• Attribution of global foodborne disease to specific foods: Findings from a World Health Organization structured expert elicitation.

      Hoffmann, Sandra; Devleesschauwer, Brecht; Aspinall, Willy; Cooke, Roger; Corrigan, Tim; Havelaar, Arie; Angulo, Frederick; Gibb, Herman; Kirk, Martyn; Lake, Robin; et al. (2017)
      Recently the World Health Organization, Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG) estimated that 31 foodborne diseases (FBDs) resulted in over 600 million illnesses and 420,000 deaths worldwide in 2010. Knowing the relative role importance of different foods as exposure routes for key hazards is critical to preventing illness. This study reports the findings of a structured expert elicitation providing globally comparable food source attribution estimates for 11 major FBDs in each of 14 world subregions.
    • Comparative Genome Analysis and Global Phylogeny of the Toxin Variant Clostridium difficile PCR Ribotype 017 Reveals the Evolution of Two Independent Sublineages.

      Cairns, M D; Preston, M D; Hall, C L; Gerding, D N; Hawkey, P M; Kato, H; Kim, H; Kuijper, E J; Lawley, T D; Pituch, H; et al. (2017)
      The diarrheal pathogen Clostridium difficile consists of at least six distinct evolutionary lineages. The RT017 lineage is anomalous, as strains only express toxin B, compared to strains from other lineages that produce toxins A and B and, occasionally, binary toxin. Historically, RT017 initially was reported in Asia but now has been reported worldwide. We used whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis to investigate the patterns of global spread and population structure of 277 RT017 isolates from animal and human origins from six continents, isolated between 1990 and 2013. We reveal two distinct evenly split sublineages (SL1 and SL2) of C. difficile RT017 that contain multiple independent clonal expansions. All 24 animal isolates were contained within SL1 along with human isolates, suggesting potential transmission between animals and humans. Genetic analyses revealed an overrepresentation of antibiotic resistance genes. Phylogeographic analyses show a North American origin for RT017, as has been found for the recently emerged epidemic RT027 lineage. Despite having only one toxin, RT017 strains have evolved in parallel from at least two independent sources and can readily transmit between continents.
    • Global estimates of mortality associated with long-term exposure to outdoor fine particulate matter.

      Burnett, Richard; Chen, Hong; Szyszkowicz, Mieczysław; Fann, Neal; Hubbell, Bryan; Pope, C Arden; Apte, Joshua S; Brauer, Michael; Cohen, Aaron; Weichenthal, Scott; et al. (2018)
      Exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is a major global health concern. Quantitative estimates of attributable mortality are based on disease-specific hazard ratio models that incorporate risk information from multiple PM2.5 sources (outdoor and indoor air pollution from use of solid fuels and secondhand and active smoking), requiring assumptions about equivalent exposure and toxicity. We relax these contentious assumptions by constructing a PM2.5-mortality hazard ratio function based only on cohort studies of outdoor air pollution that covers the global exposure range. We modeled the shape of the association between PM2.5 and nonaccidental mortality using data from 41 cohorts from 16 countries-the Global Exposure Mortality Model (GEMM). We then constructed GEMMs for five specific causes of death examined by the global burden of disease (GBD). The GEMM predicts 8.9 million [95% confidence interval (CI): 7.5-10.3] deaths in 2015, a figure 30% larger than that predicted by the sum of deaths among the five specific causes (6.9; 95% CI: 4.9-8.5) and 120% larger than the risk function used in the GBD (4.0; 95% CI: 3.3-4.8). Differences between the GEMM and GBD risk functions are larger for a 20% reduction in concentrations, with the GEMM predicting 220% higher excess deaths. These results suggest that PM2.5 exposure may be related to additional causes of death than the five considered by the GBD and that incorporation of risk information from other, nonoutdoor, particle sources leads to underestimation of disease burden, especially at higher concentrations.
    • Global outbreak of severe Mycobacterium chimaera disease after cardiac surgery: a molecular epidemiological study.

      van Ingen, Jakko; Kohl, Thomas A; Kranzer, Katharina; Hasse, Barbara; Keller, Peter M; Katarzyna Szafrańska, Anna; Hillemann, Doris; Chand, Meera; Schreiber, Peter Werner; Sommerstein, Rami; et al. (2017-10)
      Since 2013, over 100 cases of Mycobacterium chimaera prosthetic valve endocarditis and disseminated disease were notified in Europe and the USA, linked to contaminated heater-cooler units (HCUs) used during cardiac surgery. We did a molecular epidemiological investigation to establish the source of these patients' disease.