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PLoS Pathog ; 19(1): e1011025, 2023 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2247264


Racial and ethnic identities, largely understood as social rather than biologic constructs, may impact risk for acquiring infectious diseases, including fungal infections. Risk factors may include genetic and immunologic differences such as aberrations in host immune response, host polymorphisms, and epigenomic factors stemming from environmental exposures and underlying social determinants of health. In addition, certain racial and ethnic groups may be predisposed to diseases that increase risk for fungal infections, as well as disparities in healthcare access and health insurance. In this review, we analyzed racial and ethnic identities as risk factors for acquiring fungal infections, as well as race and ethnicity as they relate to risk for severe disease from fungal infections. Risk factors for invasive mold infections such as aspergillosis largely appear related to environmental differences and underlying social determinants of health, although immunologic aberrations and genetic polymorphisms may contribute in some circumstances. Although black and African American individuals appear to be at high risk for superficial and invasive Candida infections and cryptococcosis, the reasons for this are unclear and may be related to underling social determinants of health, disparities in access to healthcare, and other socioeconomic disparities. Risk factors for all the endemic fungi are likely largely related to underlying social determinants of health, socioeconomic, and health disparities, although immunologic mechanisms likely play a role as well, particularly in disseminated coccidioidomycosis.

Ethnicity , Mycoses , Humans , United States , White People , Hispanic or Latino , Risk Factors , Mycoses/epidemiology , Socioeconomic Factors
Transl Behav Med ; 2022 Oct 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2274916


Rapid identification and isolation/quarantine of COVID-19 cases or close contacts, respectively, is a vital tool to support safe, in-person learning. However, safe isolation or quarantine for a young child also necessitates home confinement for at least one adult caregiver, as well as rapid learning material development by the teacher to minimize learning loss. The purpose of this study is to better understand barriers and supports to student home confinement. We conducted a mixed-methods study using focus group discussions and a self-administered online survey with parents and staff members from 12 elementary schools and childcare sites across San Diego County serving low-income and socially vulnerable families. Focus group participants reported that mental distress and loneliness, learning loss, childcare, food, income loss, and overcrowded housing were major barriers related to home confinement. The experiences described by FGD participants were prevalent in a concurrent community survey: 25% of participants reported that isolation would be extremely difficult for a household member who tested positive or was exposed to COVID-19, and 20% were extremely concerned about learning loss while in isolation or quarantine. Our findings suggest that there are serious structural impediments to safely completing the entire recommended course of isolation or quarantine, and that the potential for isolation or quarantine may also lead to increased hesitancy to access diagnostic testing.

BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic, home confinement (isolation and quarantine) are important public health tools to keep children learning in-person at schools. However, isolation or quarantine for young children also means that often their caregivers must also go into home confinement, as well as forcing teachers to adapt their lessons to online teaching. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to better understand what makes home confinement comfortable or difficult for students and their families. METHODS: We did focus group discussions and shared an online survey with parents and staff members from 12 elementary schools and childcare centers across San Diego County vulnerable families. RESULTS: Focus group participants said that mental distress and loneliness, learning loss, childcare, food, income loss, and overcrowded housing made home confinement hard to do. Also 25% of survey participants said that isolation would be difficult for a household member who tested positive or was exposed to COVID-19, and 20% were really concerned about their child's learning loss if the family had to isolate or do quarantine. CONCLUSIONS: Our study's results suggest that there are serious structural issues for school families to safely go into isolation or quarantine, and because of this may make families more hesitant to get tested for COVID-19.

Lancet Reg Health Am ; 19: 100449, 2023 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2240692


Background: Schools are high-risk settings for SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but necessary for children's educational and social-emotional wellbeing. Previous research suggests that wastewater monitoring can detect SARS-CoV-2 infections in controlled residential settings with high levels of accuracy. However, its effective accuracy, cost, and feasibility in non-residential community settings is unknown. Methods: The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness and accuracy of community-based passive wastewater and surface (environmental) surveillance to detect SARS-CoV-2 infection in neighborhood schools compared to weekly diagnostic (PCR) testing. We implemented an environmental surveillance system in nine elementary schools with 1700 regularly present staff and students in southern California. The system was validated from November 2020 to March 2021. Findings: In 447 data collection days across the nine sites 89 individuals tested positive for COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 374 surface samples and 133 wastewater samples. Ninety-three percent of identified cases were associated with an environmental sample (95% CI: 88%-98%); 67% were associated with a positive wastewater sample (95% CI: 57%-77%), and 40% were associated with a positive surface sample (95% CI: 29%-52%). The techniques we utilized allowed for near-complete genomic sequencing of wastewater and surface samples. Interpretation: Passive environmental surveillance can detect the presence of COVID-19 cases in non-residential community school settings with a high degree of accuracy. Funding: County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Centers for Disease Control.

Disabil Health J ; 16(2): 101443, 2023 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2178008


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted disabled people, especially those who are members of marginalized communities that were already denied access to the resources and opportunities necessary to ensure health equity before the pandemic. OBJECTIVE: Compare COVID-19 impact on basic needs access among households with and without disabled adults. METHODS: An online survey was distributed to households with children enrolled in one of 30 socially vulnerable elementary or middle schools in San Diego County, California. We measured disability using the single-item Global Activities Limitations Indicator. We measured pandemic impacts on basic needs access using the RADx-UP common data elements toolkit. We then assessed number of impact items reported by household disability using multivariable linear regression, adjusting for household income, household size, education, parent gender, and child's ethnicity. RESULTS: Of 304 participants, 41% had at least one disabled household member. Participants reporting a disabled household member were more likely to report challenges accessing basic needs, such as food, housing, healthcare, transportation, medication, and stable income during the pandemic (all p < 0.05). Difficulty accessing basic needs was significantly associated with household income and parent gender in the final regression model. CONCLUSIONS: Households with a disabled member were significantly more likely to experience difficulty accessing basic needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has important implications for the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on disabled people, especially those from low-income communities that already face barriers to accessing resources. To improve COVID-19 outcomes for disabled people, we must focus on meeting their basic needs.

COVID-19 , Disabled Persons , Adult , Child , Humans , Pandemics , Family Characteristics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Poverty