METHODS: Weekly influenza surveillance data for 2006 to 2011 were obtained from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. Weekly rates of influenza activity were based on the percentage of all nasopharyngeal samples collected during the year that tested positive for influenza virus or viral nucleic acid on any given week. Monthly positivity rates were then calculated to define annual peaks of influenza activity in each country and across countries.
FINDINGS: Influenza activity peaked between June/July and October in seven countries, three of which showed a second peak in December to February. Countries closer to the equator had year-round circulation without discrete peaks. Viral types and subtypes varied from year to year but not across countries in a given year. The cumulative proportion of specimens that tested positive from June to November was > 60% in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. Thus, these tropical and subtropical countries exhibited earlier influenza activity peaks than temperate climate countries north of the equator.
CONCLUSION: Most southern and south-eastern Asian countries lying north of the equator should consider vaccinating against influenza from April to June; countries near the equator without a distinct peak in influenza activity can base vaccination timing on local factors.
APPROACH: After developing standard operating procedures and agreement between its Prisons Department and Ministry of Health, Malaysia established pilot MMT programmes in two prisons in the states of Kelantan (2008) and Selangor (2009) - those with the highest proportions of HIV-infected prisoners. Community-based MMT programmes were also established in Malaysia to integrate treatment activities after prisoners' release.
LOCAL SETTING: Having failed to reduce the incidence of HIV infection, in 2005 Malaysia embarked on a harm reduction strategy.
RELEVANT CHANGES: STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES WERE MODIFIED TO: (i) escalate the dose of methadone more slowly; (ii) provide ongoing education and training for medical and correctional staff and inmates; (iii) increase the duration of methadone treatment before releasing prisoners; (iv) reinforce linkages with community MMT programmes after prisoners' release; (v) screen for and treat tuberculosis; (vi) escalate the dose of methadone during treatment for HIV infection and tuberculosis; and (vii) optimize the daily oral dose of methadone (> 80 mg) before releasing prisoners.
LESSONS LEARNT: Prison-based MMT programmes can be effectively implemented but require adequate dosing and measures are needed to improve communication between prison and police authorities, prevent police harassment of MMT clients after their release, and improve systems for tracking release dates.
METHODS: Between 2009 and 2012, a kilometre-long walk was completed by trained investigators in 462 communities across 16 countries to collect data on tobacco marketing. We interviewed community members about their exposure to traditional and non-traditional marketing in the previous six months. To examine differences in marketing between urban and rural communities and between high-, middle- and low-income countries, we used multilevel regression models controlling for potential confounders.
FINDINGS: Compared with high-income countries, the number of tobacco advertisements observed was 81 times higher in low-income countries (incidence rate ratio, IRR: 80.98; 95% confidence interval, CI: 4.15-1578.42) and the number of tobacco outlets was 2.5 times higher in both low- and lower-middle-income countries (IRR: 2.58; 95% CI: 1.17-5.67 and IRR: 2.52; CI: 1.23-5.17, respectively). Of the 11,842 interviewees, 1184 (10%) reported seeing at least five types of tobacco marketing. Self-reported exposure to at least one type of traditional marketing was 10 times higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries (odds ratio, OR: 9.77; 95% CI: 1.24-76.77). For almost all measures, marketing exposure was significantly lower in the rural communities than in the urban communities.
CONCLUSION: Despite global legislation to limit tobacco marketing, it appears ubiquitous. The frequency and type of tobacco marketing varies on the national level by income group and by community type, appearing to be greatest in low-income countries and urban communities.
METHODS: A new outcome score based on a 15-item questionnaire was developed after a literature review, examination of current assessment tools, discussion with experts and a pilot study. The score was used to evaluate 100 children in Malaysia (56 Japanese encephalitis patients, 2 patients with encephalitis of unknown etiology and 42 controls) and 95 in India (36 Japanese encephalitis patients, 41 patients with encephalitis of unknown etiology and 18 controls). Inter- and intra-observer variability in the outcome score was determined and the score was compared with full clinical assessment.
FINDINGS: There was good inter-observer agreement on using the new score to identify likely dependency (Kappa = 0.942 for Malaysian children; Kappa = 0.786 for Indian children) and good intra-observer agreement (Kappa = 1.000 and 0.902, respectively). In addition, agreement between the new score and clinical assessment was also good (Kappa = 0.906 and 0.762, respectively). The sensitivity and specificity of the new score for identifying children likely to be dependent were 100% and 98.4% in Malaysia and 100% and 93.8% in India. Positive and negative predictive values were 84.2% and 100% in Malaysia and 65.6% and 100% in India.
CONCLUSION: The new tool for assessing disability in children after Japanese encephalitis was simple to use and scores correlated well with clinical assessment.