Public health

  • Article
    | Open Access

    COVID-19 has caused many healthcare systems to become overwhelmed, potentially impacting patient care. Here, the authors show that COVID-19-related in-hospital mortality rates in Israel increased in periods of moderate or high hospital load, independent of patient characteristics.

    • Hagai Rossman
    • , Tomer Meir
    •  & Malka Gorfine
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Contact tracing for a timely isolation of potentially infected individuals can be provided manually or via digital applications. Mancastroppa et al. show that in the combination of both procedures the manual tracing is dominant and allows for better detection of infection super-spreaders.

    • Marco Mancastroppa
    • , Claudio Castellano
    •  & Raffaella Burioni
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Digital contact tracing is increasingly considered as one of the tools to control infectious disease outbreaks, in particular the COVID-19 epidemic. Here, the authors present a modeling framework informed by empirical high-resolution contact data to analyze the impact of digital contact tracing apps.

    • G. Cencetti
    • , G. Santin
    •  & B. Lepri
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The role of school-based contacts in the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 is incompletely understood. Here, the authors use an age-structured transmission model fitted to age-specific seroprevalence and hospital admission data to assess the effects of school-based measures during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands.

    • Ganna Rozhnova
    • , Christiaan H. van Dorp
    •  & Mirjam E. Kretzschmar
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tropical cyclones can cause severe damage and can thus have devastating impacts on societies. Here, the authors use Medicare data to show that tropical cyclone exposure in the United States is associated with increased hospitalization rates for older adults from many different acute causes.

    • Robbie M. Parks
    • , G. Brooke Anderson
    •  & Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou
  • Article
    | Open Access

    COVID-19 might occur together with other natural disasters but frameworks to quantify collective effects is lacking. Here, the authors investigated the readiness of a healthcare system in the face of wildfire during an epidemic by assuming the COVID-19 pandemic occurred around the same time with the Camp Fire case in Butte Country California 2018/2019.

    • Emad M. Hassan
    •  & Hussam N. Mahmoud
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ticks are an important vector of disease in China, posing threats to humans, livestock and wild animals. Here, Zhao et al. compile a database of the distributions of the 124 tick species known in China and 103 tick-borne pathogens and predict the additional suitable habitats for the predominant vector species.

    • Guo-Ping Zhao
    • , Yi-Xing Wang
    •  & Li-Qun Fang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The role of children in the spread of COVID-19 is not fully understood, and the circumstances under which schools should be opened are therefore debated. Here, the authors demonstrate protocols by which schools in France can be safely opened without overwhelming the healthcare system.

    • Laura Di Domenico
    • , Giulia Pullano
    •  & Vittoria Colizza
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Global warming is expected to increase mortality due to heat stress in many regions. Here, the authors asses how mortality due to high temperatures changes in China changes for different demographic groups and show that heat-related excess mortality is increasing under climate change, a process that is strongly amplified by population ageing.

    • Jun Yang
    • , Maigeng Zhou
    •  & Qiyong Liu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    New Zealand has been relatively successful in controlling COVID-19 due to implementation of strict non-pharmaceutical interventions. Here, the authors demonstrate a striking decline in reports of influenza and other non-influenza respiratory pathogens over winter months in which the interventions have been in place.

    • Q. Sue Huang
    • , Tim Wood
    •  & Richard J. Webby
  • Article
    | Open Access

    During the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic there was a need for rapid dissemination of clinical findings. Here, Jung, Di Santo et al. perform a systematic review and cohort study providing evidence for lower methodological quality scores and faster time to publication of clinical studies related to COVID-19 than comparable studies.

    • Richard G. Jung
    • , Pietro Di Santo
    •  & Benjamin Hibbert
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the early phase of the pandemic has been driven by high population susceptibility, but virus sensitivity to climate may play a role in future outbreaks. Here, the authors simulate SARS-CoV-2 dynamics in winter assuming climate dependence is similar to an endemic coronavirus strain.

    • Rachel E. Baker
    • , Wenchang Yang
    •  & Bryan T. Grenfell
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Establishing the natural history of COVID-19 requires longitudinal data from population-based cohorts. Here, the authors use linked primary care, testing, and hospital data to describe the disease in ~100,000 individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis among a population of ~5.5 million in Catalonia, Spain.

    • Edward Burn
    • , Cristian Tebé
    •  & Talita Duarte-Salles
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Test, trace, and isolate programmes are central to COVID-19 control. Here, Viola Priesemann and colleagues evaluate how to allocate scarce resources to keep numbers low, and find that if case numbers exceed test, trace and isolate capacity, there will be a self-accelerating spread.

    • Sebastian Contreras
    • , Jonas Dehning
    •  & Viola Priesemann
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The growing need for realism in addressing complex public health questions calls for accurate models of the human contact patterns that govern disease transmission. Here, the authors generate effective population-level contact matrices by using highly detailed macro (census) and micro (survey) data on key socio-demographic features.

    • Dina Mistry
    • , Maria Litvinova
    •  & Alessandro Vespignani
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Sparse testing early in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic hinders estimation of the dates and origins of initial case importations. Here, the authors show that the main source of cases imported from China shifted from Wuhan to other Chinese cities by mid-February, especially for African locations.

    • Tigist F. Menkir
    • , Taylor Chin
    •  & Rene Niehus
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Low-resource settings can face additional challenges in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, the authors use mathematical modelling to investigate transmission in the state of Bahia, Brazil, and quantify control measures needed to prevent the hospital system becoming overwhelmed.

    • Juliane F. Oliveira
    • , Daniel C. P. Jorge
    •  & Roberto F. S. Andrade
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Safely reducing the necessary duration of quarantine for COVID-19 could lessen the economic impacts of the pandemic. Here, the authors demonstrate that testing on exit from quarantine is more effective than testing on entry, and can enable quarantine to be reduced from fourteen to seven days.

    • Chad R. Wells
    • , Jeffrey P. Townsend
    •  & Alison P. Galvani
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Although many COVID-19 cases are mild, most information about symptoms is derived from hospitalized patients. Here, the authors link self-reported symptom surveys to primary care data to describe the longitudinal dynamics of COVID-19 in non-hospitalized individuals.

    • Barak Mizrahi
    • , Smadar Shilo
    •  & Eran Segal
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Yellow fever is absent from the Asia/Pacific region, despite presence of the mosquito vector. Here, the authors demonstrate that mosquitoes collected from field sites across the region are capable of transmitting yellow fever virus, indicating that vector competence is not a barrier to disease spread.

    • Lucy de Guilhem de Lataillade
    • , Marie Vazeille
    •  & Pei-Shi Yen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The Netherlands is a country highly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, Slot, Hogema and colleagues report a low SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence one month into the outbreak and provide insights into virus exposure by region and age group when widespread non-pharmaceutical interventions are in place.

    • Ed Slot
    • , Boris M. Hogema
    •  & Hans L. Zaaijer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In this study, Adi Stern and colleagues use full genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2 to look at the rate of infections in Israel. They report that social distancing had a significant effect on minimising the rate of transmission, and find evidence for transmission heterogeneity (superspreading events).

    • Danielle Miller
    • , Michael A. Martin
    •  & Adi Stern
  • Article
    | Open Access

    New York City is one of the areas most affected by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in the United States, and there has been large variation in rates of hospitalisation and death by city borough. Here, the authors show that boroughs with the largest reduction in daily commutes also had the lowest SARS-CoV-2 prevalence.

    • Stephen M. Kissler
    • , Nishant Kishore
    •  & Yonatan H. Grad
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Identification of individuals at risk of severe COVID-19 disease could inform treatment and public health planning. Here, the authors develop and validate a risk prediction model for COVID-19 mortality in Israel by building a model for severe respiratory infection and recalibrating it using COVID-19 case fatality rates.

    • Noam Barda
    • , Dan Riesel
    •  & Noa Dagan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Spread of antimicrobial-resistant (AR) bacteria is a global concern, but contributing factors remain unclear. Here, authors analyze distribution of AR bacteria in households from three ethnic groups in Tanzania and find that livelihood factors are more strongly associated with AR prevalence than antibiotic use.

    • Murugan Subbiah
    • , Mark A. Caudell
    •  & Douglas R. Call
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Here, Shah et al. perform a meta-analysis and show that people who live or work in agricultural land in Southeast Asia are on average 1.7 times more likely to be infected with a pathogen than controls, suggesting that agricultural land-use increases infectious disease risk.

    • Hiral A. Shah
    • , Paul Huxley
    •  & Kris A. Murray
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy has been associated with impaired birth outcomes. Here, Bové et al. report evidence of black carbon particle deposition on the fetal side of human placentae, including at early stages of pregnancy, suggesting air pollution could affect birth outcome through direct effects on the fetus.

    • Hannelore Bové
    • , Eva Bongaerts
    •  & Tim S. Nawrot
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017 and resulted in a complete loss of activity of the Public Health Laboratories. Here, the authors discuss the approach taken and tools developed to re-establish activity in these laboratories using a quality management system and the lessons learned in this process.

    • Margaret C. Hardy
    • , Rita C. Stinnett
    •  & Eduardo O’Neill
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The genetic underpinnings of alcohol use disorder and consumption are incompletely understood. Here, the authors perform GWAS for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) Identification Test-Consumption scores and AUD diagnosis from electronic health records of 274,424 individuals and identify a total of 18 associated loci.

    • Henry R. Kranzler
    • , Hang Zhou
    •  & Joel Gelernter
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Lack of knowledge of individual infection history hinders understanding of immunological interactions among DENV serotypes. Here, the authors introduce a framework to infer the relationship between unobserved infection history and subsequent infection and disease risk, and find complex dependencies.

    • Tim K. Tsang
    • , Samson L. Ghebremariam
    •  & Yang Yang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In 2014 Guangzhou, China experienced its worse dengue epidemic on record. To determine the reasons for this the authors model historical data under combinations of four time-varying factors and find that past epidemics were limited by one or more unfavourable conditions, but the 2014 epidemic faced none of these restraints.

    • Rachel J. Oidtman
    • , Shengjie Lai
    •  & Hongjie Yu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Here, the authors explore the relationship between socioeconomic position (SEP) across the life course and inflammation in a multi-cohort study and show that educational attainment is most strongly related to inflammation, suggesting that socioeconomic disadvantage in young adulthood is independently associated with later life inflammation.

    • Eloïse Berger
    • , Raphaële Castagné
    •  & Michelle Kelly-Irving
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cancer patients are at an increased risk of suicide: elderly, white, unmarried males with localized disease are at highest risk vs other cancer patients. Among those diagnosed at < 50 years of age, the plurality of suicides is from hematologic and testicular tumors; if > 50, from prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer patients.

    • Nicholas G. Zaorsky
    • , Ying Zhang
    •  & Vernon M. Chinchilli
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Real-time disease surveillance can aid mitigation of outbreaks. Here, Lu et al. combine an approach using Google search and EHR data with an approach leveraging spatiotemporal synchronicities of influenza activity across states to improve state-level influenza activity estimates in the US.

    • Fred S. Lu
    • , Mohammad W. Hattab
    •  & Mauricio Santillana
  • Article
    | Open Access

    While human lifespan is only moderately heritable, “getting old” runs in families. Here, van den Berg et al. study mortality data from three-generation cohorts to define a threshold for longevity and find that individuals have an increasing survival advantage with each additional relative in the top 10% survivors of their birth cohort.

    • Niels van den Berg
    • , Mar Rodríguez-Girondo
    •  & P. Eline Slagboom
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Robust surveillance methods are needed for trachoma control and recrudescence monitoring, but existing methods have limitations. Here, Pinsent et al. analyse data from nine trachoma-endemic populations and provide operational thresholds for interpretation of serological data in low transmission and post-elimination settings.

    • Amy Pinsent
    • , Anthony W. Solomon
    •  & Michael. T. White