Dr Hannah Clapham

Research Area: Bioinformatics & Stats (inc. Modelling and Computational Biology)
Scientific Themes: Tropical Medicine & Global Health

Hannah leads the mathematical modelling group at OUCRU. Research interests include modelling the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases including vector- borne diseases, sero-surveillance and sero-epidemiology and modelling the impact of interventions and how their impact can be assessed. 

There are no collaborations listed for this principal investigator.

Clapham HE, Cummings DAT, Johansson MA. 2017. Immune status alters the probability of apparent illness due to dengue virus infection: Evidence from a pooled analysis across multiple cohort and cluster studies. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 11 (9), pp. e0005926. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is an important vector-borne pathogen found across much of the world. Many factors complicate our understanding of the relationship between infection with one of the four dengue virus serotypes, and the observed incidence of disease. One of the factors is a large proportion of infections appear to result in no or few symptoms, while others result in severe infections. Estimates of the proportion of infections that result in no symptoms (inapparent) vary widely from 8% to 100%, depending on study and setting. To investigate the sources of variation of these estimates, we used a flexible framework to combine data from multiple cohort studies and cluster studies (follow-up around index cases). Building on previous observations that the immune status of individuals affects their probability of apparent disease, we estimated the probability of apparent disease among individuals with different exposure histories. In cohort studies mostly assessing infection in children, we estimated the proportion of infections that are apparent as 0.18 (95% Credible Interval, CI: 0.16, 0.20) for primary infections, 0.13 (95% CI: 0.05, 0.17) for individuals infected in the year following a first infection (cross-immune period), and 0.41 (95% CI: 0.36, 0.45) for those experiencing secondary infections after this first year. Estimates of the proportion of infections that are apparent from cluster studies were slightly higher than those from cohort studies for both primary and secondary infections, 0.22 (95% CI: 0.15, 0.29) and 0.57 (95% CI: 0.49, 0.68) respectively. We attempted to estimate the apparent proportion by serotype, but current published data were too limited to distinguish the presence or absence of serotype-specific differences. These estimates are critical for understanding dengue epidemiology. Most dengue data come from passive surveillance systems which not only miss most infections because they are asymptomatic and often underreported, but will also vary in sensitivity over time due to the interaction between previous incidence and the symptomatic proportion, as shown here. Nonetheless the underlying incidence of infection is critical to understanding susceptibility of the population and estimating the true burden of disease, key factors for effectively targeting interventions. The estimates shown here help clarify the link between past infection, observed disease, and current transmission intensity.

Cauchemez S, Nouvellet P, Cori A, Jombart T, Garske T, Clapham H, Moore S, Mills HL, Salje H, Collins C et al. 2016. Unraveling the drivers of MERS-CoV transmission. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 113 (32), pp. 9081-9086. | Show Abstract | Read more

With more than 1,700 laboratory-confirmed infections, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) remains a significant threat for public health. However, the lack of detailed data on modes of transmission from the animal reservoir and between humans means that the drivers of MERS-CoV epidemics remain poorly characterized. Here, we develop a statistical framework to provide a comprehensive analysis of the transmission patterns underlying the 681 MERS-CoV cases detected in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) between January 2013 and July 2014. We assess how infections from the animal reservoir, the different levels of mixing, and heterogeneities in transmission have contributed to the buildup of MERS-CoV epidemics in KSA. We estimate that 12% [95% credible interval (CI): 9%, 15%] of cases were infected from the reservoir, the rest via human-to-human transmission in clusters (60%; CI: 57%, 63%), within (23%; CI: 20%, 27%), or between (5%; CI: 2%, 8%) regions. The reproduction number at the start of a cluster was 0.45 (CI: 0.33, 0.58) on average, but with large SD (0.53; CI: 0.35, 0.78). It was >1 in 12% (CI: 6%, 18%) of clusters but fell by approximately one-half (47% CI: 34%, 63%) its original value after 10 cases on average. The ongoing exposure of humans to MERS-CoV from the reservoir is of major concern, given the continued risk of substantial outbreaks in health care systems. The approach we present allows the study of infectious disease transmission when data linking cases to each other remain limited and uncertain.

Reich NG, Lauer SA, Sakrejda K, Iamsirithaworn S, Hinjoy S, Suangtho P, Suthachana S, Clapham HE, Salje H, Cummings DAT, Lessler J. 2016. Challenges in Real-Time Prediction of Infectious Disease: A Case Study of Dengue in Thailand. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (6), pp. e0004761. | Show Abstract | Read more

Epidemics of communicable diseases place a huge burden on public health infrastructures across the world. Producing accurate and actionable forecasts of infectious disease incidence at short and long time scales will improve public health response to outbreaks. However, scientists and public health officials face many obstacles in trying to create such real-time forecasts of infectious disease incidence. Dengue is a mosquito-borne virus that annually infects over 400 million people worldwide. We developed a real-time forecasting model for dengue hemorrhagic fever in the 77 provinces of Thailand. We created a practical computational infrastructure that generated multi-step predictions of dengue incidence in Thai provinces every two weeks throughout 2014. These predictions show mixed performance across provinces, out-performing seasonal baseline models in over half of provinces at a 1.5 month horizon. Additionally, to assess the degree to which delays in case reporting make long-range prediction a challenging task, we compared the performance of our real-time predictions with predictions made with fully reported data. This paper provides valuable lessons for the implementation of real-time predictions in the context of public health decision making.

Nisalak A, Clapham HE, Kalayanarooj S, Klungthong C, Thaisomboonsuk B, Fernandez S, Reiser J, Srikiatkhachorn A, Macareo LR, Lessler JT et al. 2016. Forty Years of Dengue Surveillance at a Tertiary Pediatric Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, 1973-2012. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 94 (6), pp. 1342-1347. | Show Abstract | Read more

Long-term observational studies can provide valuable insights into overall dengue epidemiology. Here, we present analysis of dengue cases at a pediatric hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, during a 40-year period from 1973 to 2012. Data were analyzed from 25,715 hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed dengue virus (DENV) infection. Several long-term trends in dengue disease were identified including an increase in mean age of hospitalized cases from an average of 7-8 years, an increase after 1990 in the proportion of post-primary cases for DENV-1 and DENV-3, and a decrease in the proportion of dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome cases in primary and post-primary cases over time. Exploratory mechanistic analysis of these observed trends considered changes in diagnostic methods, demography, force of infection, and Japanese encephalitis vaccination as possible explanations. Thailand is an important setting for studying DENV transmission as it has a "mature" dengue epidemiology with a strong surveillance system in place since the early 1970s. We characterized changes in dengue epidemiology over four decades, and possible impact of demographic and other changes in the human population. These results may inform other countries where similar changes in transmission and population demographics may now or may soon be occurring.

Clapham HE, Quyen TH, Kien DTH, Dorigatti I, Simmons CP, Ferguson NM. 2016. Modelling Virus and Antibody Dynamics during Dengue Virus Infection Suggests a Role for Antibody in Virus Clearance. PLoS Comput Biol, 12 (5), pp. e1004951. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is an infection of increasing global importance, yet uncertainty remains regarding critical aspects of its virology, immunology and epidemiology. One unanswered question is how infection is controlled and cleared during a dengue infection. Antibody is thought to play a role, but little past work has examined the kinetics of both virus and antibody during natural infections. We present data on multiple virus and antibody titres measurements recorded sequentially during infection from 53 Vietnamese dengue patients. We fit mechanistic mathematical models of the dynamics of viral replication and the host immune response to these data. These models fit the data well. The model with antibody removing virus fits the data best, but with a role suggested for ADCC or other infected cell clearance mechanisms. Our analysis therefore shows that the observed viral and antibody kinetics are consistent with antibody playing a key role in controlling viral replication. This work gives quantitative insight into the relationship between antibody levels and the efficiency of viral clearance. It will inform the future development of mechanistic models of how vaccines and antivirals might modify the course of natural dengue infection.

Clapham HE, Rodriguez-Barraquer I, Azman AS, Althouse BM, Salje H, Gibbons RV, Rothman AL, Jarman RG, Nisalak A, Thaisomboonsuk B et al. 2016. Dengue Virus (DENV) Neutralizing Antibody Kinetics in Children after Symptomatic Primary and Postprimary DENV Infection Journal of Infectious Diseases, 213 (9), pp. 1428-1435. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 The Author 2015. The immune response to dengue virus (DENV) infection is complex and not fully understood. Using longitudinal data from 181 children with dengue in Thailand who were followed for up to 3 years, we describe neutralizing antibody kinetics following symptomatic DENV infection. We observed that antibody titers varied by serotype, homotypic vs heterotypic responses, and primary versus postprimary infections. The rates of change in antibody titers over time varied between primary and postprimary responses. For primary infections, titers increased from convalescence to 6 months. By comparing homotypic and heterotypic antibody titers, we saw an increase in type specificity from convalescence to 6 months for primary DENV3 infections but not primary DENV1 infections. In postprimary cases, there was a decrease in titers from convalescence up until 6 months after infection. Beginning 1 year after both primary and postprimary infections, there was evidence of increasing antibody titers, with greater increases in children with lower titers, suggesting that antibody titers were boosted due to infection and that higher levels of neutralizing antibody may be more likely to confer a sterilizing immune response. These findings may help to model virus transmission dynamics and provide baseline data to support the development of vaccines and therapeutics.

Clapham HE, Rodriguez-Barraquer I, Azman AS, Althouse BM, Salje H, Gibbons RV, Rothman AL, Jarman RG, Nisalak A, Thaisomboonsuk B et al. 2016. Dengue Virus (DENV) Neutralizing Antibody Kinetics in Children After Symptomatic Primary and Postprimary DENV Infection. J Infect Dis, 213 (9), pp. 1428-1435. | Show Abstract | Read more

The immune response to dengue virus (DENV) infection is complex and not fully understood. Using longitudinal data from 181 children with dengue in Thailand who were followed for up to 3 years, we describe neutralizing antibody kinetics following symptomatic DENV infection. We observed that antibody titers varied by serotype, homotypic vs heterotypic responses, and primary versus postprimary infections. The rates of change in antibody titers over time varied between primary and postprimary responses. For primary infections, titers increased from convalescence to 6 months. By comparing homotypic and heterotypic antibody titers, we saw an increase in type specificity from convalescence to 6 months for primary DENV3 infections but not primary DENV1 infections. In postprimary cases, there was a decrease in titers from convalescence up until 6 months after infection. Beginning 1 year after both primary and postprimary infections, there was evidence of increasing antibody titers, with greater increases in children with lower titers, suggesting that antibody titers were boosted due to infection and that higher levels of neutralizing antibody may be more likely to confer a sterilizing immune response. These findings may help to model virus transmission dynamics and provide baseline data to support the development of vaccines and therapeutics.

Alera MT, Srikiatkhachorn A, Velasco JM, Tac-An IA, Lago CB, Clapham HE, Fernandez S, Levy JW, Thaisomboonsuk B, Klungthong C et al. 2016. Incidence of Dengue Virus Infection in Adults and Children in a Prospective Longitudinal Cohort in the Philippines. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (2), pp. e0004337. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The mean age of dengue has been increasing in some but not all countries. We sought to determine the incidence of dengue virus (DENV) infection in adults and children in a prospective cohort study in the Philippines where dengue is hyperendemic. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A prospective cohort of subjects ≥6 months old in Cebu City, Philippines, underwent active community-based surveillance for acute febrile illnesses by weekly contact. Fever history within the prior seven days was evaluated with an acute illness visit followed by 2, 5, and 8-day, and 3-week convalescent visits. Blood was collected at the acute and 3-week visits. Scheduled visits took place at enrolment and 12 months that included blood collections. Acute samples were tested by DENV PCR and acute/convalescent samples by DENV IgM/IgG ELISA to identify symptomatic infections. Enrolment and 12-month samples were tested by DENV hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) assay to identify subclinical infections. Of 1,008 enrolled subjects, 854 completed all study activities at 12 months per-protocol undergoing 868 person-years of surveillance. The incidence of symptomatic and subclinical infections was 1.62 and 7.03 per 100 person-years, respectively. However, in subjects >15 years old, only one symptomatic infection occurred whereas 27 subclinical infections were identified. DENV HAI seroprevalence increased sharply with age with baseline multitypic HAIs associated with fewer symptomatic infections. Using a catalytic model, the historical infection rate among dengue naïve individuals was estimated to be high at 11-22%/year. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In this hyperendemic area with high seroprevalence of multitypic DENV HAIs in adults, symptomatic dengue rarely occurred in individuals older than 15 years. Our findings demonstrate that dengue is primarily a pediatric disease in areas with high force of infection. However, the average age of dengue could increase if force of infection decreases over time, as is occurring in some hyperendemic countries such as Thailand.

Clapham H, Cummings DAT, Nisalak A, Kalayanarooj S, Thaisomboonsuk B, Klungthong C, Fernandez S, Srikiatkhachorn A, Macareo LR, Lessler J et al. 2015. Epidemiology of Infant Dengue Cases Illuminates Serotype-Specificity in the Interaction between Immunity and Disease, and Changes in Transmission Dynamics. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (12), pp. e0004262. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Infants born to dengue immune mothers acquire maternal antibodies to dengue. These antibodies, though initially protective, decline during the first year of life to levels thought to be disease enhancing, before reaching undetectable levels. Infants have long been studied to understand the interaction between infection and disease on an individual level. METHODS/FINDINGS: Considering infants (cases <1 year old) as a unique group, we analyzed serotype specific dengue case data from patients admitted to a pediatric hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. We show differences in the propensity of serotypes to cause disease in individuals with dengue antibodies (infants and post-primary cases) and in individuals without dengue antibodies (primary cases). The mean age of infant cases differed among serotypes, consistent with previously observed differential waning of maternal antibody titers by serotype. We show that trends over time in epidemiology of infant cases are consistent with those observed in the whole population, and therefore with trends in the force of infection. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Infants with dengue are informative about the interaction between antibody and the dengue serotypes, confirming that in this population DENV-2 and DENV-4 almost exclusively cause disease in the presence of dengue antibody despite infections occurring in others. We also observe differences between the serotypes in the mean age in infant cases, informative about the interaction between waning immunity and disease for the different serotypes in infants. In addition, we show that the mean age of infant cases over time is informative about transmission in the whole population. Therefore, ongoing surveillance for dengue in infants could provide useful insights into dengue epidemiology, particularly after the introduction of a dengue vaccine targeting adults and older children.

Althouse BM, Scarpino SV, Meyers LA, Ayers JW, Bargsten M, Baumbach J, Brownstein JS, Castro L, Clapham H, Cummings DA et al. 2015. Enhancing disease surveillance with novel data streams: challenges and opportunities. EPJ Data Sci, 4 (1), pp. 1-8. | Show Abstract | Read more

Novel data streams (NDS), such as web search data or social media updates, hold promise for enhancing the capabilities of public health surveillance. In this paper, we outline a conceptual framework for integrating NDS into current public health surveillance. Our approach focuses on two key questions: What are the opportunities for using NDS and what are the minimal tests of validity and utility that must be applied when using NDS? Identifying these opportunities will necessitate the involvement of public health authorities and an appreciation of the diversity of objectives and scales across agencies at different levels (local, state, national, international). We present the case that clearly articulating surveillance objectives and systematically evaluating NDS and comparing the performance of NDS to existing surveillance data and alternative NDS data is critical and has not sufficiently been addressed in many applications of NDS currently in the literature.

Ferguson NM, Kien DTH, Clapham H, Aguas R, Trung VT, Chau TNB, Popovici J, Ryan PA, O'Neill SL, McGraw EA et al. 2015. Modeling the impact on virus transmission of Wolbachia-mediated blocking of dengue virus infection of Aedes aegypti. Sci Transl Med, 7 (279), pp. 279ra37. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is the most common arboviral infection of humans and is a public health burden in more than 100 countries. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes stably infected with strains of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia are resistant to dengue virus (DENV) infection and are being tested in field trials. To mimic field conditions, we experimentally assessed the vector competence of A. aegypti carrying the Wolbachia strains wMel and wMelPop after challenge with viremic blood from dengue patients. We found that wMelPop conferred strong resistance to DENV infection of mosquito abdomen tissue and largely prevented disseminated infection. wMel conferred less resistance to infection of mosquito abdomen tissue, but it did reduce the prevalence of mosquitoes with infectious saliva. A mathematical model of DENV transmission incorporating the dynamics of viral infection in humans and mosquitoes was fitted to the data collected. Model predictions suggested that wMel would reduce the basic reproduction number, R0, of DENV transmission by 66 to 75%. Our results suggest that establishment of wMelPop-infected A. aegypti at a high frequency in a dengue-endemic setting would result in the complete abatement of DENV transmission. Establishment of wMel-infected A. aegypti is also predicted to have a substantial effect on transmission that would be sufficient to eliminate dengue in low or moderate transmission settings but may be insufficient to achieve complete control in settings where R0 is high. These findings develop a framework for selecting Wolbachia strains for field releases and for calculating their likely impact.

Clapham HE, Tricou V, Van Vinh Chau N, Simmons CP, Ferguson NM. 2014. Within-host viral dynamics of dengue serotype 1 infection. J R Soc Interface, 11 (96), pp. 20140094-20140094. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue, the most common mosquito-borne viral infection of humans, is endemic across much of the world, including much of tropical Asia and is increasing in its geographical range. Here, we present a mathematical model of dengue virus dynamics within infected individuals, detailing the interaction between virus and a simple immune response. We fit this model to measurements of plasma viral titre from cases of primary and secondary DENV 1 infection in Vietnam. We show that variation in model parameters governing the immune response is sufficient to create the observed variation in virus dynamics between individuals. Estimating model parameter values, we find parameter differences between primary and secondary cases consistent with the theory of antibody-dependent enhancement (namely enhanced rates of viral entry to target cells in secondary cases). Finally, we use our model to examine the potential impact of an antiviral drug on the within-host dynamics of dengue. We conclude that the impact of antiviral therapy on virus dynamics is likely to be limited if therapy is only started at the onset of symptoms, owing to the typically late stage of viral pathogenesis reached by the time symptoms are manifested and thus treatment is started.

Using mechanistic models to understand the impact of antimicrobial use in farming systems in Southeast Asia on antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the most serious and rapidly growing public health threats in the world today and already accounts for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Widespread use of antibiotics in animal production systems is a significant concern for human health because of the associated risk of resistance and the fact that virtually all classes of antimicrobials important for human medicine are also used in animals. The use of antimicrobials and the generation of AMR ...

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