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Concept: Southern United States


Cat-scratch disease (CSD) is mostly preventable. More information about the epidemiology and extent of CSD would help direct prevention efforts to those at highest risk. To gain such information, we reviewed the 2005-2013 MarketScan national health insurance claims databases and identified patients <65 years of age with an inpatient admission or outpatient visit that included a CSD code from the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification. Incidence of CSD was highest among those who lived in the southern United States (6.4 cases/100,000 population) and among children 5-9 years of age (9.4 cases/100,000 population). Inpatients were significantly more likely than outpatients to be male and 50-64 years of age. We estimate that each year, 12,000 outpatients are given a CSD diagnosis and 500 inpatients are hospitalized for CSD. Prevention measures (e.g., flea control for cats) are particularly helpful in southern states and in households with children.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Infectious disease, Death, Demography, United States, Poverty in the United States, Southern United States


Clinical trials are scant and equivocal on whether vitamin D can ameliorate arterial stiffness, particularly in populations at high risk for vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study determined the dose-response effects of vitamin D3 supplementation on arterial stiffness in overweight African Americans with vitamin D deficiency.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Vitamin D, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Cancer,, Clinical research, Southern United States


Ground-level ozone is adverse to human and vegetation health. High ground-level ozone concentrations usually occur over the United States in the summer, often referred to as the ozone season. However, observed monthly mean ozone concentrations in the southeastern United States were higher in October than July in 2010. The October ozone average in 2010 reached that of July in the past three decades (1980-2010). Our analysis shows that this extreme October ozone in 2010 over the Southeast is due in part to a dry and warm weather condition, which enhances photochemical production, air stagnation, and fire emissions. Observational evidence and modeling analysis also indicate that another significant contributor is enhanced emissions of biogenic isoprene, a major ozone precursor, from water-stressed plants under a dry and warm condition. The latter finding is corroborated by recent laboratory and field studies. This climate-induced biogenic control also explains the puzzling fact that the two extremes of high October ozone both occurred in the 2000s when anthropogenic emissions were lower than the 1980s and 1990s, in contrast to the observed decreasing trend of July ozone in the region. The occurrences of a drying and warming fall, projected by climate models, will likely lead to more active photochemistry, enhanced biogenic isoprene and fire emissions, an extension of the ozone season from summer to fall, and an increase of secondary organic aerosols in the Southeast, posing challenges to regional air quality management.

Concepts: Chemistry, Florida, North Carolina, Southern United States, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia


North Carolina’s aging population will require a health care workforce prepared to meet patients' complex care needs. The keys to training this workforce include continuing to mobilize the state’s educational infrastructure to provide interprofessional, community-based experiences and maximizing exposure to new models of care.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, United States, Illness, North Carolina, Southern United States, South Carolina, North Carolina State University


African Americans are especially at risk of hypertension and dementia. Antihypertensive medications reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, but may also reduce the risk of dementia.

Concepts: Southern United States, Jim Crow laws, Democratic Party


Women and African Americans-groups targeted by negative stereotypes about their intellectual abilities-may be underrepresented in careers that prize brilliance and genius. A recent nationwide survey of academics provided initial support for this possibility. Fields whose practitioners believed that natural talent is crucial for success had fewer female and African American PhDs. The present study seeks to replicate this initial finding with a different, and arguably more naturalistic, measure of the extent to which brilliance and genius are prized within a field. Specifically, we measured field-by-field variability in the emphasis on these intellectual qualities by tallying-with the use of a recently released online tool-the frequency of the words “brilliant” and “genius” in over 14 million reviews on, a popular website where students can write anonymous evaluations of their instructors. This simple word count predicted both women’s and African Americans' representation across the academic spectrum. That is, we found that fields in which the words “brilliant” and “genius” were used more frequently on also had fewer female and African American PhDs. Looking at an earlier stage in students' educational careers, we found that brilliance-focused fields also had fewer women and African Americans obtaining bachelor’s degrees. These relationships held even when accounting for field-specific averages on standardized mathematics assessments, as well as several competing hypotheses concerning group differences in representation. The fact that this naturalistic measure of a field’s focus on brilliance predicted the magnitude of its gender and race gaps speaks to the tight link between ability beliefs and diversity.

Concepts: Race, White American, Southern United States, Jim Crow laws, Democratic Party, Hip hop music


Zika, a mosquito-borne viral disease that emerged in South America in 2015, was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO in February of 2016. We developed a climate-driven R0 mathematical model for the transmission risk of Zika virus (ZIKV) that explicitly includes two key mosquito vector species: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus The model was parameterized and calibrated using the most up to date information from the available literature. It was then driven by observed gridded temperature and rainfall datasets for the period 1950-2015. We find that the transmission risk in South America in 2015 was the highest since 1950. This maximum is related to favoring temperature conditions that caused the simulated biting rates to be largest and mosquito mortality rates and extrinsic incubation periods to be smallest in 2015. This event followed the suspected introduction of ZIKV in Brazil in 2013. The ZIKV outbreak in Latin America has very likely been fueled by the 2015-2016 El Niño climate phenomenon affecting the region. The highest transmission risk globally is in South America and tropical countries where Ae. aegypti is abundant. Transmission risk is strongly seasonal in temperate regions where Ae. albopictus is present, with significant risk of ZIKV transmission in the southeastern states of the United States, in southern China, and to a lesser extent, over southern Europe during the boreal summer season.

Concepts: United States, Mosquito, Aedes, South America, Southern United States, Americas, Latin America, Indigenous peoples of the Americas


We present a comprehensive assessment of genomic diversity in the African-American population by studying three genotyped cohorts comprising 3,726 African-Americans from across the United States that provide a representative description of the population across all US states and socioeconomic status. An estimated 82.1% of ancestors to African-Americans lived in Africa prior to the advent of transatlantic travel, 16.7% in Europe, and 1.2% in the Americas, with increased African ancestry in the southern United States compared to the North and West. Combining demographic models of ancestry and those of relatedness suggests that admixture occurred predominantly in the South prior to the Civil War and that ancestry-biased migration is responsible for regional differences in ancestry. We find that recent migrations also caused a strong increase in genetic relatedness among geographically distant African-Americans. Long-range relatedness among African-Americans and between African-Americans and European-Americans thus track north- and west-bound migration routes followed during the Great Migration of the twentieth century. By contrast, short-range relatedness patterns suggest comparable mobility of ∼15-16km per generation for African-Americans and European-Americans, as estimated using a novel analytical model of isolation-by-distance.

Concepts: United States, White American, African American, Native Americans in the United States, Southern United States, Texas, American Civil War, English American


Innovative approaches are needed to promote physical activity among young adult overweight and obese African American women. We sought to describe key elements that African American women desire in a culturally relevant Internet-based tool to promote physical activity among overweight and obese young adult African American women.

Concepts: Obesity, Physical exercise, Overweight, African American, Native Americans in the United States, Southern United States, American Civil War, Jim Crow laws


A group of nine states in the Southern United States, hereafter referred to as the targeted states, has experienced particularly high HIV diagnosis and case fatality rates. To provide additional information about the HIV burden in this region, we used CDC HIV surveillance data to examine characteristics of individuals diagnosed with HIV in the targeted states (2011), 5-year HIV and AIDS survival, and deaths among persons living with HIV (2010). We used multivariable analyses to explore the influence of residing in the targeted states at diagnosis on deaths among persons living with HIV after adjustment for demographics and transmission risk. In 2011, the targeted states had a higher HIV diagnosis rate (24.5/100,000 population) than the US overall (18.0/100,000) and higher proportions than other regions of individuals diagnosed with HIV who were black, female, younger, and living in suburban and rural areas. Furthermore, the targeted states had lower HIV and AIDS survival proportions (0.85, 0.73, respectively) than the US overall (0.86, 0.77, respectively) and the highest death rate among persons living with HIV of any US region. Regional differences in demographics and transmission risk did not explain the higher death rate among persons living with HIV in the targeted states indicating that other factors contribute to this disparity. Differences in characteristics and outcomes of individuals with HIV in the targeted states are critical to consider when creating strategies to address HIV in the region, as are other factors identified in previous research to be prominent in the region including poverty and stigma.

Concepts: HIV, AIDS, Death, Diagnosis, Demography, Tuberculosis, Southern United States, Region