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Nonlinear and delayed impacts of climate on dengue risk in Barbados: A modelling study

Ma, 17/07/2018 - 23:00

by Rachel Lowe, Antonio Gasparrini, Cédric J. Van Meerbeeck, Catherine A. Lippi, Roché Mahon, Adrian R. Trotman, Leslie Rollock, Avery Q. J. Hinds, Sadie J. Ryan, Anna M. Stewart-Ibarra

Background

Over the last 5 years (2013–2017), the Caribbean region has faced an unprecedented crisis of co-occurring epidemics of febrile illness due to arboviruses transmitted by the Aedes sp. mosquito (dengue, chikungunya, and Zika). Since 2013, the Caribbean island of Barbados has experienced 3 dengue outbreaks, 1 chikungunya outbreak, and 1 Zika fever outbreak. Prior studies have demonstrated that climate variability influences arbovirus transmission and vector population dynamics in the region, indicating the potential to develop public health interventions using climate information. The aim of this study is to quantify the nonlinear and delayed effects of climate indicators, such as drought and extreme rainfall, on dengue risk in Barbados from 1999 to 2016.

Methods and findings

Distributed lag nonlinear models (DLNMs) coupled with a hierarchal mixed-model framework were used to understand the exposure–lag–response association between dengue relative risk and key climate indicators, including the standardised precipitation index (SPI) and minimum temperature (Tmin). The model parameters were estimated in a Bayesian framework to produce probabilistic predictions of exceeding an island-specific outbreak threshold. The ability of the model to successfully detect outbreaks was assessed and compared to a baseline model, representative of standard dengue surveillance practice. Drought conditions were found to positively influence dengue relative risk at long lead times of up to 5 months, while excess rainfall increased the risk at shorter lead times between 1 and 2 months. The SPI averaged over a 6-month period (SPI-6), designed to monitor drought and extreme rainfall, better explained variations in dengue risk than monthly precipitation data measured in millimetres. Tmin was found to be a better predictor than mean and maximum temperature. Furthermore, including bidimensional exposure–lag–response functions of these indicators—rather than linear effects for individual lags—more appropriately described the climate–disease associations than traditional modelling approaches. In prediction mode, the model was successfully able to distinguish outbreaks from nonoutbreaks for most years, with an overall proportion of correct predictions (hits and correct rejections) of 86% (81%:91%) compared with 64% (58%:71%) for the baseline model. The ability of the model to predict dengue outbreaks in recent years was complicated by the lack of data on the emergence of new arboviruses, including chikungunya and Zika.

Conclusion

We present a modelling approach to infer the risk of dengue outbreaks given the cumulative effect of climate variations in the months leading up to an outbreak. By combining the dengue prediction model with climate indicators, which are routinely monitored and forecasted by the Regional Climate Centre (RCC) at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), probabilistic dengue outlooks could be included in the Caribbean Health-Climatic Bulletin, issued on a quarterly basis to provide climate-smart decision-making guidance for Caribbean health practitioners. This flexible modelling approach could be extended to model the risk of dengue and other arboviruses in the Caribbean region.

Short-term association between ambient temperature and acute myocardial infarction hospitalizations for diabetes mellitus patients: A time series study

Ma, 17/07/2018 - 23:00

by Holly Ching Yu Lam, Juliana Chung Ngor Chan, Andrea On Yan Luk, Emily Ying Yang Chan, William Bernard Goggins

Background

Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes mellitus (DM) and has been found to occur more frequently with extreme temperatures. With the increasing prevalence of DM and the rising global mean temperature, the number of heat-related AMI cases among DM patients may increase. This study compares excess risk of AMI during periods of extreme temperatures between patients with DM and without DM.

Methods

Distributed lag nonlinear models (DLNMs) were used to estimate the short-term association between daily mean temperature and AMI admissions (International Classification of Diseases 9th revision [ICD-9] code: 410.00–410.99), stratified by DM status (ICD-9: 250.00–250.99), to all public hospitals in Hong Kong from 2002 to 2011, adjusting for other meteorological variables and air pollutants. Analyses were also stratified by season, age group, gender, and admission type (first admissions and readmissions). The admissions data and meteorological data were obtained from the Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HA) and the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO).

Findings

A total of 53,769 AMI admissions were included in the study. AMI admissions among DM patients were linearly and negatively associated with temperature in the cold season (cumulative relative risk [cumRR] [95% confidence interval] in lag 0–22 days (12 °C versus 24 °C) = 2.10 [1.62–2.72]), while those among patients without DM only started increasing when temperatures dropped below 22 °C with a weaker association (cumRR = 1.43 [1.21–1.69]). In the hot season, AMI hospitalizations among DM patients started increasing when the temperature dropped below or rose above 28.8 °C (cumRR in lag 0–4 days [30.4 versus 28.8 °C] = 1.14 [1.00–1.31]), while those among patients without DM showed no association with temperature. The differences in sensitivity to temperature between patients with DM and without DM were most apparent in the group <75 years old and among first-admission cases in the cold season. The main limitation of this study was the unavailability of data on individual exposure to ambient temperature.

Conclusions

DM patients had a higher increased risk of AMI admissions than non-DM patients during extreme temperatures. AMI admissions risks among DM patients rise sharply in both high and low temperatures, with a stronger effect in low temperatures, while AMI risk among non-DM patients only increased mildly in low temperatures. Targeted health protection guidelines should be provided to warn DM patients and physicians about the dangers of extreme temperatures. Further studies to project the impacts of AMI risks on DM patients by climate change are warranted.

Carbon pricing, co-pollutants, and climate policy: Evidence from California

Ma, 17/07/2018 - 23:00

by James K. Boyce, Michael Ash

In a Perspective, James Boyce and Michael Ash discuss Lara Cushing and colleagues' research study on the implications of California's policy on carbon trading.

Improving rational use of ACTs through diagnosis-dependent subsidies: Evidence from a cluster-randomized controlled trial in western Kenya

Ma, 17/07/2018 - 23:00

by Wendy Prudhomme O’Meara, Diana Menya, Jeremiah Laktabai, Alyssa Platt, Indrani Saran, Elisa Maffioli, Joseph Kipkoech, Manoj Mohanan, Elizabeth L. Turner

Background

More than half of artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) consumed globally are dispensed in the retail sector, where diagnostic testing is uncommon, leading to overconsumption and poor targeting. In many malaria-endemic countries, ACTs sold over the counter are available at heavily subsidized prices, further contributing to their misuse. Inappropriate use of ACTs can have serious implications for the spread of drug resistance and leads to poor outcomes for nonmalaria patients treated with incorrect drugs. We evaluated the public health impact of an innovative strategy that targets ACT subsidies to confirmed malaria cases by coupling free diagnostic testing with a diagnosis-dependent ACT subsidy.

Methods and findings

We conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial in 32 community clusters in western Kenya (population approximately 160,000). Eligible clusters had retail outlets selling ACTs and existing community health worker (CHW) programs and were randomly assigned 1:1 to control and intervention arms. In intervention areas, CHWs were available in their villages to perform malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) on demand for any individual >1 year of age experiencing a malaria-like illness. Malaria RDT-positive individuals received a voucher for a discount on a quality-assured ACT, redeemable at a participating retail medicine outlet. In control areas, CHWs offered a standard package of health education, prevention, and referral services. We conducted 4 population-based surveys—at baseline, 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months—of a random sample of households with fever in the last 4 weeks to evaluate predefined, individual-level outcomes. The primary outcome was uptake of malaria diagnostic testing at 12 months. The main secondary outcome was rational ACT use, defined as the proportion of ACTs used by test-positive individuals. Analyses followed the intention-to-treat principle using generalized estimating equations (GEEs) to account for clustering with prespecified adjustment for gender, age, education, and wealth. All descriptive statistics and regressions were weighted to account for sampling design. Between July 2015 and May 2017, 32,404 participants were tested for malaria, and 10,870 vouchers were issued. A total of 7,416 randomly selected participants with recent fever from all 32 clusters were surveyed. The majority of recent fevers were in children under 18 years (62.9%, n = 4,653). The gender of enrolled participants was balanced in children (49.8%, n = 2,318 boys versus 50.2%, n = 2,335 girls), but more adult women were enrolled than men (78.0%, n = 2,139 versus 22.0%, n = 604). At baseline, 67.6% (n = 1,362) of participants took an ACT for their illness, and 40.3% (n = 810) of all participants took an ACT purchased from a retail outlet. At 12 months, 50.5% (n = 454) in the intervention arm and 43.4% (n = 389) in the control arm had a malaria diagnostic test for their recent fever (adjusted risk difference [RD] = 9 percentage points [pp]; 95% CI 2–15 pp; p = 0.015; adjusted risk ratio [RR] = 1.20; 95% CI 1.05–1.38; p = 0.015). By 18 months, the ARR had increased to 1.25 (95% CI 1.09–1.44; p = 0.005). Rational use of ACTs in the intervention area increased from 41.7% (n = 279) at baseline to 59.6% (n = 403) and was 40% higher in the intervention arm at 18 months (ARR 1.40; 95% CI 1.19–1.64; p < 0.001). While intervention effects increased between 12 and 18 months, we were not able to estimate longer-term impact of the intervention and could not independently evaluate the effects of the free testing and the voucher on uptake of testing.

Conclusions

Diagnosis-dependent ACT subsidies and community-based interventions that include the private sector can have an important impact on diagnostic testing and population-wide rational use of ACTs. Targeting of the ACT subsidy itself to those with a positive malaria diagnostic test may also improve sustainability and reduce the cost of retail-sector ACT subsidies.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02461628

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy and risk of malaria in early childhood: A randomized controlled trial

Ma, 17/07/2018 - 23:00

by Prasanna Jagannathan, Abel Kakuru, Jaffer Okiring, Mary K. Muhindo, Paul Natureeba, Miriam Nakalembe, Bishop Opira, Peter Olwoch, Felistas Nankya, Isaac Ssewanyana, Kevin Tetteh, Chris Drakeley, James Beeson, Linda Reiling, Tamara D. Clark, Isabel Rodriguez-Barraquer, Bryan Greenhouse, Erika Wallender, Francesca Aweeka, Mary Prahl, Edwin D. Charlebois, Margaret E. Feeney, Diane V. Havlir, Moses R. Kamya, Grant Dorsey

Background

Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (IPTp-DP) has been shown to reduce the burden of malaria during pregnancy compared to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP). However, limited data exist on how IPTp regimens impact malaria risk during infancy. We conducted a double-blinded randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the hypothesis that children born to mothers given IPTp-DP would have a lower incidence of malaria during infancy compared to children born to mothers who received IPTp-SP.

Methods and findings

We compared malaria metrics among children in Tororo, Uganda, born to women randomized to IPTp-SP given every 8 weeks (SP8w, n = 100), IPTp-DP every 8 weeks (DP8w, n = 44), or IPTp-DP every 4 weeks (DP4w, n = 47). After birth, children were given chemoprevention with DP every 12 weeks from 8 weeks to 2 years of age. The primary outcome was incidence of malaria during the first 2 years of life. Secondary outcomes included time to malaria from birth and time to parasitemia following each dose of DP given during infancy. Results are reported after adjustment for clustering (twin gestation) and potential confounders (maternal age, gravidity, and maternal parasitemia status at enrolment).The study took place between June 2014 and May 2017. Compared to children whose mothers were randomized to IPTp-SP8w (0.24 episodes per person year [PPY]), the incidence of malaria was higher in children born to mothers who received IPTp-DP4w (0.42 episodes PPY, adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR] 1.92; 95% CI 1.00–3.65, p = 0.049) and nonsignificantly higher in children born to mothers who received IPT-DP8w (0.30 episodes PPY, aIRR 1.44; 95% CI 0.68–3.05, p = 0.34). However, these associations were modified by infant sex. Female children whose mothers were randomized to IPTp-DP4w had an apparently 4-fold higher incidence of malaria compared to female children whose mothers were randomized to IPTp-SP8w (0.65 versus 0.20 episodes PPY, aIRR 4.39, 95% CI 1.87–10.3, p = 0.001), but no significant association was observed in male children (0.20 versus 0.28 episodes PPY, aIRR 0.66, 95% CI 0.25–1.75, p = 0.42). Nonsignificant increases in malaria incidence were observed among female, but not male, children born to mothers who received DP8w versus SP8w. In exploratory analyses, levels of malaria-specific antibodies in cord blood were similar between IPTp groups and sex. However, female children whose mothers were randomized to IPTp-DP4w had lower mean piperaquine (PQ) levels during infancy compared to female children whose mothers received IPTp-SP8w (coef 0.81, 95% CI 0.65–1.00, p = 0.048) and male children whose mothers received IPTp-DP4w (coef 0.72, 95% CI 0.57–0.91, p = 0.006). There were no significant sex-specific differences in PQ levels among children whose mothers were randomized to IPTp-SP8w or IPTp-DP8w. The main limitations were small sample size and childhood provision of DP every 12 weeks in infancy.

Conclusions

Contrary to our hypothesis, preventing malaria in pregnancy with IPTp-DP in the context of chemoprevention with DP during infancy does not lead to a reduced incidence of malaria in childhood; in this setting, it may be associated with an increased incidence of malaria in females. Future studies are needed to better understand the biological mechanisms of in utero drug exposure on drug metabolism and how this may affect the dosing of antimalarial drugs for treatment and prevention during infancy.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT02163447.

Treatment and outcomes in children with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: A systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis

Me, 11/07/2018 - 23:00

by Elizabeth P. Harausz, Anthony J. Garcia-Prats, Stephanie Law, H. Simon Schaaf, Tamara Kredo, James A. Seddon, Dick Menzies, Anna Turkova, Jay Achar, Farhana Amanullah, Pennan Barry, Mercedes Becerra, Edward D. Chan, Pei Chun Chan, Domnica Ioana Chiotan, Aldo Crossa, Peter C. Drobac, Lee Fairlie, Dennis Falzon, Jennifer Flood, Medea Gegia, Robert M. Hicks, Petros Isaakidis, SM Kadri, Beate Kampmann, Shabir A. Madhi, Else Marais, Andrei Mariandyshev, Ana Méndez-Echevarría, Brittany Kathryn Moore, Parpieva Nargiza, Iveta Ozere, Nesri Padayatchi, Saleem- ur-Rehman, Natasha Rybak, Begoña Santiago-Garcia, N. Sarita Shah, Sangeeta Sharma, Tae Sun Shim, Alena Skrahina, Antoni Soriano-Arandes, Martin van den Boom, Marieke J. van der Werf, Tjip S. van der Werf, Bhanu Williams, Elena Yablokova, Jae-Joon Yim, Jennifer Furin, Anneke C. Hesseling, for the Collaborative Group for Meta-Analysis of Paediatric Individual Patient Data in MDR-TB

Background

An estimated 32,000 children develop multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB; Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to isoniazid and rifampin) each year. Little is known about the optimal treatment for these children.

Methods and findings

To inform the pediatric aspects of the revised World Health Organization (WHO) MDR-TB treatment guidelines, we performed a systematic review and individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis, describing treatment outcomes in children treated for MDR-TB. To identify eligible reports we searched PubMed, LILACS, Embase, The Cochrane Library, PsychINFO, and BioMedCentral databases through 1 October 2014. To identify unpublished data, we reviewed conference abstracts, contacted experts in the field, and requested data through other routes, including at national and international conferences and through organizations working in pediatric MDR-TB. A cohort was eligible for inclusion if it included a minimum of three children (aged <15 years) who were treated for bacteriologically confirmed or clinically diagnosed MDR-TB, and if treatment outcomes were reported. The search yielded 2,772 reports; after review, 33 studies were eligible for inclusion, with IPD provided for 28 of these. All data were from published or unpublished observational cohorts. We analyzed demographic, clinical, and treatment factors as predictors of treatment outcome. In order to obtain adjusted estimates, we used a random-effects multivariable logistic regression (random intercept and random slope, unless specified otherwise) adjusted for the following covariates: age, sex, HIV infection, malnutrition, severe extrapulmonary disease, or the presence of severe disease on chest radiograph. We analyzed data from 975 children from 18 countries; 731 (75%) had bacteriologically confirmed and 244 (25%) had clinically diagnosed MDR-TB. The median age was 7.1 years. Of 910 (93%) children with documented HIV status, 359 (39%) were infected with HIV. When compared to clinically diagnosed patients, children with confirmed MDR-TB were more likely to be older, to be infected with HIV, to be malnourished, and to have severe tuberculosis (TB) on chest radiograph (p < 0.001 for all characteristics). Overall, 764 of 975 (78%) had a successful treatment outcome at the conclusion of therapy: 548/731 (75%) of confirmed and 216/244 (89%) of clinically diagnosed children (absolute difference 14%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 8%–19%, p < 0.001). Treatment was successful in only 56% of children with bacteriologically confirmed TB who were infected with HIV who did not receive any antiretroviral treatment (ART) during MDR-TB therapy, compared to 82% in children infected with HIV who received ART during MDR-TB therapy (absolute difference 26%, 95% CI 5%–48%, p = 0.006). In children with confirmed MDR-TB, the use of second-line injectable agents and high-dose isoniazid (15–20 mg/kg/day) were associated with treatment success (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.9, 95% CI 1.0–8.3, p = 0.041 and aOR 5.9, 95% CI 1.7–20.5, p = 0.007, respectively). These findings for high-dose isoniazid may have been affected by site effect, as the majority of patients came from Cape Town. Limitations of this study include the difficulty of estimating the treatment effects of individual drugs within multidrug regimens, only observational cohort studies were available for inclusion, and treatment decisions were based on the clinician’s perception of illness, with resulting potential for bias.

Conclusions

This study suggests that children respond favorably to MDR-TB treatment. The low success rate in children infected with HIV who did not receive ART during their MDR-TB treatment highlights the need for ART in these children. Our findings of individual drug effects on treatment outcome should be further evaluated.

Reduced cognitive function during a heat wave among residents of non-air-conditioned buildings: An observational study of young adults in the summer of 2016

Ma, 10/07/2018 - 23:00

by Jose Guillermo Cedeño Laurent, Augusta Williams, Youssef Oulhote, Antonella Zanobetti, Joseph G. Allen, John D. Spengler

Background

In many regions globally, buildings designed for harnessing heat during the cold exacerbate thermal exposures during heat waves (HWs) by maintaining elevated indoor temperatures even when high ambient temperatures have subdued. While previous experimental studies have documented the effects of ambient temperatures on cognitive function, few have observed HW effects on indoor temperatures following subjects’ habitual conditions. The objective was to evaluate the differential impact of having air conditioning (AC) on cognitive function during a HW among residents of AC and non-AC buildings using a prospective observational cohort study.

Methods

We followed 44 students (mean age = 20.2 years; SD = 1.8 years) from a university in the Greater Boston area, Massachusetts in the United States living in AC (n = 24) and non-AC (n = 20) buildings before, during, and after a HW. Two cognition tests were self-administered daily for a period of 12 days (July 9–July 20, 2016), the Stroop color-word test (STROOP) to assess selective attention/processing speed and a 2-digit, visual addition/subtraction test (ADD) to evaluate cognitive speed and working memory. The effect of the HW on cognitive function was evaluated using difference-in-differences (DiD) modelling.

Findings

Mean indoor temperatures in the non-AC group (mean = 26.3°C; SD = 2.5°C; range = 19.6–30.4°C) were significantly higher (p < 0.001) than in the AC group (mean = 21.4°C; SD = 1.9°C; range = 17.5–25.0°C). DiD estimates show an increase in reaction time (STROOP = 13.4%, p < 0001; ADD = 13.3%, p < 0.001) and reduction in throughput (STROOP = −9.9%, p < 0.001; ADD = −6.3%, p = 0.08) during HWs among non-AC residents relative to AC residents at baseline. While ADD showed a linear relationship with indoor temperatures, STROOP was described by a U-shaped curve with linear effects below and above an optimum range (indoor temperature = 22°C–23°C), with an increase in reaction time of 16 ms/°C and 24 ms/°C for STROOP and ADD, respectively. Cognitive tests occurred right after waking, so the study is limited in that it cannot assess whether the observed effects extended during the rest of the day. Although the range of students’ ages also represents a limitation of the study, the consistent findings in this young, healthy population might indicate that greater portions of the population are susceptible to the effects of extreme heat.

Conclusions

Cognitive function deficits resulting from indoor thermal conditions during HWs extend beyond vulnerable populations. Our findings highlight the importance of incorporating sustainable adaptation measures in buildings to preserve educational attainment, economic productivity, and safety in light of a changing climate.

Carbon trading, co-pollutants, and environmental equity: Evidence from California’s cap-and-trade program (2011–2015)

Ma, 10/07/2018 - 23:00

by Lara Cushing, Dan Blaustein-Rejto, Madeline Wander, Manuel Pastor, James Sadd, Allen Zhu, Rachel Morello-Frosch

Background

Policies to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can yield public health benefits by also reducing emissions of hazardous co-pollutants, such as air toxics and particulate matter. Socioeconomically disadvantaged communities are typically disproportionately exposed to air pollutants, and therefore climate policy could also potentially reduce these environmental inequities. We sought to explore potential social disparities in GHG and co-pollutant emissions under an existing carbon trading program—the dominant approach to GHG regulation in the US and globally.

Methods and findings

We examined the relationship between multiple measures of neighborhood disadvantage and the location of GHG and co-pollutant emissions from facilities regulated under California’s cap-and-trade program—the world’s fourth largest operational carbon trading program. We examined temporal patterns in annual average emissions of GHGs, particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, volatile organic compounds, and air toxics before (January 1, 2011–December 31, 2012) and after (January 1, 2013–December 31, 2015) the initiation of carbon trading. We found that facilities regulated under California’s cap-and-trade program are disproportionately located in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods with higher proportions of residents of color, and that the quantities of co-pollutant emissions from these facilities were correlated with GHG emissions through time. Moreover, the majority (52%) of regulated facilities reported higher annual average local (in-state) GHG emissions since the initiation of trading. Neighborhoods that experienced increases in annual average GHG and co-pollutant emissions from regulated facilities nearby after trading began had higher proportions of people of color and poor, less educated, and linguistically isolated residents, compared to neighborhoods that experienced decreases in GHGs. These study results reflect preliminary emissions and social equity patterns of the first 3 years of California’s cap-and-trade program for which data are available. Due to data limitations, this analysis did not assess the emissions and equity implications of GHG reductions from transportation-related emission sources. Future emission patterns may shift, due to changes in industrial production decisions and policy initiatives that further incentivize local GHG and co-pollutant reductions in disadvantaged communities.

Conclusions

To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine social disparities in GHG and co-pollutant emissions under an existing carbon trading program. Our results indicate that, thus far, California’s cap-and-trade program has not yielded improvements in environmental equity with respect to health-damaging co-pollutant emissions. This could change, however, as the cap on GHG emissions is gradually lowered in the future. The incorporation of additional policy and regulatory elements that incentivize more local emission reductions in disadvantaged communities could enhance the local air quality and environmental equity benefits of California’s climate change mitigation efforts.

Climate change and women's health: Impacts and policy directions

Ma, 10/07/2018 - 23:00

by Cecilia Sorensen, Virginia Murray, Jay Lemery, John Balbus

In a Policy Forum, Cecilia Sorensen and colleagues discuss the implications of climate change for women's health.

Estimating the costs of air pollution to the National Health Service and social care: An assessment and forecast up to 2035

Ma, 10/07/2018 - 23:00

by Laura Pimpin, Lise Retat, Daniela Fecht, Laure de Preux, Franco Sassi, John Gulliver, Annalisa Belloni, Brian Ferguson, Emily Corbould, Abbygail Jaccard, Laura Webber

Background

Air pollution damages health by promoting the onset of some non-communicable diseases (NCDs), putting additional strain on the National Health Service (NHS) and social care. This study quantifies the total health and related NHS and social care cost burden due to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in England.

Method and findings

Air pollutant concentration surfaces from land use regression models and cost data from hospital admissions data and a literature review were fed into a microsimulation model, that was run from 2015 to 2035. Different scenarios were modelled: (1) baseline ‘no change’ scenario; (2) individuals’ pollutant exposure is reduced to natural (non-anthropogenic) levels to compute the disease cases attributable to PM2.5 and NO2; (3) PM2.5 and NO2 concentrations reduced by 1 μg/m3; and (4) NO2 annual European Union limit values reached (40 μg/m3). For the 18 years after baseline, the total cumulative cost to the NHS and social care is estimated at £5.37 billion for PM2.5 and NO2 combined, rising to £18.57 billion when costs for diseases for which there is less robust evidence are included. These costs are due to the cumulative incidence of air-pollution-related NCDs, such as 348,878 coronary heart disease cases estimated to be attributable to PM2.5 and 573,363 diabetes cases estimated to be attributable to NO2 by 2035. Findings from modelling studies are limited by the conceptual model, assumptions, and the availability and quality of input data.

Conclusions

Approximately 2.5 million cases of NCDs attributable to air pollution are predicted by 2035 if PM2.5 and NO2 stay at current levels, making air pollution an important public health priority. In future work, the modelling framework should be updated to include multi-pollutant exposure–response functions, as well as to disaggregate results by socioeconomic status.

The San Diego 2007 wildfires and Medi-Cal emergency department presentations, inpatient hospitalizations, and outpatient visits: An observational study of smoke exposure periods and a bidirectional case-crossover analysis

Ma, 10/07/2018 - 23:00

by Justine A. Hutchinson, Jason Vargo, Meredith Milet, Nancy H. F. French, Michael Billmire, Jeffrey Johnson, Sumi Hoshiko

Background

The frequency and intensity of wildfires is anticipated to increase as climate change creates longer, warmer, and drier seasons. Particulate matter (PM) from wildfire smoke has been linked to adverse respiratory and possibly cardiovascular outcomes. Children, older adults, and persons with underlying respiratory and cardiovascular conditions are thought to be particularly vulnerable. This study examines the healthcare utilization of Medi-Cal recipients during the fall 2007 San Diego wildfires, which exposed millions of persons to wildfire smoke.

Methods and findings

Respiratory and cardiovascular International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 codes were identified from Medi-Cal fee-for-service claims for emergency department presentations, inpatient hospitalizations, and outpatient visits. For a respiratory index and a cardiovascular index of key diagnoses and individual diagnoses, we calculated rate ratios (RRs) for the study population and different age groups for 3 consecutive 5-day exposure periods (P1 [October 22–26], P2 [October 27–31], and P3 [November 1–5]) versus pre-fire comparison periods matched on day of week (5-day periods starting 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9 weeks before each exposed period). We used a bidirectional symmetric case-crossover design to examine emergency department presentations with any respiratory diagnosis and asthma specifically, with exposure based on modeled wildfire-derived fine inhalable particles that are 2.5 micrometers and smaller (PM2.5). We used conditional logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs), adjusting for temperature and relative humidity, to assess same-day and moving averages. We also evaluated the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Air Quality Index (AQI) with this conditional logistic regression method. We identified 21,353 inpatient hospitalizations, 25,922 emergency department presentations, and 297,698 outpatient visits between August 16 and December 15, 2007. During P1, total emergency department presentations were no different than the reference periods (1,071 versus 1,062.2; RR 1.01; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.95–1.08), those for respiratory diagnoses increased by 34% (288 versus 215.3; RR 1.34; 95% CI 1.18–1.52), and those for asthma increased by 112% (58 versus 27.3; RR 2.12; 95% CI 1.57–2.86). Some visit types continued to be elevated in later time frames, e.g., a 72% increase in outpatient visits for acute bronchitis in P2. Among children aged 0–4, emergency department presentations for respiratory diagnoses increased by 70% in P1, and very young children (0–1) experienced a 243% increase for asthma diagnoses. Associated with a 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 (72-hour moving average), we found 1.08 (95% CI 1.04–1.13) times greater odds of an emergency department presentation for asthma. The AQI level “unhealthy for sensitive groups” was associated with significantly elevated odds of an emergency department presentation for respiratory conditions the day following exposure, compared to the AQI level “good” (OR 1.73; 95% CI 1.18–2.53). Study limitations include the use of patient home address to estimate exposures and demographic differences between Medi-Cal beneficiaries and the general population.

Conclusions

Respiratory diagnoses, especially asthma, were elevated during the wildfires in the vulnerable population of Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Wildfire-related healthcare utilization appeared to persist beyond the initial high-exposure period. Increased adverse health events were apparent even at mildly degraded AQI levels. Significant increases in health events, especially for respiratory conditions and among young children, are expected based on projected climate scenarios of wildfire frequency in California and globally.

Correction: The state of the antivaccine movement in the United States: A focused examination of nonmedical exemptions in states and counties

Ve, 06/07/2018 - 23:00

by Jacqueline K. Olive, Peter J. Hotez, Ashish Damania, Melissa S. Nolan

Increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide: Anticipated negative effects on food quality

Ma, 03/07/2018 - 23:00

by Kristie L. Ebi, Lewis H. Ziska

In a Perspective, Kristie Ebi and Lewis Ziska discuss Weyant and colleagues' accompanying study on the projected effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide on nutrition and disease.

Air-quality-related health impacts from climate change and from adaptation of cooling demand for buildings in the eastern United States: An interdisciplinary modeling study

Ma, 03/07/2018 - 23:00

by David W. Abel, Tracey Holloway, Monica Harkey, Paul Meier, Doug Ahl, Vijay S. Limaye, Jonathan A. Patz

Background

Climate change negatively impacts human health through heat stress and exposure to worsened air pollution, amongst other pathways. Indoor use of air conditioning can be an effective strategy to reduce heat exposure. However, increased air conditioning use increases emissions of air pollutants from power plants, in turn worsening air quality and human health impacts. We used an interdisciplinary linked model system to quantify the impacts of heat-driven adaptation through building cooling demand on air-quality-related health outcomes in a representative mid-century climate scenario.

Methods and findings

We used a modeling system that included downscaling historical and future climate data with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, simulating building electricity demand using the Regional Building Energy Simulation System (RBESS), simulating power sector production and emissions using MyPower, simulating ambient air quality using the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model, and calculating the incidence of adverse health outcomes using the Environmental Benefits Mapping and Analysis Program (BenMAP). We performed simulations for a representative present-day climate scenario and 2 representative mid-century climate scenarios, with and without exacerbated power sector emissions from adaptation in building energy use. We find that by mid-century, climate change alone can increase fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations by 58.6% (2.50 μg/m3) and ozone (O3) by 14.9% (8.06 parts per billion by volume [ppbv]) for the month of July. A larger change is found when comparing the present day to the combined impact of climate change and increased building energy use, where PM2.5 increases 61.1% (2.60 μg/m3) and O3 increases 15.9% (8.64 ppbv). Therefore, 3.8% of the total increase in PM2.5 and 6.7% of the total increase in O3 is attributable to adaptive behavior (extra air conditioning use). Health impacts assessment finds that for a mid-century climate change scenario (with adaptation), annual PM2.5-related adult mortality increases by 13,547 deaths (14 concentration–response functions with mean incidence range of 1,320 to 26,481, approximately US$126 billion cost) and annual O3-related adult mortality increases by 3,514 deaths (3 functions with mean incidence range of 2,175 to 4,920, approximately US$32.5 billion cost), calculated as a 3-month summer estimate based on July modeling. Air conditioning adaptation accounts for 654 (range of 87 to 1,245) of the PM2.5-related deaths (approximately US$6 billion cost, a 4.8% increase above climate change impacts alone) and 315 (range of 198 to 438) of the O3-related deaths (approximately US$3 billion cost, an 8.7% increase above climate change impacts alone). Limitations of this study include modeling only a single month, based on 1 model-year of future climate simulations. As a result, we do not project the future, but rather describe the potential damages from interactions arising between climate, energy use, and air quality.

Conclusions

This study examines the contribution of future air-pollution-related health damages that are caused by the power sector through heat-driven air conditioning adaptation in buildings. Results show that without intervention, approximately 5%–9% of exacerbated air-pollution-related mortality will be due to increases in power sector emissions from heat-driven building electricity demand. This analysis highlights the need for cleaner energy sources, energy efficiency, and energy conservation to meet our growing dependence on building cooling systems and simultaneously mitigate climate change.

Future ozone-related acute excess mortality under climate and population change scenarios in China: A modeling study

Ma, 03/07/2018 - 23:00

by Kai Chen, Arlene M. Fiore, Renjie Chen, Leiwen Jiang, Bryan Jones, Alexandra Schneider, Annette Peters, Jun Bi, Haidong Kan, Patrick L. Kinney

Background

Climate change is likely to further worsen ozone pollution in already heavily polluted areas, leading to increased ozone-related health burdens. However, little evidence exists in China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and most populated country. As China is embracing an aging population with changing population size and falling age-standardized mortality rates, the potential impact of population change on ozone-related health burdens is unclear. Moreover, little is known about the seasonal variation of ozone-related health burdens under climate change. We aimed to assess near-term (mid-21st century) future annual and seasonal excess mortality from short-term exposure to ambient ozone in 104 Chinese cities under 2 climate and emission change scenarios and 6 population change scenarios.

Methods and findings

We collected historical ambient ozone observations, population change projections, and baseline mortality rates in 104 cities across China during April 27, 2013, to October 31, 2015 (2013–2015), which included approximately 13% of the total population of mainland China. Using historical ozone monitoring data, we performed bias correction and spatially downscaled future ozone projections at a coarse spatial resolution (2.0° × 2.5°) for the period April 27, 2053, to October 31, 2055 (2053–2055), from a global chemistry–climate model to a fine spatial resolution (0.25° × 0.25°) under 2 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs): RCP4.5, a moderate global warming and emission scenario where global warming is between 1.5°C and 2.0°C, and RCP8.5, a high global warming and emission scenario where global warming exceeds 2.0°C. We then estimated the future annual and seasonal ozone-related acute excess mortality attributable to both climate and population changes using cause-specific, age-group-specific, and season-specific concentration–response functions (CRFs). We used Monte Carlo simulations to obtain empirical confidence intervals (eCIs), quantifying the uncertainty in CRFs and the variability across ensemble members (i.e., 3 predictions of future climate and air quality from slightly different starting conditions) of the global model. Estimates of future changes in annual ozone-related mortality are sensitive to the choice of global warming and emission scenario, decreasing under RCP4.5 (−24.0%) due to declining ozone precursor emissions but increasing under RCP8.5 (10.7%) due to warming climate in 2053–2055 relative to 2013–2015. Higher ambient ozone occurs under the high global warming and emission scenario (RCP8.5), leading to an excess 1,476 (95% eCI: 898 to 2,977) non-accidental deaths per year in 2053–2055 relative to 2013–2015. Future ozone-related acute excess mortality from cardiovascular diseases was 5–8 times greater than that from respiratory diseases. Ozone concentrations increase by 15.1 parts per billion (10−9) in colder months (November to April), contributing to a net yearly increase of 22.3% (95% eCI: 7.7% to 35.4%) in ozone-related mortality under RCP8.5. An aging population, with the proportion of the population aged 65 years and above increased from 8% in 2010 to 24%–33% in 2050, will substantially amplify future ozone-related mortality, leading to a net increase of 23,838 to 78,560 deaths (110% to 363%). Our analysis was mainly limited by using a single global chemistry–climate model and the statistical downscaling approach to project ozone changes under climate change.

Conclusions

Our analysis shows increased future ozone-related acute excess mortality under the high global warming and emission scenario RCP8.5 for an aging population in China. Comparison with the lower global warming and emission scenario RCP4.5 suggests that climate change mitigation measures are needed to prevent a rising health burden from exposure to ambient ozone pollution in China.

Chile’s 2014 sugar-sweetened beverage tax and changes in prices and purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages: An observational study in an urban environment

Ma, 03/07/2018 - 23:00

by Juan Carlos Caro, Camila Corvalán, Marcela Reyes, Andres Silva, Barry Popkin, Lindsey Smith Taillie

Background

On October 1, 2014, the Chilean government modified its previous sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax, increasing the tax rate from 13% to 18% on industrialized beverages with high levels of sugar (H-SSBs) (greater than 6.25 grams [g] sugar/100 milliliters [mL]) and decreasing the tax rate from 13% to 10% on industrialized beverages with low or no sugar (L-SSBs) (less than 6.25 g sugar/100 mL). This study examines changes in beverage prices and household beverage purchases following the implementation of the tax reform.

Methods and findings

We used longitudinal data collected between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2015, from 2,000 households. We defined the pretax period as January 1, 2013, to September 30, 2014, and the posttax period as October 1, 2014, to December 31, 2015. We conducted a pre–post analysis for changes in prices and purchases, with the latter examined by volume and calories. We compared posttax changes in prices and purchases to a counterfactual, defined as what would have been expected in the posttax period based on pretax trends. All results are stated as comparisons to this counterfactual. We linked beverages at the bar code level to nutrition facts panel data collected by a team of Chilean nutritionists who categorized them by taxation level and beverage subcategory, which included carbonated and noncarbonated H-SSBs and concentrated, ready-to-drink L-SSBs and untaxed beverages. We reconstituted concentrated beverages and analyzed all beverages using as-consumed volumes and calories. Posttax monthly prices of H-SSBs increased, but these changes were small. Prices of carbonated H-SSBs increased by 2.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0%–3.0%), while those of noncarbonated H-SSBs increased by 3.9% (95% CI 1.6%–6.2%). Prices of L-SSB concentrates decreased after the tax by 6.7% (95% CI −8.2%–−4.6%), and prices of ready-to-drink L-SSBs increased by 1.5% (95% CI 0.3%–2.7%). Households decreased monthly per capita purchases of H-SSBs by 3.4% by volume (95% CI −5.9%–−0.9%) and 4.0% by calories (95% CI −6.3%–−1.9%), and this change was greater among high socioeconomic status (SES) households. The volume of household purchases of L-SSBs increased 10.7% (95% CI 7.5%–13.9%), while that of untaxed beverage purchases decreased by 3.1% (95% CI −5.1%–−1.1%). The main limitation of this study was that there was no control group, so we were unable to assess the causal impact of the tax.

Conclusions

The modifications of Chile’s SSB tax were small, and observed changes in prices and purchases of beverages after the tax were also small. Our results are consistent with previous evidence indicating that small increases in SSB taxes are unlikely to promote large enough changes in SSB purchases to reduce obesity and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

Evaluating the 2014 sugar-sweetened beverage tax in Chile: An observational study in urban areas

Ma, 03/07/2018 - 23:00

by Ryota Nakamura, Andrew J. Mirelman, Cristóbal Cuadrado, Nicolas Silva-Illanes, Jocelyn Dunstan, Marc Suhrcke

Background

In October 2014, Chile implemented a tax modification on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) called the Impuesto Adicional a las Bebidas Analcohólicas (IABA). The design of the tax was unique, increasing the tax on soft drinks above 6.25 grams of added sugar per 100 mL and decreasing the tax for those below this threshold.

Methods and findings

This study evaluates Chile’s SSB tax, which was announced in March 2014 and implemented in October 2014. We used household-level grocery-purchasing data from 2011 to 2015 for 2,836 households living in cities representative of the urban population of Chile. We employed a fixed-effects econometric approach and estimated the before–after change in purchasing of SSBs controlling for seasonality, general time trend, temperature, and economic fluctuations as well as time-invariant household characteristics. Results showed significant changes in purchasing for the statistically preferred model: while there was a barely significant decrease in the volume of all soft drinks, there was a highly significant decrease in the monthly purchased volume of the higher-taxed, sugary soft drinks by 21.6%. The direction of this reduction was robust to different empirical modelling approaches, but the statistical significance and the magnitude of the changes varied considerably. The reduction in soft drink purchasing was most evident amongst higher socioeconomic groups and higher pretax purchasers of sugary soft drinks. There was no systematic, robust pattern in the estimates by household obesity status. After tax implementation, the purchase prices of soft drinks decreased for the items for which the tax rate was reduced, but they remained unchanged for sugary items, for which the tax was increased. However, the purchase prices increased for sugary soft drinks at the time of the policy announcement. The main limitations include a lack of a randomised design, limiting the extent of causal inference possible, and the focus on purchasing data rather than consumption or health outcomes.

Conclusions

The results of subgroup analyses suggest that the policy may have been partially effective, though not necessarily in ways that are likely to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in diet-related health. It remains unclear whether the policy has had a major, overall population-level impact. Additionally, because the present study examined purchasing of soft drinks for only 1 year, a longer-term evaluation—ideally including an assessment of consumption and health impacts—should be conducted in future research.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02926001

Adherence interventions and outcomes of tuberculosis treatment: A systematic review and meta-analysis of trials and observational studies

Ma, 03/07/2018 - 23:00

by Narges Alipanah, Leah Jarlsberg, Cecily Miller, Nguyen Nhat Linh, Dennis Falzon, Ernesto Jaramillo, Payam Nahid

Background

Incomplete adherence to tuberculosis (TB) treatment increases the risk of delayed culture conversion with continued transmission in the community, as well as treatment failure, relapse, and development or amplification of drug resistance. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of adherence interventions, including directly observed therapy (DOT), to determine which approaches lead to improved TB treatment outcomes.

Methods and findings

We systematically reviewed Medline as well as the references of published review articles for relevant studies of adherence to multidrug treatment of both drug-susceptible and drug-resistant TB through February 3, 2018. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) as well as prospective and retrospective cohort studies (CSs) with an internal or external control group that evaluated any adherence intervention and conducted a meta-analysis of their impact on TB treatment outcomes. Our search identified 7,729 articles, of which 129 met the inclusion criteria for quantitative analysis. Seven adherence categories were identified, including DOT offered by different providers and at various locations, reminders and tracers, incentives and enablers, patient education, digital technologies (short message services [SMSs] via mobile phones and video-observed therapy [VOT]), staff education, and combinations of these interventions. When compared with DOT alone, self-administered therapy (SAT) was associated with lower rates of treatment success (CS: risk ratio [RR] 0.81, 95% CI 0.73–0.89; RCT: RR 0.94, 95% CI 0.89–0.98), adherence (CS: RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.75–0.93), and sputum smear conversion (RCT: RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.87–0.98) as well as higher rates of development of drug resistance (CS: RR 4.19, 95% CI 2.34–7.49). When compared to DOT provided by healthcare providers, DOT provided by family members was associated with a lower rate of adherence (CS: RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.79–0.94). DOT delivery in the community versus at the clinic was associated with a higher rate of treatment success (CS: RR 1.08, 95% CI 1.01–1.15) and sputum conversion at the end of two months (CS: RR 1.05, 95% CI 1.02–1.08) as well as lower rates of treatment failure (CS: RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.33–0.95) and loss to follow-up (CS: RR 0.63, 95% CI 0.40–0.98). Medication monitors improved adherence and treatment success and VOT was comparable with DOT. SMS reminders led to a higher treatment completion rate in one RCT and were associated with higher rates of cure and sputum conversion when used in combination with medication monitors. TB treatment outcomes improved when patient education, healthcare provider education, incentives and enablers, psychological interventions, reminders and tracers, or mobile digital technologies were employed. Our findings are limited by the heterogeneity of the included studies and lack of standardized research methodology on adherence interventions.

Conclusion

TB treatment outcomes are improved with the use of adherence interventions, such as patient education and counseling, incentives and enablers, psychological interventions, reminders and tracers, and digital health technologies. Trained healthcare providers as well as community delivery provides patient-centered DOT options that both enhance adherence and improve treatment outcomes as compared to unsupervised, SAT alone.

Anticipated burden and mitigation of carbon-dioxide-induced nutritional deficiencies and related diseases: A simulation modeling study

Ma, 03/07/2018 - 23:00

by Christopher Weyant, Margaret L. Brandeau, Marshall Burke, David B. Lobell, Eran Bendavid, Sanjay Basu

Background

Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are anticipated to decrease the zinc and iron concentrations of crops. The associated disease burden and optimal mitigation strategies remain unknown. We sought to understand where and to what extent increasing carbon dioxide concentrations may increase the global burden of nutritional deficiencies through changes in crop nutrient concentrations, and the effects of potential mitigation strategies.

Methods and findings

For each of 137 countries, we incorporated estimates of climate change, crop nutrient concentrations, dietary patterns, and disease risk into a microsimulation model of zinc and iron deficiency. These estimates were obtained from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, US Department of Agriculture, Statistics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Global Burden of Disease Project, respectively. In the absence of increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, we estimated that zinc and iron deficiencies would induce 1,072.9 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) globally over the period 2015 to 2050 (95% credible interval [CrI]: 971.1–1,167.7). In the presence of increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, we estimated that decreasing zinc and iron concentrations of crops would induce an additional 125.8 million DALYs globally over the same period (95% CrI: 113.6–138.9). This carbon-dioxide-induced disease burden is projected to disproportionately affect nations in the World Health Organization’s South-East Asia and African Regions (44.0 and 28.5 million DALYs, respectively), which already have high existing disease burdens from zinc and iron deficiencies (364.3 and 299.5 million DALYs, respectively), increasing global nutritional inequalities. A climate mitigation strategy such as the Paris Agreement (an international agreement to keep global temperatures within 2°C of pre-industrial levels) would be expected to avert 48.2% of this burden (95% CrI: 47.8%–48.5%), while traditional public health interventions including nutrient supplementation and disease control programs would be expected to avert 26.6% of the burden (95% CrI: 23.8%–29.6%). Of the traditional public health interventions, zinc supplementation would be expected to avert 5.5%, iron supplementation 15.7%, malaria mitigation 3.2%, pneumonia mitigation 1.6%, and diarrhea mitigation 0.5%. The primary limitations of the analysis include uncertainty regarding how food consumption patterns may change with climate, how disease mortality rates will change over time, and how crop zinc and iron concentrations will decline from those at present to those in 2050.

Conclusions

Effects of increased carbon dioxide on crop nutrient concentrations are anticipated to exacerbate inequalities in zinc and iron deficiencies by 2050. Proposed Paris Agreement strategies are expected to be more effective than traditional public health measures to avert the increased inequality.

Correction: Prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and bacterial vaginosis among women in sub-Saharan Africa: An individual participant data meta-analysis of 18 HIV prevention studies

Ma, 26/06/2018 - 23:00

by Elizabeth A. Torrone, Charles S. Morrison, Pai-Lien Chen, Cynthia Kwok, Suzanna C. Francis, Richard J. Hayes, Katharine J. Looker, Sheena McCormack, Nuala McGrath, Janneke H. H. M. van de Wijgert, Deborah Watson-Jones, Nicola Low, Sami L. Gottlieb, on behalf of the STIMA Working Group