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Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr ; 31(1): 61-69, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1105917


The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine is the world's first proven and effective vaccine to prevent cancers in males and females when administered pre-exposure. Like most of the US, barely half of Vermont teens are up-to-date with the vaccination, with comparable deficits in New Hampshire and Maine. The rates for HPV vaccine initiation and completion are as low as 33% in rural New England. Consequently, there is a compelling responsibility to communicate its importance to unvaccinated teenagers before their risk for infection increases. Messaging in rural areas promoting HPV vaccination is compromised by community-based characteristics that include access to appropriate medical care, poor media coverage, parental and peer influence, and skepticism of science and medicine. Current strategies are predominantly passive access to literature and Internet-based information. Evidence indicates that performance-based messaging can clarify the importance of HPV vaccination to teenagers and their parents in rural areas. Increased HPV vaccination will significantly contribute to the prevention of a broadening spectrum of cancers. Reducing rurality-based inequities is a public health priority. Development of a performance-based peer-communication intervention can capture a window of opportunity to provide increasingly effective and sustained HPV protection. An effective approach can be partnering rural schools and regional health teams with a program that is nimble and scalable to respond to public health policies and practices compliant with COVID-19 pandemic-related modifications on physical distancing and interacting in the foreseeable future.

Papillomavirus Infections/prevention & control , Papillomavirus Vaccines/administration & dosage , Physical Distancing , Rural Population/statistics & numerical data , Vaccination/methods , Adolescent , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Male , New England/epidemiology , Pandemics , Papillomavirus Infections/epidemiology , Papillomavirus Infections/virology , Patient Acceptance of Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Public Health/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(1): e24320, 2021 01 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-976126


BACKGROUND: Many studies have focused on the characteristics of symptomatic patients with COVID-19 and clinical risk factors. This study reports the prevalence of COVID-19 in an asymptomatic population of a hospital service area (HSA) and identifies factors that affect exposure to the virus. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to measure the prevalence of COVID-19 in an HSA, identify factors that may increase or decrease the risk of infection, and analyze factors that increase the number of daily contacts. METHODS: This study surveyed 1694 patients between April 30 and May 13, 2020, about their work and living situations, income, behavior, sociodemographic characteristics, and prepandemic health characteristics. This data was linked to testing data for 454 of these patients, including polymerase chain reaction test results and two different serologic assays. Positivity rate was used to calculate approximate prevalence, hospitalization rate, and infection fatality rate (IFR). Survey data was used to analyze risk factors, including the number of contacts reported by study participants. The data was also used to identify factors increasing the number of daily contacts, such as mask wearing and living environment. RESULTS: We found a positivity rate of 2.2%, a hospitalization rate of 1.2%, and an adjusted IFR of 0.55%. A higher number of daily contacts with adults and older adults increases the probability of becoming infected. Occupation, living in an apartment versus a house, and wearing a face mask outside work increased the number of daily contacts. CONCLUSIONS: Studying prevalence in an asymptomatic population revealed estimates of unreported COVID-19 cases. Occupational, living situation, and behavioral data about COVID-19-protective behaviors such as wearing a mask may aid in the identification of nonclinical factors affecting the number of daily contacts, which may increase SARS-CoV-2 exposure.

Asymptomatic Diseases , COVID-19/epidemiology , Employment , Housing , Infection Control , Masks , Contact Tracing , Cross-Sectional Studies , Hospitals/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2