• Internal quality control of the malaria microscopy diagnosis for 10 laboratories on the Thai-Myanmar border.

      Hemme, F; Gay, F; Medecins Sans Frontières, French Section, Mae Sot, Thailand. (1998-09)
      On the Thai-Myanmar border, where multidrug resistance to anti-malaria medications is a major problem, a quality control program for diagnostic laboratories has been set up. This study examines the "passive" screening performed in 10 laboratories. Monthly evaluation of the quality of thick and thin smear practice, Giemsa staining and microscopy took place during the year 1994. Considering the general context and the methodology applied, the evaluation of performance and strategy of the malaria diagnostic test showed satisfactory results for all 10 laboratories. Performance of technics = 64% (62-66) to 96% (95-97); Sensitivity = 92.6 (91.5-95.5) to 96.6% (95.8-99.0); Specificity = 93.5% (91.4-95.5) to 98.3% (97.6-99.0); Predictive Positive Value = 92.0% (90.9-93.1) to 98.3% (97.6-99.0); Predictive Negative Value = 94.3% (93.0-95.6) to 98.5% (98.0-99.0). The study underlines the importance of a reliable quality control method for microscopy diagnosis of malaria in hyperendemic areas, with Plasmodium falciparum as the main species. A high level of input from the international laboratory technician, performing training, follow-up and evaluation was required. The need for adequate training of national technicians and supervisors, especially regarding long-term sustainability, is stressed. The type of program presented can be used as a model for similar projects in developing countries.
    • Using European Travellers as an Early Alert to Detect Emerging Pathogens in Countries with Limited Laboratory Resources.

      Guerin, P J; Grais, RF; Rottingen, J A; Valleron, A J; Division of Infectious Disease Control, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway. philippe.guerin@epicentre.msf.org (2007)
      BACKGROUND: The volume, extent and speed of travel have dramatically increased in the past decades, providing the potential for an infectious disease to spread through the transportation network. By collecting information on the suspected place of infection, existing surveillance systems in industrialized countries may provide timely information for areas of the world without adequate surveillance currently in place. We present the results of a case study using reported cases of Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 (Sd1) in European travellers to detect "events" of Sd1, related to either epidemic cases or endemic cases in developing countries. METHODS: We identified papers from a Medline search for reported events of Sd1 from 1940 to 2002. We requested data on shigella infections reported to the responsible surveillance entities in 17 European countries. Reports of Sd1 from the published literature were then compared with Sd1 notified cases among European travellers from 1990 to 2002. RESULTS: Prior to a large epidemic in 1999-2000, no cases of Sd1 had been identified in West Africa. However, if travellers had been used as an early warning, Sd1 could have been identified in this region as earlier as 1992. CONCLUSION: This project demonstrates that tracking diseases in European travellers could be used to detect emerging disease in developing countries. This approach should be further tested with a view to the continuous improvement of national health surveillance systems and existing European networks, and may play a significant role in aiding the international public health community to improve infectious disease control.