AJPH February 2016 highlights

Date: Feb 18 2016

AJPH Research: Ebola treatment in Sierra Leone, alcohol industry actions to reduce drunk driving, tobacco-free pharmacy laws and tobacco retailer density

CONTACT: For copies of articles or full table of contents of an issue, contact Mandi Yohn at amanda.yohn@apha.org or 202-777-2509.

American Journal of Public Health highlights:

1. Community-based prevention and care reduces Ebola transmission in Sierra Leone

2. Alcohol industry actions to reduce drunk driving conflict with public health recommendations

3. Tobacco-free pharmacy laws reduce tobacco retailer density in California and Massachusetts


Community-based prevention and care reduces Ebola transmission in Sierra Leone

Community-based approaches to prevention and care reduced Ebola transmission in Sierra Leone during the epidemic in 2014-2015, according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health. Sierra Leone was the worst-affected country during West Africa’s Ebola virus disease epidemic.

Researchers from UNICEF used qualitative data, structured questionnaires, facility registers and laboratory records to assess the acceptability and use of 46 Community Care Centers – or CCCs – that were rapidly deployed in Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic in November 2014-January 2015. Transmission effects were estimated by comparing time between symptom onset and isolation at CCCs relative to other facilities with the national Viral Hemorrhagic Fever data set.

Results showed that over the 13 epidemic weeks that the CCCs were operational, 6,129 patients were triaged and 719 Ebola suspects were identified. Nearly all patients lived nearby and were self-referred, accessing CCCs outside the national alert system. Isolation of Ebola suspects within four days of symptoms was significantly higher in CCCs compared to other facilities, contributing to a 13-32 percent reduction in transmission in districts where they were deployed.

“West Africa’s Ebola virus disease epidemic is unprecedented in scale and intensity and larger than all previous EVD epidemics combined,” the authors explain. “Experience in Sierra Leone suggests that a decentralized, rapidly deployed, community-owned strategy for Ebola control was feasible and effective. Within the overall Ebola response architecture, such decentralized triage and referral networks are a vital complement to more centralized treatment centers.”

[“The Effect of Community-Based Prevention and Care on Ebola Transmission in Sierra Leone.” Contact: Paul Pronyk, MD, PhD, UNICEF, New York, New York.]

Alcohol industry actions to reduce drunk driving conflict with public health recommendations

According to new research in the American Journal of Public Health, most alcohol industry actions to reduce drunk driving conflict with evidence-based public health recommendations. Since the mid-1980s, the alcohol industry has implemented a growing number of initiatives to reduce harmful drinking as part of corporate social responsibility business practices.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed the content of 266 global initiatives the alcohol industry implemented to reduce drunk driving from 1982-2015. Data were obtained from the industry-funded International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, which maintains an online compendium of industry initiatives for reducing harmful drinking.

Results showed that less than 1 percent of the sampled industry-sponsored actions – including sobriety checkpoints and installation of ignition interlocks – were consistent with public health evidence of effectiveness for reducing drunk driving. The industry actions used most commonly, such as designated driver programs, ride services and mass media campaigns, have been found to lack evidence of effectiveness. Researchers found that a majority of these actions were sponsored by social aspects public relations organizations, which are funded by the industry to manage issues that could potentially be harmful to business.

“We found that most of the alcohol industry’s drunk driving initiatives are based in high-income countries, particularly Europe and the Americas, aligning with the regions with the highest levels of alcohol consumption,” the authors explained. “Our findings suggest that the majority of the alcohol industry global actions to reduce drunk driving conflict with the public health recommendations on the basis of scientific evidence of effectiveness.”

[“Evaluation of the Evidence Base for the Alcohol Industry’s Actions to Reduce Drunk Driving Globally.” Esser et al., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland. For media questions, contact Bobbi Nicotera.]

Tobacco-free pharmacy laws reduce tobacco retailer density in California and Massachusetts

Tobacco-free pharmacy laws have resulted in a reduction of tobacco retailer density in California and Massachusetts, according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers from The Ohio State University, led by Yue Jin, PhD, analyzed tobacco retailer density at the city level from tobacco retailer license data in California and Massachusetts, the only two U.S. states where laws prohibiting tobacco sales in pharmacies exist. For California, data from 2005-2013 was obtained from the Special Taxes Policy and Compliance Division at the California Board of Equalization. For Massachusetts, data from 2004-2014 was obtained from the Department of Revenue, Litigation Bureau.

Results showed that implementation of tobacco-free pharmacy laws were associated with a significant decrease in tobacco retailer density over time in both California and Massachusetts. Further, in cities with these laws, the reduction of tobacco retailer density was up to three times as great as the reduction among cities without such laws.

“The U.S. is one of the leading consumers of tobacco products in the world, and tobacco sales in pharmacies account for nearly five percent of total tobacco sales,” the authors explained. “Many other countries have used national or local laws to prohibit the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. This study suggests that such laws can effectively reduce tobacco retailer density, which may further decrease the accessibility of tobacco products and limit exposure to displays and advertisements.”

[“Tobacco-Free Pharmacy Laws and Trends in Tobacco Retailer Density in California and Massachusetts.” Amy Ferketich, PhD, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.]

Find a full list of research papers to be published online on February 18, 2016, at 4 p.m. EST below:

  • The Effect of Community-Based Prevention and Care on Ebola Transmission in Sierra Leone
  • Total Duration of Breastfeeding, Vitamin D Supplementation, and Serum Levels of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D
  • Evaluation of the Evidence Base for the Alcohol Industry’s Actions to Reduce Drunk Driving Globally
  • Causes and Disparities in Death Rates Among Urban American Indian and Alaska Native Populations, 1999–2009
  • National Needs of Family Planning Among US Men Aged 15 to 44 Years
  • Tobacco-Free Pharmacy Laws and Trends in Tobacco Retailer Density in California and Massachusetts
  • Impact of Universal Health Coverage on Child Growth and Nutrition in Argentina
  • Community Health Center Utilization Following the 2008 Medicaid Expansion in Oregon: Implications for the Affordable Care Act
  • Disability and Risk of Recent Sexual Violence in the United States
  • Inequalities in Hospitalized Unintentional Injury Between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Children in New South Wales, Australia
  • Comparison of Commercial and Self-Initiated Weight Loss Programs in People With Prediabetes: A Randomized Control Trial
  • National Needs of Family Planning Among US Men Aged 15 to 44 Years
  • Increase in Naloxone Prescriptions Dispensed in US Retail Pharmacies Since 2013
  • Increasing Benzodiazepine Prescriptions and Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1996–2013
  • Hepatitis C Screening Rate Among Underserved Adults With Serious Mental Illness Receiving Care in California Community Mental Health Centers
  • Human Papillomavirus Vaccination in the United States: Uneven Uptake by Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Sexual Orientation
  • Quantifying Distance Overestimation From Global Positioning System in Urban Spaces
  • Homeopathy Use by US Adults: Results of a National Survey
  • Refugee Resettlement Patterns and State-Level Health Care Insurance Access in the United States

The articles above were published online February 18, 2016, at 4 p.m. EST by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look.” “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association, and is available at www.ajph.org.

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Mandi Yohn at APHA, 202-777-2509, or email her. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions department. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single issue access is $30 and online single article access is $22 at www.ajph.org or for direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email.

To stay up-to-date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new content email alerts.

###

The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA champions the health of all people and all communities by strengthening the profession of public health, sharing the latest research and information, promoting best practices and advocating for public health issues and policies grounded in research. More information is available at www.apha.org.