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Volume 13, Number 10—October 2007
THEME ISSUE
Global Poverty and Human Development

Dispatch

West Nile Virus Infection among the Homeless, Houston, Texas1

Tamra E. Meyer*, Lara M. Bull*, Kelly Cain Holmes*, Rhia F. Pascua*, Amelia Travassos da Rosa†, Christian R. Gutierrez*, Tracie Corbin*, Jennifer L. Woodward*, Jeffrey P. Taylor‡, Robert B. Tesh†, and Kristy O. Murray*Comments to Author 
Author affiliations: *University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA; †University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA; ‡Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas, USA;

Main Article

Table 2

Self-reported social histories and prevalence of WNV infection from the 2004 Houston Homeless Seroprevalence Study*

Participant characteristics All participants,
n = 397 (%) WNV prevalence
Risk for WNV infection, OR (95% CI)
No. (%) 95% CI
Housing status†
Stable housing, 2002 and 2003 278 (70) 13 (4.7) 2.5–7.9 Reference
Unstable housing, 2002 or 2003 69 (17) 7 (10.1) 4.2–19.8 2.3 (0.9–6.0)
Unstable housing, 2002 and 2003 45 (11) 6 (13.3) 5.1–26.8 3.1 (1.1–8.7)‡
Unknown
5 (1)

1 (20.0)
0.5–71.6


Homelessness status
Does not consider himself or herself homeless 111 (28) 8 (7.2) 3.2–13.7 Reference
Lives mostly on the streets 50 (13) 6 (12.0) 4.5–24.3 1.8 (0.6–5.4)
Lives in temporary shelter 125 (31) 10 (8.0) 3.9–14.2 1.1 (0.4–2.9)
Lives temporarily with friends/family 64 (16) 1 (1.6) 0.04–8.4 0.2 (0.02–1.7)
Other
47 (12)

2 (4.3)
0.5–14.5

0.6 (0.1–2.8)
Length of time homeless
Does not consider himself or herself
homeless or homeless <1 mo 171 (43) 10 (5.9) 2.8–10.5 Reference
1 mo–1 y 153 (39) 5 (3.3) 1.1–7.5 0.5 (0.2–1.6)
>1 y
73 (18)

12 (16.4)
8.8–27.0

3.2 (1.3–7.7)‡
Time spent outdoors on average each day during summer and fall§
<6 h 150 (38) 3 (2.0) 0.4–5.7 Reference
6–12 h 150 (38) 12 (8.0) 4.2–13.6 4.3 (1.2–15.4)¶
>12 h 96 (24) 12 (12.5) 6.6–20.8 7.0 (1.9–25.5)‡
Unknown
1 (0.3)

0 (0)



Substance use#
Current tobacco use 273 (69) 20 (7.3) 4.5–11.1 1.3 (0.5–3.2)
>15 drinks containing alcohol/wk 70 (18) 3 (4.3) 0.9–12.0 0.6 (0.2–1.9)
Ever used street drugs 281 (71) 19 (6.8) 4.1–10.4 1.0 (0.4–2.3)
Ever used needles to inject street drugs 89 (22) 6 (6.7) 2.5–14.1 1.0 (0.4–2.5)
Current drug use (within past 6 mo) 108 (27) 11 (10.2) 5.2–17.5 1.9 (0.9–4.3)
Street drugs used in past 6 mo**
CNS stimulants (crack/cocaine/
amphetamines) 84 (21) 5 (6.0) 2.0–13.3 0.8 (0.3–2.3)
Heroin/opiates 4 (1) 0 (0)
Marijuana 61 (15) 8 (13.1) 5.8–24.2 2.5 (1.0–6.0)¶

*WNV, West Nile virus; OR, odds ratio; CI, confidence interval; CNS, central nervous system.
†p value for trend = 0.02.
‡Significant at α = 0.01.
§p value for trend = 0.002.
¶Significant at α = 0.05.
#Alcohol and current drug use will most likely be underestimated because shelters did not allow use of these substances.
**Not mutually exclusive, hence univariate analysis compared specific drug use with no use of that drug.

Main Article

1This research was presented in part at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on March 21, 2006.

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