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DSHS Authors: 2015 Research Articles by DSHS Staff

The following list includes peer-reviewed research articles that have been written by staff of the Texas Department of State Health Services in the last five years. For more information about these articles or for a full-text copy, please contact the Medical and Research Library by e-mail at library@dshs.texas.gov by calling (512) 776-7559.

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mrl-diamond2015 Articles (in date order with most recent first)

Van Horne BS1, Moffitt KB2, Canfield MA2, Case AP2, et al. Maltreatment of children under age 2 with specific birth defects: a population-based study. Pediatrics. 2015 Dec;136(6):e1504-12.
Background And Objectives: Children with disabilities are at an increased risk for maltreatment. However, the risk of maltreatment is unknown for children with specific types of birth defects. This study was conducted to determine whether the risk and predictors of maltreatment differ between children with and without 3 birth defects: Down syndrome, cleft lip with/without cleft palate, and spina bifida. Methods: This population-based study of substantiated childhood maltreatment was conducted in Texas from 2002 to 2011. Linked data were used to describe the risk and types of maltreatment that occurred before age 2 years in children with and without specific birth defects. Poisson regression was used to identify predictors of maltreatment and assess differences in those predictors between children with and without these specific birth defects. Results: The risk of maltreatment (any type) in children with cleft lip with/without cleft palate and spina bifida was increased by 40% and 58%, respectively, compared with children with no birth defects. The risk of any maltreatment was similar between children with Down syndrome and unaffected children. Across birth defect groups, the risk of medical neglect was 3 to 6 times higher than in the unaffected group. Child-, family-, and neighborhood-level factors predicted maltreatment in children with and without birth defects. Conclusions: The overall risk of substantiated maltreatment was significantly higher for some but not all birth defect groups. The factors associated with increased risk were similar across groups. Enhancement of existing maltreatment prevention and early intervention programs may be effective mechanisms to provide at-risk families additional support.

Langlois PH, Scheuerle AE. Descriptive epidemiology of birth defects thought to arise by new mutation. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2015 Nov;103(11):913-27.
Background: The current study is the first to examine the association of a broad range of sociodemographic factors with conditions thought to arise most of the time by de novo mutation. Methods: Data were taken from 1999 to 2009 from the Texas Birth Defects Registry (TBDR), a statewide active surveillance program. We used Poisson regression to generate crude and adjusted measures of association; the latter included models with all variables and with a parsimonious subset of variables. Results:  There were 1694 cases with any of the phenotypes in the panel, 1100 cases in a subpanel with ≥90% of cases thought to arise de novo, 523 with chromosomal deletion disorders, and 243 with imprinting disorders. In the most parsimonious models, there was an increasing time trend in all groups except imprinting (p ≤ 0.01). Plurality (twins, triplets, etc.) was associated with greater risk of all groups except chromosomal deletions (p ≤ 0.01). Parental age showed strong trends with all groups; paternal age was most important for the total and imprinting groups (p ≤ 0.0001), and maternal age for the others (p ≤ 0.04). De novo mutation phenotypes were more prevalent among offspring of fathers who are non-Hispanic White compared with some other race/ethnic groups. Conclusion:  This study suggests that birth defects arising by new mutation may be more prevalent among offspring of older parents and in plural births. The increasing time pattern and race/ethnic pattern may be related to greater use of or access to genetic tests. This approach to mutation epidemiology seems feasible for birth defects registries to consider.

Pham CD, Purfield AE, Fader R, Pascoe N, Lockhart SR. Development of a multilocus sequence typing system for medically relevant Bipolaris species. J Clin Microbiol. 2015 Oct;53(10):3239-46.
Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) is the gold standard genotyping technique for many microorganisms. This classification approach satisfies the requirements for a high-resolution, standardized, and archivable taxonomic system. Here, we describe the development of a novel MLST system to assist with the investigation of an unusual cluster of surgical site infections caused by Bipolaris spp. in postoperative cardiothoracic surgery (POCS) patients during January 2008 to December 2013 in the southeastern United States. We also used the same MLST system to perform a retrospective analysis on isolates from a 2012 Bipolaris endophthalmitis outbreak caused by a contaminated product. This MLST system showed high intraspecies discriminatory power for Bipolaris spicifera, B. hawaiiensis, and B. australiensis. Based on the relatedness of the isolates, the MLST data supported the hypothesis that infections in the POCS cluster were from different environmental sources while confirming that the endophthalmitis outbreak resulted from a point source, which was a contaminated medication.

Dawson AL, Razzaghi H, Arth A, Canfield MA , Parker SE, Reefhuis J. Maternal exposures in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study: Time trends of selected exposures. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2015 Aug;103(8):703-12. 
Background:  Our objective was to describe time trends in selected pregnancy exposures in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS). Methods:  We analyzed data from the NBDPS, a multi-site case-control study of major birth defects, for mothers of live-born infants without birth defects (controls), with an expected date of delivery (EDD) from 1998 to 2011. Mothers from the 10 participating centers across the United States were interviewed by phone between 6 weeks and 2 years after the EDD. We focused on maternal race/ethnicity and five maternal risk factors: obesity, use of folic acid-containing multivitamins, opioid analgesics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and loratadine because of their prevalence of use and some reports of associations with major birth defects. Prevalence time trends were examined using the Kendall's τβ test statistic. Results:  The exposure trend analysis included 11,724 control mothers with EDDs from 1998 to 2011. We observed a significant increase in obesity prevalence among control mothers, as well as use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and loratadine. We also observed an increase in periconceptional use of folic acid-containing multivitamins. Some of the time trends varied by race/ethnicity. No remarkable trend in the overall use of opioid analgesics was observed. The racial/ethnic distribution of mothers changed slightly during the study period. Conclusion:  Long-term, population-based case-control studies continue to be an effective way to assess exposure-birth defects associations and provide guidance to health care providers. However, investigators examining rare outcomes covering many years of data collection need to be cognizant of time trends in exposures.

Smith LB, Reich BJ, Herring AH, Langlois PH, Fuentes M. Multilevel quantile function modeling with application to birth outcomes. Biometrics. 2015 Jun;71(2):508-19.
Infants born preterm or small for gestational age have elevated rates of morbidity and mortality. Using birth certificate records in Texas from 2002 to 2004 and Environmental Protection Agency air pollution estimates, we relate the quantile functions of birth weight and gestational age to ozone exposure and multiple predictors, including parental age, race, and education level. We introduce a semi-parametric Bayesian quantile approach that models the full quantile function rather than just a few quantile levels. Our multilevel quantile function model establishes relationships between birth weight and the predictors separately for each week of gestational age and between gestational age and the predictors separately across Texas Public Health Regions. We permit these relationships to vary nonlinearly across gestational age, spatial domain and quantile level and we unite them in a hierarchical model via a basis expansion on the regression coefficients that preserves interpretability. Very low birth weight is a primary concern, so we leverage extreme value theory to supplement our model in the tail of the distribution. Gestational ages are recorded in completed weeks of gestation (integer-valued), so we present methodology for modeling quantile functions of discrete response data. In a simulation study we show that pooling information across gestational age and quantile level substantially reduces MSE of predictor effects. We find that ozone is negatively associated with the lower tail of gestational age in south Texas and across the distribution of birth weight for high gestational ages. Our methods are available in the R package BSquare.

Forrester MB. Texas poison center calls in relation to severe rains and flooding in May 2015. TX Public Health J 2015;67(4):3 5.
No abstract.

Prot EY. The opportunity in death. J Grad Med Educ. 2015 Dec;7(4):698-9. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-15-00013.1.
No abstract.

Case AP, Hoyt AT, Canfield MA, Wilkinson AV. Periconceptional risk factors for birth defects among younger and older teen mothers. J. Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2015 Aug;28(4):263-70.
Study Objectives: We sought to determine whether selected periconceptional health behaviors that influence risk for birth defects differ between older and younger adolescents and whether pregnancy intention predicts more positive preconception health behaviors among teens. Design And Participants: We analyzed interview responses from 954 adolescent control group participants from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study who delivered live infants during 1997-2007. Main Outcome Measures: Adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for factors of interest by age categories (13-15, 16-17, and 18 years, relative to 19 years). To construct a composite periconceptional behavior index, we summed the following healthy behaviors: nonsmoker, nondrinker, folic acid supplementation, and eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. RESULTS: Analyses indicated that women in the youngest group (13-15 years of age) were more likely to be Hispanic (aOR 2.83, 95% CI 1.40-5.70) and less likely to engage in some unhealthy pregnancy-related behaviors compared with 19-year-olds, such as smoking (aOR 0.45, 95% CI 0.20-0.99) and being overweight or obese (aOR 0.32, 95% CI 0.16-0.61). However, they were also less likely to have taken periconceptional folic acid (aOR 0.44, 95% CI 0.21-0.90). About one-third of teen mothers indicated that their pregnancies had been intended. Among 18- and 19-year-olds, this predicted a higher mean value for the composite periconceptional behavior index (2.30 versus 1.94, P ≤ .01). Conclusions: Teen mothers are not a homogeneous group. Each age subgroup presents varied demographic and behavioral factors that put them at varying levels of risk for birth defects. Furthermore, caregivers should not assume that teens do not plan pregnancies or that they need not be informed of the importance of periconceptional health.

Shenkman E1, Muller K2, Vogel B3, Aric J9, Stoner D, et al. The wellness incentives and navigation project: design and methods. BMC Health Serv Res. 2015 Dec 29;15(1):579. doi: 10.1186/s12913-015-1245-x.
Background: About 35 % of non-elderly U.S. adult Medicaid enrollees have a behavioral health condition, such as anxiety, mood disorders, substance use disorders, and/or serious mental illness. Individuals with serious mental illness, in particular, have mortality rates that are 2 to 3 times higher as the general population, which are due to multiple factors including inactivity, poor nutrition, and tobacco use. 61 % of Medicaid beneficiaries with behavioral health conditions also have multiple other co-occurring chronic physical health conditions, which further contributes to morbidity and mortality. The Wellness Incentives and Navigation (WIN) project is one of 10 projects under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services "Medicaid Incentives for the Prevention of Chronic Diseases" Initiative, to "test the effectiveness of providing incentives directly to Medicaid beneficiaries of all ages who participate in prevention programs, and change their health risks and outcomes by adopting healthy behaviors." Methods/Design: WIN is a three-year randomized pragmatic clinical trial designed to examine the comparative effectiveness of the combined use of personal navigators, motivational interviewing, and a flexible wellness account on cardiovascular risk reduction among individuals in Medicaid with co-occurring physical and mental health conditions or serious mental illness alone relative to the usual care provided within Medicaid Managed Care. 1250 individuals, identified through Medicaid claims data, were recruited and randomly assigned to an intervention group or control group with outcomes tracked annually. A comparison group was also recruited to help assess the study's internal validity. Discussion: The primary outcomes are physical and mental health related quality-of-life as measured by the SF-12, and BMI, blood pressure, LDL-C, and Hba1c results for those who are diabetic measured clinically. The purpose of this paper is to present the unique design of the WIN trial prior to results becoming available in hopes of assisting other researchers in conducting community-based randomized pragmatic trials. Outcomes will be assessed through the linkage of patient reported outcomes, health care claims, and electronic health record data.

Vallabhaneni S, Pascoe N, Heseltine G, et al. Cardiothoracic surgical site phaeohyphomycosis caused by Bipolaris mould, multiple US states, 2008-2013: a clinical description. Med Mycol. 2015 Dec 24. pii: myv101. [Epub ahead of print]
Bipolaris mould surgical site infections (SSIs) are exceedingly rare. We describe 21 cases of Bipolaris SSIs in pediatric and adult cardiothoracic surgery patients at ten hospitals in Texas, Arkansas, and Florida during 2008-2013. Median case-patient age was 55 years (range: 3 days-82 years), and 19 (90%) were male. Ten (48%) had coronary artery bypass or valve surgery, and seven (33%) had heart transplantation. Fifteen (71%) had more than one cardiothoracic procedure (median: 3, range: 1-11). Thirteen (62%) case-patients (all 5 pediatric patients, and 8 (50%) of 16 adult patients) had delayed sternal closure (chest closed >1 day [median = 8 days; range: 2-22] following the initial cardiothoracic procedure). Thirteen (62%) had mediastinitis. Median time from initial surgery to positive Bipolaris culture was 20 days (range: 6-497). Sixteen (76%) case-patients died.

Walters MS, Simmons L, Anderson TC, Borders J, et al. Outbreaks of Salmonellosis from small turtles. Pediatrics. 2015 Dec 24. pii: peds.2015-1735. [Epub ahead of print]
Objective: Turtle-associated salmonellosis (TAS), especially in children, is a reemerging public health issue. In 1975, small pet turtles (shell length <4 inches) sales were banned by federal law; reductions in pediatric TAS followed. Since 2006, the number of multistate TAS outbreaks has increased. We describe 8 multistate outbreaks with illness-onset dates occurring in 2011-2013. Methods: We conducted epidemiologic, environmental, and traceback investigations. Cases were defined as infection with ≥1 of 10 molecular subtypes of Salmonella Sandiego, Pomona, Poona, Typhimurium, and I 4,[5],12:i:-. Water samples from turtle habitats linked to human illnesses were cultured for Salmonella. Results: We identified 8 outbreaks totaling 473 cases from 41 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico with illness onsets during May 2011-September 2013. The median patient age was 4 years (range: 1 month-94 years); 45% percent were Hispanic; and 28% were hospitalized. In the week preceding illness, 68% (187 of 273) of case-patients reported turtle exposure; among these, 88% (124 of 141) described small turtles. Outbreak strains were isolated from turtle habitats linked to human illnesses in seven outbreaks. Traceback investigations identified 2 Louisiana turtle farms as the source of small turtles linked to 1 outbreak; 1 outbreak strain was isolated from turtle pond water from 1 turtle farm. Conclusions: Eight multistate outbreaks associated with small turtles were investigated during 2011-2013. Children <5 years and Hispanics were disproportionately affected. Prevention efforts should focus on patient education targeting families with young children and Hispanics and enactment of state and local regulations to complement federal sales restrictions.

Moffitt KB, Case AP, Farag NH, Canfield MA. Hospitalization charges for children with birth defects in Texas, 2001 to 2010. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2015 Dec 21. doi: 10.1002/bdra.23470. [Epub ahead of print]
Background: State-specific information about hospitalizations of children with birth defects can improve understanding of changes in occurrence, treatment practices, and health care financing policies. This study analyzed aggregated data on hospital charges and length of stay for a large, diverse population. Methods: We extracted hospitalization data for children diagnosed with birth defects from the Texas Hospital Inpatient Discharge Public Use Data File (2001-2010). Analyses compared total charges and length of stay for children with and without a diagnosis code of any birth defect among 45 standard categories. We also examined trends for total charges by expected payer type. Results: In Texas, 431,296 hospital stays were reported for children with birth defects, with total charges of $24.8 billion. Mean hospital stay for children with birth defects was more than twice that of those without, whereas mean of hospital total charges was approximately six times greater. Pyloric stenosis accounted for the largest number of hospitalizations, followed by certain cardiac defects. Pediatric hospitalizations for birth defects increased 273.7%, compared with a 214.7% increase overall. The percentage of charges with Medicaid as expected payer (2004-2010) ranged from 56.5 to 62.0%. Conclusion: Charges associated with these conditions are far greater than those associated with pediatric hospitalizations for other causes, whether in the newborn period or beyond. However, these charges vary depending on specific diagnoses, expected payer source, and year of treatment. Birth Defects Research (Part A), 2015.

Lee LJ, Symanski E, Lupo PJ, Hoyt AT, Canfield MA, et al. Data linkage between the national birth defects prevention study and the occupational information network (O*NET) to assess workplace physical activity, sedentary behaviors, and emotional stressors during pregnancy. Am J Ind Med. 2015 Dec 17. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22548. [Epub ahead of print]
Background: Knowledge of the prevalence of work-related physical activities, sedentary behaviors, and emotional stressors among pregnant women is limited, and the extent to which these exposures vary by maternal characteristics remains unclear. Methods: Data on mothers of 6,817 infants without major birth defects, with estimated delivery during 1997 through 2009 who worked during pregnancy were obtained from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Information on multiple domains of occupational exposures was gathered by linking mother's primary job to the Occupational Information Network Version 9.0. Results: The most frequent estimated physical activity associated with jobs during pregnancy was standing. Of 6,337 mothers, 31.0% reported jobs associated with standing for ≥75% of their time. There was significant variability in estimated occupational exposures by maternal age, race/ethnicity, and educational level. Conclusions: Our findings augment existing literature on occupational physical activities, sedentary behaviors, emotional stressors, and occupational health disparities during pregnancy.

Meyer RE, Liu G, Gilboa SM, Ethen MK, et al. Survival of children with trisomy 13 and trisomy 18: A multi-state population-based study. Am J Med Genet A. 2015 Dec 10. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.37495. [Epub ahead of print]
Trisomy 13 (T13) and trisomy 18 (T18) are among the most prevalent autosomal trisomies. Both are associated with a very high risk of mortality. Numerous instances, however, of long-term survival of children with T13 or T18 have prompted some clinicians to pursue aggressive treatment instead of the traditional approach of palliative care. The purpose of this study is to assess current mortality data for these conditions. This multi-state, population-based study examined data obtained from birth defect surveillance programs in nine states on live-born infants delivered during 1999-2007 with T13 or T18. Information on children's vital status and selected maternal and infant risk factors were obtained using matched birth and death certificates and other data sources. The Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate age-specific survival probabilities and predictors of survival up to age five. There were 693 children with T13 and 1,113 children with T18 identified from the participating states. Among children with T13, 5-year survival was 9.7%; among children with T18, it was 12.3%. For both trisomies, gestational age was the strongest predictor of mortality. Females and children of non-Hispanic black mothers had the lowest mortality. omphalocele and congenital heart defects were associated with an increased risk of death for children with T18 but not T13. This study found survival among children with T13 and T18 to be somewhat higher than those previously reported in the literature, consistent with recent studies reporting improved survival following more aggressive medical intervention for these children. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Curtis-Robles R, Wozniak EJ, Auckland LD, Hamer GL, Hamer SA. Combining public health education and disease ecology research: using citizen science to assess Chagas disease entomological risk in Texas. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015 Dec 10;9(12):e0004235. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004235. eCollection 2015.
Background: Chagas disease is a zoonotic parasitic disease well-documented throughout the Americas and transmitted primarily by triatomine 'kissing bug' vectors. In acknowledgment of the successful history of vector control programs based on community participation across Latin America, we used a citizen science approach to gain novel insight into the geographic distribution, seasonal activity, and Trypanosoma cruzi infection prevalence of kissing bugs in Texas while empowering the public with information about Chagas disease. Methodology/Principal Findings: We accepted submissions of kissing bugs encountered by the public in Texas and other states from 2013-2014 while providing educational literature about Chagas disease. In the laboratory, kissing bugs were identified to species, dissected, and tested for T. cruzi infection. A total of 1,980 triatomines were submitted to the program comprised of at least seven species, of which T. gerstaeckeri and T. sanguisuga were the most abundant (85.7% of submissions). Triatomines were most commonly collected from dog kennels and outdoor patio. Overall, 10.5% of triatomines were collected from inside the home. Triatomines were submitted from across Texas, including many counties which were not previously known to harbor kissing bugs. Kissing bugs were captured primarily throughout April-October, and peak activity occurred in June-July. Emails to our dedicated account regarding kissing bugs were more frequent in the summer months (June-August) than the rest of the year. We detected T. cruzi in 63.3% of tested bugs. Conclusions/Significance: Citizen science is an efficient approach for generating data on the distribution, phenology, and infection prevalence of kissing bugs-vectors of the Chagas disease parasite-while educating the public and medical community.

Van Horne BS, Moffitt KB, Canfield MA, Case AP, et al. Maltreatment of children under age 2 with specific birth defects: a population-based study. Pediatrics. 2015 Dec;136(6):e1504-12. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1274.
Background and Objectives: Children with disabilities are at an increased risk for maltreatment. However, the risk of maltreatment is unknown for children with specific types of birth defects. This study was conducted to determine whether the risk and predictors of maltreatment differ between children with and without 3 birth defects: Down syndrome, cleft lip with/without cleft palate, and spina bifida. Methods: This population-based study of substantiated childhood maltreatment was conducted in Texas from 2002 to 2011. Linked data were used to describe the risk and types of maltreatment that occurred before age 2 years in children with and without specific birth defects. Poisson regression was used to identify predictors of maltreatment and assess differences in those predictors between children with and without these specific birth defects. Results: The risk of maltreatment (any type) in children with cleft lip with/without cleft palate and spina bifida was increased by 40% and 58%, respectively, compared with children with no birth defects. The risk of any maltreatment was similar between children with Down syndrome and unaffected children. Across birth defect groups, the risk of medical neglect was 3 to 6 times higher than in the unaffected group. Child-, family-, and neighborhood-level factors predicted maltreatment in children with and without birth defects. Conclusions: The overall risk of substantiated maltreatment was significantly higher for some but not all birth defect groups. The factors associated with increased risk were similar across groups. Enhancement of existing maltreatment prevention and early intervention programs may be effective mechanisms to provide at-risk families additional support.

Pagaoa MA, Royce RA, Chen MP, Thickstun PM, et al. Risk factors for transmission of tuberculosis among United States-born African Americans and Whites. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2015 Dec;19(12):1485-92. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.14.0965.
Setting: Tuberculosis (TB) patients and their contacts enrolled in nine states and the District of Columbia from 16 December 2009 to 31 March 2011. Objective: To evaluate characteristics of TB patients that are predictive of tuberculous infection in their close contacts. Design: The study population was enrolled from a list of eligible African-American and White TB patients from the TB registry at each site. Information about close contacts was abstracted from the standard reports of each site. Results:
Close contacts of African-American TB patients had twice the risk of infection of contacts of White patients (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] 2.1, 95%CI 1.3-3.4). Close contacts of patients whose sputum was positive for acid-fast bacilli on sputum smear microscopy had 1.6 times the risk of tuberculous infection compared to contacts of smear-negative patients (95%CI 1.1-2.3). TB patients with longer (>3 months) estimated times to diagnosis did not have higher proportions of infected contacts (aRR 1.2, 95%CI 0.9-1.6). Conclusion: African-American race and sputum smear positivity were predictive of tuberculous infection in close contacts. This study did not support previous findings that longer estimated time to diagnosis predicted tuberculous infection in contacts.

Mai CT, Isenburg J, Langlois PH, Canfield MA, Scheuerle AE,et al. Population-based birth defects data in the United States, 2008 to 2012: Presentation of state-specific data and descriptive brief on variability of prevalence. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2015 Nov;103(11):972-93. doi: 10.1002/bdra.23461.
No abstract.

Atkinson SF, Sarkar S, Avina A, Schuermann JA, Williamson P. A determination of the spatial concordance between Lyme disease incidence and habitat probability of its primary vector Ixodes scapularis (black-legged tick). Geospat Health. 2014 Nov;9(1):203-12.
The spatial distribution of Ixodes scapularis, the most common tick vector of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme disease in humans, has not been studied previously in Texas, United States of America. It has only rarely been reported in this state, so its local, spatial relationship to the distribution of this disease is unknown. From an epidemiological perspective, one would tend to hypothesise that there should be a high degree of spatial concordance between habitat suitability for the tick and incidence of the disease. Both maximum-entropy modelling of the tick's habitat probability and modelling of human incidence of Lyme disease using spatially adaptive filters provide reliable portrayals of the spatial distributions of these phenomena. Even though rates of human cases of Lyme disease as well as rates of Ixodes ticks infected with Borrelia bacteria are both relatively low in Texas, the best data currently available indicate that the assumption of high levels of spatial concordance would not be correct in Texas (Kappa coefficient of agreement = 0.039). It will take substantially more data to provide conclusive findings and to understand the results reported here, but this study provides an approach to begin understanding the discrepancy.

Luke B, Brown MB, Missmer SA, Williams M, et al. Assisted reproductive technology use and outcomes among women with a history of cancer. Hum Reprod. 2015 Nov 17. pii: dev288. [Epub ahead of print]
Study Question:  How do the assisted reproductive technology (ART) outcomes of women presenting for ART after cancer diagnosis compare to women without cancer? Summary Answer: The likelihood of a live birth after ART among women with prior cancer using autologous oocytes is reduced and varies by cancer diagnosis but is similar to women without cancer when donor oocytes are used.

Kirkcaldy RD, Hook EW 3rd, Soge OO, del Rio C, Kubin G, et al. Trends in Neisseria gonorrhoeae susceptibility to Cephalosporins in the United States, 2006-2014. JAMA. 2015 Nov 3;314(17):1869-71. doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.10347.
No abstract.

Baser O, Lewis-Beck C, Fritschel E, et al. Applied comparison of meta-analysis techniques. Value Health. 2015 Nov;18(7):A814. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2015.09.224. Epub 2015 Oct 20.
No abstract. 

Thi CA, Horton KD, Loyo J, Jowers EM, Rodgers LF, et al. Farm to work: development of a modified community-supported agriculture model at worksites, 2007-2012. Prev Chronic Dis. 2015 Oct 22;12:E181. doi: 10.5888/pcd12.150022.
Background: The Farm to Work program is a modified community-supported agriculture model at worksites in Texas. Community Context: The objective of the Farm to Work program is to increase fruit and vegetable intake among employees and their households by decreasing cost, improving convenience, and increasing access while also creating a new market for local farmers at worksites. The objectives of this article were to describe the development, implementation, and outcome of a 5-year participation trend analysis and to describe the community relationships that were formed to enable the successful implementation of the program. Methods: The Farm to Work program began in November 2007 as a collaborative effort between the nonprofit Sustainable Food Center, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Web development company WebChronic Consulting LLC, and Naegelin Farm. The program provides a weekly or biweekly opportunity for employees to order a basket of produce online to be delivered to the worksite by a local farmer. A 5-year participation trend analysis, including seasonal variation and sales trends, was conducted using sales data from November 2007 through December 2012. Outcome: The total number of baskets delivered from November 2007 through December 2012 was 38,343; of these, 37,466 were sold and 877 were complimentary. The total value of sold and complimentary baskets was $851,035 and $21,925, respectively. Participation in the program increased over time and was highest in 2012. Interpretation: The Farm to Work program increased access to locally grown fruits and vegetables for employees and created a new market for farmers. Increased program participation indicates that Farm to Work can increase employees' fruit and vegetable consumption and thus help prevent chronic diseases in this population.

Buss BF, Joshi MV, Dement JL, Cantu V, Safranek TJ. Multistate product traceforward investigation to link imported romaine lettuce to a US cyclosporiasis outbreak - Nebraska, Texas, and Florida, June-August 2013. Epidemiol Infect. 2015 Oct 22:1-10. [Epub ahead of print].
During June-August 2013, 25 US states reported 631 cyclosporiasis cases including Nebraska and Iowa where a regional investigation implicated common-source imported salad mix served in two chain restaurants. At least two common-origin growing fields were likely sources of contaminated romaine lettuce. Using producer- and distributor-provided data, we conducted a grower-specific traceforward investigation to reveal exposures of ill US residents elsewhere who reported symptom onset during 11 June-1 July 2013, the time period established in the Nebraska and Iowa investigation. Romaine lettuce shipped on 2-6 June from one of these Mexico-origin growing fields likely caused cyclosporiasis in 78 persons reporting illness onsets from 11 June to 1 July in Nebraska, Texas, and Florida. Nationwide, 97% (314/324) of persons confirmed with cyclosporiasis with symptom onset from 11 June to 1 July 2013 resided in 11 central and eastern US states receiving approximately two-thirds of romaine lettuce from this field. This grower's production practices should be investigated to determine potential sources of contamination and to develop recommendations to prevent future illnesses.

Marshall J, Salemi JL, Tanner JP, Ramakrishnan R, Feldkamp ML, Marengo LK, et al. Prevalence, correlates, and outcomes of omphalocele in the United States, 1995-2005. Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Aug;126(2):284-93. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000920.
Objective: To examine the trends in the prevalence, epidemiologic correlates, and 1-year survival of omphalocele using 1995-2005 data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Network in the United States. Methods: We examined 2,308 cases of omphalocele over 11 years from 12 state population-based birth defects registries. We used Poisson regression to estimate prevalence and risk factors for omphalocele and Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate survival patterns and hazard ratios, respectively, to examine isolated compared with nonisolated cases. Results: Birth prevalence of omphalocele was 1.92 per 10,000 live births with no consistent trend over time. Neonates with omphalocele were more likely to be male (prevalence ratio 1.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12-1.34), born to mothers 35 years of age or older (prevalence ratio 1.77, 95% CI 1.54-2.04) and younger than 20 years (prevalence ratio 1.34, 95% CI 1.14-1.56), and of multiple births (prevalence ratio 2.22, 95% CI 1.85-2.66). The highest proportion of neonates with omphalocele had congenital heart defects (32%). The infant mortality rate was 28.7%, with 75% of those occurring in the first 28 days. The best survival was for isolated cases and the worst for neonates with chromosomal defects (hazard ratio 7.75, 95% CI 5.40-11.10) and low-birth-weight neonates (hazard ratio 7.51, 95% CI 5.86-9.63). CONCLUSION: Prevalence of omphalocele has remained constant from 1995 to 2005. Maternal age (younger than 20 years and 35 years or older), multiple gestation, and male sex are important correlates of omphalocele, whereas co-occurrence with chromosomal defects and very low birth weight are consistent determinants of 1-year survival among these neonates. Level of Evidence: II. 

Lupo PJ, Danysh HE, Symanski E, Langlois PH, Cai Y, Swartz MD. Neighborhood-based socioeconomic position and risk of oral clefts among offspring [published online ahead of print October 15, 2015]. Am J Public Health. e1-e8.
OBJECTIVES: We determined the association between maternal neighborhood socioeconomic position (SEP) and the risk of cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CL±P) or cleft palate alone (CP) in offspring. METHODS: We obtained information on CL±P (n = 2555) and CP (n = 1112) cases and unaffected controls (n = 14 735) among infants delivered during 1999 to 2008 from the Texas Birth Defects Registry. Neighborhood SEP variables, drawn from the 2000 US Census, included census tract-level poverty, education, unemployment, occupation, housing, and crowding, from which we created a composite neighborhood deprivation index (NDI). We used mixed-effects logistic regression to evaluate neighborhood SEP and oral clefts. RESULTS: Mothers with CL±P-affected offspring were more likely to live in high-NDI (adverse) areas than mothers with unaffected offspring (odds ratio [OR] = 1.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.05, 1.37). This association was strongest among Hispanic mothers (OR = 1.32, 95% CI = 1.07, 1.62). No associations were observed with CP. CONCLUSIONS: Using data from one of the world's largest active surveillance birth defects registries, we found that adverse neighborhood SEP is modestly associatedwith CL±P, especially among Hispanics. These findings may have important implications for health disparities prevention.

Ramisetty-Mikler S, Mikler AR, O'Neill M, Komatz J. Conceptual framework and quantification of population vulnerability for effective emergency response planning. J Emerg Manag. 2015 May-Jun;13(3):227-38. doi: 10.5055/jem.2015.0236.
OBJECTIVE: The study focused on the methodological advancement and analytical approach of using multilevel data to define population vulnerability and risk in bioemergency disaster planning. METHODS: The authors considered two types of vulnerabilities, transportation vulnerability that stems from lack of access to transportation (public or private) and communication vulnerability that stems from unavailability of needed language-specific communication resources. The authors used Transit Authority general transit feed data and the American Community Survey 5-year estimate data (2006-2010 summary files) to quantify these vulnerabilities. These data were integrated with Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) data for spatial analysis. A response plan was generated for Tarrant County, TX, and deemed feasible before consideration of vulnerable populations. RESULTS: The results point to the importance of integrating geographical and population demographic features that represent potential barriers to the optimum distribution and utilization of resources into the analysis of response plans. An examination of transportation vulnerabilities indicate that, of those vulnerable in Tarrant County, nearly 23,000 individuals will be at-risk of not being able to reach the Point Of Dispensing (POD) to obtain services as they are beyond walking distance to the POD and lack access to transportation resources. The analysis of language vulnerability depicts an uneven distribution resulting in nonuniform demand at PODs for translation resources. There are more than 11,000 at-risk households in the South East region of Tarrant County alone that are truly in need of translation services. CONCLUSIONS: The authors demonstrated that multiple vulnerabilities at each POD can be quantified by aggregating the vulnerability at the available granularity (ie, all blocks or block groups) in a given service area. The quantification of vulnerability at each service area facilitates a POD-based at-risk analysis for the response plan. Disparities stemming from social, behavioral, cultural, economic, and health characteristics of diverse subpopulations could induce the need for additional targeted resources to support emergency response efforts.

Vo LT, Langlois PH.Time trends in prevalence of gastroschisis in Texas, 1999 to 2011: Subgroup analyses by maternal and infant characteristics [published online ahead of print September 26, 2015]. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. doi: 10.1002/bdra.23438. 
BACKGROUND: The prevalence of gastroschisis, a birth defect of the abdominal wall, has been increasing in several areas around the world. Suggested risk factors for gastroschisis include maternal age, race/ethnicity, nativity, body mass index, and socioeconomic status. METHODS: Data for cases of gastroschisis and live births were taken from the Texas Birth Defects Registry and Texas vital records for deliveries between 1999 and 2011. Prevalence by subgroups over time was calculated for: infant sex, maternal age, race/ethnicity, nativity, education, parity, plurality, body mass index, and payer type. Stratified, adjusted, and interaction analyses of the trends were conducted using Poisson regression. A joinpoint trend analysis was also conducted for each subgroup. RESULTS: A total of 2,549 gastroschisis cases and 4,970,979 live births were delivered in 1999 to 2011, for an overall prevalence of 5.13 cases per 10,000 live births (95% confidence interval = 4.93-5.33). On average, the prevalence increased 4.8% each year; this overall time trend was statistically significant (p-value < 0.0001). The time trend remained significant after adjusting for all variables, except payer type. The stratified analysis showed the increasing time trend was significant in many of the subgroups. However, there were no significant differences in the magnitude of the time trends between subgroups according to the interaction analysis. CONCLUSION: This study confirms the increasing prevalence of gastroschisis over the time period 1999 to 2011 in Texas. The results suggest that no population subgroups are experiencing a significantly different increase in gastroschisis prevalence over time than others.

Peckham EC, Scheurer ME, Danysh HE, Lubega J, Langlois PH, Lupo PJ.Residential Radon Exposure and Incidence of Childhood Lymphoma in Texas, 1995-2011. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015;12(10):12110-26.
There is warranted interest in assessing the association between residential radon exposure and the risk of childhood cancer. We sought to evaluate the association between residential radon exposure and the incidence of childhood lymphoma in Texas. The Texas Cancer Registry (n = 2147) provided case information for the period 1995-2011. Denominator data were obtained from the United States Census. Regional arithmetic mean radon concentrations were obtained from the Texas Indoor Radon Survey and linked to residence at diagnosis. Exposure was assessed categorically: ≤25th percentile (reference), >25th to ≤50th percentile, >50th to ≤75th percentile, and >75th percentile. Negative binomial regression generated adjusted incidence rate ratios (aIRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). We evaluated lymphoma overall and by subtype: Hodgkin (HL; n = 1248), Non-Hodgkin excluding Burkitt (non-BL NHL; n = 658), Burkitt (BL; n = 241), and Diffuse Large B-cell (DLBCL; n = 315). There was no evidence that residential radon exposure was positively associated with lymphoma overall, HL, or BL. Areas with radon concentrations >75th percentile had a marginal increase in DLBCL incidence (aIRR = 1.73, 95% CI: 1.03-2.91). In one of the largest studies of residential radon exposure and the incidence of childhood lymphoma, we found little evidence to suggest a positive or negative association; an observation consistent with previous studies.

Eshofonie AO, Lin H, Valcin RP, Martin LR, Grunenwald PE. An outbreak of pertussis in rural Texas: an example of the resurgence of the disease in the United States. J Community Health. 2015;40(1):88-91. 
During 2012, an increase in the number of pertussis cases or outbreaks was reported among most states within the United States. The majority of these cases included previously vaccinated children between the ages of 7-10 years. This underscores the growing concern regarding current immunization practices and vaccine efficacy, especially as it pertains to pertussis prevention within this age group. In the fall of 2012, an outbreak of pertussis occurred within a school district in a rural Texas county that was reflective of this national pattern. Our objective is to describe this outbreak, highlight the similarities with the national trend, and identify strategies for better disease prevention. The cases in this outbreak were interviewed and laboratory testing done. Information regarding exposure and immunization history among cases was obtained. Immunization audits of the affected institutions were also conducted. We performed a descriptive analysis of the collected data using EPI-INFO software v.3.5.3. A total of 34 cases were identified in this outbreak, of which 23 were PCR confirmed and 11 were epidemiologically linked. Ages ranged from 5 months to 12 years, and 62 % were among children aged 7-10 years. All cases were up-to-date on their pertussis vaccinations. Immunization coverage rate was over 90 % within each of the affected institutions. The characteristics of this outbreak bear striking similarities to the current national trend in terms of age groups and immunization status of the affected cases. Increased focus on this vulnerable target group, including heightened scrutiny of vaccine efficacy and delivery, is indicated.

Anderka M, Mai CT, Romitti PA, et al. Development and implementation of the first national data quality standards for population-based birth defects surveillance programs in the United States. BMC Public Health. 2015;15(1):925.
BACKGROUND: Population-based birth defects surveillance is a core public health activity in the United States (U.S.); however, the lack of national data quality standards has limited the use of birth defects surveillance data across state 
programs. Development of national standards will facilitate data aggregation and utilization across birth defects surveillance programs in the U.S. METHODS: Based on national standards for other U.S. public health surveillance 
programs, existing National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) guidelines for conducting birth defects surveillance, and information from birth defects surveillance programs regarding their current data quality practices, we 
developed 11 data quality measures that focused on data completeness (n = 5 measures), timeliness (n = 2), and accuracy (n = 4). For each measure, we established tri-level performance criteria (1 = rudimentary, 2 = essential, 
3 = optimal). In January 2014, we sent birth defects surveillance programs in each state, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Defense Birth and Infant Health 
Registry an invitation to complete a self-administered NBDPN Standards Data Quality Assessment Tool. The completed forms were electronically submitted to the CDC for analyses. RESULTS: Of 47 eligible population-based surveillance programs, 45 submitted a completed assessment tool. Two of the 45 programs did not meet minimum inclusion criteria and were excluded; thus, the final analysis included information from 43 
programs. Average scores for four of the five completeness performance measures were above level 2. Conversely, the average scores for both timeliness measures and three of the four accuracy measures were below level 2. Surveillance programs 
using an active case-finding approach scored higher than programs using passive case-finding approaches for the completeness and accuracy measures, whereas their average scores were lower for timeliness measures. CONCLUSIONS: This initial, nation-wide assessment of data quality across U.S. population-based birth defects surveillance programs highlights areas for improvement. Using this information to identify strengths and weaknesses, the 
birth defects surveillance community, working through the NBDPN, can enhance and implement a consistent set of standards that can promote uniformity and enable surveillance programs to work towards improving the potential of these programs.

Moldovan-Johnson M, Tan AS, Hornik RC. Navigating the cancer information environment: The reciprocal relationship between patient-clinician information engagement and information seeking from nonmedical sources. Health Commun. 2014;29(10):974-83.
Prior theory has argued and empirical studies have shown that cancer patients 
rely on information from their health care providers as well as lay sources to 
understand and make decisions about their disease. However, research on the 
dynamic and interdependent nature of cancer patients' engagement with different 
information sources is lacking. This study tested the hypotheses that 
patient-clinician information engagement and information seeking from nonmedical 
sources influence one another longitudinally among a representative cohort of 
1,293 cancer survivors in Pennsylvania. The study hypotheses were supported in a 
series of lagged multiple regression analyses. Baseline seeking information from 
nonmedical sources positively predicted subsequent patient-clinician information 
engagement at 1-year follow-up. The reverse relationship was also statistically 
significant; baseline patient-clinician information engagement positively 
predicted information seeking from nonmedical sources at follow-up. These 
findings suggest that cancer survivors move between nonmedical and clinician 
sources in a dynamic way to learn about their disease.

Lopez KN, Marengo LK, Canfield MA, Belmont JW, Dickerson HA. Racial disparities in heterotaxy syndrome [published online ahead of print September 2, 2015]. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. doi: 10.1002/bdra.23416.
BACKGROUND: Heterotaxy syndrome (HTX) is a constellation of defects including abnormal organ lateralization and often including congenital heart defects. HTX has widely divergent population-based estimates of prevalence, racial and ethnic predominance, and mortality in current literature. METHODS: The objective of this study was to use a population-based registry to investigate potential racial and ethnic disparities in HTX. Using the Texas Birth Defects Registry, we described clinical features and mortality of HTX among infants delivered from 1999 to 2006. We calculated birth prevalence and crude prevalence (cPR) ratios for infant sex, maternal diabetes, and sociodemographic factors. RESULTS: A total of 353 HTX cases were identified from 2,993,604 births (prevalence ratio = 1.18 per 10,000 live births. HTX prevalence was approximately 70% higher among infants of Hispanic and non-Hispanic black mothers and 28% higher among female infants (cPR = 1.28; 95% confidence interval,1.04-1.59). There was a twofold higher female preponderance for infants of mothers who were non-Hispanic white or black. Mothers with diabetes were three times more likely to have a child with HTX compared with nondiabetics (cPR = 3.13; 95% confidence interval, 2.12-4.45). Among nondiabetics, HTX cases were 86% more likely to have a Hispanic mother and 72% a non-Hispanic black mother. First-year mortality for live born children with HTX was 30.9%. CONCLUSION: This study represents one of the largest population-based studies of HTX to date, with a novel finding of higher rates of HTX among Hispanic infants of mostly Mexican origin, as well as among female infants of only non-Hispanic white and black mothers. These findings warrant further investigation.

Chemaly RF, Dantes R, Shah DP, et al. Cluster and sporadic cases of herbaspirillum species infections in patients with cancer. Clin Infect Dis. 2015;60(1):48-54. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciu712. 
BACKGROUND: Herbaspirillum species are gram-negative Betaproteobacteria that inhabit the rhizosphere. We investigated a potential cluster of hospital-based Herbaspirillum species infections. METHODS: Cases were defined as Herbaspirillum species isolated from a patient in our comprehensive cancer center between 1 January 2006 and 15 October 2013. Case finding was performed by reviewing isolates initially identified as Burkholderia cepacia susceptible to all antibiotics tested, and 16S ribosomal DNA sequencing of available isolates to confirm their identity. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was performed to test genetic relatedness. Facility observations, infection prevention assessments, and environmental sampling were performed to investigate potential sources of Herbaspirillum species.
RESULTS: Eight cases of Herbaspirillum species were identified. Isolates from the first 5 clustered cases were initially misidentified as B. cepacia, and available isolates from 4 of these cases were indistinguishable. The 3 subsequent cases were identified by prospective surveillance and had different PFGE patterns. All but 1 case-patient had bloodstream infections, and 6 presented with sepsis. Underlying diagnoses included solid tumors (3), leukemia (3), lymphoma (1), and aplastic anemia (1). Herbaspirillum species infections were hospital-onset in 5 patients and community-onset in 3. All symptomatic patients were treated with intravenous antibiotics, and their infections resolved. No environmental source or common mechanism of acquisition was identified. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of a hospital-based cluster of Herbaspirillum species infections. Herbaspirillum species are capable of causing bacteremia and sepsis in immunocompromised patients. Herbaspirillum species can be misidentified as Burkholderia cepacia by commercially available microbial identification systems.

Case KR, Pérez A, Saxton DL, Hoelscher DM, Springer AE. Bullied Status and Physical Activity in Texas Adolescents [published online ahead of print August 24, 2015]. Health Educ Behav. pii: 1090198115599986.
This study examined the association between having been bullied at school during the past 6 months ("bullied status") and not meeting physical activity (PA) recommendations of 60 minutes of daily PA during the past week among 8th- and 11th-grade Texas adolescents. Multiple logistic regression analysis was conducted to examine this association, adjusted for weight status, grade, race/ethnicity, and stratified by gender; furthermore, a significant interaction was found between bullied status and weight status. Results are presented by interaction status. Results indicated that overweight girls who reported never being bullied, as well as those who reported being bullied more than twice, had higher odds of not meeting PA recommendations than normal weight girls who were never bullied (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.12, 95% confidence interval [CI: 1.12, 3.99]; AOR = 9.18, 95% CI [2.26, 37.27], respectively). Obese girls who were bullied once or twice had higher odds of not meeting PA recommendations than normal weight girls who were never bullied (AOR = 2.89, 95% CI [1.06, 7.89]). Overweight boys who reported never being bullied had lower odds of not meeting PA recommendations than normal weight boys who were never bullied (AOR = 0.62, 95% CI [0.39, 0.97]). Conversely, obese boys who were bullied once or twice reported higher odds of not meeting PA recommendations than normal weight boys who were never bullied (AOR = 3.61, 95% CI [1.22, 10.67]). Findings from this study indicate that the association between bullied status and meeting PA recommendations is complex and may differ by gender and the interaction between bullied status and weight status.


Archer NP, Bradford CM, Villanacci JF, et al. Relationship between vapor intrusion and human exposure to trichloroethylene [published online ahead of print August 11, 2015]. J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng.
Trichloroethylene (TCE) in groundwater has the potential to volatilize through soil into indoor air where it can be inhaled. The purpose of this study was to determine whether individuals living above TCE-contaminated groundwater are exposed to TCE through vapor intrusion. We examined associations between TCE concentrations in various environmental media and TCE concentrations in residents. For this assessment, indoor air, outdoor air, soil gas, and tap water samples were collected in and around 36 randomly selected homes; blood samples were collected from 63 residents of these homes. Additionally, a completed exposure survey was collected from each participant. Environmental and blood samples were analyzed for TCE. Mixed model multiple linear regression analyses were performed to determine associations between TCE in residents' blood and TCE in indoor air, outdoor air, and soil gas. Blood TCE concentrations were above the limit of quantitation (LOQ; ≥ 0.012 µg L-1) in 17.5% of the blood samples. Of the 36 homes, 54.3%, 47.2%, and >84% had detectable concentrations of TCE in indoor air, outdoor air, and soil gas, respectively. Both indoor air and soil gas concentrations were statistically significantly positively associated with participants' blood concentrations (P = 0.0002 and P = 0.04, respectively). Geometric mean blood concentrations of residents from homes with indoor air concentrations of >1.6 µg m-3 were approximately 50 times higher than geometric mean blood TCE concentrations in participants from homes with no detectable TCE in indoor air (P < .0001; 95% CI 10.4-236.4). This study confirms the occurrence of vapor intrusion and demonstrates the magnitude of exposure from vapor intrusion of TCE in a residential setting.

Luke B, Brown MB, Spector LG, et al. Cancer in women after assisted reproductive technology [published online ahead of print August 10, 2015]. Fertil Steril. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.07.1135.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the risk of cancer after assisted reproductive technology (ART) therapy. DESIGN: Longitudinal cohort study. SETTING: Not applicable. PATIENT(S): New York, Texas, and Illinois residents between 2004 and 2009, treated with ART, comprising cycles of 113,226 women, including 53,859 women without prior ART treatment, who were linked to their respective state cancer registries and whose cycles were reported to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinic Outcomes Reporting System (SART CORS). INTERVENTION(S): None. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Diagnosis of cancer, as reported to the state cancer registry; standardized incidence ratios (SIR) and their 95% confidence intervals, comparing the observed to expected cancer cases based on age-specific cancer rates in the general population of each state. RESULT(S): Among the cohort of women without prior ART therapy, hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for treatment parameters and reproductive history factors. The mean follow-up period was 4.87 years; among women without prior ART, 450 women developed 460 cancers. Women treated with ART had a statistically significantly lower risk for all cancers (for all women: SIR 0.78; CI, 0.73-0.83; women without prior ART: SIR 0.75; CI, 0.68-0.82), breast cancer, and all female genital cancers; a non-statistically-significant lower risk for endocrine and uterine cancer; and a non-statistically-significant higher risk for melanoma and ovarian cancer. Among women without prior ART, we found no statistically significant increased HR by parity, number of cycles, cumulative follicle-stimulating hormone dosage, or cycle outcome. CONCLUSION(S): Women initiating ART treatment have no greater risk for developing cancer after nearly 5 years of follow-up compared with the general population and with other women treated with ART.

Forrester MB. Pediatric exposures to electronic cigarettes reported to Texas poison centers. J Emerg Med 2015;49:136-142.
BACKGROUND: Electronic cigarette use is increasing. There are concerns that pediatric exposures to these products may result in serious adverse affects. OBJECTIVES: This study describes pediatric exposures to electronic cigarettes. METHODS: Cases were electronic cigarette exposures among patients age 5 years or less reported to Texas poison centers during January 2010-June 2014. The distribution by selected variables was determined. RESULTS: Of 203 exposures, two cases were reported in 2010, five in 2011, 20 in 2012, 70 in 2013, and 106 in January-June 2014. Fifty-one percent of the patients were male; 32% of the patients were aged 1 year, and 42% were 2 years of age. Ninety-six percent of the exposures occurred at the patient's own residence. The exposure routes were ingestion (93%), dermal (11%), ocular (3%), and inhalation (2%). Fifty-eight percent of the patients were managed on site. Of the patients seen at a health care facility, 69% were treated or evaluated and released. Eleven percent of the exposures were serious. The most commonly reported clinical effects were vomiting (24%), drowsiness/lethargy (2%), and cough/choke (2%). The most frequent treatments were dilution/irrigation/wash (65%) and food/snack (16%). CONCLUSIONS: Electronic cigarette exposures involving young children reported to poison centers are increasing. Such exposures are likely to involve patients ages 2-3 years, occur at the child's own residence, and occur by ingestion. Further study is needed to determine which subgroups are at risk for serious outcomes and warrant evaluation at a health care facility.

Marshall J, Salemi JL, Tanner JP, et al. Prevalence, Correlates, and Outcomes of Omphalocele in the United States, 1995-2005. Obstet Gynecol. 2015;126(2):284-93. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000920.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the trends in the prevalence, epidemiologic correlates, and 1-year survival of omphalocele using 1995-2005 data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Network in the United States.
METHODS: We examined 2,308 cases of omphalocele over 11 years from 12 state population-based birth defects registries. We used Poisson regression to estimate prevalence and risk factors for omphalocele and Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate survival patterns and hazard ratios, respectively, to examine isolated compared with nonisolated cases. RESULTS: Birth prevalence of omphalocele was 1.92 per 10,000 live births with no consistent trend over time. Neonates with omphalocele were more likely to be male (prevalence ratio 1.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12-1.34), born to mothers 35 years of age or older (prevalence ratio 1.77, 95% CI 1.54-2.04) and younger than 20 years (prevalence ratio 1.34, 95% CI 1.14-1.56), and of multiple births (prevalence ratio 2.22, 95% CI 1.85-2.66). The highest proportion of neonates with omphalocele had congenital heart defects (32%). The infant mortality rate was 28.7%, with 75% of those occurring in the first 28 days. The best survival was for isolated cases and the worst for neonates with chromosomal defects (hazard ratio 7.75, 95% CI 5.40-11.10) and low-birth-weight neonates (hazard ratio 7.51, 95% CI 5.86-9.63). CONCLUSION: Prevalence of omphalocele has remained constant from 1995 to 2005. Maternal age (younger than 20 years and 35 years or older), multiple gestation, and male sex are important correlates of omphalocele, whereas co-occurrence with chromosomal defects and very low birth weight are consistent determinants of 1-year survival among these neonates.

Leung J1, Lopez AS, Blostein J, et al. Impact of the United States Two-Dose Varicella Vaccination Program on the Epidemiology of Varicella Outbreaks: Data from 9 States, 2005-2012 [published online ahead of print July 16, 2015]. Pediatr Infect Dis J
BACKGROUND: A routine 2-dose varicella vaccination program was adopted in 2007 in the United States to help further decrease varicella disease and prevent varicella outbreaks. We describe trends and characteristics of varicella outbreaks reported to CDC during 2005-2012 from 9 states. METHODS: Data on varicella outbreaks collected by 9 state health departments were submitted to CDC using the CDC outbreak reporting worksheet. Information was collected on dates of the outbreak, outbreak setting, and number of cases by outbreak; aggregate data was provided on the numbers of outbreak-related cases by age group, vaccination status, and laboratory confirmation. RESULTS: Nine hundred and twenty-nine outbreaks were reported from the 6 states which provided data for each year during 2005-2012. Based on data from these 6 states, the number of outbreaks declined by 78%, decreasing from 147 in 2005 to 33 outbreaks in 2012 (p=0.0001). There were a total of 1,015 varicella outbreaks involving 13,595 cases reported by the 9 states from 2005-2012. The size and duration of outbreaks declined significantly over time (p<0.001). The median size of outbreaks was 12, 9, and 7 cases and median duration of outbreaks was 38, 35, and 26 days during 2005-2006, 2007-2009, and 2010-2012 respectively. Majority of outbreaks (95%) were reported from schools, declining from 97% in 2005-2006 to 89% in 2010-2012. Sixty-fivepercent of outbreak-related casesoccurred among 5-9 year olds, with the proportion declining from 76% in 2005-2006 to 45% during 2010-2012.
CONCLUSIONS: The routine 2-dose varicella vaccination program appears to have significantly reduced the number, size, and duration of varicella outbreaks in the U.S.

Wozniak EJ, Lawrence G, Gorchakov R, et al. The biology of the Triatomine bugs native to south central Texas and assessment of the risk they pose for autochthonous Chagas disease exposure [published online ahead of print July 13, 2015]. J Parasitol.
Triatomine bugs are a group of hematophagous arthropods that can serve as biological vectors for Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease). Because of differences in the biology and feeding habits among triatomine species, some are more likely than others to be involved in zoonotic and/or human-to-human transmission cycles of T. cruzi. In an attempt to assess the risk for Chagas disease exposure in south-central Texas, human habitations across Texas Health Service Region 8 (HSR 8) and surrounding counties were surveyed for triatomines to better characterize their geographic distribution, species-specific biology, and T. cruzi infection prevalence. Between May 2010 and August 2013, a total of 545 triatomines representing all 5 known indigenous species (Triatoma gerstaeckeri, Triatoma indictiva, Triatoma lecticularia, Triatoma sanguisuga, and Triatoma protracta woodi) were collected from 59 sites across the region. Triatoma gerstaeckeri was the species most commonly found in domestic and peridomestic ecotopes across Texas HSR 8, representing over 80% of the triatomines collected. Adult T. gerstaeckeri exhibited a seasonal dispersal pattern that began in late April, peaked in mid-May, and then continued into August. On homes with available crevices in the exterior walls, adult T. gerstaeckeri were observed emerging from or entering these protective microhabitats, suggesting possible opportunistic colonization of some exterior walls compartments. Laboratory testing of triatomine hindgut contents for T. cruzi by PCR demonstrated the adult T. gerstaeckeri infection prevalence across Texas HSR 8 to be 64%. Monitoring peridomestic adult T. gerstaeckeri over the seasonal dispersal peak demonstrated statistically significant increases in both their T. cruzi infection prevalence (p < 0.01) and tendency to invade human dwellings (p < 0.01) in the later aspect of the emergence peak. In addition to the adult insects, variably sized and staged nymphs were recovered from the inside of 6 separate homes across Texas HSR 8. The results of this study show that T. gerstaeckeri is a widespread and common triatomine species across Texas HSR 8 and documented it to have some notable synanthropic tendencies. The high prevalence of T. cruzi infection in native triatomines and the high frequency with which T. gerstaeckeri is recovered from human habitations, suggests that there is a risk for human exposure to T. cruzi in Texas HSR 8. Because of this, Chagas disease should be considered on the list of differential diagnoses for cases of cardiac arrhythmia, dilated cardiomyopathy, or heart failure in south-central Texas. 

Ordonez JE, Kleinschmidt KC, Forrester M. Electronic cigarette exposures reported to Texas poison centers. Nicotine Tob Res. 2015;17(2):209-11. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntu223.
INTRODUCTION: Exposure to the liquid nicotine solutions in electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) may be dangerous because they are highly concentrated. Little is known about the impact of exposure on public health. This study describes e-cig exposures reported to poison centers. METHODS: All e-cig exposures reported to Texas poison centers during 2009 to February 2014 were identified. Exposures involving other substances in addition to e-cigs and exposures not followed to a final medical outcome were included. The distributions of exposures by demographic and clinical factors were determined. RESULTS: Of 225 total exposures, 2 were reported in January 2009, 6 in 2010, 11 in 2011, 43 in 2012, 123 in 2013, and 40 through February 2014. Fifty-three percent (n = 119) occurred among individuals aged <5 years old, 41% (n = 93) occurred among individuals aged >20 years old, and 6% (n = 13) occurred among individuals aged 6-19 years. Fifty percent were female. The route of exposure was 78% ingestion. Eighty-seven percent of the exposures were unintentional, and 5% were intentional. The exposures occurred at patients' own residences in 95% of the cases. The clinical effects reported most often were vomiting (20%), nausea (10%), headache (4%), ocular irritation (5%), dizziness (5%), and lethargy (2%). CONCLUSION: E-cig exposures reported to poison centers are increasing. Most of the patients are young children, and the exposures most frequently occur through ingestion. Reported exposures often do not have serious outcomes.

Forrester MB. Characteristics of hand sanitizer ingestions by adolescents reported to poison centers. Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2015;27:69-72.
Abstract Background: There had been reports of adolescents using hand sanitizers to obtain alcohol and ending up in emergency departments with alcohol poisoning. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to describe the pattern of adolescent ingestions of hand sanitizers reported to a statewide poison center system. SUBJECTS: Our study subjects included patients aged 13-19 years who reported hand sanitizer ingestions as reported to Texas poison centers during 2000-2013. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The distribution of the ingestions was determined for various demographic and clinical factors. RESULTS: Of 385 total cases, 61% of the patients were male, and the mean age was 15.3 years. The ingestion reason was unintentional (61%), intentional abuse/misuse (18%), and malicious (10%). Ingestion site was most frequently reported to be the patient's own residence (53%), followed by school (35%). About 77% of the patients were managed on site. The medical outcome was serious (moderate effect or unable to follow-potentially toxic) in 5% of the cases. The most frequently reported adverse clinical effects were vomiting (5%), abdominal pain (4%), nausea (4%), throat irritation (4%), and drowsiness (2%). CONCLUSION: Adolescents who ingested hand sanitizers were more likely to be male and younger. One-third of the ingestions occurred at school, suggesting that school personnel might be made aware of the potential problem of hand sanitizer ingestions by adolescents. Nevertheless, despite the potential for serious outcomes from adolescent hand sanitizer ingestion, most of the ingestions reported to poison centers are not likely to be serious and can be successfully managed outside of a healthcare facility.

Ramisetty-Mikler S, Mikler AR, O'Neill M, Komatz J. Conceptual framework and quantification of population vulnerability for effective emergency response planning. J Emerg Manag. 2015;13(3):227-38. doi: 10.5055/jem.2015.0236.
OBJECTIVE: The study focused on the methodological advancement and analytical approach of using multilevel data to define population vulnerability and risk in bioemergency disaster planning. METHODS: The authors considered two types of vulnerabilities, transportation vulnerability that stems from lack of access to transportation (public or private) and communication vulnerability that stems from unavailability of needed language-specific communication resources. The authors used Transit Authority general transit feed data and the American Community Survey 5-year estimate data (2006-2010 summary files) to quantify these vulnerabilities. These data were integrated with Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) data for spatial analysis. A response plan was generated for Tarrant County, TX, and deemed feasible before consideration of vulnerable populations. RESULTS: The results point to the importance of integrating geographical and population demographic features that represent potential barriers to the optimum distribution and utilization of resources into the analysis of response plans. An examination of transportation vulnerabilities indicate that, of those vulnerable in Tarrant County, nearly 23,000 individuals will be at-risk of not being able to reach the Point Of Dispensing (POD) to obtain services as they are beyond walking distance to the POD and lack access to transportation resources. The analysis of language vulnerability depicts an uneven distribution resulting in nonuniform demand at PODs for translation resources. There are more than 11,000 at-risk households in the South East region of Tarrant County alone that are truly in need of translation services. CONCLUSIONS: The authors demonstrated that multiple vulnerabilities at each POD can be quantified by aggregating the vulnerability at the available granularity (ie, all blocks or block groups) in a given service area. The quantification of vulnerability at each service area facilitates a POD-based at-risk analysis for the response plan. Disparities stemming from social, behavioral, cultural, economic, and health characteristics of diverse subpopulations could induce the need for additional targeted resources to support emergency response efforts.

Edward A, Branchini C, Aitken I, Roach M, Osei-Bonsu K, Arwal SH. Toward universal coverage in Afghanistan: A multi-stakeholder assessment of capacity investments in the community health worker system [published online ahead of print June 12, 2015]. Soc Sci Med. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.06.011.
Global efforts to scale-up the community health workforce have accelerated as a result of the growing evidence of their effectiveness to enhance coverage and health outcomes. Reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan integrated capacity investments for community based service delivery, including the deployment of over 28,000 community health workers (CHWs) to ensure access to basic preventive and curative services. The study aimed to conduct capacity assessments of the CHW system and determine stakeholder perspectives of CHW performance. Structured interviews were conducted on a national sample from 33 provinces and included supervisors, facility providers, patients, and CHWs. Formative assessments were also conducted with national policymakers, community members and health councils in two provinces. Results indicate that more than 70% of the NGO's provide comprehensive training for CHWs, 95% CHWs reported regular supervision, and more than 60% of the health posts had adequate infrastructure and essential commodities. Innovative strategies of paired male and female CHWs, institution of a special cadre of community health supervisors, and community health councils were introduced as systems strengthening mechanisms. Reported barriers included unrealistic and expanding task expectations (14%), unsatisfactory compensation mechanisms (75%), inadequate transport (69%), and lack of commodities (40%). Formative assessments evidenced that CHWs were highly valued as they provided equitable, accessible and affordable 24-h care. Their loyalty, dedication and the ability for women to access care without male family escorts was appreciated by communities. With rising concerns of workforce deficits, insecurity and budget constraints, the health system must enhance the capacity of these frontline workers to improve the continuum of care. The study provides critical insight into the strengths and constraints of Afghanistan's CHW system, warranting further efforts to contextualize service delivery and mechanisms for their support and motivation.

Forrester MB. Blue Bell ice cream recall: Calls to Texas poison centers. TX Public Health J. 2015;67(3):3-4.
No abstract.

Forrester MB. Methyl bromide: A toxic pesticide still used in the US. TX Public Health J. 2015;67(3):4-5.
No abstract.

Wang Y, Liu G, Canfield MA, et al. Racial/ethnic differences in survival of United States children with birth defects: a population-based study. J Pediatr. 2015;166(4):819-26.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.12.025.
OBJECTIVES: To examine racial/ethnic-specific survival of children with major birth defects in the US. STUDY DESIGN: We pooled data on live births delivered during 1999-2007 with any of 21 birth defects from 12 population-based birth defects surveillance programs. We used the Kaplan-Meier method to calculate cumulative survival probabilities and Cox proportional hazards models to estimate mortality risk.
RESULTS: For most birth defects, there were small-to-moderate differences in neonatal (<28 days) survival among racial/ethnic groups. However, compared with children born to non-Hispanic white mothers, postneonatal infant (28 days to <1 year) mortality risk was significantly greater among children born to non-Hispanic black mothers for 13 of 21 defects (hazard ratios [HRs] 1.3-2.8) and among children born to Hispanic mothers for 10 of 21 defects (HRs 1.3-1.7). Compared with children born to non-Hispanic white mothers, a significantly increased childhood (≤ 8 years) mortality risk was found among children born to Asian/Pacific Islander mothers for encephalocele (HR 2.6), tetralogy of Fallot, and atrioventricular septal defect (HRs 1.6-1.8) and among children born to American Indian/Alaska Native mothers for encephalocele (HR 2.8), whereas a significantly decreased childhood mortality risk was found among children born to Asian/Pacific Islander mothers for cleft lip with or without cleft palate (HR 0.6). CONCLUSION: Children with birth defects born to non-Hispanic black and Hispanic mothers carry a greater risk of mortality well into childhood, especially children with congenital heart defect. Understanding survival differences among racial/ethnic groups provides important information for policy development and service planning.

Forrester MB. Antiretroviral drug exposures reported to Texas poison centers [published online ahead of print]. J Pharm Technol.
BACKGROUND: A number of different antiretroviral drugs are used to manage patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). OBJECTIVE: This study describes antiretroviral drug exposures reported to a large statewide poison center system. METHODS: Cases were all antiretroviral drug exposures reported to the Texas Poison Center Network during 2000-2014. The distribution of cases was determined for various demographic and clinical factors. RESULTS: Of 632 total exposures, the most commonly reported drugs were emtricitabine-tenofovir combination (17.1%), efavirenz-emtricitabine-tenofovir combination (13.8%), ritonavir (10.9%), lamivudine-zidovudine combination (10.3%), and efavirenz (10.1%). The annual number of antiretroviral drug exposures increased from 34 in 2000 to 67 in 2014. Males comprised 67.9% of the patients; 72.2% were 20 years or older. The exposures were 58.5% unintentional and 37.5% intentional. Only antiretroviral drugs were reported in 440 of the exposures. Of these exposures, 62.5% were managed on site, 28.0% were already at or en route to a healthcare facility when the poison center was contacted, and 8.6% were referred to a healthcare facility. The exposures were not serious in 88.7% of these cases. The most frequently reported adverse clinical effects were vomiting (5.7%), nausea (4.8%), dizziness/vertigo (3.2%), and drowsiness/lethargy (3.2%). CONCLUSIONS: The most commonly reported antiretroviral drugs were emtricitabine-tenofovir combination and efavirenz-emtricitabine-tenofovir combination. The patients were most likely to be adults and males. The exposures tended to be unintentional. Of those exposures involving only antiretroviral drugs, the majority of the exposures were not serious and could be managed outside of a healthcare facility.

O'Brien JL, Langlois PH, Lawson CC, et al. Maternal occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and craniosynostosis among offspring in the national birth defects prevention study [published online ahead of print June 2, 2015]. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. doi: 10.1002/bdra.23389.
BACKGROUND: Evidence in animal models and humans suggests that exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) may lead to birth defects. To our knowledge, this relationship has not been evaluated for craniosynostosis, a birth defect characterized by the premature closure of sutures in the skull. We conducted a case-control study to examine associations between maternal occupational exposure to PAHs and craniosynostosis. METHODS: We used data from craniosynostosis cases and control infants in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) with estimated delivery dates from 1997 to 2002. Industrial hygienists reviewed occupational data from the computer-assisted telephone interview and assigned a yes/no rating of probable occupational PAH exposure for each job from 1 month before conception through delivery. We used logistic regression to assess the association between occupational exposure to PAHs and craniosynostosis. RESULTS: The prevalence of exposure was 5.3% in case mothers (16/300) and 3.7% in control mothers (107/2,886). We observed a positive association between exposure to PAHs during the 1 month before conception through the third month of pregnancy and craniosynostosis (odds ratio [OR] = 1.75; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01-3.05) after adjusting for maternal age and maternal education. The number of cases for each craniosynostosis subtype limited subtype analyses to sagittal craniosynostosis; the odds ratio remained similar (OR = 1.76, 95% CI, 0.82-3.75), but was not significant. CONCLUSION: Our findings support a moderate association between maternal occupational exposure to PAHs and craniosynostosis. Additional work is needed to better characterize susceptibility and the role PAHs may play on specific craniosynostosis subtypes. Birth Defects Research (Part A), 2015.

Reefhuis J, Gilboa SM, Anderka M, et al. The national birth defects prevention study: A review of the methods [published online ahead of print June 2, 2015]. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. doi: 10.1002/bdra.23384.
BACKGROUND: The National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) is a large population-based multicenter case-control study of major birth defects in the United States. METHODS: Data collection took place from 1998 through 2013 on pregnancies ending between October 1997 and December 2011. Cases could be live born, stillborn, or induced terminations, and were identified from birth defects surveillance programs in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Utah. Controls were live born infants without major birth defects identified from the same geographical regions and time periods as cases by means of either vital records or birth hospitals. Computer-assisted telephone interviews were completed with women between 6 weeks and 24 months after the estimated date of delivery. After completion of interviews, families received buccal cell collection kits for the mother, father, and infant (if living). RESULTS: There were 47,832 eligible cases and 18,272 eligible controls. Among these, 32,187 (67%) and 11,814 (65%), respectively, provided interview information about their pregnancies. Buccal cell collection kits with a cytobrush for at least one family member were returned by 19,065 case and 6,211 control families (65% and 59% of those who were sent a kit). More than 500 projects have been proposed by the collaborators and over 200 manuscripts published using data from the NBDPS through December 2014. CONCLUSION: The NBDPS has made substantial contributions to the field of birth defects epidemiology through its rigorous design, including case classification, detailed questionnaire and specimen collection, large study population, and collaborative activities across Centers. Birth Defects Research (Part A), 2015.

Swartz MD, Cai Y, Chan W, et al. Air toxics and birth defects: a Bayesian hierarchical approach to evaluate multiple pollutants and spina bifida. Environ Health. 2015;14(1):16. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-14-16.
BACKGROUND: While there is evidence that maternal exposure to benzene is associated with spina bifida in offspring, to our knowledge there have been no assessments to evaluate the role of multiple hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) simultaneously on the risk of this relatively common birth defect. In the current study, we evaluated the association between maternal exposure to HAPs identified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and spina bifida in offspring using hierarchical Bayesian modeling that includes Stochastic Search Variable Selection (SSVS). METHODS: The Texas Birth Defects Registry provided data on spina bifida cases delivered between 1999 and 2004. The control group was a random sample of unaffected live births, frequency matched to cases on year of birth. Census tract-level estimates of annual HAP levels were obtained from the U.S. EPA's 1999 Assessment System for Population Exposure Nationwide. Using the distribution among controls, exposure was categorized as high exposure (>95(th) percentile), medium exposure (5(th)-95(th) percentile), and low exposure (<5(th) percentile, reference). We used hierarchical Bayesian logistic regression models with SSVS to evaluate the association between HAPs and spina bifida by computing an odds ratio (OR) for each HAP using the posterior mean, and a 95% credible interval (CI) using the 2.5(th) and 97.5(th) quantiles of the posterior samples. Based on previous assessments, any pollutant with a Bayes factor greater than 1 was selected for inclusion in a final model. RESULTS: Twenty-five HAPs were selected in the final analysis to represent "bins" of highly correlated HAPs (ρ > 0.80). We identified two out of 25 HAPs with a Bayes factor greater than 1: quinoline (ORhigh = 2.06, 95% CI: 1.11-3.87, Bayes factor = 1.01) and trichloroethylene (ORmedium = 2.00, 95% CI: 1.14-3.61, Bayes factor = 3.79). CONCLUSIONS: Overall there is evidence that quinoline and trichloroethylene may be significant contributors to the risk of spina bifida. Additionally, the use of Bayesian hierarchical models with SSVS is an alternative approach in the evaluation of multiple environmental pollutants on disease risk. This approach can be easily extended to environmental exposures, where novel approaches are needed in the context of multi-pollutant modeling.

Schillie S, Walker T, Veselsky S, et al. Outcomes of infants born to women infected with hepatitis B. Pediatrics. 2015;135(5):e1141-7. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-3213.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Perinatal exposure is an important mode of hepatitis B virus (HBV) transmission, resulting in chronic disease in ∼ 90% of infected infants. Immunoprophylaxis recommended for infants born to hepatitis B surface antigen-positive mothers reduces up to 95% of perinatal HBV infections. We sought to identify factors associated with perinatal HBV transmission.
METHODS: We analyzed prospectively collected data from 5 of 64 US-funded Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Programs during 2007-2013. We examined effects of maternal demographic and laboratory results, infant gestational age and birth weight, and immunoprophylactic management on perinatal HBV infection. RESULTS: Data from 17,951 mother-infant pairs were analyzed. Among 9252 (51.5%) infants for whom hepatitis B surface antigen testing results were available, 100 (1.1%) acquired perinatal HBV infection. Both hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin were administered within 12 hours of birth for 10,760 (94.9%) of 11,335 infants with information. Perinatal HBV infection was associated with younger maternal age (P = .01), Asian/Pacific Islander race (P < .01), maternal hepatitis B e-antigen positivity (P < .01), maternal antibody to hepatitis B e-antigen negativity (P < .01), maternal viral load ≥ 2000 IU/mL (P = .04), and infant receipt of <3 HepB vaccine doses (P = .01). Four infants born to 429 mothers with viral load testing were infected; all 4 were born to mothers with viral loads in the ninth or tenth decile.
CONCLUSIONS: Perinatal HBV infection occurred among 1% of infants, most of whom received recommended immunoprophylaxis. Infants at greatest risk of infection were those born to women who were younger, hepatitis B e-antigen positive, or who had a high viral load or those infants who received <3 HepB vaccine doses.

Abanyie F, Harvey RR, Harris JR, et al. 2013 multistate outbreaks of Cyclospora cayetanensis infections associated with fresh produce: focus on the Texas investigations [published online ahead of print April 13, 2015]. Epidemiol Infect.
The 2013 multistate outbreaks contributed to the largest annual number of reported US cases of cyclosporiasis since 1997. In this paper we focus on investigations in Texas. We defined an outbreak-associated case as laboratory-confirmed cyclosporiasis in a person with illness onset between 1 June and 31 August 2013, with no history of international travel in the previous 14 days. Epidemiological, environmental, and traceback investigations were conducted. Of the 631 cases reported in the multistate outbreaks, Texas reported the greatest number of cases, 270 (43%). More than 70 clusters were identified in Texas, four of which were further investigated. One restaurant-associated cluster of 25 case-patients was selected for a case-control study. Consumption of cilantro was most strongly associated with illness on meal date-matched analysis (matched odds ratio 19·8, 95% confidence interval 4·0-∞). All case-patients in the other three clusters investigated also ate cilantro. Traceback investigations converged on three suppliers in Puebla, Mexico. Cilantro was the vehicle of infection in the four clusters investigated; the temporal association of these clusters with the large overall increase in cyclosporiasis cases in Texas suggests cilantro was the vehicle of infection for many other cases. However, the paucity of epidemiological and traceback information does not allow for a conclusive determination; moreover, molecular epidemiological tools for cyclosporiasis that could provide more definitive linkage between case clusters are needed. 

Langlois PH, Lee M, Lupo PJ, Rahbar MH, Cortez RK. Residential radon and birth defects: a population-based assessment [published online ahead of print Apr 6, 2015]. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. doi: 10.1002/bdra.23369.
BACKGROUND: Associations have been reported between maternal radiation exposure and birth defects. No such studies were found on radon. Our objective was to determine if there is an association between living in areas with higher radon levels and birth defects. METHODS: The Texas Birth Defects Registry provided data on all birth defects from 1999 to 2009 from the entire state. Mean radon levels by geologic region came from the Texas Indoor Radon Survey. The association between radon and birth defects was estimated using multilevel mixed effect Poisson regression. RESULTS: Birth defects overall were not associated with residential radon levels. Of the 100 other birth defect groups with at least 500 cases, 14 were significantly elevated in areas with high mean radon level in crude analyses, and 9 after adjustment for confounders. Cleft lip with/without cleft palate had an adjusted prevalence ratio of 1.16 per 1 picoCurie/liter (pCi/L) increase in exposure to region mean radon, 95% confidence interval, 1.08-1.26. Cystic hygroma / lymphangioma had an adjusted prevalence ratio of 1.22 per 1 pCi/L increase, 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.46. Other associations were suggested but not as consistent: three skeletal defects, Down syndrome, other specified anomalies of the brain, and other specified anomalies of the bladder and urethra. CONCLUSION: In the first study of residential radon and birth defects, we found associations with cleft lip w/wo cleft palate and cystic hygroma / lymphangioma. Other associations were suggested. The ecological nature of this study and multiple comparisons suggest that our results be interpreted with caution. Birth Defects Research (Part A), 2015. 

Forrester MB. Narcissus: A potentially toxic case of mistaken identity. TX Public Health J. 2015;67(2):5-6.
No abstract.

Forrester MB. Pediatric ingestions of sodium phosphate laxatives. TX Public Health J. 2015;67(2):6.
No abstract.

Kidd S, Zaidi A, Asbel L, et al. Comparison of antimicrobial susceptibility of pharyngeal, rectal, and urethral Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates among men who have sex with men [published online ahead of print February 17, 2015]. Antimicrob Agents Chemother.
The United States' surveillance for Neisseria gonorrhoeae antimicrobial susceptibility is based exclusively on male urethral isolates. These data inform gonorrhea treatment guidelines, including recommendations for treatment of extra-genital infection, but data on the susceptibility of extra-genital isolates are limited. We compared the antimicrobial susceptibility of pharyngeal, rectal, and urethral gonococcal isolates collected from men who have sex with men (MSM) at five sentinel sites throughout the United States. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined by the agar dilution method. Generalized linear models were used to compare (1) the proportions of isolates with elevated MICs and (2) geometric mean MICs by anatomic site adjusted for city. During December 2011-September 2013, a total of 205 pharyngeal, 261 rectal, and 976 urethral isolates were obtained. The proportion of isolates with elevated ceftriaxone MICs (≥0.125 μg/ml) did not differ by anatomic site (0.5% of pharyngeal, 1.5% of rectal, and 1.7% of urethral isolates; city-adjusted odds ratio [95% CI] 0.4 [0.0, 3.9] for pharyngeal vs. urethral isolates, 0.9 [0.2, 4.2] for rectal vs. urethral isolates). The city-adjusted geometric mean ceftriaxone MICs of pharyngeal (0.0153 μg/ml) and rectal (0.0157 μg/ml) isolates did not differ from that of urethral isolates (0.0150 μg/ml) (ratio of geometric mean MICs [95% CI] 1.02 [0.90, 117] and 1.05 [0.93, 1.19], respectively). Similar results were observed for other antimicrobials, including cefixime and azithromycin. These findings suggest that, at the population level, gonococcal antimicrobial susceptibility surveillance based on urethral isolates from MSM adequately represents the susceptibility of N. gonorrhoeae circulating among MSM.

Vinikoor-Imler LC, Stewart TG, Luben TJ, Davis JA, Langlois PH. An exploratory analysis of the relationship between ambient ozone and particulate matter concentrations during early pregnancy and selected birth defects in Texas [published online ahead of print March 14, 2015]. Environ Pollut. 2015;202:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2015.03.001.
We performed an exploratory analysis of ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations during early pregnancy and multiple types of birth defects. Data on births were obtained from the Texas Birth Defects Registry (TBDR) and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) in Texas. Air pollution concentrations were previously determined by combining modeled air pollution concentrations with air monitoring data. The analysis generated hypotheses for future, confirmatory studies; although many of the observed associations were null. The hypotheses are provided by an observed association between O3 and craniosynostosis and inverse associations between PM2.5 and septal and obstructive heart defects in the TBDR. Associations with PM2.5 for septal heart defects and ventricular outflow tract obstructions were null using the NBDPS. Both the TBDR and the NBPDS had inverse associations between O3 and septal heart defects. Further research to confirm the observed associations is warranted.

Forrester MB, Bojes H. Adolescent pesticide exposures reported to Texas poison centers [published online ahead of print March 7, 2015]. Int J Adolesc Med Health. doi: 10.1515/ijamh-2014-0072
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Pesticides, particularly when misused, can cause serious morbidity and mortality. There is limited literature on pesticide exposures among adolescents. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to describe adolescent pesticide exposures reported to poison centers and compare them to adult exposures. SUBJECTS: Pesticide exposures reported to Texas poison centers during 2000-2013 where the patient was age 13 years or greater. METHODS: Cases were divided into adolescents (13-19 years) and adults (20 years or more). The distribution of the cases was determined for various factors, and comparisons were made between the two age groups. RESULTS: There were 2772 adolescent and 33,573 adult pesticide exposures. The most common types of pesticide among adolescent and adult cases, respectively, were insecticides (71% vs. 76%), herbicides (6% vs. 9%), repellents (11% vs. 8%), and rodenticides (10% vs. 5%). Adolescent patients were 56% male and 43% female; adult patients were 45% male and 55% female. The most common exposure routes among adolescent and adult cases, respectively, were dermal (29% vs. 38%), inhalation (22% vs. 33%), ingestion (47% vs. 29%), and ocular (14% vs. 13%). The exposure reason for adolescent and adult exposures, respectively, were unintentional (82% vs. 89%), intentional (13% vs. 7%), adverse reaction (2% vs. 3%), and other/unknown (3% vs. 1%). CONCLUSION: Compared to adult exposures, adolescent pesticide exposures were more likely to involve repellents and rodenticides, involve males, occur by ingestion, and be intentional.

Wang Y, Liu G, Canfield MA, et al. Racial/Ethnic differences in survival of United States children with birth defects: a population-based study. J Pediatr. pii: S0022-3476(14)01194-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.12.025.
OBJECTIVES: To examine racial/ethnic-specific survival of children with major birth defects in the US. STUDY DESIGN: We pooled data on live births delivered during 1999-2007 with any of 21 birth defects from 12 population-based birth defects surveillance programs. We used the Kaplan-Meier method to calculate cumulative survival probabilities and Cox proportional hazards models to estimate mortality risk. RESULTS: For most birth defects, there were small-to-moderate differences in neonatal (<28 days) survival among racial/ethnic groups. However, compared with children born to non-Hispanic white mothers, postneonatal infant (28 days to <1 year) mortality risk was significantly greater among children born to non-Hispanic black mothers for 13 of 21 defects (hazard ratios [HRs] 1.3-2.8) and among children born to Hispanic mothers for 10 of 21 defects (HRs 1.3-1.7). Compared with children born to non-Hispanic white mothers, a significantly increased childhood (≤8 years) mortality risk was found among children born to Asian/Pacific Islander mothers for encephalocele (HR 2.6), tetralogy of Fallot, and atrioventricular septal defect (HRs 1.6-1.8) and among children born to American Indian/Alaska Native mothers for encephalocele (HR 2.8), whereas a significantly decreased childhood mortality risk was found among children born to Asian/Pacific Islander mothers for cleft lip with or without cleft palate (HR 0.6). CONCLUSION: Children with birth defects born to non-Hispanic black and Hispanic mothers carry a greater risk of mortality well into childhood, especially children with congenital heart defect. Understanding survival differences among racial/ethnic groups provides important information for policy development and service planning.

Forrester MB, Hinson D. Ebola goes viral: Google Trends pattern of Ebola searches during recent Ebola outbreak in Texas. TX Public Health J. 2015;67(1):4-6.
No abstract.

Yazdy MM, Werler MM, Anderka M, Langlois PH, Vieira VM. Spatial analysis of gastroschisis in Massachusetts and Texas. Ann Epidemiol. 2015;25(1):7-14. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2014.10.001.
PURPOSE: Previous research has suggested gastroschisis, a congenital malformation, may be linked to environmental or infectious factors and cases can occur in clusters. The objective of this study was to identify geographic areas of elevated gastroschisis risk. METHODS: Cases of gastroschisis were identified from birth defect registries in Massachusetts and Texas. Random samples of live births were selected as controls. Generalized additive models were used to create a continuous map surface of odds ratios (ORs) by smoothing over latitude and longitude. Maternal age, race/ethnicity, education, cigarette smoking, and insurance status (MA only) were assessed for confounding. We used permutation tests to identify statistically significant areas of increased risk. RESULTS: An area of increased risk was identified in North Central Massachusetts but was not significant after adjustment (P value = .07; OR = 2.0). In Texas, two statistically significant areas of increased risk were identified after adjustment (P value = .02; OR = 1.3 and 1.2). Texas had sufficient data to assess the combination of space and time, which identified an increased risk in 2003 and 2004. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests there were areas of elevated gastroschisis risk in Massachusetts and Texas, which cannot be explained by the risk factors we assessed. Additional exploration of underlying artifactual, environmental, infectious, or behavioral factors may further our understanding of gastroschisis.

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Last updated January 23, 2018