Assistant Professor of Global Health
Dr. Yesim Tozan’s research centers on health decision science and priority setting, and explores the costs and cost-effectiveness of health care interventions using decision analytic models and the issues of health care resource allocation in low- and middle-income countries. Her main focus has been infectious disease prevention and control with an emphasis on dengue and malaria. Dr. Tozan is currently leading a health economics work package in a European Union-funded research project on dengue surveillance and control with field sites in Sri Lanka and Thailand. She is also leading a prospective multi-center study on the cost of dengue illness in international travelers utilizing a network of travel clinics in Europe, the US, the Middle East and Australia. Most recently, she has been working on economic evaluation of artemisinin-based combination therapies for the treatment of uncomplicated childhood malaria using data from multi-site randomized clinical trials in Africa and Asia. Dr. Tozan was a task force associate for the UN Millennium Project’s Task Force on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and Access to Essential Medicines and was lead author of the malaria task force report entitled “Coming to grips with malaria in the new millennium.”
BS, Environmental Engineering, Istanbul Technical University, TurkeyMS, Environmental Technology, Bogazici University, TurkeyMA, Public Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, NJPhD, Public Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Cost EffectivenessCost-effective Health Programs and PoliciesEconomic EvaluationHealth EconomicsInfectious DiseasesPrevention Interventions
Food insecurity among households with children during the COVID-19 pandemic: results from a study among social media users across the United StatesParekh, N., Ali, S. H., O’Connor, J., Tozan, Y., Jones, A. M., Capasso, A., Foreman, J., & DiClemente, R. J.
Journal titleNutrition Journal
Issue1AbstractBackground: In the United States, approximately 11% of households were food insecure prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The present study aims to describe the prevalence of food insecurity among adults and households with children living in the United States during the pandemic. Methods: This study utilized social media as a recruitment platform to administer an original online survey on demographics and COVID-related food insecurity. The survey was disseminated through an advertisement campaign on Facebook and affiliated platforms. Food insecurity was assessed with a validated six-item United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Household Food Security Survey Module, which was used to create a six-point numerical food security score, where a higher score indicates lower food security. Individual-level participant demographic information was also collected. Logistic regressions (low/very-low compared with high/marginal food security) were performed to generate adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and 95%CIs for food insecurity and select demographic characteristics. Results: Advertisements reached 250,701 individuals and resulted in 5,606 complete surveys. Overall, 14.7% of participants self-identified as having low or very low food security in their households, with higher prevalence (17.5%) among households with children. Unemployment (AOR:1.76, 95%CI:1.09–2.80), high school or lower education (AOR:2.25, 95%CI:1.29–3.90), and low income (AOR[$30,000-$50,000]:5.87, 95%CI:3.35–10.37; AOR[< $30,000]:10.61, 95%CI:5.50–20.80) were associated with higher odds of food insecurity in multivariable models among households with children (and the whole sample). Conclusions: These data indicate exacerbation of food insecurity during the pandemic. The study will be instrumental in guiding additional research and time-sensitive interventions targeted towards vulnerable food insecure subgroups.
Household and hospitalization costs of pediatric dengue illness in Colombo, Sri LankaFernando, E. S., Headley, T. Y., Tissera, H., Wilder-Smith, A., De Silva, A., & Tozan, Y.
Journal titleAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Page(s)110-116AbstractDengue, a mosquito-borne viral infection that affects millions around the world, poses a substantial economic burden in endemic countries. We conducted a prospective costing study in hospitalized pediatric dengue patients at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children (LRHC), a public pediatric hospital in Colombo district, Sri Lanka, to assess household out-of-pocket and hospitalization costs of dengue in pediatric patients during peak dengue transmission season. Between August and October 2013, we recruited 216 hospitalized patients (aged 0-3 years, 27%; 4-7 years, 29%; 8-12 years, 42%) who were clinically or laboratory diagnosed with dengue. Using 2013 US dollars, household out-of-pocket spending, on average, was US$59 (SD 49) per episode and increased with disease severity (DF, US$52; DHF/ DSS, US$78). Pediatric dengue patients received free-of-charge medical care during hospitalization at LRHC, and this places a high financial burden on hospitals. The direct medical cost of hospitalization was US$68 (SD 31.4) for DF episode, and US$122.7 (SD 65.2) for DHF/DSS episode. Yet a hospitalized dengue illness episode still accounted for 20% to 35% of household monthly income due to direct and indirect costs. Additionally, a majority of caregivers (70%) sought outpatient care before hospitalization, most of whom (81%) visited private health facilities. Our findings indicate that hospitalized pediatric dengue illness poses a nontrivial cost burden to households and healthcare systems, emphasizing the importance of preventing and controlling the transmission of dengue in endemic countries.
Increased alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic: The effect of mental health and age in a cross-sectional sample of social media users in the U.S.Capasso, A., Jones, A. M., Ali, S. H., Foreman, J., Tozan, Y., & DiClemente, R. J.
Journal titlePreventive Medicine
Volume145AbstractThe COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a public health crisis of unprecedented scale. Increased alcohol use has been extensively documented during other crises, particularly among persons with anxiety and depression. Despite COVID-19's differential impact by age, the association of age, mental health and alcohol use during the pandemic has not been explored. This study aimed to examine whether age modified the association of anxiety and depressive symptoms with alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two online surveys were administered to U.S. adult social media users in March and April 2020. Generalized linear models were conducted in 2020 among 5850 respondents (52.9% female; 22.0% aged 18–39 years, 47.0% aged 40–59 years, and 31.0% aged ≥60 years) to examine if age modified the association of anxiety and depression symptomatology and alcohol use. Overall, 29% of respondents reported increased alcohol use. Adjusted odds ratios of reporting increased alcohol use were 1.41 (95% CI = 1.20–1.66) among respondents with anxiety symptoms and 1.64 (95% CI = 1.21–2.23) among those with depressive symptoms compared to those without such symptoms. Whereas respondents aged 18–39 years had the highest probability of reporting increased alcohol use, the probability of older persons (40–59 and ≥60 years) reporting increased drinking was much greater among those with symptoms of anxiety and depression, compared to those without symptoms. These findings warrant age-differentiated public health messaging on the risks of excessive alcohol use and scale-up of substance use services for middle-aged and older adults with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Knowledge, beliefs, mental health, substance use, and behaviors related to the COVID-19 pandemic among US adults: a national online surveyDiClemente, R. J., Capasso, A., Ali, S. H., Jones, A. M., Foreman, J., & Tozan, Y.
Journal titleZeitschrift fur GesundheitswissenschaftenAbstractAim: Given the need for data to inform public health messaging to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, this national survey sought to assess the state of COVID-19-related knowledge, beliefs, mental health, substance use changes, and behaviors among a sample of U.S. adults. Subject and methods: In the period March 20–30, 2020, we collected data on COVID-19-related knowledge, awareness and adoption of preventive practices, depression and anxiety (Patient Health Questionnaire-4), stress (Impact of Event Scale-6), pessimism, and tobacco and alcohol use. Differences between age groups (18–39 years, 40–59 years and ≥ 60 years) were tested using Pearson’s chi-squared tests or ANOVAs; associations between drinking and smoking and depression, anxiety, and stress were tested using adjusted logistic regression models. Results: Approximately half of the sample (NTotal = 6391) were 50–69 years old and 58% were female. COVID-19 knowledge (mean = 12.0; SD = 1.2) and protective practice awareness (mean = 9.1; SD = 0.8) were high. Among respondents, 44% had a score consistent with depression and anxiety (PHQ-4 score ≥ 6), and 52% reported high stress scores (≥ median of 1.33). COVID-19-related anxiety and depression were associated with increased drinking (AOR = 1.79; 95% CI = 1.49, 2.15) and smoking (AOR = 2.17; 95% CI = 1.64, 2.88). High stress scores were also associated with increased drinking (AOR = 1.80; 95% CI = 1.49, 2.17, p < 0.001) and smoking (AOR = 1.75; 95% CI = 1.31, 2.33). Conclusions: In spite of high knowledge levels, important gaps were identified. High prevalence of poor mental health outcomes and associated increases in drinking and smoking warrant ongoing risk communications tailoring to effectively disseminate information and expanding psychosocial services, particularly via telehealth, to mitigate the negative mental health impact of COVID-19.
Predictors of Depressive Symptoms and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Among Women Engaged in Commercial Sex Work in Southern UgandaNabunya, P., Byansi, W., Damulira, C., Bahar, O. S., Jennings Mayo-Wilson, L., Tozan, Y., Kiyingi, J., Nabayinda, J., Braithwaite, R., Witte, S. S., & Ssewamala, F. M.
Journal titlePsychiatry Research
Volume298AbstractThis study examined the factors associated with depressive symptoms and post traumatic depressive disorder (PTSD) among economically vulnerable women engaged in commercial sex work (WESW) in southern Uganda. Baseline data from a longitudinal cluster randomized study involving 542 self-identified WESW (18-55 years), recruited from 19 HIV hotspots were analyzed. Hierarchical linear regression modelling was utilized to estimate individual, family-level and economic-level predictors of depressive symptoms and PTSD. Family cohesion, sex work stigma, HIV status, financial distress, household assets, number of children and number of household income earners, were associated with PTSD. Similarly, family cohesion, number of people in the household, HIV status, sex work stigma, financial distress, and household assets, were associated with depressive symptoms. Women engaged in commercial sex work are at a higher risk of HIV and poor mental health outcomes. Sex work stigma and financial distress elevate levels of depressive symptoms and PTSD, over and above an individual's HIV status. Family and economic-level factors have the potential to mitigate the risk of poor mental health outcomes. As such, integrating stigma reduction and economic strengthening components in the programming targeting WESW—a key population, may be critical to address their mental health outcomes.
Regional and socioeconomic predictors of perceived ability to access coronavirus testing in the United States: results from a nationwide online COVID-19 surveyAli, S. H., Tozan, Y., Jones, A. M., Foreman, J., Capasso, A., & DiClemente, R. J.
Journal titleAnnals of Epidemiology
Page(s)7-14AbstractPurpose: Access to COVID-19 testing remained a salient issue during the early months of the pandemic, therefore this study aimed to identify 1) regional and 2) socioeconomic predictors of perceived ability to access Coronavirus testing. Methods: An online survey using social media-based advertising was conducted among U.S. adults in April 2020. Participants were asked whether they thought they could acquire a COVID-19 test, along with basic demographic, socioeconomic and geographic information. Results: A total of 6,378 participants provided data on perceived access to COVID-19 testing. In adjusted analyses, we found higher income and possession of health insurance to be associated with perceived ability to access Coronavirus testing. Geographically, perceived access was highest (68%) in East South Central division and lowest (39%) in West North Central. Disparities in health insurance coverage did not directly correspond to disparities in perceived access to COVID-19 testing. Conclusions: Sex, geographic location, income, and insurance status were associated with perceived access to COVID-19 testing; interventions aimed at improving either access or awareness of measures taken to improve access are warranted. These findings from the pandemic's early months shed light on the importance of disaggregating perceived and true access to screening during such crises.
The effectiveness of malaria camps as part of the Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) program in Odisha, India: study protocol for a cluster-assigned quasi-experimental studyOmpad, D. C., Kessler, A., Van Eijk, A. M., Padhan, T. K., Haque, M. A., Sullivan, S. A., Tozan, Y., Rocklöv, J., Mohanty, S., Pradhan, M. M., Sahu, P. K., & Carlton, J. M.
Journal titleGlobal Health Action
Issue1AbstractThe Indian state of Odisha has a longstanding battle with forest malaria. Many remote and rural villages have poor access to health care, a problem that is exacerbated during the rainy season when malaria transmission is at its peak. Approximately 62% of the rural population consists of tribal groups who are among the communities most negatively impacted by malaria. To address the persistently high rates of malaria in these remote regions, the Odisha State Malaria Control Program introduced ‘malaria camps’ in 2017 where teams of health workers visit villages to educate the population, enhance vector control methods, and perform village-wide screening and treatment. Malaria rates declined statewide, particularly in forested areas, following the introduction of the malaria camps, but the impact of the intervention is yet to be externally evaluated. This study protocol describes a cluster-assigned quasi-experimental stepped-wedge study with a pretest-posttest control group design that evaluates if malaria camps reduce the prevalence of malaria, compared to control villages which receive the usual malaria control interventions (e.g. IRS, ITNs), as detected by PCR.
The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a family-based economic empowerment intervention (Suubi + Adherence) on suppression of HIV viral loads among adolescents living with HIV: results from a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial in southern UgandaTozan, Y., Capasso, A., Sun, S., Neilands, T. B., Damulira, C., Namuwonge, F., Nakigozi, G., Mwebembezi, A., Mukasa, B., Sensoy Bahar, O., Nabunya, P., Mellins, C. A., McKay, M. M., & Ssewamala, F. M.
Journal titleJournal of the International AIDS Society
Issue6AbstractIntroduction: Evidence from low-resource settings indicates that economic insecurity is a major barrier to HIV treatment adherence. Economic empowerment (EE) interventions have the potential to improve adherence outcomes among adolescents living with HIV (ALWHIV) by mitigating the effects of poverty. This study aims to assess the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a savings-led family-based EE intervention, Suubi + Adherence, aimed at improving antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence outcomes ALWHIV in Uganda. Methods: Adolescents (mean age 12 years at enrolment; 56% female) receiving ART for HIV at 39 health centres were randomized to Suubi + Adherence intervention (n = 358) or bolstered standard of care (BSOC; n = 344). A difference-in-differences analysis was employed to assess the change in the proportion of virally suppressed adolescents (HIV RNA viral load <40 copies/mL) over 24 months. The cost-effectiveness analysis examined how much the intervention cost to virally suppress one additional adolescent relative to BSOC from the healthcare provider perspective. Results: At 24 months, the intervention was associated with an 8.85-percentage point [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.80 to 16.90 percentage points] increase in the proportion of virally suppressed adolescents between the study arms (p = 0.032). Per-participant costs were US$177 and US$263 for the BSOC and intervention groups respectively. The incremental cost of virally suppressing one additional adolescent was estimated at US$970 [95% CI, US$508 to 10,725] over two years. Conclusions: Our results support the integration of family-based EE interventions into adherence-support strategies as part of routine HIV care in low-resource settings to address the underlying economic drivers of poor ART adherence among ALWHIV. Moreover, per-participant costs to achieve viral suppression do not seem prohibitive compared to other community-based adherence interventions targeted at ALWHIV in low-resource settings. Further research on combination interventions at the nexus of economic security and HIV treatment and care is needed to inform the development of feasible and scalable HIV policies and programmes.
Working with economically vulnerable women engaged in sex work: Collaborating with community stakeholders in Southern UgandaNabunya, P., Kiyingi, J., Witte, S. S., Sensoy Bahar, O., Jennings Mayo-Wilson, L., Tozan, Y., Nabayinda, J., Mwebembezi, A., Tumwesige, W., Mukasa, B., Namirembe, R., Kagaayi, J., Nakigudde, J., McKay, M. M., & Ssewamala, F. M.
Journal titleGlobal Public HealthAbstractEconomically vulnerable women engaged in sex work (WESW) comprise one of the key populations with higher prevalence of HIV globally. In Uganda, HIV prevalence among WESW is estimated at 37% and accounts for 18% of all new infections in the country. This paper describes the strategies by which we have engaged community stakeholders in a randomised clinical trial aimed at evaluating the efficacy of adding economic empowerment components to traditional HIV risk reduction to reduce the incidence of STIs and HIV among WESW in Uganda. We demonstrate that stakeholder engagement, including the engagement of WESW themselves, plays a critical role in the adaptation, implementation, uptake, and potential sustainability of evidence-based interventions. To our knowledge, this is the first study to utilise stakeholder engagement involving WESW in Uganda. Researchers working with hard-to-reach populations, such as WESW, are encouraged to invest time and resources to engage key stakeholders through a full range of collaborative activities; and ensure that research is culturally appropriate and meets the needs of all stakeholders involved. Clinical trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT03583541.
Reviewing estimates of the basic reproduction number for dengue, Zika and chikungunya across global climate zonesLiu, Y., Lillepold, K., Semenza, J. C., Tozan, Y., Quam, M. B., & Rocklöv, J.
Journal titleEnvironmental Research
Volume182AbstractBackground: Globally, dengue, Zika virus, and chikungunya are important viral mosquito-borne diseases that infect millions of people annually. Their geographic range includes not only tropical areas but also sub-tropical and temperate zones such as Japan and Italy. The relative severity of these arboviral disease outbreaks can vary depending on the setting. In this study we explore variation in the epidemiologic potential of outbreaks amongst these climatic zones and arboviruses in order to elucidate potential reasons behind such differences. Methodology: We reviewed the peer-reviewed literature (PubMed) to obtain basic reproduction number (R0) estimates for dengue, Zika virus, and chikungunya from tropical, sub-tropical and temperate regions. We also computed R0 estimates for temperate and sub-tropical climate zones, based on the outbreak curves in the initial outbreak phase. Lastly we compared these estimates across climate zones, defined by latitude. Results: Of 2115 studies, we reviewed the full text of 128 studies and included 65 studies in our analysis. Our results suggest that the R0 of an arboviral outbreak depends on climate zone, with lower R0 estimates, on average, in temperate zones (R0 = 2.03) compared to tropical (R0 = 3.44) and sub-tropical zones (R0 = 10.29). The variation in R0 was considerable, ranging from 0.16 to 65. The largest R0 was for dengue (65) and was estimated by the Ross-Macdonald model in the tropical zone, whereas the smallest R0 (0.16) was for Zika virus and was estimated statistically from an outbreak curve in the sub-tropical zone. Conclusions: The results indicate climate zone to be an important determinant of the basic reproduction number, R0, for dengue, Zika virus, and chikungunya. The role of other factors as determinants of R0, such as methods, environmental and social conditions, and disease control, should be further investigated. The results suggest that R0 may increase in temperate regions in response to global warming, and highlight the increasing need for strengthening preparedness and control activities.
Severe dengue epidemic, Sri Lanka, 2017Tissera, H. A., Jayamanne, B. D., Raut, R., Janaki, S. M., Tozan, Y., Samaraweera, P. C., Liyanage, P., Ghouse, A., Rodrigo, C., De Silva, A. M., & Fernando, S. D.
Journal titleEmerging Infectious Diseases
Page(s)682-691AbstractIn 2017, a dengue epidemic of unexpected magnitude occurred in Sri Lanka. A total of 186,101 suspected cases and 440 dengue-related deaths occurred. We conducted a comprehensive analysis of this epidemic by comparing national surveillance data for 2017 with data from the preceding 5 years. In all Sri Lanka districts, dengue incidence in 2017 increased significantly over incidence during the previous 5 years. Older schoolchildren and young adults were more clinically symptomatic than those at extremes of age. Limited virologic surveillance showed the dominant circulating variant was dengue virus type 2 cosmopolitan genotype in the most affected district. One quarter of total annual cases were reported 5 weeks after the southwest monsoon started. Changes in vector abundance were not predictive of the increased incidence. Direct government expenditures on dengue control activities in 2017 were US $12.7 million. The lessons learned from this outbreak are useful for other tropical nations facing increasing dengue incidence.
Social media as a recruitment platform for a nationwide online survey of COVID-19 knowledge, beliefs, and practices in the United States: Methodology and feasibility analysisAli, S. H., Foreman, J., Capasso, A., Jones, A. M., Tozan, Y., & Diclemente, R. J.
Journal titleBMC Medical Research Methodology
Issue1AbstractBackground: The COVID-19 pandemic has evolved into one of the most impactful health crises in modern history, compelling researchers to explore innovative ways to efficiently collect public health data in a timely manner. Social media platforms have been explored as a research recruitment tool in other settings; however, their feasibility for collecting representative survey data during infectious disease epidemics remain unexplored. Objectives: This study has two aims 1) describe the methodology used to recruit a nationwide sample of adults residing in the United States (U.S.) to participate in a survey on COVID-19 knowledge, beliefs, and practices, and 2) outline the preliminary findings related to recruitment, challenges using social media as a recruitment platform, and strategies used to address these challenges. Methods: An original web-based survey informed by evidence from past literature and validated scales was developed. A Facebook advertisement campaign was used to disseminate the link to an online Qualtrics survey between March 20-30, 2020. Two supplementary male-only and racial minority- targeted advertisements were created on the sixth and tenth day of recruitment, respectively, to address issues of disproportionate female- and White-oriented gender- and ethnic-skewing observed in the advertisement's reach and response trends. Results: In total, 6602 participant responses were recorded with representation from all U.S. 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The advertisements cumulatively reached 236,017 individuals and resulted in 9609 clicks (4.07% reach). Total cost of the advertisement was $906, resulting in costs of .09 per click and .18 per full response (completed surveys). Implementation of the male-only advertisement improved the cumulative percentage of male respondents from approximately 20 to 40%. Conclusions: The social media advertisement campaign was an effective and efficient strategy to collect large scale, nationwide data on COVID-19 within a short time period. Although the proportion of men who completed the survey was lower than those who didn't, interventions to increase male responses and enhance representativeness were successful. These findings can inform future research on the use of social media recruitment for the rapid collection of survey data related to rapidly evolving health crises, such as COVID-19.
The Mosquito, the Virus, the Climate: An Unforeseen Réunion in 2018DiSera, L., Sjödin, H., Rocklöv, J., Tozan, Y., Súdre, B., Zeller, H., & Muñoz, Ángel G.
Issue8AbstractThe 2018 outbreak of dengue in the French overseas department of Réunion was unprecedented in size and spread across the island. This research focuses on the cause of the outbreak, asserting that climate played a large role in the proliferation of the Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which transmitted the disease, and led to the dengue outbreak in early 2018. A stage-structured model was run using observed temperature and rainfall data to simulate the life cycle and abundance of the Ae. albopictus mosquito. Further, the model was forced with bias-corrected subseasonal forecasts to determine if the event could have been forecast up to 4 weeks in advance. With unseasonably warm temperatures remaining above 25°C, along with large tropical-cyclone-related rainfall events accumulating 10–15 mm per event, the modeled Ae. albopictus mosquito abundance did not decrease during the second half of 2017, contrary to the normal behavior, likely contributing to the large dengue outbreak in early 2018. Although subseasonal forecasts of rainfall for the December–January period in Réunion are skillful up to 4 weeks in advance, the outbreak could only have been forecast 2 weeks in advance, which along with seasonal forecast information could have provided enough time to enhance preparedness measures. Our research demonstrates the potential of using state-of-the-art subseasonal climate forecasts to produce actionable subseasonal dengue predictions. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first time subseasonal forecasts have been used this way.
Transmission dynamics of dengue and chikungunya in a changing climate: do we understand the eco-evolutionary response?Tozan, Y., Sjödin, H., Muñoz, Ángel G., & Rocklöv, J.
Journal titleExpert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy
Page(s)1187-1193AbstractIntroduction: We are witnessing an alarming increase in the burden and range of mosquito-borne arboviral diseases. The transmission dynamics of arboviral diseases is highly sensitive to climate and weather and is further affected by non-climatic factors such as human mobility, urbanization, and disease control. As evidence also suggests, climate-driven changes in species interactions may trigger evolutionary responses in both vectors and pathogens with important consequences for disease transmission patterns. Areas covered: Focusing on dengue and chikungunya, we review the current knowledge and challenges in our understanding of disease risk in a rapidly changing climate. We identify the most critical research gaps that limit the predictive skill of arbovirus risk models and the development of early warning systems, and conclude by highlighting the potentially important research directions to stimulate progress in this field. Expert opinion: Future studies that aim to predict the risk of arboviral diseases need to consider the interactions between climate modes at different timescales, the effects of the many non-climatic drivers, as well as the potential for climate-driven adaptation and evolution in vectors and pathogens. An important outcome of such studies would be an enhanced ability to promulgate early warning information, initiate adequate response, and enhance preparedness capacity.
Trends and predictors of COVID-19 information sources and their relationship with knowledge and beliefs related to the pandemic: Nationwide cross-sectional studyAli, S. H., Foreman, J., Tozan, Y., Capasso, A., Jones, A. M., & DiClemente, R. J.
Journal titleJMIR Public Health and Surveillance
Issue4AbstractBackground: During the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a heightened need to understand health information seeking behaviors to address disparities in knowledge and beliefs about the crisis. Objective: This study assessed sociodemographic predictors of the use and trust of different COVID-19 information sources, as well as the association between information sources and knowledge and beliefs about the pandemic. Methods: An online survey was conducted among US adults in two rounds during March and April 2020 using advertisement-based recruitment on social media. Participants were asked about their use of 11 different COVID-19 information sources as well as their most trusted source of information. The selection of COVID-related knowledge and belief questions was based on past empirical literature and salient concerns at the time of survey implementation. Results: The sample consisted of 11,242 participants. When combined, traditional media sources (television, radio, podcasts, or newspapers) were the largest sources of COVID-19 information (91.2%). Among those using mainstream media sources for COVID-19 information (n=7811, 69.5%), popular outlets included CNN (24.0%), Fox News (19.3%), and other local or national networks (35.2%). The largest individual information source was government websites (87.6%). They were also the most trusted source of information (43.3%), although the odds of trusting government websites were lower among males (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.58, 95% CI 0.53-0.63) and those aged 40-59 years and ≥60 years compared to those aged 18-39 years (AOR 0.83, 95% CI 0.74-0.92; AOR 0.62, 95% CI 0.54-0.71). Participants used an average of 6.1 sources (SD 2.3). Participants who were male, aged 40-59 years or ≥60 years; not working, unemployed, or retired; or Republican were likely to use fewer sources while those with children and higher educational attainment were likely to use more sources. Participants surveyed in April were markedly less likely to use (AOR 0.41, 95% CI 0.35-0.46) and trust (AOR 0.51, 95% CI 0.47-0.56) government sources. The association between information source and COVID-19 knowledge was mixed, while many COVID-19 beliefs were significantly predicted by information source; similar trends were observed with reliance on different types of mainstream media outlets. Conclusions: COVID-19 information source was significantly determined by participant sociodemographic characteristics and was also associated with both knowledge and beliefs about the pandemic. Study findings can help inform COVID-19 health communication campaigns and highlight the impact of using a variety of different and trusted information sources.
A combination intervention addressing sexual risk-taking behaviors among vulnerable women in Uganda: Study protocol for a cluster randomized clinical trialSsewamala, F. M., Sensoy Bahar, O., Tozan, Y., Nabunya, P., Mayo-Wilson, L. J., Kiyingi, J., Kagaayi, J., Bellamy, S., McKay, M. M., & Witte, S. S.
Journal titleBMC Women's Health
Issue1AbstractBackground: Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS, with Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda accounting for 48% of new infections. A systematic review of the HIV burden among women engaged in sex work (WESW) in 50 low- and middle-income countries found that they had increased odds of HIV infection relative to the general female population. Social structural factors, such as the sex work environment, violence, stigma, cultural issues, and criminalization of sex work are critical in shaping sexually transmitted infection (STI)/HIV risks among WESW and their clients in Uganda. Poverty is the most commonly cited reason for involvement in sex work in SSA. Against this backdrop, this study protocol describes a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that tests the impact of adding economic empowerment to traditional HIV risk reduction (HIVRR) to reduce new incidence of STIs and HIV among WESW in Rakai and the greater Masaka regions in Uganda. Methods: This three-arm RCT will evaluate the efficacy of adding savings, financial literacy and vocational training/mentorship to traditional HIVRR on reducing new incidence of STI infections among 990 WESW across 33 hotspots. The three arms (n = 330 each) are: 1) Control group: only HIVRR versus 2) Treatment group 1: HIVRR plus Savings plus Financial Literacy (HIVRR + S + FL); and 3) Treatment group 2: HIVRR plus S plus FL plus Vocational Skills Training and Mentorship (V) (HIVRR + S + FL + V). Data will be collected at baseline (pre-test), 6, 12, 18 and 24-months post-intervention initiation. This study will use an embedded experimental mixed methods design where qualitative data will be collected post-intervention across all conditions to explore participant experiences. Discussion: When WESW have access to more capital and/or alternative forms of employment and start earning formal income outside of sex work, they may be better able to improve their skills and employability for professional advancement, thereby reducing their STI/HIV risk. The study findings may advance our understanding of how best to implement gender-specific HIV prevention globally, engaging women across the HIV treatment cascade. Further, results will provide evidence for the intervention's efficacy to reduce STIs and inform implementation sustainability, including costs and cost-effectiveness. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT03583541.
A combination of incidence data and mobility proxies from social media predicts the intraurban spread of dengue in Yogyakarta, IndonesiaRamadona, A. L., Tozan, Y., Lazuardi, L., & Rocklöv, J.
Journal titlePLoS neglected tropical diseases
Issue4AbstractOnly a few studies have investigated the potential of using geotagged social media data for predicting the patterns of spatio-temporal spread of vector-borne diseases. We herein demonstrated the role of human mobility in the intra-urban spread of dengue by weighting local incidence data with geo-tagged Twitter data as a proxy for human mobility across 45 neighborhoods in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia. To estimate the dengue virus importation pressure in each study neighborhood monthly, we developed an algorithm to estimate a dynamic mobility- weighted incidence index (MI), which quantifies the level of exposure to virus importation in any given neighborhood. Using a Bayesian spatio-temporal regression model, we estimated the coefficients and predictiveness of the MI index for lags up to 6 months. Specifically, we used a Poisson regression model with an unstructured spatial covariance matrix. We compared the predictability of the MI index to that of the dengue incidence rate over the preceding months in the same neighborhood (autocorrelation) and that of the mobility information alone. We based our estimates on a volume of 1.302.405 geotagged tweets (from 118.114 unique users) and monthly dengue incidence data for the 45 study neighborhoods in Yogyakarta city over the period from August 2016 to June 2018. The MI index, as a standalone variable, had the highest explanatory power for predicting dengue transmission risk in the study neighborhoods, with the greatest predictive ability at a 3-months lead time. The MI index was a better predictor of the dengue risk in a neighborhood than the recent transmission patterns in the same neighborhood, or just the mobility patterns between neighborhoods. Our results suggest that human mobility is an important driver of the spread of dengue within cities when combined with information on local circulation of the dengue virus. The geotagged Twitter data can provide important information on human mobility patterns to improve our understanding of the direction and the risk of spread of diseases, such as dengue. The proposed MI index together with traditional data sources can provide useful information for the development of more accurate and efficient early warning and response systems.
A prospective study on the impact and out-of-pocket costs of dengue illness in international travelersTozan, Y., Headley, T. Y., Odhiambo Sewe, M., Schwartz, E., Shemesh, T., Cramer, J. P., Eberhardt, K. A., Ramharter, M., Harrison, N., Leder, K., Angheben, A., Hatz, C., Neumayr, A., Chen, L. H., De Pijper, C. A., Grobusch, M. P., & Wilder-Smith, A.
Journal titleAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Page(s)1525-1533AbstractAlthough the costs of dengue illness to patients and households have been extensively studied in endemic populations, international travelers have not been the focus of costing studies. As globalization and humantravel activities intensify, travelers are increasingly at risk for emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, such as dengue. This exploratory study aims to investigate the impact and out-of-pocket costs of dengue illness among travelers. We conducted a prospective study in adult travelers with laboratory-confirmed dengue and recruited patients at travel medicine clinics in eight different countries from December 2013 to December 2015. Using a structured questionnaire, we collected information on patients and their health-care utilization and out-of-pocket expenditures, as well as income and other financial losses they incurred because of dengue illness. A total of 90 patients participated in the study, most of whom traveled for tourism (74%) and visited countries in Asia (82%). Although 22% reported hospitalization and 32% receiving ambulatory care while traveling, these percentages were higher at 39% and 71%, respectively, after returning home. The out-of-pocket direct and indirect costs of dengue illness were US$421 (SD 744) and US$571 (SD 1,913) per episode, respectively, averaging to a total out-of-pocket cost of US$992 (SD 2,052) per episode. The study findings suggest that international travelers incur important direct and indirect costs because of dengue-related illness. This study is the first to date to investigate the impact and out-of-pocket costs of travel-related dengue illness from the patient's perspective and paves the way for future economic burden studies in this population.
Climate change and the rising infectiousness of dengueRocklöv, J., & Tozan, Y.
Journal titleEmerging topics in life sciences
Page(s)133-142AbstractThe disease burden of dengue has been steadily rising over the last half-century due to a multitude of factors, including global trade and travel, urbanization, population growth, and climate variability and change, that facilitate conductive conditions for the proliferation of dengue vectors and viruses. This review describes how climate, specifically temperature, affects the vectors' ability to cause and sustain outbreaks, and how the infectiousness of dengue is influenced by climatic change. The review is focused on the core concepts and frameworks derived in the area of epidemiology of mosquito-borne diseases and outlines the sensitivity of vectorial capacity and vector-to-human transmission on climatic conditions. It further reviews studies linking mathematical or statistical models of disease transmission to scenarios of projected climate change and provides recommendations for future research directions.
Evaluation of a savings-led family-based economic empowerment intervention for AIDS-affected adolescents in Uganda: A fouryear follow-up on efficacy and costeffectivenessTozan, Y., Sun, S., Capasso, A., Wang, J. S. H., Neilands, T. B., Bahar, O. S., Damulira, C., & Ssewamala, F. M.
Journal titlePloS one
Issue12AbstractBackground Children who have lost a parent to HIV/AIDS, known as AIDS orphans, face multiple stressors affecting their health and development. Family economic empowerment (FEE) interventions have the potential to improve these outcomes and mitigate the risks they face. We present efficacy and cost-effectiveness analyses of the Bridges study, a savings-led FEE intervention among AIDS-orphaned adolescents in Uganda at four-year follow-up. Methods Intent-to-treat analyses using multilevel models compared the effects of two savings-led treatment arms: Bridges (1:1 matched incentive) and BridgesPLUS (2:1 matched incentive) to a usual care control group on the following outcomes: self-rated health, sexual health, and mental health functioning. Total per-participant costs for each arm were calculated using the treatment-on-the-treated sample. Intervention effects and per-participant costs were used to calculate incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs). Findings Among 1,383 participants, 55% were female, 20% were double orphans. Mean age was 12 years at baseline. At 48-months, BridgesPLUS significantly improved self-rated health, (0.25, 95% CI 0.06, 0.43), HIV knowledge (0.21, 95% CI 0.01, 0.41), self-concept (0.26, 95% CI 0.09, 0.44), and self-efficacy (0.26, 95% CI 0.09, 0.43) and lowered hopelessness (-0.28, 95% CI -0.43, -0.12); whereas Bridges improved self-rated health (0.26, 95% CI 0.08, 0.43) and HIV knowledge (0.22, 95% CI 0.05, 0.39). ICERs ranged from $224 for hopelessness to $298 for HIV knowledge per 0.2 standard deviation change. Conclusions Most intervention effects were sustained in both treatment arms at two years post-intervention. Higher matching incentives yielded a significant and lasting effect on a greater number of outcomes among adolescents compared to lower matching incentives at a similar incremental cost per unit effect. These findings contribute to the evidence supporting the incorporation of FEE interventions within national social protection frameworks.
Evaluation of intensified dengue control measures with interrupted time series analysis in the Panadura Medical Officer of Health division in Sri Lanka: a case study and cost-effectiveness analysisLiyanage, P., Rocklöv, J., Tissera, H., Palihawadana, P., Wilder-Smith, A., & Tozan, Y.
Journal titleThe Lancet Planetary Health
Page(s)e211-e218AbstractBackground: Dengue has become a major public health problem in Sri Lanka with a considerable economic burden. As a response, in June, 2014, the Ministry of Health initiated a proactive vector control programme in partnership with military and police forces, known as the Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC)programme, that was targeted at high-risk Medical Officer of Health (MOH)divisions in the country. Evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of population-level interventions is essential to guide public health planning and resource allocation decisions, particularly in resource-limited health-care settings. Methods: Using an interrupted time series design with a non-linear extension, we evaluated the impact of vector control interventions from June 22, 2014, to Dec 29, 2016, in Panadura, a high-risk MOH division in Western Province, Sri Lanka. We used dengue notification and larval survey data to estimate the reduction in Breteau index and dengue incidence before and after the intervention using two separate models, adjusting for time-varying confounding variables (ie, rainfall, temperature, and the Oceanic Niño Index). We also assessed the cost and cost-effectiveness of the CIMIC programme from the perspective of the National Dengue Control Unit under the scenarios of different levels of hospitalisation of dengue cases (low [25%], medium [50%], and high [75%])in terms of cost per disability-adjusted life-year averted (DALY). Findings: Vector control interventions had a significant impact on combined Breteau index (relative risk reduction 0·43, 95% CI 0·26 to 0·70)and on dengue incidence (0·43, 0·28 to 0·67), the latter becoming prominent 2 months after the intervention onset. The mean number of averted dengue cases was estimated at 2192 (95% CI 1741 to 2643), and the total cost of the CIMIC programme at 2016 US$271 615. Personnel costs accounted for about 89% of the total cost. In the base-case scenario of moderate level of hospitalisation, the CIMIC programme was cost-saving with a probability of 70% under both the lowest ($453)and highest ($1686)cost-effectiveness thresholds, resulting in a net saving of $20 247 (95% CI −57 266 to 97 790)and averting 176 DALYs (133 to 226), leading to a cost of −$98 (−497 to 395)per DALY averted. This was also the case for the scenario with high hospitalisation levels (cost per DALY averted −$512, 95% CI −872 to −115)but with a higher probability of 99%. In the scenario with low hospitalisation levels (cost per DALY averted $690, 143 to 1379), although the CIMIC programme was cost-ineffective at the lowest threshold with a probability of 77%, it was cost-effective at the highest threshold with a probability of 99%. Interpretation: This study suggests that communities affected by dengue can benefit from investments in vector control if interventions are implemented rigorously and coordinated well across sectors. By doing so, it is possible to reduce the disease and economic burden of dengue in endemic settings. Funding: None.
Incidence of Guillain-BarréSyndrome (GBS) in Latin America and the Caribbean before and during the 2015-2016 Zika virus epidemic: A systematic review and meta-analysisCapasso, A., Ompad, D. C., Vieira, D. L., Wilder-Smith, A., & Tozan, Y.
Journal titlePLoS neglected tropical diseases
Issue8AbstractBackground A severe neurological disorder, Guillain-Barrésyndrome (GBS) is the leading cause of acute flaccid paralysis. Enhanced surveillance of GBS in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) following the 2015-2016 Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic presents an opportunity to estimate, for the first time, the regional incidence of GBS. Methods and findings For this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched nine scientific databases and grey literature from January 1, 1980 to October 1, 2018. Sources with primary data on incident GBS cases in LAC within a well-defined population and timeframe, published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French, were included. We calculated the annual GBS incidence rates (IRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for each source based on published data. Following an assessment of heterogeneity, we used random-effects meta-analysis to calculate the pooled annual IR of GBS. The study is registered with PROSPERO, number CRD42018086659. Of the 6568 initial citation hits, 31 were eligible for inclusion. Background annual GBS IRs in Latin America ranged from 0.40 in Brazil to 2.12/100,000 in Chile. The pooled annual IR in the Caribbean was 1.64 (95% CI 1.29-2.12, I2<0.01, p = 0.44). During the ZIKV epidemic, GBS IRs ranged from 0.62 in Mexico to 9.35/100,000 in Martinique. GBS increased 2.6 (95% CI 2.3-2.9) times during ZIKV and 1.9 (95% CI 1.1- 3.4) times during chikungunya outbreaks over background rates. A limitation of this review is that the studies included employed different methodologies to find and ascertain cases of GBS, which could contribute to IR heterogeneity. In addition, it is important to consider that data on GBS are lacking for many countries in the region. Conclusions Background IRs of GBS appear to peak during arboviral disease outbreaks. The current review contributes to an understanding of the epidemiology of GBS in the LAC region, which can inform healthcare system planning and preparedness, particularly during arboviral epidemics.
Using big data to monitor the introduction and spread of Chikungunya, Europe, 2017Rocklöv, J., Tozan, Y., Ramadona, A., Sewe, M. O., Sudre, B., Garrido, J., De Saint Lary, C. B., Lohr, W., & Semenza, J. C.
Journal titleEmerging Infectious Diseases
Page(s)1041-1049AbstractWith regard to fully harvesting the potential of big data, public health lags behind other fields. To determine this potential, we applied big data (air passenger volume from international areas with active chikungunya transmission, Twitter data, and vectorial capacity estimates of Aedes albopictus mosquitoes) to the 2017 chikungunya outbreaks in Europe to assess the risks for virus transmission, virus importation, and short-range dispersion from the outbreak foci. We found that indicators based on voluminous and velocious data can help identify virus dispersion from outbreak foci and that vector abundance and vectorial capacity estimates can provide information on local climate suitability for mosquitoborne outbreaks. In contrast, more established indicators based on Wikipedia and Google Trends search strings were less timely. We found that a combination of novel and disparate datasets can be used in real time to prevent and control emerging and reemerging infectious diseases.
Economic burden of caregiving for persons with severe mental illness in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic reviewAddo, R., Agyemang, S. A., Tozan, Y., & Nonvignon, J.
Journal titlePloS one
Issue8AbstractBackground Over the past two decades, the focus of mental health care has shifted from institutionalisation to community-based programs and short hospital stays. This change means that there is an increased role for caregivers, mostly family members, in managing persons with mental illness. Although there is evidence to support the benefits of deinstitutionalisation of mental health care, there are also indications of substantial burden experienced by caregivers; the evidence of which is limited in sub-Saharan Africa. However, knowledge of the nature and extent of this burden can inform the planning of mental health services that will not only benefit patients, but also caregivers and households. Objective To systematically review the available evidence on the economic burden of severe mental illness on primary family caregivers in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods A comprehensive search was conducted in Pubmed, CINAHL, Econlit and Web of Science with no date limitations up to September 2016 using keywords such as "burden", "cost of illness" and "economic burden" to identify relevant published literature. Articles were appraised using a standardised data extraction tool covering themes such as physical, psychological and socioeconomic burden. Results Seven papers were included in the review. Caregivers were mostly family members with a mean age of 46.34, female and unemployed. Five out of seven studies (71%) estimated the full economic burden of severe mental illness on caregivers. The remainder of studies just described the caregiver burden. All seven papers reported moderate to severe caregiver burden characterised by financial constraint, productivity loss and lost employment. The caregiver’s level of income and employment status, severity of patient’s condition and duration of mental illness were reported to negatively affect the economic burden experienced by caregivers. Conclusion There is paucity of studies reporting the burden of severe mental illness on caregivers in sub-Saharan Africa. Further research is needed to present the nature and extent of this burden to inform service planning and policymaking.
Novel tools for the surveillance and control of dengue: findings by the dengueTools research consortiumWilder-Smith, A., Tissera, H., AbuBakar, S., Kittayapong, P., Logan, J., Neumayr, A., Rocklöv, J., Byass, P., Louis, V. R., Tozan, Y., Massad, E., & Preet, R.
Journal titleGlobal Health Action
Issue1AbstractBackground: Dengue fever persists as a major global disease burden, and may increase as a consequence of climate change. Along with other measures, research actions to improve diagnosis, surveillance, prevention, and predictive models are highly relevant. The European Commission funded the DengueTools consortium to lead a major initiative in these areas, and this review synthesises the outputs and findings of this work conducted from 2011 to 2016. Research areas: DengueTools organised its work into three research areas, namely  Early warning and surveillance systems;  Strategies to prevent dengue in children; and  Predictive models for the global spread of dengue. Research area 1 focused on case-studies undertaken in Sri Lanka, including developing laboratory-based sentinel surveillance, evaluating economic impact, identifying drivers of transmission intensity, evaluating outbreak prediction capacity and developing diagnostic capacity. Research area 2 addressed preventing dengue transmission in school children, with case-studies undertaken in Thailand. Insecticide-treated school uniforms represented an intriguing potential approach, with some encouraging results, but which were overshadowed by a lack of persistence of insecticide on the uniforms with repeated washing. Research area 3 evaluated potential global spread of dengue, particularly into dengue-naïve areas such as Europe. The role of international travel, changing boundaries of vectors, developing models of vectorial capacity under different climate change scenarios and strategies for vector control in outbreaks was all evaluated. Concluding remarks: DengueTools was able to make significant advances in methods for understanding and controlling dengue transmission in a range of settings. These will have implications for public health agendas to counteract dengue, including vaccination programmes. Outlook: Towards the end of the DengueTools project, Zika virus emerged as an unexpected epidemic in the central and southern America. Given the similarities between the dengue and Zika viruses, with vectors in common, some of the DengueTools thinking translated readily into the Zika situation.