• Out of (West) Africa-Who Lost in the End?

      Olliaro, Piero; Lasry, Estrella; Tiffany, Amanda (American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2014-12-15)
      On October 29, 2014, 4 days before the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) to be held in New Orleans, LA, meeting registrants received an e-mail letter from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals stating "we have requested that any individuals that will be traveling to Louisiana following a trip to the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone or have had contact with an Ebola-infected individual remain in a self-quarantine for the 21 days following their relevant travel history…we see no use in you traveling to New Orleans to simply be confined to your room." This communication made it clear that those recently in countries experiencing the 2014 Ebola epidemic would not be able to participate in the meeting. The ASTMH sent their own communication stating that the Society did not agree with the State's policy, but had no choice but to abide. However inconvenient and upsetting this decision might have been, what really matters transcends the mere disturbance of long-planned schedules. More broadly, we lost on five levels.
    • What is a Hotspot Anyway?

      Lessler, J; Azman, A; McKay, H; Moore, S (American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2017-06)
      AbstractThe importance of spatial clusters, or "hotspots," in infectious disease epidemiology has been increasingly recognized, and targeting hotspots is often seen as an important component of disease-control strategies. However, the precise meaning of "hotspot" varies widely in current research and policy documents. Hotspots have been variously described as areas of elevated incidence or prevalence, higher transmission efficiency or risk, or higher probability of disease emergence. This ambiguity has led to confusion and may result in mistaken inferences regarding the best way to target interventions. We surveyed the literature on epidemiologic hotspots, examining the multitude of ways in which the term is used; and highlight the difference in the geographic scale of hotspots and the properties they are supposed to have. In response to the diversity in the term's usage, we advocate the use of more precise terms, such as "burden hotspot," "transmission hotspot," and "emergence hotspot," as well as explicit specification of the spatiotemporal scale of interest. Increased precision in terminology is needed to ensure clear and effective policies for disease control.