National Epidemiology Center

Manila, Philippines

National Epidemiology Center

Manila, Philippines
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Yoon I.-K.,Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical science | Alera M.T.,Philippines AFRIMS Virology Research Unit | Lago C.B.,Philippines AFRIMS Virology Research Unit | Fernandez S.,Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical science | And 10 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2015

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a globally re-emerging arbovirus for which previous studies have indicated the majority of infections result in symptomatic febrile illness. We sought to characterize the proportion of subclinical and symptomatic CHIKV infections in a prospective cohort study in a country with known CHIKV circulation. A prospective longitudinal cohort of subjects ≥6 months old underwent community-based active surveillance for acute febrile illness in Cebu City, Philippines from 2012-13. Subjects with fever history were clinically evaluated at acute, 2, 5, and 8 day visits, and at a 3-week convalescent visit. Blood was collected at the acute and 3-week convalescent visits. Symptomatic CHIKV infections were identified by positive CHIKV PCR in acute blood samples and/or CHIKV IgM/IgG ELISA seroconversion in paired acute/convalescent samples. Enrollment and 12-month blood samples underwent plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) using CHIKV attenuated strain 181/clone25. Subclinical CHIKV infections were identified by ≥8-fold rise from a baseline enrollment PRNT titer <10 without symptomatic infection detected during the intervening surveillance period. Selected CHIKV PCR-positive samples underwent viral isolation and envelope protein-1 gene sequencing. Of 853 subjects who completed all study procedures at 12 months, 19 symptomatic infections (2.19 per 100 person-years) and 87 subclinical infections (10.03 per 100 person-years) occurred. The ratio of subclinical-to-symptomatic infections was 4.6:1 varying with age from 2:1 in 6 month-5 year olds to 12:1 in those >50 years old. Baseline CHIKV PRNT titer ≥10 was associated with 100% (95%CI: 46.1, 100.0) protection from symptomatic CHIKV infection. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated Asian genotype closely related to strains from Asia and the Caribbean. Subclinical infections accounted for a majority of total CHIKV infections. A positive baseline CHIKV PRNT titer was associated with protection from symptomatic CHIKV infection. These findings have implications for assessing disease burden, understanding virus transmission, and supporting vaccine development.

PubMed | National Epidemiology Center, Institute Pasteur Paris, Korean International Vaccine Institute, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical science and 2 more.
Type: Historical Article | Journal: The Journal of infectious diseases | Year: 2016

Proper understanding of the long-term epidemiology of chikungunya has been hampered by poor surveillance. Outbreak years are unpredictable and cases often misdiagnosed. Here we analyzed age-specific data from 2 serological studies (from 1973 and 2012) in Cebu, Philippines, to reconstruct both the annual probability of infection and population-level immunity over a 60-year period (1952-2012). We also explored whether seroconversions during 2012-2013 were spatially clustered. Our models identified 4 discrete outbreaks separated by an average delay of 17 years. On average, 23% (95% confidence interval [CI], 16%-37%) of the susceptible population was infected per outbreak, with >50% of the entire population remaining susceptible at any point. Participants who seroconverted during 2012-2013 were clustered at distances of <230 m, suggesting focal transmission. Large-scale outbreaks of chikungunya did not result in sustained multiyear transmission. Nevertheless, we estimate that >350 000 infections were missed by surveillance systems. Serological studies could supplement surveillance to provide important insights on pathogen circulation.

PubMed | National Epidemiology Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Western Pacific surveillance and response journal : WPSAR | Year: 2015

On 21 August 2013, the Event-based Surveillance and Response system of the Department of Health, Philippines captured a foodborne illness event among residents of a coastal village in Eastern Samar, Philippines. The suspected cause was the consumption of a sea turtle found near the village. A team from the Department of Health was sent to conduct an outbreak investigation.A case was defined as any person in Arteche, Eastern Samar, who developed dry mouth and burning sensation in the throat from 15 August to 27 August, 2013. Severity of the disease was classified as mild, moderate or severe. We conducted records review, environmental investigation, interviews of key informants and a retrospective cohort study.Sixty-eight cases were identified; four died (case fatality rate = 6%). All cases had a history of turtle meat consumption. Dose-dependent relationship was noted between amount of turtle meat consumed and the risk of illness. In the cohort study, consumption of turtle meat and turtle meat soup were associated with illness.This study identified turtle meat as the source of this foodborne outbreak and emphasized the dangers of consuming turtle meat. Other reported cases of turtle meat poisoning in the Philippines suggest that turtle consumption is an ongoing practice in the country. By publishing information about sea turtle poisoning outbreaks in the Philippines, we hope to raise awareness of the potential severe health effects from ingesting these endangered sea creatures.

PubMed | National Epidemiology Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Western Pacific surveillance and response journal : WPSAR | Year: 2015

In July 2013, the Philippines Event-Based Surveillance & Response Unit received a paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) report from Tarangnan, Western Samar. A team from the Department of Health conducted an outbreak investigation to identify the implicated source and risk factors in coastal villages known for green mussel production and exportation.A case was defined as a previously well individual from Tarangan, Western Samar who developed gastrointestinal symptoms and any motor and/or sensory symptoms after consumption of shellfish from 29 June to 4 July 2013 in the absence of any known cause. The team reviewed medical records, conducted active case finding and a case-control study. Relatives of cases who died were interviewed. Sera and urine specimens, green mussel and seawater samples were tested for saxitoxin levels using high performance liquid chromatography.Thirty-one cases and two deaths were identified. Consumption of > 1 cup of green mussel broth was associated with being a case. Seawater sample was positive for Pyrodinium bahamense var. compressum and green mussel samples were positive for saxitoxin. Inspection revealed villagers practice open defecation and improper garbage disposal.This PSP outbreak was caused by the consumption of the green mussel broth contaminated by saxitoxin. As a result of this outbreak, dinoflagellate and saxitoxin surveillance was established, and since the outbreak, there have been no harmful algal blooms event or PSP case reported since. A Save Cambatutay Bay movement, focusing on proper waste disposal practice and clean-up drives has been mobilized.

PubMed | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Disease Control Division, Korean International Vaccine Institute, Ministry of Health and 13 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

Dengue is a mosquito-transmitted virus infection that causes epidemics of febrile illness and hemorrhagic fever across the tropics and subtropics worldwide. Annual epidemics are commonly observed, but there is substantial spatiotemporal heterogeneity in intensity. A better understanding of this heterogeneity in dengue transmission could lead to improved epidemic prediction and disease control. Time series decomposition methods enable the isolation and study of temporal epidemic dynamics with a specific periodicity (e.g., annual cycles related to climatic drivers and multiannual cycles caused by dynamics in population immunity). We collected and analyzed up to 18 y of monthly dengue surveillance reports on a total of 3.5 million reported dengue cases from 273 provinces in eight countries in Southeast Asia, covering 10(7) km(2). We detected strong patterns of synchronous dengue transmission across the entire region, most markedly during a period of high incidence in 1997-1998, which was followed by a period of extremely low incidence in 2001-2002. This synchrony in dengue incidence coincided with elevated temperatures throughout the region in 1997-1998 and the strongest El Nio episode of the century. Multiannual dengue cycles (2-5 y) were highly coherent with the Oceanic Nio Index, and synchrony of these cycles increased with temperature. We also detected localized traveling waves of multiannual dengue epidemic cycles in Thailand, Laos, and the Philippines that were dependent on temperature. This study reveals forcing mechanisms that drive synchronization of dengue epidemics on a continental scale across Southeast Asia.

Munoz-Alonso M.J.,PharmaMar | Alvarez E.,PharmaMar | Guillen-Navarro M.J.,PharmaMar | Pollan M.,National Epidemiology Center | And 3 more authors.
Marine Drugs | Year: 2013

Plitidepsin is an antitumor drug of marine origin currently in Phase III clinical trials in multiple myeloma. In cultured cells, plitidepsin induces cell cycle arrest or an acute apoptotic process in which sustained activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) plays a crucial role. With a view to optimizing clinical use of plitidepsin, we have therefore evaluated the possibility of using JNK activation as an in vivo biomarker of response. In this study, we show that administration of a single plitidepsin dose to mice xenografted with human cancer cells does indeed lead to increased phosphorylation of JNK in tumors at 4 to 12 h. By contrast, no changes were found in other in vitro plitidepsin targets such as the levels of phosphorylated-ERK, -p38MAPK or the protein p27KIP1. Interestingly, plitidepsin also increased JNK phosphorylation in spleens from xenografted mice showing similar kinetics to those seen in tumors, thereby suggesting that normal tissues might be useful for predicting drug activity. Furthermore, plitidepsin administration to rats at plasma concentrations comparable to those achievable in patients also increased JNK phosphorylation in peripheral mononuclear blood cells. These findings suggest that changes in JNK activity provide a reliable biomarker for plitidepsin activity and this could be useful for designing clinical trials and maximizing the efficacy of plitidepsin. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI.

Swahn M.H.,Georgia State University | Palmier J.B.,Georgia State University | Benegas-Segarra A.,National Epidemiology Center | Sinson F.A.,National Epidemiology Center
BMC Public Health | Year: 2013

Background: A largely unaddressed issue in lower income countries and the Philippines, in particular, is the role of alcohol marketing and its potential link to early alcohol use among youth. This study examines the associations between exposures to alcohol marketing and Filipino youths' drinking prevalence and drunkenness. Methods. Cross-sectional analyses were used to examine the Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS) conducted in Philippines (2011). The self-administered questionnaires were completed by students primarily 13 to 16 years of age (N = 5290). Three statistical models were computed to test the associations between alcohol marketing and alcohol use, while controlling for possible confounding factors. Results: Alcohol marketing, specifically through providing free alcohol through a company representative, was associated with drunkenness (AOR: 1.84; 95% CI = 1.06-3.21) among youths after controlling for demographic and psychosocial characteristics, peer environment, and risky behaviors. In addition, seeing alcohol ads in newspapers and magazines (AOR: 1.65, 95% CI = 1.05-2.58) and seeing ads at sports events, concerts or fairs (AOR: 1.50, 95% CI = 1.06-2.12) were significantly associated with increased reports of drunkenness. Conclusions: There are significant associations between alcohol marketing exposure and increased alcohol use and drunkenness among youth in the Philippines. These findings highlight the need to put policies into effect that restrict alcohol marketing practices as an important prevention strategy for reducing alcohol use and its dire consequences among vulnerable youth. © 2013 Swahn et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

PubMed | National Epidemiology Center, University of Maryland University College, Johns Hopkins University, TMG Biosciences LLC and 3 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: mBio | Year: 2015

Cholera continues to be a global threat, with high rates of morbidity and mortality. In 2011, a cholera outbreak occurred in Palawan, Philippines, affecting more than 500 people, and 20 individuals died. Vibrio cholerae O1 was confirmed as the etiological agent. Source attribution is critical in cholera outbreaks for proper management of the disease, as well as to control spread. In this study, three V. cholerae O1 isolates from a Philippines cholera outbreak were sequenced and their genomes analyzed to determine phylogenetic relatedness to V. cholerae O1 isolates from recent outbreaks of cholera elsewhere. The Philippines V. cholerae O1 isolates were determined to be V. cholerae O1 hybrid El Tor belonging to the seventh-pandemic clade. They clustered tightly, forming a monophyletic clade closely related to V. cholerae O1 hybrid El Tor from Asia and Africa. The isolates possess a unique multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) genotype (12-7-9-18-25 and 12-7-10-14-21) and lack SXT. In addition, they possess a novel 15-kb genomic island (GI-119) containing a predicted type I restriction-modification system. The CTX-RS1 array of the Philippines isolates was similar to that of V. cholerae O1 MG116926, a hybrid El Tor strain isolated in Bangladesh in 1991. Overall, the data indicate that the Philippines V. cholerae O1 isolates are unique, differing from recent V. cholerae O1 isolates from Asia, Africa, and Haiti. Furthermore, the results of this study support the hypothesis that the Philippines isolates of V. cholerae O1 are indigenous and exist locally in the aquatic ecosystem of the Philippines.Genetic characterization and phylogenomics analysis of outbreak strains have proven to be critical for probing clonal relatedness to strains isolated in different geographical regions and over time. Recently, extensive genetic analyses of V. cholerae O1 strains isolated in different countries have been done. However, genome sequences of V. cholerae O1 isolates from the Philippines have not been available for epidemiological investigation. In this study, molecular typing and phylogenetic analysis of Vibrio cholerae isolated from both clinical and environmental samples in 2011 confirmed unique genetic features of the Philippines isolates, which are helpful to understand the global epidemiology of cholera.

Bravo L.,University of the Philippines at Manila | Roque V.G.,National Epidemiology Center | Brett J.,Sanofi S.A. | Dizon R.,Sanofi S.A. | L'Azou M.,Sanofi S.A.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2014

This literature analysis describes the available dengue epidemiology data in the Philippines between 2000 and 2011. Of 253 relevant data sources identified, 34, including additional epidemiology data provided by the National Epidemiology Center, Department of Health, Philippines, were reviewed. There were 14 publications in peer reviewed journals, and 17 surveillance reports/sources, which provided variable information from the passive reporting system and show broad trends in dengue incidence, including age group predominance and disease severity. The peer reviewed studies focused on clinical severity of cases, some revealed data on circulating serotypes and genotypes and on the seroepidemiology of dengue including incidence rates for infection and apparent disease. Gaps in the data were identified, and include the absence incidence rates stratified by age, dengue serotype and genotype distribution, disease severity data, sex distribution data, and seroprevalence data. © 2014 Bravo et al.

Sucaldito N.L.,National Epidemiology Center | Tayag E.A.,Support Service Delivery Technical Cluster ational Epidemiology Center | Roces M.C.R.,SafetyNet | Malison M.D.,Atlanta | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Public Health | Year: 2014

Objectives: The decentralization of the Philippines’ health sector in 1991 sought to improve the efficiency of local health resource allocation; however, local officials were unprepared for the increased responsibility. In 1999 the Philippines Department of Health, with assistance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), implemented the Philippines Field Management Training Program (FMTP) to provide local health officials with the managerial skills needed to perform their new, more responsible jobs. This paper addresses whether the FMTP has provided participants with useful managerial skills needed for their more responsible positions.Results: Between 2000 and 2010, 294 participants completed the FMTP and many were later promoted to more responsible positions. The participants also completed 204 applied management improvement projects resulting in documented improvements in service delivery, information systems, logistics, health insurance, policy and laboratory outcomes. Examples of their successes are included in this paper.Conclusions: The results provide compelling evidence that managers are using the skills learned to solve significant managerial problems.Methods: The method involved reviewing program outcomes, including results of applied management improvement projects the participants completed to solve managerial problems. © 2014, Swiss School of Public Health (outside the USA).

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