• Assessment of Fecal Exposure Pathways in Low-Income Urban Neighborhoods in Accra, Ghana: Rationale, Design, Methods, and Key Findings of the SaniPath Study.

      Robb, Katharine; Null, Clair; Teunis, Peter; Yakubu, Habib; Armah, George; Moe, Christine L (2017-10)
      Rapid urbanization has contributed to an urban sanitation crisis in low-income countries. Residents in low-income, urban neighborhoods often have poor sanitation infrastructure and services and may experience frequent exposure to fecal contamination through a range of pathways. There are little data to prioritize strategies to decrease exposure to fecal contamination in these complex and highly contaminated environments, and public health priorities are rarely considered when planning urban sanitation investments. The SaniPath Study addresses this need by characterizing pathways of exposure to fecal contamination. Over a 16 month period, an in-depth, interdisciplinary exposure assessment was conducted in both public and private domains of four neighborhoods in Accra, Ghana. Microbiological analyses of environmental samples and behavioral data collection techniques were used to quantify fecal contamination in the environment and characterize the behaviors of adults and children associated with exposure to fecal contamination. Environmental samples (n = 1,855) were collected and analyzed for fecal indicators and enteric pathogens. A household survey with 800 respondents and over 500 hours of structured observation of young children were conducted. Approximately 25% of environmental samples were collected in conjunction with structured observations (n = 441 samples). The results of the study highlight widespread and often high levels of fecal contamination in both public and private domains and the food supply. The dominant fecal exposure pathway for young children in the household was through consumption of uncooked produce. The SaniPath Study provides critical information on exposure to fecal contamination in low-income, urban environments and ultimately can inform investments and policies to reduce these public health risks.
    • 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.
    • Health and Economic Impact of a Tender-Based, Sex-Neutral Human Papillomavirus 16/18 Vaccination Program in the Netherlands.

      Qendri, Venetia; Bogaards, Johannes A; Berkhof, Johannes (2017-07-15)
      Uptake of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine among girls in the Dutch immunization program has plateaued at around 60%. Vaccinating boys may be an appealing complementary strategy for the prevention of HPV-related diseases, especially since tender negotiations and reduced dosing schemes have driven down the cost of vaccination.
    • Multipathway Quantitative Assessment of Exposure to Fecal Contamination for Young Children in Low-Income Urban Environments in Accra, Ghana: The SaniPath Analytical Approach.

      Wang, Yuke; Moe, Christine L; Null, Clair; Raj, Suraja J; Baker, Kelly K; Robb, Katharine A; Yakubu, Habib; Ampofo, Joseph A; Wellington, Nii; Freeman, Matthew C; et al. (2017-10)
      Lack of adequate sanitation results in fecal contamination of the environment and poses a risk of disease transmission via multiple exposure pathways. To better understand how eight different sources contribute to overall exposure to fecal contamination, we quantified exposure through multiple pathways for children under 5 years old in four high-density, low-income, urban neighborhoods in Accra, Ghana. We collected more than 500 hours of structured observation of behaviors of 156 children, 800 household surveys, and 1,855 environmental samples. Data were analyzed using Bayesian models, estimating the environmental and behavioral factors associated with exposure to fecal contamination. These estimates were applied in exposure models simulating sequences of behaviors and transfers of fecal indicators. This approach allows us to identify the contribution of any sources of fecal contamination in the environment to child exposure and use dynamic fecal microbe transfer networks to track fecal indicators from the environment to oral ingestion. The contributions of different sources to exposure were categorized into four types (high/low by dose and frequency), as a basis for ranking pathways by the potential to reduce exposure. Although we observed variation in estimated exposure (108-1016 CFU/day for Escherichia coli) between different age groups and neighborhoods, the greatest contribution was consistently from food (contributing > 99.9% to total exposure). Hands played a pivotal role in fecal microbe transfer, linking environmental sources to oral ingestion. The fecal microbe transfer network constructed here provides a systematic approach to study the complex interaction between contaminated environment and human behavior on exposure to fecal contamination.
    • A New Statistical Method to Determine the Degree of Validity of Health Economic Model Outcomes against Empirical Data.

      Corro Ramos, Isaac; van Voorn, George A K; Vemer, Pepijn; Feenstra, Talitha L; Al, Maiwenn J (2017)
      The validation of health economic (HE) model outcomes against empirical data is of key importance. Although statistical testing seems applicable, guidelines for the validation of HE models lack guidance on statistical validation, and actual validation efforts often present subjective judgment of graphs and point estimates.