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A multidisciplinary journal that focuses on the intersection of public health and technology, public health informatics, mass media campaigns, surveillance, participatory epidemiology, and innovation in public health practice and research.
JMIR Public Health & Surveillance (JPHS, Editor-in-chief: Travis Sanchez, Emory University/Rollins School of Public Health) is a PubMed-indexed, peer-reviewed sister journal of the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), the top cited journal in health informatics, ranked #1 by Clarivate's Journal Impact Factor. JPH is a multidisciplinary journal with a unique focus on the intersection of innovation and technology in public health, and includes topics like health communication, public health informatics, surveillance, participatory epidemiology, infodemiology and infoveillance, digital disease detection, digital public health interventions, mass media/social media campaigns, and emerging population health analysis systems and tools.
We publish regular articles, reviews, protocols/system descriptions and viewpoint papers on all aspects of public health, with a focus on innovation and technology in public health.
Apart from publishing traditional public health research and viewpoint papers as well as reports from traditional surveillance systems, JPH was one of the first (if not the only) peer-reviewed journal which publishes papers with surveillance or pharmacovigilance data from non-traditional, unstructured big data and text sources such as social media and the Internet (infoveillance, digital disease detection), or reports on novel participatory epidemiology projects, where observations are solicited from the public.
Among other innovations, JPH is also dedicated to support rapid open data sharing and rapid open access to surveillance and outbreak data. As one of the novel features we plan to publish rapid or even real-time surveillance reports and open data. The methods and description of the surveillance system may be peer-reviewed and published only once in detail, in a "baseline report" (in a JMIR Res Protoc or a JMIR Public Health & Surveill paper), and authors then have the possibility to publish data and reports in frequent intervals rapidly and with only minimal additional peer-review (we call this article type "Rapid Surveillance Reports"). JMIR Publications may even work with authors/researchers and developers of selected surveillance systems on APIs for semi-automated reports (e.g. weekly reports to be automatically published in JPHS and indexed in PubMed, based on data-feeds from surveillance systems and minmal narratives and abstracts).
Furthermore, duing epidemics and public health emergencies, submissions with critical data will be processed with expedited peer-review to enable publication within days or even in real-time.
We also publish descriptions of open data resources and open source software. Where possible, we can and want to publish or even host the actual software or dataset on the journal website.
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Background: While the prevalence of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Viet Nam has been increasing in recent years, there are no estimates of the population size of MSM based on tested empi...
Background: While the prevalence of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Viet Nam has been increasing in recent years, there are no estimates of the population size of MSM based on tested empirical methods. Objective: This study attempts to estimate the size of the MSM population in 12 provinces in Viet Nam and extrapolate from those areas to generate a national population estimate of MSM. A secondary aim of this study is to compare the feasibility of obtaining the number of users of a social app for MSM, using three different approaches. Methods: This study uses the social app multiplier method to estimate the size of MSM populations in 12 provinces, using the count of users on a social app popular with MSM in Viet Nam as the first data source, and a questionnaire propagated through the MSM community using respondent driven sampling as the second data source. A national estimation of MSM population is extrapolated from the results in the 12 provinces and the percentage of MSM reachable through online social networks is clarified. Results: The highest MSM population size among the 12 provinces is estimated in Hanoi and the lowest is estimated in Binh Dinh. On average 27.7% of MSM in provinces surveyed had used the social app Jack’D in the last 30 days, (95% CI: 17.6-37.7). Extrapolation of the results from the 12 provinces results in an estimated national population of 174,944 MSM (95% CI: 120,631–523,233) in Viet Nam. The percentage of MSM among adult males 15-49 in Viet Nam is 0.67% (95% CI: 0.46–1.99). Conclusions: This study is the first attempt to empirically estimate the population of MSM in Viet Nam, and highlights the feasibility of reaching a large proportion of MSM through a social app. The estimation reported in this study is lower than the estimated number of MSM in Viet Nam arrived at by profiling of urbanization of regions and modelling process. This study recommends that the updated estimation of the MSM population size be used to inform program planning and policy decision-making.
Background: Despite the introduction of the HPV vaccination as a preventive measure in 2006, uptake rates remain suboptimal, resulting in preventable cancer mortality. Social media, widely used for...
Background: Despite the introduction of the HPV vaccination as a preventive measure in 2006, uptake rates remain suboptimal, resulting in preventable cancer mortality. Social media, widely used for information seeking, has been shown to be influential on users’ knowledge and attitudes regarding HPV vaccination. Little is known regarding attitudes related to HPV vaccination on Reddit (a popular news aggregation site and online community), particularly related to cancer risk and sexual activity. Examining HPV vaccine related messages on Reddit may provide insights into how HPV discussions are characterized online and influence decision-making related to vaccination. Objective: We seek to observe how the HPV vaccine is characterized on Reddit over time and by user gender. Specifically, we seek to determine if: 1) Reddit messages are more related to cancer risks or sexual behavior; and 2)what other topics characterize the discussion on HPV vaccination on Reddit. Methods: We gathered all public Reddit comments from January 2007 through September 2015. We manually annotated 400 messages to generate keywords and identify themes. We then measured the similarity between each comment and lists of keywords associated with sexual behavior and cancer risk, using Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA). Next, we used Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) to characterize remaining topics within the Reddit data. Results: We analyzed 22,729 messages containing the strings “hpv” or “human papillomavirus” and “vaccin”. LSA findings showed that Reddit HPV vaccine discussions are significantly more related to cancer compared to sexual behavior. Compared to women, men were similarly more likely to discuss cancer risks between 2007 (mean LSA similarity score=0.14 for men, 0.13 for women,) and 2015 (mean LSA similarity score=0.10 for men, 0.09 for women). LDA analyses demonstrated that although topics related to cancer risk (16.1%) and sexual activity (14.5%) were both widely discussed, the majority of online discussions talked about neither of these. The most frequently discussed topic was politics associated with the vaccine (17.2%). Other topics included HPV disease/immunity (13.5%), the HPV vaccine schedule (11.5%), HPV vaccine side effects (9.7%), hyperlinks to outside sources (9.1%), and the risks and benefit of HPV vaccination (8.5%). Conclusions: Reddit discourse on HPV vaccine encompasses a broad range of topics among men and women, with HPV political debates and cancer risk making up the plurality of the discussion. Our findings demonstrated that women and men were equally likely to discuss HPV, highlighting that Reddit users do not perceive HPV as a female only issue. Given the increasing use of social media as a source of health information, these results can inform the development of targeted online health communication strategies to promote HPV vaccination to young adult users of Reddit. Analyzing online discussions on Reddit can inform health communication efforts by identifying relevant, important HPV related topics among online communities.
This paper documents the evolution of Flutracking from a pilot online influenza-like illness (ILI) survey of 394 participants in a local health region to a national surveillance system with over 30,00...
This paper documents the evolution of Flutracking from a pilot online influenza-like illness (ILI) survey of 394 participants in a local health region to a national surveillance system with over 30,000 participants in 2016. In 2018, there were over 40,000 survey responses per week in most weeks. In particular, this paper will describe how the methods have developed to meet the 1) changing aims of the system; 2) developing capabilities of the system; and 3) participant growth. The aim of this paper is to provide insights to other groups initiating participatory public health surveillance systems and to assist users of our data and reports to better understand Flutracking methods. Some of the key changes to Flutracking from 2006 to 2016 include: allowing participants to respond on behalf of other household members from 2008; adding health seeking behaviour questions in 2011; and offering an express survey and follow-up of unknown test results from 2016 onwards. The Flutracking system has demonstrated its ability to adapt to changes with minimal disruption to participants, and maintain consistency in data collection and reporting. As an example of success, Flutracking has been integrated in the Australian Government Department of Health’s regular influenza reports, and is now contributing weekly data to the transmissibility and impact measures for the Australian Government Department of Health’s application of the Pandemic Influenza Severity Assessment system. Flutracking data have consistently aligned with the timing of the peak level of influenza activity from other Australian influenza surveillance systems. Flutracking provided a unique insight into 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009 demonstrating that the community level ILI attack rates were only slightly higher than 2008, and lower than 2007 in the community. Flutracking has demonstrated to be significantly less biased by treatment seeking behaviour and laboratory testing protocols than other surveillance systems during the 2009 influenza pandemic. In 2018, Flutracking expanded to New Zealand, with an average of over 2,800 surveys per week so far. The evolution of Flutracking’s methods has been pivotal to the success of this surveillance system.
Background: Key populations at higher risk for HIV infection, including people who inject drugs (PWID), men who have sex with men (MSM), and female sex workers (FSW) are disproportionately affected by...
Background: Key populations at higher risk for HIV infection, including people who inject drugs (PWID), men who have sex with men (MSM), and female sex workers (FSW) are disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Empirical estimates of their population sizes are necessary for HIV program planning and monitoring. Such estimates however are lacking for most of Uganda’s urban centers. Objective: To estimate the number of female sex workers (FSW) and men who have sex with men (MSM) in select locations in Uganda. Methods: We utilized conventional 2-source capture-recapture to estimate the population of FSW in Mbale, Jinja, Wakiso, Mbarara, Gulu, Kabarole, Busia, Tororo, Masaka, and Kabale and of MSM in Mbale, Jinja, Wakiso, Mbarara, Gulu, Kabarole, and Mukono from June – August 2017. Hand mirrors and key chains were distributed to FSW and MSM, respectively, by peers during capture one. A week later, different FSW and MSM distributors went to the same towns to collect data for the second capture. Population size estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using the capture-recapture Simple Interactive Statistical Analysis (SISA). Prediction surface maps were created using the Kriging interpolation method for MSM and FSW densities for each town in ArcMap 10.3.1. Results: We estimated the population of FSW and MSM using two different recapture definitions: those who could present the object and those who could present the object or identify the object from a set of photos. The most credible estimates came from those who presented the objects only. The FSW population in Mbale was estimated to be 693 (95% CI: 474-912). For Jinja, Mukono, Busia, and Tororo, we estimated the number of FSW to be 802 (95% CI: 534-1069), 322 (95% CI: 300-343), 961 (95% CI: 592-1330), and 2872 (95% CI: 0-6005). For Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, and Wakiso, we estimated the FSW population to be 512 (95% CI: 384-639), 1904 (95% CI: 1058-2749), 377 95% CI: (247-506), and 828 (95% CI: 502-1152), respectively. For Kabarole and Gulu, we estimated the FSW population to be 397(95% CI: 325-469) and 1425 (95% CI: 893-1958). MSM estimates are 381(95% CI: 299-462) for Mbale, 1100 (95% CI: 351-1849) for Jinja, 368 (95% CI: 281-455) for Wakiso, 322 (95% CI: 253-390) for Mbarara, 180 (95% CI: 170-189), for Gulu, 335 (95% CI: 258-412) for Kabarole, and 264 (95% CI: 228-301) for Mukono. Conclusions: The capture-recapture activity was one of the first done in Uganda to obtain small town-level population sizes for FSW and MSM. The prediction maps of MSM and FSW densities provide useful information for HIV program planning. We found that it is feasible to use FSW and MSM peers for this activity, but proper training and standardized data collection tools are essential to minimize bias.