Comparison of two control groups for estimation of oral cholera vaccine effectiveness using a case-control study design

Volume 35, Issue 43, Pages 5731-5946 (13 October 2017)

Regular Papers
Comparison of two control groups for estimation of oral cholera vaccine effectiveness using a case-control study design
Original Research Article
Pages 5819-5827
Molly F. Franke, J. Gregory Jerome, Wilfredo R. Matias, Ralph Ternier, Isabelle J. Hilaire, Jason B. Harris, Louise C. Ivers
Case-control studies to quantify oral cholera vaccine effectiveness (VE) often rely on neighbors without diarrhea as community controls. Test-negative controls can be easily recruited and may minimize bias due to differential health-seeking behavior and recall. We compared VE estimates derived from community and test-negative controls and conducted bias-indicator analyses to assess potential bias with community controls.
From October 2012 through November 2016, patients with acute watery diarrhea were recruited from cholera treatment centers in rural Haiti. Cholera cases had a positive stool culture. Non-cholera diarrhea cases (test-negative controls and non-cholera diarrhea cases for bias-indicator analyses) had a negative culture and rapid test. Up to four community controls were matched to diarrhea cases by age group, time, and neighborhood.
Primary analyses included 181 cholera cases, 157 non-cholera diarrhea cases, 716 VE community controls and 625 bias-indicator community controls. VE for self-reported vaccination with two doses was consistent across the two control groups, with statistically significant VE estimates ranging from 72 to 74%. Sensitivity analyses revealed similar, though somewhat attenuated estimates for self-reported two dose VE. Bias-indicator estimates were consistently less than one, with VE estimates ranging from 19 to 43%, some of which were statistically significant.
OCV estimates from case-control analyses using community and test-negative controls were similar. While bias-indicator analyses suggested possible over-estimation of VE estimates using community controls, test-negative analyses suggested this bias, if present, was minimal. Test-negative controls can be a valid low-cost and time-efficient alternative to community controls for OCV effectiveness estimation and may be especially relevant in emergency situations.