

Data on social contact patterns are widely used to parameterize age-mixing matrices in mathematical models of infectious diseases. Most studies focus on close contacts only (i.e., persons spoken with face-to-face). This focus may be appropriate for studies of droplet and short-range aerosol transmission but neglects casual or shared air contacts, who may be at risk from airborne transmission. Using data from 2 provinces in South Africa, we estimated age mixing patterns relevant for droplet transmission, nonsaturating airborne transmission, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission, an airborne infection where saturation of household contacts occurs. Estimated contact patterns by age did not vary greatly between the infection types, indicating that widespread use of close contact data may not be resulting in major inaccuracies. However, contact in persons >50 years of age was lower when we considered casual contacts, and therefore the contribution of older age groups to airborne transmission may be overestimated.


Subject(s)
Mycobacterium tuberculosis , Respiratory Aerosols and Droplets , Aerosols , Models, Theoretical , South Africa/epidemiology
4.
Am J Prev Med ; 61(5 Suppl 1): S143-S150, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34686283

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: In January 2019, the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health detected increased HIV diagnoses among people who inject drugs in Cabell County. Responding to HIV clusters and outbreaks is 1 of the 4 pillars of the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative and requires activities from the Diagnose, Treat, and Prevent pillars. This article describes the design and implementation of a comprehensive response, featuring interventions from all pillars. METHODS: This study used West Virginia Bureau for Public Health data to identify HIV diagnoses during January 1, 2018-October 9, 2019 among (1) people who inject drugs linked to Cabell County, (2) their sex or injecting partners, or (3) others with an HIV sequence linked to Cabell County people who inject drugs. Surveillance data, including HIV-1 polymerase sequences, were analyzed to estimate the transmission rate and timing of infections using molecular clock phylogenetic analysis. Federal, state, and local partners designed and implemented a comprehensive response during January 2019-October 2019. RESULTS: Of 82 people identified in the outbreak, most were male (60%), were White (91%), and reported unstable housing (80%). In a large molecular cluster containing 56 of 60 (93%) available sequences, 93% of inferred transmissions occurred after January 1, 2018. HIV testing, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, and syringe services were rapidly expanded, leading to improved linkage to HIV care and viral suppression. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence of rapid transmission in this outbreak galvanized robust collaboration among federal, state, and local partners, leading to critical improvements in HIV prevention and care services. HIV outbreak response requires increased coordination and creativity to improve service delivery to people affected by rapid HIV transmission.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Disease Outbreaks , HIV Infections/diagnosis , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Phylogeny , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , West Virginia/epidemiology
5.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(1): ofaa520, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33511219

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We aimed to estimate the prevalence of and explore risk factors for Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection among adolescents in a high tuberculosis (TB) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence setting. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of adolescents (10-19 years) randomly selected from a demographic surveillance area (DSA) in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We determined M tuberculosis infection status using the QuantiFERON-TB Gold-plus assay. We used HIV data from the DSA to estimate community-level adult HIV prevalence and random-effects logistic regression to identify risk factors for TB infection. RESULTS: We enrolled 1094 adolescents (548 [50.1%] female); M tuberculosis infection prevalence (weighted for nonresponse by age, sex, and urban/rural residence) was 23.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 20.6-25.6%). Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection was associated with older age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.37; 95% CI, 1.10-1.71, for increasing age-group [12-14, 15-17, and 18-19 vs 10-11 years]), ever (vs never) having a household TB contact (aOR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.25-3.64), and increasing community-level HIV prevalence (aOR, 1.43 and 95% CI, 1.07-1.92, for increasing HIV prevalence category [25%-34.9%, 35%-44.9%, ≥45% vs <25%]). CONCLUSIONS: Our data support prioritizing TB prevention and care activities in TB-affected households and high HIV prevalence communities.

6.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 928, 2021 Sep 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34496771

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: South Africa implemented rapid and strict physical distancing regulations to minimize SARS-CoV-2 epidemic spread. Evidence on the impact of such measures on interpersonal contact in rural and lower-income settings is limited. METHODS: We compared population-representative social contact surveys conducted in the same rural KwaZulu-Natal location once in 2019 and twice in mid-2020. Respondents reported characteristics of physical and conversational ('close interaction') contacts over 24 hours. We built age-mixing matrices and estimated the proportional change in the SARS-CoV-2 reproduction number (R0). Respondents also reported counts of others present at locations visited and transport used, from which we evaluated change in potential exposure to airborne infection due to shared indoor space ('shared air'). RESULTS: Respondents in March-December 2019 (n = 1704) reported a mean of 7.4 close interaction contacts and 196 shared air person-hours beyond their homes. Respondents in June-July 2020 (n = 216), as the epidemic peaked locally, reported 4.1 close interaction contacts and 21 shared air person-hours outside their home, with significant declines in others' homes and public spaces. Adults aged over 50 had fewer close contacts with others over 50, but little change in contact with 15-29 year olds, reflecting ongoing contact within multigenerational households. We estimate potential R0 fell by 42% (95% plausible range 14-59%) between 2019 and June-July 2020. CONCLUSIONS: Extra-household social contact fell substantially following imposition of Covid-19 distancing regulations in rural South Africa. Ongoing contact within intergenerational households highlighted a potential limitation of social distancing measures in protecting older adults.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epidemics , Aged , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa/epidemiology
7.
medRxiv ; 2020 Dec 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33300009

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: South Africa implemented rapid and strict physical distancing regulations to minimize SARS-CoV-2 epidemic spread. Evidence on the impact of such measures on interpersonal contact in rural and lower-income settings is limited. METHODS: We compared population-representative social contact surveys conducted in the same rural KwaZulu-Natal location once in 2019 and twice in mid-2020. Respondents reported characteristics of physical and conversational ('close interaction') contacts over 24 hours. We built age-mixing matrices and estimated the proportional change in the SARS-CoV-2 reproduction number (R 0 ). Respondents also reported counts of others present at locations visited and transport used, from which we evaluated change in potential exposure to airborne infection due to shared indoor space ('shared air'). RESULTS: Respondents in March-December 2019 (n=1704) reported a mean of 7.4 close interaction contacts and 196 shared air person-hours beyond their homes. Respondents in June-July 2020 (n=216), as the epidemic peaked locally, reported 4.1 close interaction contacts and 21 shared air person-hours outside their home, with significant declines in others' homes and public spaces. Adults aged over 50 had fewer close contacts with others over 50, but little change in contact with 15-29 year olds, reflecting ongoing contact within multigenerational households. We estimate potential R 0 fell by 42% (95% plausible range 14-59%) between 2019 and June-July 2020. DISCUSSION: Extra-household social contact fell substantially following imposition of Covid-19 distancing regulations in rural South Africa. Ongoing contact within intergenerational households highlighted the limitation of social distancing measures in protecting older adults. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust, UKRI, DFID, European Union.

8.
Afr J AIDS Res ; 19(3): 177-185, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32892699

ABSTRACT

Objective: We compared the prevalence of frailty by HIV serostatus and related biomarkers to the modified frailty phenotype among older individuals in a rural population in South Africa. Methods: Questionnaire data were from a cohort of people living with HIV (PWH) on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and HIV-uninfected people aged 50 years and older sampled from the Africa Health Research Institute Demographic Health and Surveillance area in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The prevalence of frailty was compared using five categories: (1) physical activity; (2) mobility; (3) fatigue; (4) gait speed; and (5) grip strength, and assessed for demographic, clinical, and inflammatory correlates of frailty. Results: Among 614 individuals in the study, 384 (62.5%) were women. The median age at study enrolment was 64 years [Interquartile range (IQR) (58.6-72.0)]. 292 (47.6%) were PWH. 499 (81%) were classified as either pre-frail or frail. 43 (7%) were frail and HIV positive, 185 (30%) were pre-frail and HIV positive, 57 were frail and HIV negative and 214 (35%) were pre-frail and HIV negative. Frailty was similar for HIV negative and PWH (17.7% vs 14.7%, p = 0.72). Women were more likely to be frail (18.3% vs 13.04%, p = 0.16). The prevalence of frailty increased with age for both HIV groups. In the multivariable analysis, the odds of being frail were higher in those aged 70 years and above than those aged between 50 and 59 years (p < 0.001). Females were less likely to be pre-frail than males (p < 0.001). There was no association between any of the inflammatory biomarkers and frailty and pre-frailty. Conclusion: In this population, the prevalence of frailty is similar for PWH and people without HIV, but higher for women than men. These data suggest that the odds of developing frailty is similar for PWH over the age of 50 years, who survive into older age, as for people without HIV.


Subject(s)
Frailty/diagnosis , Frailty/epidemiology , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Rural Population , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Biomarkers/analysis , Cohort Studies , Female , Frailty/pathology , Frailty/physiopathology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Phenotype , Prevalence , South Africa/epidemiology , Surveys and Questionnaires
10.
S Afr J Commun Disord ; 67(2): e1-e3, 2020 Mar 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32129656

ABSTRACT

Noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable if the collaborative stakeholders in the prevention process are fully committed to the process and implement effective measures timely. Audiologists have within their scope of practice the prevention of hearing loss and this needs to be at the forefront of all advocacy campaigns to prevent occupational hearing loss (OHL). In a systematic review by Moroe, Khoza-Shangase, Kanji and Ntlhakana (2018), where literature into the exposure to occupational noise in developing countries suggested that the prevalence of occupational noise-induced hearing loss (ONIHL) is still high, significant gaps in locally relevant and responsive evidence were identified. There is also evidence that the mining industry is aware of this epidemic; however, the efforts to curb ONIHL are currently unsuccessful. These authors explored and documented current evidence reflecting trends in the management of ONIHL in the mining industry in Africa from 1994 to 2016 through the use of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis. Findings from this systematic review indicated that there is a dearth of research on the management of ONIHL in Africa. The limited research on the management of ONIHL focuses on some aspects of the hearing conservation programme pillars and not on all the pillars as suggested by some scholars in the field. Furthermore, they found that published studies had small sample sizes, thereby minimising their generalisation. This systematic review's findings highlighted a need for more studies on the management of ONIHL in the mining sector, as evidence suggests that this condition in African countries is still on the rise; hence, there is the importance of this Special Issue, based on South Africa.


Subject(s)
Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced/prevention & control , Occupational Diseases/prevention & control , Humans , Mining/legislation & jurisprudence , Noise, Occupational/adverse effects , Noise, Occupational/legislation & jurisprudence , South Africa , Systematic Reviews as Topic
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