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1.
Curr Opin Gastroenterol ; 37(1): 4-8, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2318694

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: We discuss the potential role of the faecal chain in COVID-19 and highlight recent studies using waste water-based epidemiology (WBE) to track severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). RECENT FINDINGS: WBE has been suggested as an adjunct to improve disease surveillance and aid early detection of circulating disease. SARS-CoV-2, the aetiological agent of COVID-19, is an enveloped virus, and as such, typically not associated with the waste water environment, given high susceptibility to degradation in aqueous conditions. A review of the current literature supports the ability to detect of SARS-CoV-2 in waste water and suggests methods to predict community prevalence based on viral quantification. SUMMARY: The summary of current practices shows that while the isolation of SARS-CoV-2 is possible from waste water, issues remain regarding the efficacy of virial concentration and subsequent quantification and alignment with epidemiological data.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Public Health Surveillance/methods , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sewage/virology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Feces/virology , Global Health , Humans
2.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(35)2021 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2270788

ABSTRACT

Observational knowledge of the epidemic intensity, defined as the number of deaths divided by global population and epidemic duration, and of the rate of emergence of infectious disease outbreaks is necessary to test theory and models and to inform public health risk assessment by quantifying the probability of extreme pandemics such as COVID-19. Despite its significance, assembling and analyzing a comprehensive global historical record spanning a variety of diseases remains an unexplored task. A global dataset of historical epidemics from 1600 to present is here compiled and examined using novel statistical methods to estimate the yearly probability of occurrence of extreme epidemics. Historical observations covering four orders of magnitude of epidemic intensity follow a common probability distribution with a slowly decaying power-law tail (generalized Pareto distribution, asymptotic exponent = -0.71). The yearly number of epidemics varies ninefold and shows systematic trends. Yearly occurrence probabilities of extreme epidemics, Py, vary widely: Py of an event with the intensity of the "Spanish influenza" (1918 to 1920) varies between 0.27 and 1.9% from 1600 to present, while its mean recurrence time today is 400 y (95% CI: 332 to 489 y). The slow decay of probability with epidemic intensity implies that extreme epidemics are relatively likely, a property previously undetected due to short observational records and stationary analysis methods. Using recent estimates of the rate of increase in disease emergence from zoonotic reservoirs associated with environmental change, we estimate that the yearly probability of occurrence of extreme epidemics can increase up to threefold in the coming decades.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/history , Disease Outbreaks , Global Health , History, 20th Century , History, 21st Century , Humans , Public Health Surveillance
3.
Curr Opin Infect Dis ; 34(4): 333-338, 2021 08 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2282394

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Mathematical, statistical, and computational models provide insight into the transmission mechanisms and optimal control of healthcare-associated infections. To contextualize recent findings, we offer a summative review of recent literature focused on modeling transmission of pathogens in healthcare settings. RECENT FINDINGS: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic shift in the modeling landscape as the healthcare community has raced to characterize the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 and develop effective interventions. Inequities in COVID-19 outcomes have inspired new efforts to quantify how structural bias impacts both health outcomes and model parameterization. Meanwhile, developments in the modeling of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridioides difficile, and other nosocomial infections continue to advance. Machine learning continues to be applied in novel ways, and genomic data is being increasingly incorporated into modeling efforts. SUMMARY: As the type and amount of data continues to grow, mathematical, statistical, and computational modeling will play an increasing role in healthcare epidemiology. Gaps remain in producing models that are generalizable to a variety of time periods, geographic locations, and populations. However, with effective communication of findings and interdisciplinary collaboration, opportunities for implementing models for clinical decision-making and public health decision-making are bound to increase.


Subject(s)
Cross Infection/epidemiology , Cross Infection/transmission , Models, Theoretical , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross Infection/etiology , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks , Disease Susceptibility , Humans , Machine Learning , Pandemics , Public Health Surveillance
4.
Swiss Med Wkly ; 150: w20225, 2020 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2270794

ABSTRACT

Switzerland is among the countries with the highest number of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases per capita in the world. There are likely many people with undetected SARS-CoV-2 infection because testing efforts are currently not detecting all infected people, including some with clinical disease compatible with COVID-19. Testing on its own will not stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Testing is part of a strategy. The World Health Organization recommends a combination of measures: rapid diagnosis and immediate isolation of cases, rigorous tracking and precautionary self-isolation of close contacts. In this article, we explain why the testing strategy in Switzerland should be strengthened urgently, as a core component of a combination approach to control COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Contact Tracing , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Patient Isolation , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Public Health Surveillance , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Mass Screening , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland/epidemiology
5.
PLoS One ; 18(2): e0282101, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2276508

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Communicable diseases pose a severe threat to public health and economic growth. The traditional methods that are used for public health surveillance, however, involve many drawbacks, such as being labor intensive to operate and resulting in a lag between data collection and reporting. To effectively address the limitations of these traditional methods and to mitigate the adverse effects of these diseases, a proactive and real-time public health surveillance system is needed. Previous studies have indicated the usefulness of performing text mining on social media. OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic review of the literature that used textual content published to social media for the purpose of the surveillance and prediction of communicable diseases. METHODOLOGY: Broad search queries were formulated and performed in four databases. Both journal articles and conference materials were included. The quality of the studies, operationalized as reliability and validity, was assessed. This qualitative systematic review was guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. RESULTS: Twenty-three publications were included in this systematic review. All studies reported positive results for using textual social media content to surveille communicable diseases. Most studies used Twitter as a source for these data. Influenza was studied most frequently, while other communicable diseases received far less attention. Journal articles had a higher quality (reliability and validity) than conference papers. However, studies often failed to provide important information about procedures and implementation. CONCLUSION: Text mining of health-related content published on social media can serve as a novel and powerful tool for the automated, real-time, and remote monitoring of public health and for the surveillance and prediction of communicable diseases in particular. This tool can address limitations related to traditional surveillance methods, and it has the potential to supplement traditional methods for public health surveillance.


Subject(s)
Communicable Diseases , Social Media , Humans , Reproducibility of Results , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Public Health
6.
J Am Med Inform Assoc ; 30(5): 923-931, 2023 04 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2285997

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Vaccines are crucial components of pandemic responses. Over 12 billion coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines were administered at the time of writing. However, public perceptions of vaccines have been complex. We integrated social media and surveillance data to unravel the evolving perceptions of COVID-19 vaccines. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Applying human-in-the-loop deep learning models, we analyzed sentiments towards COVID-19 vaccines in 11 211 672 tweets of 2 203 681 users from 2020 to 2022. The diverse sentiment patterns were juxtaposed against user demographics, public health surveillance data of over 180 countries, and worldwide event timelines. A subanalysis was performed targeting the subpopulation of pregnant people. Additional feature analyses based on user-generated content suggested possible sources of vaccine hesitancy. RESULTS: Our trained deep learning model demonstrated performances comparable to educated humans, yielding an accuracy of 0.92 in sentiment analysis against our manually curated dataset. Albeit fluctuations, sentiments were found more positive over time, followed by a subsequence upswing in population-level vaccine uptake. Distinguishable patterns were revealed among subgroups stratified by demographic variables. Encouraging news or events were detected surrounding positive sentiments crests. Sentiments in pregnancy-related tweets demonstrated a lagged pattern compared with the general population, with delayed vaccine uptake trends. Feature analysis detected hesitancies stemmed from clinical trial logics, risks and complications, and urgency of scientific evidence. DISCUSSION: Integrating social media and public health surveillance data, we associated the sentiments at individual level with observed populational-level vaccination patterns. By unraveling the distinctive patterns across subpopulations, the findings provided evidence-based strategies for improving vaccine promotion during pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Female , Pregnancy , Humans , COVID-19 Vaccines , Sentiment Analysis , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics , Public Health Surveillance
7.
Annu Rev Public Health ; 44: 55-74, 2023 04 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2264680

ABSTRACT

Public health surveillance is defined as the ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of health data and is closely integrated with the timely dissemination of information that the public needs to know and upon which the public should act. Public health surveillance is central to modern public health practice by contributing data and information usually through a national notifiable disease reporting system (NNDRS). Although early identification and prediction of future disease trends may be technically feasible, more work is needed to improve accuracy so that policy makers can use these predictions to guide prevention and control efforts. In this article, we review the advantages and limitations of the current NNDRS in most countries, discuss some lessons learned about prevention and control from the first wave of COVID-19, and describe some technological innovations in public health surveillance, including geographic information systems (GIS), spatial modeling, artificial intelligence, information technology, data science, and the digital twin method. We conclude that the technology-driven innovative public health surveillance systems are expected to further improve the timeliness, completeness, and accuracy of case reporting during outbreaks and also enhance feedback and transparency, whereby all stakeholders should receive actionable information on control and be able to limit disease risk earlier than ever before.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Public Health Surveillance , Humans , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Artificial Intelligence , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Geographic Information Systems , Risk Assessment , Population Surveillance/methods , Public Health
8.
Rev Med Suisse ; 18(790): 1412-1415, 2022 Jul 13.
Article in French | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2283491

ABSTRACT

Public health surveillance is the ongoing collection and analysis of health-related data, followed by the timely dissemination of information useful for decisions. Surveillance bias occurs when differences in the frequency of a condition are due to variations in the modalities of detection rather than to changes in the actual risk of the condition. As a result, the true burden of diseases cannot be properly assessed. This is of growing concern because surveillance activity is more and more often based on data not designed primarily for surveillance, notably data from healthcare providers. Many diseases (such as COVID-19, prostate cancer, or hypertension) are prone to surveillance bias. It also hinders quality of care monitoring.


La surveillance en santé publique consiste à recueillir et à analyser en continu des données relatives à la santé, puis à les transformer en informations utiles pour la décision. On parle de biais de surveillance lorsque les différences de fréquence d'une maladie sont dues à des variations dans les modalités de détection plutôt qu'à des changements du risque réel de cette maladie dans la population. Ce biais est fréquent car l'activité de surveillance repose de plus en plus souvent sur des données qui ne sont pas collectées primairement pour la surveillance, notamment celles provenant des prestataires de soins de santé. De nombreuses maladies (comme le Covid-19, le cancer de la prostate ou l'hypertension) sont sujettes à un biais de surveillance. Ce biais nuit également à la surveillance de la qualité des soins.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Public Health Surveillance
9.
Biomol Biomed ; 23(4): 718-725, 2023 Jul 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2273360

ABSTRACT

In response to the significant public health threat caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19), real-time surveillance, containment, and mitigation measures were implemented in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH). Our objective was to describe the surveillance methodology, response measures, and epidemiology of COVID-19 cases in FBiH from March 2020 to March 2022. The surveillance system implemented across FBiH enabled health authorities and the population to monitor the development of the epidemiological situation, the daily number of reported cases, as well as basic epidemiological characteristics and geographic distribution of cases. As of 31 March 2022, 249,495 cases of COVID-19, and a total of 8,845 deaths were recorded in FBiH. Upkeeping of real-time surveillance, maintaining non-pharmaceutical interventions, and speeding up the vaccination roll-out were paramount for controlling COVID-19 in FBiH.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Public Health , Humans , Public Health Surveillance , Bosnia and Herzegovina/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Internet
13.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 28(13): S121-S128, 2022 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2228899

ABSTRACT

Public health systems need to be able to detect and respond to infodemics (outbreaks of misinformation, disinformation, information overload, or information voids). Drawing from our experience at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the COVID-19 State of Vaccine Confidence Insight Reporting System has been created as one of the first public health infodemic surveillance systems. Key functions of infodemic surveillance systems include monitoring the information environment by person, place, and time; identifying infodemic events with digital analytics; conducting offline community-based assessments; and generating timely routine reports. Although specific considerations of several system attributes of infodemic surveillance system must be considered, infodemic surveillance systems share several similarities with traditional public health surveillance systems. Because both information and pathogens are spread more readily in an increasingly hyperconnected world, sustainable and routine systems must be created to ensure that timely interventions can be deployed for both epidemic and infodemic response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Public Health Surveillance , Disease Outbreaks , Communication
14.
Ann Acad Med Singap ; 52(1): 17-26, 2023 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2218555

ABSTRACT

Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a highly infectious disease and can result in permanent flaccid paralysis of the limbs. Singapore was certified polio-free by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 29 October 2000, together with 36 other countries in the Western Pacific Region. The last imported case of polio in Singapore was in 2006. Fortunately, polio is vaccine-preventable-the world saw the global eradication of wild poliovirus types 2 and 3 achieved in 2015 and 2019, respectively. However, in late 2022, a resurgence of paralytic polio cases from vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) was detected in countries like Israel and the US (specifically, New York); VDPV was also detected during routine sewage water surveillance with no paralysis cases in London, UK. Without global eradication, there is a risk of re-infection from importation and spread of wild poliovirus or VDPV, or new emergence and circulation of VDPV. During the COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide routine childhood vaccination coverage fell by 5% to 81% in 2020-2021. Fortunately, Singapore has maintained a constantly high vaccination coverage of 96% among 1-year-old children as recorded in 2021. All countries must ensure high poliovirus vaccination coverage in their population to eradicate poliovirus globally, and appropriate interventions must be taken to rectify this if the coverage falters. In 2020, WHO approved the emergency use listing of a novel oral polio vaccine type 2 for countries experiencing circulating VDPV type 2 outbreaks. Environmental and wastewater surveillance should be implemented to allow early detection of "silent" poliovirus transmission in the population, instead of relying on clinical surveillance of acute flaccid paralysis based on case definition alone.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Poliomyelitis , Poliovirus , Child , Humans , Infant , Public Health Surveillance , Pandemics , Wastewater , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring , COVID-19/epidemiology , Poliomyelitis/epidemiology , Poliomyelitis/prevention & control , Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral , Vaccination , Global Health
15.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 8(6): e37377, 2022 06 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2198054

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is more transmissible than prior variants of concern (VOCs). It has caused the largest outbreaks in the pandemic, with increases in mortality and hospitalizations. Early data on the spread of Omicron were captured in countries with relatively low case counts, so it was unclear how the arrival of Omicron would impact the trajectory of the pandemic in countries already experiencing high levels of community transmission of Delta. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to quantify and explain the impact of Omicron on pandemic trajectories and how they differ between countries that were or were not in a Delta outbreak at the time Omicron occurred. METHODS: We used SARS-CoV-2 surveillance and genetic sequence data to classify countries into 2 groups: those that were in a Delta outbreak (defined by at least 10 novel daily transmissions per 100,000 population) when Omicron was first sequenced in the country and those that were not. We used trend analysis, survival curves, and dynamic panel regression models to compare outbreaks in the 2 groups over the period from November 1, 2021, to February 11, 2022. We summarized the outbreaks in terms of their peak rate of SARS-CoV-2 infections and the duration of time the outbreaks took to reach the peak rate. RESULTS: Countries that were already in an outbreak with predominantly Delta lineages when Omicron arrived took longer to reach their peak rate and saw greater than a twofold increase (2.04) in the average apex of the Omicron outbreak compared to countries that were not yet in an outbreak. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that high community transmission of Delta at the time of the first detection of Omicron was not protective, but rather preluded larger outbreaks in those countries. Outbreak status may reflect a generally susceptible population, due to overlapping factors, including climate, policy, and individual behavior. In the absence of strong mitigation measures, arrival of a new, more transmissible variant in these countries is therefore more likely to lead to larger outbreaks. Alternately, countries with enhanced surveillance programs and incentives may be more likely to both exist in an outbreak status and detect more cases during an outbreak, resulting in a spurious relationship. Either way, these data argue against herd immunity mitigating future outbreaks with variants that have undergone significant antigenic shifts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pandemics , Public Health Surveillance/methods
16.
Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy ; 16(1): 87, 2021 11 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2214609

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There are preliminary indications that the trajectory of drug overdose-related deaths in North America has been exacerbated due to the novel coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19). As such, the impact of COVID-19 on drug overdose-related deaths was examined through a systematic review of the literature and percentage change analyses of surveillance data. METHODS: Systematic searches in electronic databases were conducted, a topical issue brief and bibliography were reviewed, reference lists of included studies were searched and expert consultations were held to identify studies (Registration # CRD42021230223). Observational studies from the United States and Canada were eligible for inclusion if drug overdose-related deaths were assessed in quantitative or qualitative analyses onwards from at least March 2020. In addition, percentage changes comparing drug overdose-related deaths in the second annual quarter (Q2 2020 [April to June]) with the first annual quarter (Q1 2020 [January to March]) were generated using national and subnational data from public health surveillance systems and reports from jurisdictions in the United States and Canada. RESULTS: Nine studies were included in the systematic review, eight from the United States and one from Canada. The maximum outcome assessment period in the included studies extended until September 2020. Drug overdose-related deaths after the onset of COVID-19 were higher compared with the months leading up to the pandemic in 2020 and the comparative months in 2019. In additional percentage change analyses, drug overdose-related deaths increased by 2 to 60% in jurisdictions in the United States and by 58% in Canada when comparing Q2 2020 with Q1 2020. CONCLUSIONS: Drug overdose-related deaths increased after the onset of COVID-19. The current situation necessitates a multi-pronged approach, encompassing expanded access to substance use disorder treatment, undisrupted access to harm reduction services, emphasis on risk reduction strategies, provision of a safe drug supply and decriminalization of drug use.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Canada/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Public Health Surveillance , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
17.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(11): e32639, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197980

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) hosts some of the world's worst humanitarian and health crises. The implementation of health surveillance in this region has faced multiple constraints. New and novel approaches in surveillance are in a constant state of high and immediate demand. Identifying the existing literature on surveillance helps foster an understanding of scientific development and thus potentially supports future development directions. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to illustrate the scientific production, quantify the scholarly impact, and highlight the characteristics of publications on public health surveillance in the EMR over the past decade. METHODS: We performed a Scopus search using keywords related to public health surveillance or its disciplines, cross-referenced with EMR countries, from 2011 to July 2021. Data were exported and analyzed using Microsoft Excel and Visualization of Similarities Viewer. Quality of journals was determined using SCImago Journal Rank and CiteScore. RESULTS: We retrieved 1987 documents, of which 1927 (96.98%) were articles or reviews. There has been an incremental increase in the number of publications (exponential growth, R2=0.80) over the past decade. Publications were mostly affiliated with Iran (501/1987, 25.21%), the United States (468/1987, 23.55%), Pakistan (243/1987, 12.23%), Egypt (224/1987, 11.27%), and Saudi Arabia (209/1987, 10.52%). However, Iran only had links with 40 other countries (total link strength 164), and the biggest collaborator from the EMR was Egypt, with 67 links (total link strength 402). Within the other EMR countries, only Morocco, Lebanon, and Jordan produced ≥79 publications in the 10-year period. Most publications (1551/1987, 78.06%) were affiliated with EMR universities. Most journals were categorized as medical journals, and the highest number of articles were published in the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal (SCImago Journal Rank 0.442; CiteScore 1.5). Retrieved documents had an average of 18.4 (SD 125.5) citations per document and an h-index of 66. The top-3 most cited documents were from the Global Burden of Diseases study. We found 70 high-frequency terms, occurring ≥10 times in author keywords, connected in 3 clusters. COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and pandemic represented the most recent 2020 cluster. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first research study to quantify the published literature on public health surveillance and its disciplines in the EMR. Research productivity has steadily increased over the past decade, and Iran has been the leading country publishing relevant research. Recurrent recent surveillance themes included COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2. This study also sheds light on the gaps in surveillance research in the EMR, including inadequate publications on noncommunicable diseases and injury-related surveillance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Public Health Surveillance , Bibliometrics , Humans , Mediterranean Region , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
18.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(6): e28269, 2021 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197912

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 is impacting people worldwide and is currently a leading cause of death in many countries. Underlying factors, including Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), could contribute to these statistics. Our prior work has explored associations between SDoH and several adverse health outcomes (eg, asthma and obesity). Our findings reinforce the emerging consensus that SDoH factors should be considered when implementing intelligent public health surveillance solutions to inform public health policies and interventions. OBJECTIVE: This study sought to redefine the Healthy People 2030's SDoH taxonomy to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, we aim to provide a blueprint and implement a prototype for the Urban Population Health Observatory (UPHO), a web-based platform that integrates classified group-level SDoH indicators to individual- and aggregate-level population health data. METHODS: The process of building the UPHO involves collecting and integrating data from several sources, classifying the collected data into drivers and outcomes, incorporating data science techniques for calculating measurable indicators from the raw variables, and studying the extent to which interventions are identified or developed to mitigate drivers that lead to the undesired outcomes. RESULTS: We generated and classified the indicators of social determinants of health, which are linked to COVID-19. To display the functionalities of the UPHO platform, we presented a prototype design to demonstrate its features. We provided a use case scenario for 4 different users. CONCLUSIONS: UPHO serves as an apparatus for implementing effective interventions and can be adopted as a global platform for chronic and infectious diseases. The UPHO surveillance platform provides a novel approach and novel insights into immediate and long-term health policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and other future public health crises. The UPHO assists public health organizations and policymakers in their efforts in reducing health disparities, achieving health equity, and improving urban population health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Policy , Healthy People Programs/methods , Population Health , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Urban Population
19.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(3): e26719, 2021 03 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197901

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Patient travel history can be crucial in evaluating evolving infectious disease events. Such information can be challenging to acquire in electronic health records, as it is often available only in unstructured text. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to assess the feasibility of annotating and automatically extracting travel history mentions from unstructured clinical documents in the Department of Veterans Affairs across disparate health care facilities and among millions of patients. Information about travel exposure augments existing surveillance applications for increased preparedness in responding quickly to public health threats. METHODS: Clinical documents related to arboviral disease were annotated following selection using a semiautomated bootstrapping process. Using annotated instances as training data, models were developed to extract from unstructured clinical text any mention of affirmed travel locations outside of the continental United States. Automated text processing models were evaluated, involving machine learning and neural language models for extraction accuracy. RESULTS: Among 4584 annotated instances, 2659 (58%) contained an affirmed mention of travel history, while 347 (7.6%) were negated. Interannotator agreement resulted in a document-level Cohen kappa of 0.776. Automated text processing accuracy (F1 85.6, 95% CI 82.5-87.9) and computational burden were acceptable such that the system can provide a rapid screen for public health events. CONCLUSIONS: Automated extraction of patient travel history from clinical documents is feasible for enhanced passive surveillance public health systems. Without such a system, it would usually be necessary to manually review charts to identify recent travel or lack of travel, use an electronic health record that enforces travel history documentation, or ignore this potential source of information altogether. The development of this tool was initially motivated by emergent arboviral diseases. More recently, this system was used in the early phases of response to COVID-19 in the United States, although its utility was limited to a relatively brief window due to the rapid domestic spread of the virus. Such systems may aid future efforts to prevent and contain the spread of infectious diseases.


Subject(s)
Communicable Diseases, Emerging/diagnosis , Electronic Health Records , Information Storage and Retrieval/methods , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Travel/statistics & numerical data , Algorithms , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/epidemiology , Feasibility Studies , Female , Humans , Machine Learning , Male , Middle Aged , Natural Language Processing , Reproducibility of Results , United States/epidemiology
20.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(6): e24251, 2021 06 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197876

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 transmission rates in South Asia initially were under control when governments implemented health policies aimed at controlling the pandemic such as quarantines, travel bans, and border, business, and school closures. Governments have since relaxed public health restrictions, which resulted in significant outbreaks, shifting the global epicenter of COVID-19 to India. Ongoing systematic public health surveillance of the COVID-19 pandemic is needed to inform disease prevention policy to re-establish control over the pandemic within South Asia. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to inform public health leaders about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, how South Asia displays differences within and among countries and other global regions, and where immediate action is needed to control the outbreaks. METHODS: We extracted COVID-19 data spanning 62 days from public health registries and calculated traditional and enhanced surveillance metrics. We use an empirical difference equation to measure the daily number of cases in South Asia as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shifts in variables with a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. RESULTS: Traditional surveillance metrics indicate that South Asian countries have an alarming outbreak, with India leading the region with 310,310 new daily cases in accordance with the 7-day moving average. Enhanced surveillance indicates that while Pakistan and Bangladesh still have a high daily number of new COVID-19 cases (n=4819 and n=3878, respectively), their speed of new infections declined from April 12-25, 2021, from 2.28 to 2.18 and 3.15 to 2.35 daily new infections per 100,000 population, respectively, which suggests that their outbreaks are decreasing and that these countries are headed in the right direction. In contrast, India's speed of new infections per 100,000 population increased by 52% during the same period from 14.79 to 22.49 new cases per day per 100,000 population, which constitutes an increased outbreak. CONCLUSIONS: Relaxation of public health restrictions and the spread of novel variants fueled the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Asia. Public health surveillance indicates that shifts in policy and the spread of new variants correlate with a drastic expansion in the pandemic, requiring immediate action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Surveillance is needed to inform leaders whether policies help control the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Health Policy , Public Health/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Asia/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/legislation & jurisprudence , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Public Health Surveillance , SARS-CoV-2
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