Odd Language #99: First Place or Last Place?

The Vancouver Sun, Mon. 2015-05-04, page A1, headline “Vancouver tops four Canadian cities for child allergies” and subhead “Exposure to other kids and pets lowered risk, UBC study finds”

The issue: Is Vancouver being at the top of the list good or bad? Considering that UBC is University of British Columbia which has its main campus in Vancouver, one might assume from the subhead that it is good. It was not.

Being at the top of a list which has being at the top being bad and being at the bottom being good, it gets ambiguous. Generally, top is good, and bottom is bad. When the pairings get switched to top being bad and bottom being good, how do you word it clearly?