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This article investigates the effects that attacks during armed conflict which damage water and wastewater services have on the outbreak and transmission of infectious disease. It employs a lens of uncertainty to assess the level of knowledge about the reverberations along this consequential chain and to discuss the relevance to military planning and targeting processes, and to the laws of armed conflict. It draws on data in policy reports and research from a wide variety of contexts, and evidence from protracted armed conflicts in Iraq, Yemen and Gaza. The review finds a strong base of evidence of the impact of attacks on water and wastewater services, and a high level of confidence in information about the transmission of infectious disease. One clear risk identified is when people are exposed to water supplies which are contaminated by untreated wastewater. Obtaining a similar level of confidence about the cause and effect along the full consequential chain is challenged by numerous compounding variables, though there are a number of patterns related to the duration of the armed conflict within which the attacks occur. As the conflict protracts, both the risk of the spread of infectious disease and the evidence base for gauging the reverberating effects becomes stronger, for example. The article concludes that the reverberating effects of damage from an attack can be foreseen in some contexts and can be expected to become more foreseeable over time. The analysis suggests that the most pragmatic path for military institutions and those involved in targeting operations to take this knowledge into account is through a “precautionary approach” which assumes the existence of the reverberating effects, and works them in to the standard information-gathering and planning processes.
Trachoma is an infectious disease and it is the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. To achieve its elimination, the World Health Organization set a goal of reducing the prevalence in endemic areas to less than
% by 2020, utilizing the SAFE (surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, environmental improvement) strategy. However, in Burundi, trachoma prevalences of greater than
% are still reported in 11 districts and it is hypothesized that this is due to the poor implementation of the environmental improvement factor of the SAFE strategy. In this paper, a model based on an ordinary differential equation, which includes an environmental transmission component, is developed and analysed. The model is calibrated to recent field data and is used to estimate the reductions in trachoma that would have occurred if adequate environmental improvements were implemented in Burundi. Given the assumptions in the model, it is clear that environmental improvement should be considered as a key component of the SAFE strategy and, hence, it is crucial for eliminating trachoma in Burundi.
This article examines the relationships between livestock vaccinations, herd introduction decisions, and livestock disease–related outcomes. We develop a theoretical model and derive testable hypotheses about the relationships between these outcomes and practices and test them using two-stage least squares regression analysis. We find that vaccinations reduce disease-related livestock deaths, implying that vaccine availability and use may improve herd and household welfare. We do not find robust evidence of increase in disease-related illness due to herd introductions. Our results highlight the role of livestock vaccinations in safeguarding herd value, which is connected to broader household welfare for livestock keepers of Eastern Africa.
Mass-gathering events (MGEs) occur regularly throughout the world. As people congregate at MGEs, there is an increased risk of transmission of communicable diseases. Novel respiratory viruses, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-1 (SARS-CoV-1), Influenza A Virus Subtype H1N1 Strain 2009 (H1N1pdm09), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), or Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), may require specific infection prevention and control strategies to minimize the risk of transmission when planning MGEs. This literature review aimed to identify and analyze papers relating to novel respiratory viruses with pandemic potential and to inform MGE planning.
This paper used a systematic literature review method. Various health care databases were searched using keywords relating to MGEs and novel respiratory viruses. Information was extracted from identified papers into various tables for analysis. The analysis identified infection prevention and control strategies used at MGEs to inform planning before, during, and following events.
In total, 27 papers met the criteria for inclusion. No papers were identified regarding SARS-CoV-1, while the remainder reported on H1N1pdm09 (n = 9), MERS-CoV (n = 15), and SARS-CoV-2 (n = 3). Various before, during, and after event mitigation strategies were identified that can be implemented for future events.
This literature review provided an overview of the novel respiratory virus epidemiology at MGEs alongside related public health mitigation strategies that have been implemented at these events. This paper also discusses the health security of event participants and host communities in the context of cancelling, postponing, and modifying events due to a novel respiratory virus. In particular, ways to recommence events incorporating various mitigation strategies are outlined.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has been declared a pandemic and has affected both patients and health-care workers. This study was conducted to explore the extent of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experiences among nurses because of the COVID-19 pandemic in Jordan.
This study used a cross-sectional study design with a convenience sampling approach. A sample of 259 participants completed the study questionnaires, including a socio-demographic questionnaire and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 between May and July 2020.
The prevalence of PTSD among the study participants was 37.1%. Most study participants who exhibited PTSD symptoms presented the lowest level of PTSD (17%). The results showed significant differences in overall COVID-19-related PTSD according to the participant’s age (F = 14.750; P = 0.000), gender (F = 30.340; P = 0.000), level of education (F = 51.983; P = 0.000), years of experience (F = 52.33, P = 0.000), place of work (F = 19.593; P = 0.000), and working position (F = 11.597; P = 0.000), as determined by 1-way ANOVA.
Nurses must be qualified and accredited to cope with reported PTSD cases and their consequences in relation to COVID-19 outbreaks. A close collaboration with a multidisciplinary team is required to recognize, manage, and encourage safety literacy among health-care professionals and individuals diagnosed with or suspected of PTSD due to COVID-19 outbreaks or any other viral outbreaks.
Studies exploring the longer-term effects of experiencing coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) on mental health are lacking. We explored the relationship between reporting probable COVID-19 symptoms in April 2020 and psychological distress (measured using the General Health Questionnaire) 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 months later. Data were taken from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative household panel survey of UK adults. Elevated levels of psychological distress were found up to 7 months after probable COVID-19, compared with participants with no likely infection. Associations were stronger among younger age groups and men. Further research into the psychological sequalae of COVID-19 is urgently needed.
In 2015, the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea affected 186 patients and led to 38 bereaved families. This study aimed at investigating the nature and related factors of the psychological responses of MERS victims during the acute phase of disaster.
The MERS Psychological Support Team under the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare provided counseling services to MERS survivors and bereaved families for 4 weeks, based on crisis intervention. In this study, we reviewed the counseling records of 109 survivors and 80 bereaved family members, and analyzed their epidemiological and MERS-related information along with psychological responses.
Somatic symptoms and anxiety related to social stigmatization or disease transmission were common in MERS survivors, whereas grief reactions such as sadness, and anger were frequently observed in bereaved families. Bereaved MERS survivors showed more avoidance/isolation than non-bereaved MERS survivors. Females, those with an underlying physical or psychiatric health condition, and those having experienced longer duration of hospitalization and non-healthcare workers were more at risk of suffering from psychological problems.
Survivors and bereaved families of epidemics can experience various psychological distresses depending on individual characteristics and the inherent features of the epidemic. Therefore, mental health in epidemics should be approached and considered more seriously.
The purpose of this study was to determine if Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) was present on the electrocardiogram (ECG) right arm leads, blood pressure cuffs, and fingertip pulse oximetry sensors of monitor/defibrillators used in the prehospital setting.
On March 22, 2019, a total of 20 prehospital monitor/defibrillators located at an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) station in Alabama (USA) were assessed for C. diff. The inside area of the fingertip pulse oximetry sensor, patient contact side of the blood pressure cuff, and right arm ECG lead of monitor/defibrillators (n = 60) were swabbed using a sterile cotton-tipped applicator saturated in a 0.85% Sodium Chloride solution. These cotton-tipped applicators were then inserted, scored, and released into Banana Broth vials. The vials were then sealed tightly and immediately transported to the laboratory, where they were incubated at 36°C for 72 hours. Colorimetric change from red to yellow was considered a positive indication for the presence of C. diff.
Of 20 blood pressure cuffs, 15 had C. diff contamination (75%); C. diff was also present on 19 of 20 fingertip pulse oximeter sensors (95%) and 20 of 20 ECG right arm monitor leads (100%).
Prehospital monitor/defibrillators may represent a significant reservoir of C. diff and other pathogenic bacteria. Improved disinfection protocols for reusable monitoring equipment and transition to disposable monitoring equipment used in the prehospital setting may reduce the risk of patient and EMS provider infection.
An outbreak of SARS-CoV2 infection in a Barcelona prison was studied. One hundred and forty-eight inmates and 36 prison staff were evaluated by rt-PCR, and 24.1% (40 prisoners, two health workers and four non-health workers) tested positive. In all, 94.8% of cases were asymptomatic. The inmates were isolated in prison module 4, which was converted into an emergency COVID unit. There were no deaths. Generalised screening and the isolation and evaluation of the people infected were key measures. Symptom-based surveillance must be supplemented by rapid contact-based monitoring in order to avoid asymptomatic spread among prisoners and the community at large.
This paper: (1) explores the real and perceived threats to Emergency Departments (EDs) in addressing infectious disease cases in the US, like measles, and (2) identifies priorities for protecting employees, patients, and others stakeholders through hospital preparedness while streamlining processes and managing costs.
A case study approach was used to describe the events that triggered an infectious disease emergency response in 1 ED in the southeast. Development of the case study was informed by emergency preparedness literature on Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program processes.
Hospital staff and administrators identified a number of factors that either positively contributed to disease containment or exacerbated conditions for disease transmission. Successes included early recognition of the potential threat, development of a multidisciplinary taskforce, and implementation of a pre-incident response plan. Challenges comprised of patient flow in crisis response, lab turnaround time, and employee records.
The threat of exposure challenged daily operations and raised situational awareness among administrators and providers to issues that might arise during an infectious disease exposure. Recording emergency preparedness successes, remediating challenges, and sharing information with others may help minimize the threat of communicable diseases within hospital settings in the future.
This study aimed to investigate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemiology in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario, Canada.
Using data through December 1, 2020, we estimated time-varying reproduction number, Rt, using EpiEstim package in R, and calculated incidence rate ratios (IRR) across the 3 provinces.
In Ontario, 76% (92 745/121 745) of cases were in Toronto, Peel, York, Ottawa, and Durham; in Alberta, 82% (49 878/61 169) in Calgary and Edmonton; in British Columbia, 90% (31 142/34 699) in Fraser and Vancouver Coastal. Across 3 provinces, Rt dropped to ≤ 1 after April. In Ontario, Rt would remain < 1 in April if congregate-setting-associated cases were excluded. Over summer, Rt maintained < 1 in Ontario, ~1 in British Columbia, and ~1 in Alberta, except early July when Rt was > 1. In all 3 provinces, Rt was > 1, reflecting surges in case count from September through November. Compared with British Columbia (684.2 cases per 100 000), Alberta (IRR = 2.0; 1399.3 cases per 100 000) and Ontario (IRR = 1.2; 835.8 cases per 100 000) had a higher cumulative case count per 100 000 population.
Alberta and Ontario had a higher incidence rate than British Columbia, but Rt trajectories were similar across all 3 provinces.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is currently the most critical challenge in public health. An understanding of the factors that affect severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection will help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This study sought to investigate the association between SARS-CoV-2 infection and blood type distribution. The big data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Johns Hopkins University were used to assess the dynamics of the COVID-19 epidemic. The infection data in the early phase of the pandemic from six countries in each of six geographic zones divided according to the WHO were used, representing approximately 5.4 billion people around the globe. We calculated the infection growth factor, doubling times of infection and death cases, reproductive number and infection and death cases in relation to the blood type distribution. The growth factor of infection and death cases significantly and positively correlated with the proportion of the population with blood type A and negatively correlated with the proportion of the population with blood type B. Compared with the lower blood type A population (<30%), the higher blood type A population (⩾30%) showed more infection and death cases, higher growth factors and shorter case doubling times for infections and deaths and thus higher epidemic dynamics. Thus, an association exists between SARS-CoV-2 and the ABO blood group distribution, which might be useful for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The upsurge in the number of people affected by the COVID-19 is likely to lead to increased rates of emotional trauma and mental illnesses. This article systematically reviewed the available data on the benefits of interventions to reduce adverse mental health sequelae of infectious disease outbreaks, and to offer guidance for mental health service responses to infectious disease pandemic. PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, PsycINFO, WHO Global Research Database on infectious disease, and the preprint server medRxiv were searched. Of 4278 reports identified, 32 were included in this review. Most articles of psychological interventions were implemented to address the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, followed by Ebola, SARS, and MERS for multiple vulnerable populations. Increasing mental health literacy of the public is vital to prevent the mental health crisis under the COVID-19 pandemic. Group-based cognitive behavioral therapy, psychological first aid, community-based psychosocial arts program, and other culturally adapted interventions were reported as being effective against the mental health impacts of COVID-19, Ebola, and SARS. Culturally-adapted, cost-effective, and accessible strategies integrated into the public health emergency response and established medical systems at the local and national levels are likely to be an effective option to enhance mental health response capacity for the current and for future infectious disease outbreaks. Tele-mental healthcare services were key central components of stepped care for both infectious disease outbreak management and routine support; however, the usefulness and limitations of remote health delivery should also be recognized.
Deaths are frequently under-estimated during emergencies, times when accurate mortality estimates are crucial for emergency response. This study estimates excess all-cause, pneumonia and influenza mortality during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic using the 11 September 2020 release of weekly mortality data from the United States (U.S.) Mortality Surveillance System (MSS) from 27 September 2015 to 9 May 2020, using semiparametric and conventional time-series models in 13 states with high reported COVID-19 deaths and apparently complete mortality data: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. We estimated greater excess mortality than official COVID-19 mortality in the U.S. (excess mortality 95% confidence interval (CI) 100 013–127 501 vs. 78 834 COVID-19 deaths) and 9 states: California (excess mortality 95% CI 3338–6344) vs. 2849 COVID-19 deaths); Connecticut (excess mortality 95% CI 3095–3952) vs. 2932 COVID-19 deaths); Illinois (95% CI 4646–6111) vs. 3525 COVID-19 deaths); Louisiana (excess mortality 95% CI 2341–3183 vs. 2267 COVID-19 deaths); Massachusetts (95% CI 5562–7201 vs. 5050 COVID-19 deaths); New Jersey (95% CI 13 170–16 058 vs. 10 465 COVID-19 deaths); New York (95% CI 32 538–39 960 vs. 26 584 COVID-19 deaths); and Pennsylvania (95% CI 5125–6560 vs. 3793 COVID-19 deaths). Conventional model results were consistent with semiparametric results but less precise. Significant excess pneumonia deaths were also found for all locations and we estimated hundreds of excess influenza deaths in New York. We find that official COVID-19 mortality substantially understates actual mortality, excess deaths cannot be explained entirely by official COVID-19 death counts. Mortality reporting lags appeared to worsen during the pandemic, when timeliness in surveillance systems was most crucial for improving pandemic response.
Current international experience has shown the vulnerability of health-care systems of developed nations, and of developing nations such as India, to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 pandemic is a disaster with mass casualties. International experience has revealed that, even in the countries where mass disasters are less frequent and not involved in conflicts, they are overwhelmed with COVID-19 deaths. Although, in the current scenario with fewer deaths, India’s health-care system can handle the situation of COVID-19 but should be prepared for the worst in terms of appropriate management, and adequate infection prevention measures including handling the dead without hampering the dignity of the deceased and of the surviving family. Before any crisis overwhelms responders and resources, emergency response plans should be established and activated to ensure the reliable identification and documentation of the dead. The current review was carried out to recommend the proper management of dead bodies in the COVID-19 mass disaster with a particular focus on resource-poor countries, such as India.
The purpose of this article was to summarize the experience of conversion and management of a nursing unit in a newly revised coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) specialized hospital during the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. Six characteristics of management were included: nurse selection and training, transformation of ward layout, nurse position setting, quality control, humanistic care, and safety and comfort of individual protection. Orderly and efficient nursing management during COVID-19 treatment is very important to ensure the quality of clinical nursing, improve the cure rate and avoid the infection of nurses. This practical experience of the establishment and management of the nursing unit can provide reference for the nursing management of other public health events, such as the treatment of infectious diseases.
Different countries have adopted strategies for the early detection of SARS-CoV-2 since the declaration of community transmission by the World Health Organization (WHO) and timely diagnosis has been considered one of the major obstacles for surveillance and healthcare. Here, we report the increase of the number of laboratories to COVID-19 diagnosis in Brazil. Our results demonstrate an increase and decentralisation of certified laboratories, which does not match the much higher increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. Also, it becomes clear that laboratories are irregularly distributed over the country, with a concentration in the most developed state, São Paulo.
Despite considerable efforts to control tuberculosis (TB) among Ethiopian immigrants in Israel, an outbreak of TB among second-generation Ethiopian immigrants that involved native Israelis occurred between January 2011 and December 2019. The aim of this article is to report on this outbreak and discuss the patient and health system barriers that led to its propagation. Overall, 13 culture-positive TB patients were diagnosed in this outbreak. An additional 36 cases with identical mycobacterium tuberculosis genotypes were identified through cross-checking with the National TB Laboratory Registry. Among the 32 close contacts of the index case, 18 (56.3%) reported for screening and treatment of latent TB infection (LTBI) was recommended for 11 (61.1%) of them. However, none completed treatment and eight eventually developed TB. Of the 385 close contacts identified in this outbreak, 286 (74.3%) underwent contact investigation, 154 (53.8%) were recommended LTBI treatment, but only 26 (16.9%) completed the treatment. Routine contact investigation and treatment practice measures failed to contain the cascade of infection and disease, leading to the spread of the infecting strain of TB. This report highlights the challenges to identify the high-risk group and address barriers to care among such a vulnerable population.