Rollins Research Review: Foodborne Illness Transmission, Air Pollution and Pregnancy, and COVID-19 Prevention Practices

December 18, 2023
Rollins Research Review

By Shelby Crosier

This month, Rollins researchers authored papers on a wealth of public health topics. Find summaries of a few highlights below.

Chickens in a market

Title:  Opportunities to Interrupt Transmission of Enteropathogens of Poultry Origin in Maputo, Mozambique: A Transmission Model Analysis

Journal: Environmental Health Perspectives

Rollins Authors: Kayoko Shioda, PhD; Frederica Lamar, PhD; Matthew Freeman, PhD

Important Takeaways:

  • Diarrheal diseases are a leading cause of childhood illness and death, and they are especially common in low-income countries.
  • Researchers developed a new approach to modelling the pathways of infection with salmonella and campylobacter, two of the germs most commonly responsible for diarrheal disease, to determine how to reduce their transmission.
  • These bacteria are often carried by chickens, an important protein source common in public markets, and then passed on to humans who handle them or consume their meat.
  • Infection with salmonella and campylobacter could be significantly reduced in Mozambique and other low-and middle-income countries (LMIC) if transmission in poultry and other food is controlled.


Title:  Quantifying Enteropathogen Contamination along Chicken Value Chains in Maputo, Mozambique: A Multidisciplinary and Mixed-Methods Approach to Identifying High Exposure Settings

Journal: Environmental Health Perspectives

Rollins Authors: Frederica Lamar, PhD; Courtney Victor; Bethany Caruso, PhD; Matthew Freeman, PhD

Important Takeaways:

  • Small-scale poultry farming for meat and eggs is very prevalent in LMIC, and it is also a significant source of the germs that cause diarrheal diseases.
  • This study used interviews to understand how chickens move through the food system in Mozambique, as well as samples to quantify contamination at various critical points.
  • There was widespread contamination with campylobacter and salmonella in poultry, which increased as it moved from farm to point of sale.
  • While controlling contamination on farms is important to limit the spread of foodborne illness, it is equally important to take steps to prevent contamination as food moves through the system, and especially at markets.

Pollution over a city

Title:  Effects of air pollution on adverse birth outcomes and pregnancy complications in the U.S. state of Kansas (2000–2015)

Journal: Scientific Reports

Rollins Authors: Hua Hao, PhD; Rohan D’Souza; Haisu Zhang; Howard Chang, PhD

Important Takeaways:

  • Gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) and high blood pressure are the most common pregnancy complications, and preterm birth and low birthweight are leading causes of neonatal illness and death.
  • This study investigated the connection between these negative health outcomes and exposure to ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and fine particulate matter.
  • Higher exposure to ozone during pregnancy increased the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and high blood pressure during pregnancy.
  • Exposure to nitrogen dioxide early in pregnancy increased the risk of gestational diabetes.
  • Reducing pregnant people’s exposure to air pollution is vital to lower the risk of negative pregnancy and birth outcomes.


Title:  Air pollution accountability research: Moving from a chain to a web

Journal: Global Epidemiology

Rollins Author: Stefanie Ebelt, ScD

Important Takeaways:

  • Air pollution accountability studies typically use an “accountability chain” to describe the relationship between an intervention and its impacts on emissions, exposures, and health.
  • This paper introduces a new framework, the “accountability web,” to better capture the context and complexities of real-world scenarios.
  • Eight recommendations are outlined to improve future air pollution accountability research by improving data, study designs and methods, and collaborations.

Wearing a mask and putting on hand santiizer

Title:  Prevalence of COVID-19 Mitigation Behaviors in US Adults (August-December 2020): Nationwide Household Probability Survey

Journal: JMIR Public Health and Surveillance

Rollins Authors: Travis Sanchez, DVM; Aaron Siegler, PhD; Benjamin Lopman, PhD; Nicole Luisi; Kristin Nelson, PhD; Kayoko Shioda, PhD; Mariah Valentine-Graves; Patrick Sullivan, DVM

Important Takeaways:

  • COVID-19 mitigation behaviors include masking, social distancing, and hand hygiene.
  • Using survey data, researchers looked at how common each of these behaviors was when COVID-19 rates were at their highest and the vaccine was not yet available.
  • Mask wearing was the most common practice at 71.1% of the sample, followed by social distancing, frequent handwashing, and hand sanitizing.
  • Women, older people, Black and Hispanic individuals, those who had not graduated college, and service workers were the most likely to practice mitigation behaviors.
  • During future outbreak responses, officials should focus on messaging that encourages mitigation practices and focuses on addressing the disparities in those practices.