Operationalising factors that explain the emergence of infectious diseases: a case study of the human campylobacteriosis epidemic

Norval J C Strachan, Ovidiu Rotariu, Marion MacRae, Samuel K Sheppard, Alison Smith-Palmer, John Cowden, Martin C J Maiden, Ken J Forbes

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Abstract

A framework of general factors for infectious disease emergence was made operational for Campylobacter utilising explanatory variables including time series and risk factor data. These variables were generated using a combination of empirical epidemiology, case-case and case-control studies, time series analysis, and microbial sub-typing (source attribution, diversity, genetic distance) to unravel the changing/emerging aetiology of human campylobacteriosis. The study focused on Scotland between 1990–2012 where there was a 75% increase in reported cases that included >300% increase in the elderly and 50% decrease in young children. During this period there were three phases 1990–2000 a 75% rise and a 20% fall to 2006, followed by a 19% resurgence. The rise coincided with expansions in the poultry industry, consumption of chicken, and a shift from rural to urban cases. The post-2000 fall occurred across all groups apart from the elderly and coincided with a drop of the prevalence of Campylobacter in chicken and a higher proportion of rural cases. The increase in the elderly was associated with uptake of proton pump inhibitors. During the resurgence the increase was predominantly in adults and the elderly, again there was increasing use of PPIs and high prevalences in chicken and ruminants. Cases associated with foreign travel during the study also increased from 9% to a peak of 16% in 2006 before falling to an estimated 10% in 2011, predominantly in adults and older children. During all three periods source attribution, genetic distance, and diversity measurements placed human isolates most similar to those in chickens. A combination of emergence factors generic for infectious diseases were responsible for the Campylobacter epidemic. It was possible to use these to obtain a putative explanation for the changes in human disease and the potential to make an informed view of how incidence rates may change in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere79331
Number of pages12
JournalPloS ONE
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2013

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Keywords

  • infectious diseases
  • Campylobacter
  • molecular sub-typing
  • analytical epidemiology
  • disease emergence
  • EPIDEMIC

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