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1.
PLoS One ; 17(7): e0270694, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1933368

ABSTRACT

At our university based high throughput screening program, we test all members of our community weekly using RT-qPCR. RT-qPCR cycle threshold (CT) values are inversely proportional to the amount of viral RNA in a sample and are a proxy for viral load. We hypothesized that CT values would be higher, and thus the viral loads at the time of diagnosis would be lower, in individuals who were infected with the virus but remained asymptomatic throughout the course of the infection. We collected the N1 and N2 target gene CT values from 1633 SARS-CoV-2 positive RT-qPCR tests of individuals sampled between August 7, 2020, and March 18, 2021, at the BU Clinical Testing Laboratory. We matched this data with symptom reporting data from our clinical team. We found that asymptomatic patients had CT values significantly higher than symptomatic individuals on the day of diagnosis. Symptoms were followed by the clinical team for 10 days post the first positive test. Within the entire population, 78.1% experienced at least one symptom during surveillance by the clinical team (n = 1276/1633). Of those experiencing symptoms, the most common symptoms were nasal congestion (73%, n = 932/1276), cough (60.0%, n = 761/1276), fatigue (59.0%, n = 753/1276), and sore throat (53.1%, n = 678/1276). The least common symptoms were diarrhea (12.5%, n = 160/1276), dyspnea on exertion (DOE) (6.9%, n = 88/1276), foot or skin changes (including rash) (4.2%, n = 53/1276), and vomiting (2.1%, n = 27/1276). Presymptomatic individuals, those who were not symptomatic on the day of diagnosis but became symptomatic over the following 10 days, had CT values higher for both N1 (median = 27.1, IQR 20.2-32.9) and N2 (median = 26.6, IQR 20.1-32.8) than the symptomatic group N1 (median = 21.8, IQR 17.2-29.4) and N2 (median = 21.4, IQR 17.3-28.9) but lower than the asymptomatic group N1 (median = 29.9, IQR 23.6-35.5) and N2 (median = 30.0, IQR 23.1-35.7). This study supports the hypothesis that viral load in the anterior nares on the day of diagnosis is a measure of disease intensity at that time.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Tomography, X-Ray Computed , Universities , Viral Load
2.
Lancet ; 399(10340): 2047-2064, 2022 05 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1864651

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of acute lower respiratory infection in young children. We previously estimated that in 2015, 33·1 million episodes of RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection occurred in children aged 0-60 months, resulting in a total of 118 200 deaths worldwide. Since then, several community surveillance studies have been done to obtain a more precise estimation of RSV associated community deaths. We aimed to update RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection morbidity and mortality at global, regional, and national levels in children aged 0-60 months for 2019, with focus on overall mortality and narrower infant age groups that are targeted by RSV prophylactics in development. METHODS: In this systematic analysis, we expanded our global RSV disease burden dataset by obtaining new data from an updated search for papers published between Jan 1, 2017, and Dec 31, 2020, from MEDLINE, Embase, Global Health, CINAHL, Web of Science, LILACS, OpenGrey, CNKI, Wanfang, and ChongqingVIP. We also included unpublished data from RSV GEN collaborators. Eligible studies reported data for children aged 0-60 months with RSV as primary infection with acute lower respiratory infection in community settings, or acute lower respiratory infection necessitating hospital admission; reported data for at least 12 consecutive months, except for in-hospital case fatality ratio (CFR) or for where RSV seasonality is well-defined; and reported incidence rate, hospital admission rate, RSV positive proportion in acute lower respiratory infection hospital admission, or in-hospital CFR. Studies were excluded if case definition was not clearly defined or not consistently applied, RSV infection was not laboratory confirmed or based on serology alone, or if the report included fewer than 50 cases of acute lower respiratory infection. We applied a generalised linear mixed-effects model (GLMM) to estimate RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection incidence, hospital admission, and in-hospital mortality both globally and regionally (by country development status and by World Bank Income Classification) in 2019. We estimated country-level RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection incidence through a risk-factor based model. We developed new models (through GLMM) that incorporated the latest RSV community mortality data for estimating overall RSV mortality. This review was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42021252400). FINDINGS: In addition to 317 studies included in our previous review, we identified and included 113 new eligible studies and unpublished data from 51 studies, for a total of 481 studies. We estimated that globally in 2019, there were 33·0 million RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection episodes (uncertainty range [UR] 25·4-44·6 million), 3·6 million RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection hospital admissions (2·9-4·6 million), 26 300 RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection in-hospital deaths (15 100-49 100), and 101 400 RSV-attributable overall deaths (84 500-125 200) in children aged 0-60 months. In infants aged 0-6 months, we estimated that there were 6·6 million RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection episodes (4·6-9·7 million), 1·4 million RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection hospital admissions (1·0-2·0 million), 13 300 RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection in-hospital deaths (6800-28 100), and 45 700 RSV-attributable overall deaths (38 400-55 900). 2·0% of deaths in children aged 0-60 months (UR 1·6-2·4) and 3·6% of deaths in children aged 28 days to 6 months (3·0-4·4) were attributable to RSV. More than 95% of RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection episodes and more than 97% of RSV-attributable deaths across all age bands were in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). INTERPRETATION: RSV contributes substantially to morbidity and mortality burden globally in children aged 0-60 months, especially during the first 6 months of life and in LMICs. We highlight the striking overall mortality burden of RSV disease worldwide, with one in every 50 deaths in children aged 0-60 months and one in every 28 deaths in children aged 28 days to 6 months attributable to RSV. For every RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection in-hospital death, we estimate approximately three more deaths attributable to RSV in the community. RSV passive immunisation programmes targeting protection during the first 6 months of life could have a substantial effect on reducing RSV disease burden, although more data are needed to understand the implications of the potential age-shifts in peak RSV burden to older age when these are implemented. FUNDING: EU Innovative Medicines Initiative Respiratory Syncytial Virus Consortium in Europe (RESCEU).


Subject(s)
Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human , Respiratory Tract Infections , Child , Child, Preschool , Cost of Illness , Global Health , Hospital Mortality , Hospitalization , Humans , Infant , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/epidemiology , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology
3.
J Glob Health ; 11: 04075, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1835605

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: While sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has long been recognized as a leading preventable cause of infant mortality in high-income countries, little is known about the burden of SIDS in Africa. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted the first systematic review of SIDS-related publications in Africa. Our objective was to assess the prevalence of SIDS and its risk factors in Africa. METHODS: We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane, and Google Scholar to identify studies published until December 26, 2020. Review authors screened titles and abstracts, and selected articles independently for full-text review. Risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle Ottawa Scale (NOS) or a modification. Data on the proportion of infants who died of SIDS and reported prevalence of any risk factors were extracted using customized data extraction forms in Covidence. RESULTS: Our analysis rested on 32 peer-reviewed articles. Nine studies presented prevalence estimates on bedsharing and prone sleeping, suggesting near-universal bedsharing of infants with parents (range, 60 to 91.8%) and frequent use of the prone sleeping position (range, 26.7 to 63.8%). Eleven studies reported on the prevalence of SIDS, suggesting high rates of SIDS in Africa. The prevalence of SIDS ranged from 3.7 per 1000 live births in South Africa, 2.5 per 1000 live births in Niger, and 0.2 per 1000 live births in Zimbabwe. SIDS and other sudden infant deaths accounted for between 2.5 to 21% of infant deaths in South Africa and 11.3% in Zambia. CONCLUSIONS: Africa may have the highest global rate of SIDS with a high burden of associated risk factors. However, majority of the studies were from South Africa which limits generalizability of our findings to the entire continent. There is an urgent need for higher quality studies outside of South Africa to fill this knowledge gap. PROTOCOL REGISTRATION: Prospero Registration Number: CRD42021257261.


Subject(s)
Sudden Infant Death , Humans , Infant , Infant Mortality , Prone Position , Risk Factors , Sleep , South Africa , Sudden Infant Death/epidemiology
4.
Lancet Glob Health ; 10(2): e269-e277, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1625222

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of acute lower respiratory tract infections and a key driver of childhood mortality. Previous RSV burden of disease estimates used hospital-based surveillance data and modelled, rather than directly measured, community deaths. Given this uncertainty, we conducted a 3-year post-mortem prevalence study among young infants at a busy morgue in Lusaka, Zambia-the Zambia Pertussis RSV Infant Mortality Estimation (ZPRIME) study. METHODS: Infants were eligible for inclusion if they were aged between 4 days and less than 6 months and were enrolled within 48 h of death. Enrolment occurred mainly at the University Teaching Hospital of the University of Zambia Medical School (Lusaka, Zambia), the largest teaching hospital in Zambia. We extracted demographic and clinical data from medical charts and official death certificates, and we conducted verbal autopsies with the guardian or next of kin. RSV was identified using reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR and stratified by age, time of year, and setting (community vs facility deaths). By combining the PCR prevalence data with syndromic presentation, we estimated the proportion of all infant deaths that were due to RSV. FINDINGS: The ZPRIME study ran from Aug 31, 2017, to Aug 31, 2020, except for from April 1 to May 6, 2020, during which data were not collected due to restrictions on human research at this time (linked to COVID-19). We enrolled 2286 deceased infants, representing 79% of total infant deaths in Lusaka. RSV was detected in 162 (7%) of 2286 deceased infants. RSV was detected in 102 (9%) of 1176 community deaths, compared with 10 (4%) of 236 early facility deaths (<48 h from admission) and 36 (5%) of 737 late facility deaths (≥48 h from admission). RSV deaths were concentrated in infants younger than 3 months (116 [72%] of 162 infants), and were clustered in the first half of each year and in the poorest and most densely populated Lusaka townships. RSV caused at least 2·8% (95% CI 1·0-4·6) of all infant deaths and 4·7% (1·3-8·1) of community deaths. INTERPRETATION: RSV was a major seasonal cause of overall infant mortality, particularly among infants younger than 3 months of age. Because most RSV deaths occurred in the community and would have been missed through hospital-based surveillance, the global burden of fatal RSV has probably been underestimated. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Subject(s)
Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/mortality , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/diagnosis , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/drug therapy , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Zambia/epidemiology
5.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(Suppl_5): S465-S471, 2021 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575116

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Although much has been learned about the pathophysiology of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections, pathology data from patients who have died of COVID-19 in low- and middle-income country settings remain sparse. We integrated minimally invasive tissue sampling (MITS) into an ongoing postmortem surveillance study of COVID-19 in deceased individuals of all ages in Lusaka, Zambia. METHODS: We enrolled deceased subjects from the University Teaching Hospital Morgue in Lusaka, Zambia within 48 hours of death. We collected clinical and demographic information, a nasopharyngeal swab, and core tissue biopsies from the lung, liver, and kidneys for pathologic analysis. Individuals were considered eligible for MITS if they had a respiratory syndrome prior to death or a COVID-19+ polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nasopharyngeal swab specimen. Samples were retested using quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR. RESULTS: From June to September 2020 we performed MITS on 29 deceased individuals. PCR results were available for 28/29 (96.5%) cases. Three had a COVID-19+ diagnosis antemortem, and 5 more were identified postmortem using the recommended cycle threshold cut-point <40. When expanding the PCR threshold to 40 ≤ cycle threshold (Ct) ≤ 45, we identified 1 additional case. Most cases were male and occurred in the community The median age at death was 47 years (range 40-64). Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS, tuberculosis, and diabetes were more common among the COVID-19+ cases. Diffuse alveolar damage and interstitial pneumonitis were common among COVID-19+ cases; nonspecific findings of hepatic steatosis and acute kidney injury were also prevalent in the COVID-19+ group. Vascular thrombi were rarely detected. CONCLUSIONS: Lung abnormalities typical of viral pneumonias were common among deceased COVID-19+ individuals, as were nonspecific findings in the liver and kidneys. Pulmonary vascular thrombi were rarely detected, which could be a limitation of the MITS technique. Nonetheless, MITS offers a valuable alternative to open autopsy for understanding pathological changes due to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Autopsy , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Syndrome , Zambia/epidemiology
6.
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(6): e2116425, 2021 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1281193

ABSTRACT

Importance: The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted US educational institutions. Given potential adverse financial and psychosocial effects of campus closures, many institutions developed strategies to reopen campuses in the fall 2020 semester despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19. However, many institutions opted to have limited campus reopening to minimize potential risk of spread of SARS-CoV-2. Objective: To analyze how Boston University (BU) fully reopened its campus in the fall of 2020 and controlled COVID-19 transmission despite worsening transmission in Boston, Massachusetts. Design, Setting, and Participants: This multifaceted intervention case series was conducted at a large urban university campus in Boston, Massachusetts, during the fall 2020 semester. The BU response included a high-throughput SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction testing facility with capacity to deliver results in less than 24 hours; routine asymptomatic screening for COVID-19; daily health attestations; adherence monitoring and feedback; robust contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation in on-campus facilities; face mask use; enhanced hand hygiene; social distancing recommendations; dedensification of classrooms and public places; and enhancement of all building air systems. Data were analyzed from December 20, 2020, to January 31, 2021. Main Outcomes and Measures: SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis confirmed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction of anterior nares specimens and sources of transmission, as determined through contact tracing. Results: Between August and December 2020, BU conducted more than 500 000 COVID-19 tests and identified 719 individuals with COVID-19, including 496 students (69.0%), 11 faculty (1.5%), and 212 staff (29.5%). Overall, 718 individuals, or 1.8% of the BU community, had test results positive for SARS-CoV-2. Of 837 close contacts traced, 86 individuals (10.3%) had test results positive for COVID-19. BU contact tracers identified a source of transmission for 370 individuals (51.5%), with 206 individuals (55.7%) identifying a non-BU source. Among 5 faculty and 84 staff with SARS-CoV-2 with a known source of infection, most reported a transmission source outside of BU (all 5 faculty members [100%] and 67 staff members [79.8%]). A BU source was identified by 108 of 183 undergraduate students with SARS-CoV-2 (59.0%) and 39 of 98 graduate students with SARS-CoV-2 (39.8%); notably, no transmission was traced to a classroom setting. Conclusions and Relevance: In this case series of COVID-19 transmission, BU used a coordinated strategy of testing, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine, with robust management and oversight, to control COVID-19 transmission in an urban university setting.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Infection Control/standards , Universities/trends , Urban Population/statistics & numerical data , Boston/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Contact Tracing/instrumentation , Contact Tracing/methods , Hand Hygiene/methods , Humans , Infection Control/methods , Infection Control/statistics & numerical data , Quarantine/methods , Universities/organization & administration
7.
F1000Res ; 9: 572, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1110753

ABSTRACT

Decisions about how to go about the necessary task of re-opening our society in the midst of the Covid-19 (CV19) have been paralyzed by our extremes. But we can neither afford to insist on a zero-risk response, nor can we pretend that the risk does not exist. What is needed are tools to rationally triage the risk. To this end, we propose a novel 'risk index', which is the intersection of two components of risk: 1) the risk of an individual becoming infected due to action 'X'; and 2) the likely probability of death (or serious harm) if that individual develops CV19. The risk index allows risk to be compared across different scenarios, and may reveal that seemingly very different situations constitute similar degrees of risk. With risk measured in this way, one can then contrast different levels of risk against the social benefits of absorbing that risk, allowing actions to be sorted into those that are tolerable, debatable, or acceptable. While these concepts are presented in abstract based on approximate estimates of risk and influenced by our judgements about social desirability, the concept itself can be refined as more accurate approximations of risk and broadly accepted values of social desirability are derived empirically. In short, this is a tool intended to provide a useful empirical framework for rationale decision making about CV19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Risk Assessment , Humans , Social Responsibility
8.
BMJ ; 372: n334, 2021 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1088219

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To directly measure the fatal impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) in an urban African population. DESIGN: Prospective systematic postmortem surveillance study. SETTING: Zambia's largest tertiary care referral hospital. PARTICIPANTS: Deceased people of all ages at the University Teaching Hospital morgue in Lusaka, Zambia, enrolled within 48 hours of death. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Postmortem nasopharyngeal swabs were tested via reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Deaths were stratified by covis-19 status, location, age, sex, and underlying risk factors. RESULTS: 372 participants were enrolled between June and September 2020; PCR results were available for 364 (97.8%). SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 58/364 (15.9%) according to the recommended cycle threshold value of <40 and in 70/364 (19.2%) when expanded to any level of PCR detection. The median age at death among people with a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 was 48 (interquartile range 36-72) years, and 69% (n=48) were male. Most deaths in people with covid-19 (51/70; 73%) occurred in the community; none had been tested for SARS-CoV-2 before death. Among the 19/70 people who died in hospital, six were tested before death. Among the 52/70 people with data on symptoms, 44/52 had typical symptoms of covid-19 (cough, fever, shortness of breath), of whom only five were tested before death. Covid-19 was identified in seven children, only one of whom had been tested before death. The proportion of deaths with covid-19 increased with age, but 76% (n=53) of people who died were aged under 60 years. The five most common comorbidities among people who died with covid-19 were tuberculosis (22; 31%), hypertension (19; 27%), HIV/AIDS (16; 23%), alcohol misuse (12; 17%), and diabetes (9; 13%). CONCLUSIONS: Contrary to expectations, deaths with covid-19 were common in Lusaka. Most occurred in the community, where testing capacity is lacking. However, few people who died at facilities were tested, despite presenting with typical symptoms of covid-19. Therefore, cases of covid-19 were under-reported because testing was rarely done not because covid-19 was rare. If these data are generalizable, the impact of covid-19 in Africa has been vastly underestimated.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adult , Age Distribution , Age Factors , Aged , Autopsy , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/statistics & numerical data , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Prospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sex Factors , Urban Population/statistics & numerical data , Zambia/epidemiology
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