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Emerg Infect Dis ; 28(10): 2016-2026, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2103284


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.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis , Respiratory Aerosols and Droplets , Aerosols , Models, Theoretical , South Africa/epidemiology
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 928, 2021 Sep 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403222


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.

COVID-19 , Epidemics , Aged , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa/epidemiology
Lancet Glob Health ; 9(7): e967-e976, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1271838


BACKGROUND: There has been remarkable progress in the treatment of HIV throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but there are few data on the prevalence and overlap of other significant causes of disease in HIV endemic populations. Our aim was to identify the prevalence and overlap of infectious and non-communicable diseases in such a population in rural South Africa. METHODS: We did a cross-sectional study of eligible adolescents and adults from the Africa Health Research Institute demographic surveillance area in the uMkhanyakude district of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The participants, who were 15 years or older, were invited to participate at a mobile health camp. Medical history for HIV, tuberculosis, hypertension, and diabetes was established through a questionnaire. Blood pressure measurements, chest x-rays, and tests of blood and sputum were taken to estimate the population prevalence and geospatial distribution of HIV, active and lifetime tuberculosis, elevated blood glucose, elevated blood pressure, and combinations of these. FINDINGS: 17 118 adolescents and adults were recruited from May 25, 2018, to Nov 28, 2019, and assessed. Overall, 52·1% (95% CI 51·3-52·9) had at least one active disease. 34·2% (33·5-34·9) had HIV, 1·4% (1·2-1·6) had active tuberculosis, 21·8% (21·2-22·4) had lifetime tuberculosis, 8·5% (8·1-8·9) had elevated blood glucose, and 23·0% (22·4-23·6) had elevated blood pressure. Appropriate treatment and optimal disease control was highest for HIV (78·1%), and lower for elevated blood pressure (42·5%), active tuberculosis (29·6%), and elevated blood glucose (7·1%). Disease prevalence differed notably by sex, across age groups, and geospatially: men had a higher prevalence of active and lifetime tuberculosis, whereas women had a substantially high prevalence of HIV at 30-49 years and an increasing prevalence of multiple and poorly controlled non-communicable diseases when older than 50 years. INTERPRETATION: We found a convergence of infectious and non-communicable disease epidemics in a rural South African population, with HIV well treated relative to all other diseases, but tuberculosis, elevated blood glucose, and elevated blood pressure poorly diagnosed and treated. A public health response that expands the successes of the HIV testing and treatment programme to provide multidisease care targeted to specific populations is required to optimise health in such settings in sub-Saharan Africa. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the South African Department of Science and Innovation, South African Medical Research Council, and South African Population Research Infrastructure Network. TRANSLATION: For the isiZulu translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.

Diabetes Mellitus/epidemiology , Epidemics , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Hypertension/epidemiology , Rural Health/statistics & numerical data , Tuberculosis/epidemiology , Adolescent , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Multimorbidity , Prevalence , South Africa/epidemiology