Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of California San Francisco, Epidemiology (2018)
  • Master of Science, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Public Health (2011)
  • Bachelor of Science, Georgetown University, Foreign Service (2010)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Viral species richness and composition in young children with loose or watery stool in Ethiopia. BMC infectious diseases Aiemjoy, K., Altan, E., Aragie, S., Fry, D. M., Phan, T. G., Deng, X., Chanyalew, M., Tadesse, Z., Callahan, E. K., Delwart, E., Keenan, J. D. 2019; 19 (1): 53


    BACKGROUND: Stool consistency is an important diagnostic criterion in both research and clinical medicine and is often used to define diarrheal disease.METHODS: We examine the pediatric enteric virome across stool consistencies to evaluate differences in richness and community composition using fecal samples collected from children aged 0 to 5years participating in a clinical trial in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. The consistency of each sample was graded according to the modified Bristol Stool Form Scale for children (mBSFS-C) before a portion of stool was preserved for viral metagenomic analysis. Stool samples were grouped into 29 pools according to stool consistency type. Differential abundance was determined using negative-binomial modeling.RESULTS: Of 446 censused children who were eligible to participate, 317 presented for the study visit examination and 269 provided stool samples. The median age of children with stool samples was 36months. Species richness was highest in watery-consistency stool and decreased as stool consistency became firmer (Spearman's r=-0.45, p=0.013). The greatest differential abundance comparing loose or watery to formed stool was for norovirus GII (7.64, 95% CI 5.8, 9.5) followed by aichivirus A (5.93, 95% CI 4.0, 7.89) and adeno-associated virus 2 (5.81, 95%CI 3.9, 7.7).CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, we documented a difference in pediatric enteric viromes according to mBSFS-C stool consistency category, both in species richness and composition.

    View details for PubMedID 30642268

  • Linear growth in preschool children treated with mass azithromycin distributions for trachoma: A cluster-randomized trial. PLoS neglected tropical diseases Keenan, J. D., Gebresillasie, S., Stoller, N. E., Haile, B. A., Tadesse, Z., Cotter, S. Y., Ray, K. J., Aiemjoy, K., Porco, T. C., Callahan, E. K., Emerson, P. M., Lietman, T. M. 2019; 13 (6): e0007442


    BACKGROUND: Mass azithromycin distributions have been shown to reduce mortality among pre-school children in sub-Saharan Africa. It is unclear what mediates this mortality reduction, but one possibility is that antibiotics function as growth promoters for young children.METHODS AND FINDINGS: 24 rural Ethiopian communities that had received biannual mass azithromycin distributions over the previous four years were enrolled in a parallel-group, cluster-randomized trial. Communities were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to either continuation of biannual oral azithromycin (20mg/kg for children, 1 g for adults) or to no programmatic antibiotics over the 36 months of the study period. All community members 6 months and older were eligible for the intervention. The primary outcome was ocular chlamydia; height and weight were measured as secondary outcomes on children less than 60 months of age at months 12 and 36. Study participants were not masked; anthropometrists were not informed of the treatment allocation. Anthropometric measurements were collected for 282 children aged 0-36 months at the month 12 assessment and 455 children aged 0-59 months at the month 36 assessment, including 207 children who had measurements at both time points. After adjusting for age and sex, children were slightly but not significantly taller in the biannually treated communities (84.0 cm, 95%CI 83.2-84.8, in the azithromycin-treated communities vs. 83.7 cm, 95%CI 82.9-84.5, in the untreated communities; mean difference 0.31 cm, 95%CI -0.85 to 1.47, P = 0.60). No adverse events were reported.CONCLUSIONS: Periodic mass azithromycin distributions for trachoma did not demonstrate a strong impact on childhood growth.TRIAL REGISTRATION: The TANA II trial was registered on #NCT01202331.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pntd.0007442

    View details for PubMedID 31166952

  • Enteric virome of Ethiopian children participating in a clean water intervention trial PLOS ONE Altan, E., Aiemjoy, K., Pha, T. G., Deng, X., Aragie, S., Tadesse, Z., Callahan, K. E., Keenan, J., Delwart, E. 2018; 13 (8): e0202054


    The enteric viruses shed by different populations can be influenced by multiple factors including access to clean drinking water. We describe here the eukaryotic viral genomes in the feces of Ethiopian children participating in a clean water intervention trial.Fecal samples from 269 children with a mean age of 2.7 years were collected from 14 villages in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, half of which received a new hand-dug water well. Feces from these villages were then analyzed in 29 sample pools using viral metagenomics. A total of 127 different viruses belonging to 3 RNA and 3 DNA viral families were detected. Picornaviridae family sequence reads were the most commonly found, originating from 14 enterovirus and 6 parechovirus genotypes plus multiple members of four other picornavirus genera (cosaviruses, saliviruses, kobuviruses, and hepatoviruses). Picornaviruses with nearly identical capsid VP1 were detected in different pools reflecting recent spread of these viral strains. Next in read frequencies and positive pools were sequences from the Caliciviridae family including noroviruses GI and GII and sapoviruses. DNA viruses from multiple genera of the Parvoviridae family were detected (bocaviruses 1-4, bufavirus 3, and dependoparvoviruses), together with four species of adenoviruses and common anelloviruses shedding. RNA in the order Picornavirales and CRESS-DNA viral genomes, possibly originating from intestinal parasites or dietary sources, were also characterized. No significant difference was observed between the number of mammalian viruses shed from children from villages with and without a new water well.We describe an approach to estimate the efficacy of potentially virus transmission-reducing interventions and the first complete (DNA and RNA viruses) description of the enteric viromes of East African children. A wide diversity of human enteric viruses was found in both intervention and control groups. Mammalian enteric virome diversity was not reduced in children from villages with a new water well. This population-based sampling also provides a baseline of the enteric viruses present in Northern Ethiopia against which to compare future viromes.

    View details for PubMedID 30114205

  • Is Using a Latrine "a Strange Thing To Do"? A Mixed -Methods Study of Sanitation Preference and Behaviors in Rural Ethiopia AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE Aiemjoy, K., Stoller, N. E., Gebresillasie, S., Shiferaw, A., Tadesse, Z., Sewent, T., Ayele, B., Chanyalew, M., Aragie, S., Callahan, K., Stewart, A., Emerson, P. M., Lietman, T. M., Keenan, J. D., Oldenburg, C. E. 2017; 96 (1): 65–73


    Latrines are the most basic form of improved sanitation and are a common public health intervention. Understanding motivations for building and using latrines can help develop effective, sustainable latrine promotion programs. We conducted a mixed-methods study of latrine use in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. We held 15 focus group discussions and surveyed 278 households in five communities. We used the Integrated Behavioral Model for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene interventions to guide our qualitative analysis. Seventy-one percent of households had a latrine, but coverage varied greatly across communities. Higher household income was not associated with latrine use (odds ratio [OR] = 1.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.5, 7.7); similarly, cost and availability of materials were not discussed as barriers to latrine use in the focus groups. Male-headed households were more likely to use latrines than households with female heads (OR = 3.5; 95% CI = 1.6, 7.7), and households with children in school were more likely to use latrines than households without children in school (OR = 2.3; 95% CI = 1.6, 3.3). These quantitative findings were confirmed in focus groups, where participants discussed how children relay health messages from school. Participants discussed how women prefer not to use latrines, often finding them strange or even scary. These findings are useful for public health implementation; they imply that community-level drivers are important predictors of household latrine use and that cost is not a significant barrier. These findings confirm that school-aged children may be effective conduits of health messages and suggest that latrines can be better marketed and designed for women.

    View details for PubMedID 28077741

  • Epidemiology of Soil-Transmitted Helminth and Intestinal Protozoan Infections in Preschool-Aged Children in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE Aiemjoy, K., Gebresillasie, S., Stoller, N. E., Shiferaw, A., Tadesse, Z., Chanyalew, M., Aragie, S., Callahan, K., Keenan, J. D. 2017; 96 (4): 866–72


    AbstractIntestinal parasites are important contributors to global morbidity and mortality and are the second most common cause of outpatient morbidity in Ethiopia. This cross-sectional survey describes the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminths and intestinal protozoa in preschool children 0-5 years of age in seven communities in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, and investigates associations between infection, household water and sanitation characteristics, and child growth. Stool samples were collected from children 0-5 years of age, 1 g of sample was preserved in sodium acetate-acetic acid-formalin, and examined for intestinal helminth eggs and protozoa cysts ether-concentration method. A total of 212 samples were collected from 255 randomly selected children. The prevalence of Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and hookworm were 10.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 6.6-15.1), 1.4% (95% CI = 0-3.0), and 0% (95% CI = 0-1.7), respectively. The prevalence of the pathogenic intestinal protozoa Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica/dispar were 10.4% (95% CI = 6.2-14.6) and 3.3% (95% CI = 0.09-5.7), respectively. Children with A. lumbricoides infections had lower height-for-age z-scores compared with those without, but were not more likely to have stunting. Compared with those without G. lamblia, children with G. lamblia infections had lower weight-for-age and weight-for-height z-scores and were more than five times as likely to meet the z-score definition for wasting (prevalence ratio = 5.42, 95% CI = 2.97-9.89). This article adds to a growing body of research on child growth and intestinal parasitic infections and has implications for their treatment and prevention in preschool-aged children.

    View details for PubMedID 28167597

  • 'If an Eye Is Washed Properly, It Means It Would See Clearly': A Mixed Methods Study of Face Washing Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors in Rural Ethiopia PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES Aiemjoy, K., Stoller, N. E., Gebresillasie, S., Shiferaw, A., Tadesse, Z., Sewnet, T., Ayele, B., Chanyalew, M., Callahan, K., Stewart, A., Emerson, P. M., Lietman, T. M., Keenan, J. D., Oldenburg, C. E. 2016; 10 (10): e0005099


    Face cleanliness is a core component of the SAFE (Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness, and Environmental improvements) strategy for trachoma control. Understanding knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to face washing may be helpful for designing effective interventions for improving facial cleanliness.In April 2014, a mixed methods study including focus groups and a quantitative cross-sectional study was conducted in the East Gojjam zone of the Amhara region of Ethiopia. Participants were asked about face washing practices, motivations for face washing, use of soap (which may reduce bacterial load), and fly control strategies.Overall, both knowledge and reported practice of face washing was high. Participants reported they knew that washing their own face and their children's faces daily was important for hygiene and infection control. Although participants reported high knowledge of the importance of soap for face washing, quantitative data revealed strong variations by community in the use of soap for face washing, ranging from 4.4% to 82.2% of households reporting using soap for face washing. Cost and forgetfulness were cited as barriers to the use of soap for face washing. Keeping flies from landing on children was a commonly cited motivator for regular face washing, as was trachoma prevention.Interventions aiming to improve facial cleanliness for trachoma prevention should focus on habit formation (to address forgetfulness) and address barriers to the use of soap, such as reducing cost. Interventions that focus solely on improving knowledge may not be effective for changing face-washing behaviors.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005099

    View details for Web of Science ID 000386676200062

    View details for PubMedID 27788186

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5082955

  • Characteristics of Latrines in Central Tanzania and Their Relation to Fly Catches PLOS ONE Irish, S., Aiemjoy, K., Torondel, B., Abdelahi, F., Ensink, J. J. 2013; 8 (7): e67951


    The disposal of human excreta in latrines is an important step in reducing the transmission of diarrhoeal diseases. However, in latrines, flies can access the latrine contents and serve as a mechanical transmitter of diarrhoeal pathogens. Furthermore, the latrine contents can be used as a breeding site for flies, which may further contribute to disease transmission. Latrines do not all produce flies, and there are some which produce only a few, while others can produce thousands. In order to understand the role of the latrine in determining this productivity, a pilot study was conducted, in which fifty latrines were observed in and around Ifakara, Tanzania. The characteristics of the latrine superstructure, use of the latrine, and chemical characteristics of pit latrine contents were compared to the numbers of flies collected in an exit trap placed over the drop hole in the latrine. Absence of a roof was found to have a significant positive association (t=3.17, p=0.003) with the total number of flies collected, and temporary superstructures, particularly as opposed to brick superstructures (z=4.26, p<0.001), and increased total solids in pit latrines (z=2.57, p=0.01) were significantly associated with increased numbers of blowflies leaving the latrine. The number of larvae per gram was significantly associated with the village from which samples were taken, with the largest difference between two villages outside Ifakara (z=2.12, p=0.03). The effect of latrine superstructure (roof, walls) on fly production may indicate that improvements in latrine construction could result in decreases in fly populations in areas where they transmit diarrhoeal pathogens.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0067951

    View details for Web of Science ID 000324146200011

    View details for PubMedID 23874475

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3715525