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Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21261425


Accurate tests for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have been critical in efforts to control its spread. The accuracy of molecular tests for SARS-CoV-2 has been assessed numerous times, usually in reference to a gold standard diagnosis. One major disadvantage of that approach is the possibility of error due to inaccuracy of the gold standard, which is especially problematic for evaluating testing in a real-world surveillance context. We used an alternative approach known as Bayesian latent class modeling (BLCM), which circumvents the need to designate a gold standard by simultaneously estimating the accuracy of multiple tests. We applied this technique to a collection of 1,716 tests of three types applied to 853 individuals on a university campus during a one-week period in October 2020. We found that reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing of saliva samples performed at a campus facility had higher sensitivity (median: 0.923; 95% credible interval: 0.732-0.996) than RT-PCR testing of nasal samples performed at a commercial facility (median: 0.859; 95% CrI: 0.547-0.994). The reverse was true for specificity, although the specificity of saliva testing was still very high (median: 0.993; 95% CrI: 0.983-0.999). An antigen test was less sensitive and specific than both of the RT-PCR tests. These results suggest that RT-PCR testing of saliva samples at a campus facility can be an effective basis for surveillance screening to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a university setting.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21258238


Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been interest in using wastewater monitoring as an approach for disease surveillance. A significant uncertainty that would improve interpretation of wastewater monitoring data is the intensity and timing with which individuals shed RNA from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into wastewater. By combining wastewater and case surveillance data sets from a university campus during a period of heightened surveillance, we inferred that individual shedding of RNA into wastewater peaks on average six days (50% uncertainty interval (UI): 6 - 7; 95% UI: 4 - 8) following infection, and that wastewater measurements are highly overdispersed (negative binomial dispersion parameter, k = 0.39 (95% credible interval: 0.32 - 0.48)). This limits the utility of wastewater surveillance as a leading indicator of secular trends in SARS-CoV-2 transmission during an epidemic, and implies that it could be most useful as an early warning of rising transmission in areas where transmission is low or clinical testing is delayed or of limited capacity.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20210211


BackgroundThe COVID-19 pandemic has induced unprecedented reductions in human mobility and social contacts throughout the world. Because dengue virus (DENV) transmission is strongly driven by human mobility, behavioral changes associated with the pandemic have been hypothesized to impact dengue incidence. By discouraging human contact, COVID-19 control measures have also disrupted dengue vector control interventions, the most effective of which require entry into homes. MethodWe used an agent-based model with a realistic treatment of human mobility and vector control to investigate how and why dengue incidence could differ under a lockdown scenario with a proportion of the population sheltered at home. ResultWe found that a lockdown in which 70% of the population sheltered at home led to a small average increase in cumulative DENV infections of up to 10%, depending on the time of year lockdown occurred. Lockdown had a more pronounced effect on the spatial distribution of DENV infections, with higher incidence under lockdown in regions with high mosquito abundance. Transmission was also more focused in homes following lockdown. The proportion of people infected in their own home rose from 54% under normal conditions to 66% under lockdown, and the household secondary attack rate rose from 0.109 to 0.128, a 17% increase. When we considered that lockdown measures could disrupt regular, city-wide vector control campaigns, the increase in incidence was more pronounced than with lockdown alone, especially if lockdown occurred at the optimal time for vector control. DiscussionOur results indicate that an unintended outcome of COVID-19 control measures may be to adversely alter the epidemiology of dengue. This observation has important implications for an improved understanding of dengue epidemiology and effective application of dengue vector control. When coordinating public health responses during a syndemic, it is important to monitor multiple infections and understand that an intervention against one disease may exacerbate another.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20036582


By March 2020, COVID-19 led to thousands of deaths and disrupted economic activity worldwide. As a result of narrow case definitions and limited capacity for testing, the number of unobserved SARS-CoV-2 infections during its initial invasion of the US remains unknown. We developed an approach for estimating the number of unobserved infections based on data that are commonly available shortly after the emergence of a new infectious disease. The logic of our approach is, in essence, that there are bounds on the amount of exponential growth of new infections that can occur during the first few weeks after imported cases start appearing. Applying that logic to data on imported cases and local deaths in the US through March 12, we estimated that 22,876 (95% posterior predictive interval: 7,451 - 53,044) infections occurred in the US by this date. By comparing the models predictions of symptomatic infections to local cases reported over time, we obtained daily estimates of the proportion of symptomatic infections detected by surveillance. This revealed that detection of symptomatic infections decreased throughout February as exponential growth of infections outpaced increases in testing. Between February 21 and March 12, we estimated an increase in detection of symptomatic infections, which was strongly correlated (median: 0.97, 95% PPI: 0.85 - 0.98) with increases in testing. These results suggest that testing was a major limiting factor in assessing the extent of SARS-CoV-2 transmission during its initial invasion of the US. Significance StatementCountries across the world observed dramatic rises in COVID-19 cases and deaths in March 2020. In the United States, delays in the availability of diagnostic testing prompted questions about the extent of unobserved community transmission. Using a simulation model informed by reported cases and deaths, we estimated that tens of thousands of people were infected by the time a national emergency was declared on March 13. Our results indicate that fewer than 20% of locally acquired, symptomatic infections in the US were detected over a period of a month. The existence of a large, unobserved reservoir of infection argues for the necessity of large-scale social distancing that went into effect to mitigate the impacts of SARS-CoV-2 on the US.

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