• Lamivudine monotherapy as a holding regimen for HIV-positive children.

      Patten, G; Bernheimer, J; Fairlie, L; Rabie, H; Sawry, S; Technau, K; Eley, B; Davies, MA (Public Library of Science, 2018-10-11)
      BACKGROUND: In resource-limited settings holding regimens, such as lamivudine monotherapy (LM), are used to manage HIV-positive children failing combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) to mitigate the risk of drug resistance developing, whilst adherence barriers are addressed or when access to second- or third-line regimens is restricted. We aimed to investigate characteristics of children placed on LM and their outcomes. METHODS: We describe the characteristics of children (age <16 years at cART start) from 5 IeDEA-SA cohorts with a record of LM during their treatment history. Among those on LM for >90 days we describe their immunologic outcomes on LM and their immunologic and virologic outcomes after resuming cART. FINDINGS: We included 228 children in our study. At LM start their median age was 12.0 years (IQR 7.3-14.6), duration on cART was 3.6 years (IQR 2.0-5.9) and median CD4 count was 605.5 cells/μL (IQR 427-901). Whilst 110 (48%) had no prior protease inhibitor (PI)-exposure, of the 69 with recorded PI-exposure, 9 (13%) patients had documented resistance to all PIs. After 6 months on LM, 70% (94/135) experienced a drop in CD4, with a predicted average CD4 decline of 46.5 cells/μL (95% CI 37.7-55.4). Whilst on LM, 46% experienced a drop in CD4 to <500 cells/μL, 18 (8%) experienced WHO stage 3 or 4 events, and 3 children died. On resumption of cART the average gain in CD4 was 15.65 cells/uL per month and 66.6% (95% CI 59.3-73.7) achieved viral suppression (viral load <1000) at 6 months after resuming cART. INTERPRETATION: Most patients experienced immune decline on LM. Its use should be avoided in those with low CD4 counts, but restricted use may be necessary when treatment options are limited. Managing children with virologic failure will continue to be challenging until more treatment options and better adherence strategies are available.
    • (The Lancet)red: a missed opportunity.

      Calmy, A; Pascual, F; Shettle, S; de la Vega, F G; Ford, N (Elsevier, 2006-09-23)
    • Language and beliefs in relation to noma: a qualitative study, northwest Nigeria

      Farley, E; Lenglet, A; Abubakar, A; Bil, K; Fotso, A; Oluyide, B; Tirima, S; Mehta, U; Stringer, B (PLoS, 2020-01-23)
      BACKGROUND: Noma is an orofacial gangrene that rapidly disintegrates the tissues of the face. Little is known about noma, as most patients live in underserved and inaccessible regions. We aimed to assess the descriptive language used and beliefs around noma, at the Noma Children's Hospital in Sokoto, Nigeria. Findings will be used to inform prevention programs. METHODS: Five focus group discussions (FGD) were held with caretakers of patients with noma who were admitted to the hospital at the time of interview, and 12 in-depth interviews (IDI) were held with staff at the hospital. Topic guides used for interviews were adapted to encourage the natural flow of conversation. Emergent codes, patterns and themes were deciphered from the data derived from IDI's and FGDs. RESULTS: Our study uncovered two main themes: names, descriptions and explanations for the disease, and risks and consequences of noma. Naming of the disease differed between caretakers and heath care workers. The general names used for noma illustrate the beliefs and social system used to explain the disease. Beliefs were varied; participant responses demonstrate a wide range of understanding of the disease and its causes. Difficulty in accessing care for patients with noma was evident and the findings suggest a variety of actions taking place before reaching a health center or health worker. Patient caretakers mentioned that barriers to care included a lack of knowledge regarding this medical condition, as well as a lack of trust in seeking medical care. Participants in our study spoke of the mental health strain the disease placed on them, particularly due to the stigma that is associated with noma. CONCLUSIONS: Caretaker and practitioner perspectives enhance our understanding of the disease in this context and can be usedto improve treatment and prevention programs, and to better understand barriers to accessing health care. Differences in disease naming illustrate the difference in beliefs about the disease. This has an impact on health seeking behaviours, which for noma cases has important ramifications on outcomes, due to the rapid progression of the disease.
    • Language in tuberculosis services: can we change to patient-centred terminology and stop the paradigm of blaming the patients?

      Zachariah, R; Harries, A D; Srinath, S; Ram, S; Viney, K; Singogo, E; Lal, P; Mendoza-Ticona, A; Sreenivas, A; Aung, N W; et al. (2012-06)
      The words 'defaulter', 'suspect' and 'control' have been part of the language of tuberculosis (TB) services for many decades, and they continue to be used in international guidelines and in published literature. From a patient perspective, it is our opinion that these terms are at best inappropriate, coercive and disempowering, and at worst they could be perceived as judgmental and criminalising, tending to place the blame of the disease or responsibility for adverse treatment outcomes on one side-that of the patients. In this article, which brings together a wide range of authors and institutions from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Pacific, we discuss the use of the words 'defaulter', 'suspect' and 'control' and argue why it is detrimental to continue using them in the context of TB. We propose that 'defaulter' be replaced with 'person lost to follow-up'; that 'TB suspect' be replaced by 'person with presumptive TB' or 'person to be evaluated for TB'; and that the term 'control' be replaced with 'prevention and care' or simply deleted. These terms are non-judgmental and patient-centred. We appeal to the global Stop TB Partnership to lead discussions on this issue and to make concrete steps towards changing the current paradigm.
    • A Large Outbreak of Hepatitis E Among a Displaced Population in Darfur, Sudan, 2004: The Role of Water Treatment Methods.

      Guthmann, J P; Klovstad, H; Boccia, D; Hamid, N; Pinoges, L; Nizou, J Y; Tatay, M; Diaz, F; Moren, A; Grais, R; et al. (Published by: Infectious Diseases Society of America, 2006-06-15)
      BACKGROUND: The conflict in Darfur, Sudan, was responsible for the displacement of 1.8 million civilians. We investigated a large outbreak of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection in Mornay camp (78,800 inhabitants) in western Darfur. METHODS: To describe the outbreak, we used clinical and demographic information from cases recorded at the camp between 26 July and 31 December 2004. We conducted a case-cohort study and a retrospective cohort study to identify risk factors for clinical and asymptomatic hepatitis E, respectively. We collected stool and serum samples from animals and performed a bacteriological analysis of water samples. Human samples were tested for immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M antibody to HEV (for serum samples) and for amplification of the HEV genome (for serum and stool samples). RESULTS: In 6 months, 2621 hepatitis E cases were recorded (attack rate, 3.3%), with a case-fatality rate of 1.7% (45 deaths, 19 of which involved were pregnant women). Risk factors for clinical HEV infection included age of 15-45 years (odds ratio, 2.13; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-4.46) and drinking chlorinated surface water (odds ratio, 2.49; 95% confidence interval, 1.22-5.08). Both factors were also suggestive of increased risk for asymptomatic HEV infection, although this was not found to be statistically significant. HEV RNA was positively identified in serum samples obtained from 2 donkeys. No bacteria were identified from any sample of chlorinated water tested. CONCLUSIONS: Current recommendations to ensure a safe water supply may have been insufficient to inactivate HEV and control this epidemic. This research highlights the need to evaluate current water treatment methods and to identify alternative solutions adapted to complex emergencies.
    • A large outbreak of Hepatitis E virus genotype 1 infection in an urban setting in Chad likely linked to household level transmission factors, 2016-2017.

      Spina, A; Lenglet, A; Beversluis, D; de Jong, M; Vernier, L; Spencer, C; Andayi, F; Kamau, C; Vollmer, S; Hogema, B; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2017-11-27)
      In September 2016, three acutely jaundiced (AJS) pregnant women were admitted to Am Timan Hospital, eastern Chad. We described the outbreak and conducted a case test-negative study to identify risk factors for this genotype of HEV in an acute outbreak setting.
    • A large-scale distribution of milk-based fortified spreads: evidence for a new approach in regions with high burden of acute malnutrition

      Defourny, I; Minetti, A; Harczi, G; Doyon, S; Shepherd, S; Tectonidis, M; Bradol, J H; Golden, M; Médecins Sans Frontières, Paris, France; University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2009-05-06)
      BACKGROUND: There are 146 million underweight children in the developing world, which contribute to up to half of the world's child deaths. In high burden regions for malnutrition, the treatment of individual children is limited by available resources. Here, we evaluate a large-scale distribution of a nutritional supplement on the prevention of wasting. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A new ready-to-use food (RUF) was developed as a diet supplement for children under three. The intervention consisted of six monthly distributions of RUF during the 2007 hunger gap in a district of Maradi region, Niger, for approximately 60,000 children (length: 60-85 cm). At each distribution, all children over 65 cm had their Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) recorded. Admission trends for severe wasting (WFH<70% NCHS) in Maradi, 2002-2005 show an increase every year during the hunger gap. In contrast, in 2007, throughout the period of the distribution, the incidence of severe acute malnutrition (MUAC<110 mm) remained at extremely low levels. Comparison of year-over-year admissions to the therapeutic feeding program shows that the 2007 blanket distribution had essentially the same flattening effect on the seasonal rise in admissions as the 2006 individualized treatment of almost 60,000 children moderately wasted. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate the potential for distribution of fortified spreads to reduce the incidence of severe wasting in large population of children 6-36 months of age. Although further information is needed on the cost-effectiveness of such distributions, these results highlight the importance of re-evaluating current nutritional strategies and international recommendations for high burden areas of childhood malnutrition.
    • Laryngeal spasm after general anaesthesia due to Ascaris Lumbricoides

      Finsnes, K D; Kunduz Trauma Center, Médecins Sans Frontières, Kunduz, Afghanistan. k.finsnes@gmail.com (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2013-08)
      Postoperative upper airway obstruction during recovery from general anaesthesia may have several causes. This is a report of a young girl who developed laryngeal spasm as a result of an ectopic roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides.
    • Lassa fever in pregnancy with a positive maternal and fetal outcome: A case report.

      Agboeze, J; Nwali, MI; Nwakpakpa, E; Ogah, OE; Onoh, R; Eze, J; Ukaegbe, C; Ajayi, N; Nnadozie, UU; Orji, ML; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-08-26)
      BACKGROUND: The signs and symptoms of Lassa fever are initially indistinguishable from other febrile illnesses common in the tropics and complications of pregnancy. Surviving Lassa fever during pregnancy is rare. Only few cases have been documented. The antiviral drug of choice is ribavirin. CASE DESCRIPTION: A 25-year-old multigravida farmer with fever who was initially thought to have malaria in pregnancy at 29 weeks gestation. Further changes in her clinical state and laboratory tests led to a confirmation of Lassa fever. The Liver enzymes were markedly deranged and the packed cell volume was 27%. She commenced on ribavirin and subsequently was delivered of a live male neonate who was RT PCR negative for Lassa fever virus. Her clinical state improved, repeat RT PCR on day 15 was negative and she made full recovery. DISCUSSION: The case reported had similar clinical features of fever and abdominal pain and resulted in the initial diagnoses of Malaria in pregnancy. When she failed to respond to antimalarial and antibiotics treatments, a strong suspicion of viral hemorrhagic fever was made. At this time the patient was in advanced stage of the disease with bleeding from vagina and puncture sites. On the third day of admission she was delivered of a live male neonate who remained negative after 2 consecutive RT PCR tests for Lassa fever virus. Lassa fever carries a high risk of death to the fetus throughout pregnancy and to the mother in the third trimester. Mothers with Lassa fever improved rapidly after evacuation of the uterus by spontaneous abortion, or normal delivery. She was clinically stable following delivery. Her laboratory investigations were essentially normal. Throughout her management transmission based precautions were observed. None of the six close contacts developed symptoms after been followed up for 21 days. CONCLUSION: This report adds to the body of literature that individuals can survive Lassa fever during pregnancy with good maternal and fetal outcome.
    • The Last and First Frontier--Emerging Challenges for HIV Treatment and Prevention in the First week of Life With Emphasis on Premature and Low Birth Weight Infants

      Cotton, MF; Holgate, S; Nelson, A; Rabie, H; Wedderburn, C; Mirochnick, M (International AIDS Society, 2015-12-02)
      There is new emphasis on identifying and treating HIV in the first days of life and also an appreciation that low birth weight (LBW) and preterm delivery (PTD) frequently accompany HIV-related pregnancy. Even in the absence of HIV, PTD and LBW contribute substantially to neonatal and infant mortality. HIV-exposed and -infected infants with these characteristics have received little attention thus far. As HIV programs expand to meet the 90-90-90 target for ending the HIV pandemic, attention should focus on newborn infants, including those delivered preterm or of LBW.
    • Last line of defence

      de Smet, M (2009-06-20)
    • Late vaccination reinforcement during a measles epidemic in Niamey, Niger (2003-2004).

      Dubray, C; Gervelmeyer, A; Djibo, A; Jeanne, I; Fermon, F; Soulier, M; Grais, R; Guerin, P J; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. Christine.Dubray@epicentre.msf.org (2006-05-01)
      Low measles vaccination coverage (VC) leads to recurrent epidemics in many African countries. We describe VC before and after late reinforcement of vaccination activities during a measles epidemic in Niamey, Niger (2003-2004) assessed by Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS). Neighborhoods of Niamey were grouped into 46 lots based on geographic proximity and population homogeneity. Before reinforcement activities, 96% of lots had a VC below 70%. After reinforcement, this proportion fell to 78%. During the intervention 50% of children who had no previous record of measles vaccination received their first dose (vaccination card or parental recall). Our results highlight the benefits and limitations of vaccine reinforcement activities performed late in the epidemic.
    • Learning from a massive epidemic: measles in DRC.

      Ducomble, T; Gignoux, E (Elsevier, 2020-03-31)
    • Learning from water treatment and hygiene interventions in response to a hepatitis E outbreak in an open setting in Chad

      Spina, A; Beversluis, D; Irwin, A; Chen, A; Nassariman, JN; Ahamat, A; Noh, I; Oosterloo, J; Alfani, P; Sang, S; et al. (IWA Publishing, 2018-04)
      In September 2016, Médecins Sans Frontières responded to a hepatitis E (HEV) outbreak in Chad by implementing water treatment and hygiene interventions. To evaluate the coverage and use of these interventions, we conducted a cross-sectional study in the community. Our results showed that 99% of households interviewed had received a hygiene kit from us, aimed at improving water handling practice and personal hygiene and almost all respondents had heard messages about preventing jaundice and handwashing. Acceptance of chlorination of drinking water was also very high, although at the time of interview, we were only able to measure a safe free residual chlorine level (free chlorine residual (FRC) ≥0.2 mg/L) in 43% of households. Households which had refilled water containers within the last 18 hours, had sourced water from private wells or had poured water into a previously empty container, were all more likely to have a safe FRC level. In this open setting, we were able to achieve high coverage for chlorination, hygiene messaging and hygiene kit ownership; however, a review of our technical practice is needed in order to maintain safe FRC levels in drinking water in households, particularly when water is collected from multiple sources, stored and mixed with older water.
    • Learning lessons from field surveys in humanitarian contexts: a case study of field surveys conducted in North Kivu, DRC 2006-2008.

      Grais, R; Luquero, F J; Grellety, E; Pham, H; Coghlan, B; Salignon, P; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. rebecca.grais@epicentre.msf.org. (2009-09)
      ABSTRACT: Survey estimates of mortality and malnutrition are commonly used to guide humanitarian decision-making. Currently, different methods of conducting field surveys are the subject of debate among epidemiologists. Beyond the technical arguments, decision makers may find it difficult to conceptualize what the estimates actually mean. For instance, what makes this particular situation an emergency? And how should the operational response be adapted accordingly. This brings into question not only the quality of the survey methodology, but also the difficulties epidemiologists face in interpreting results and selecting the most important information to guide operations. As a case study, we reviewed mortality and nutritional surveys conducted in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) published from January 2006 to January 2009. We performed a PubMed/Medline search for published articles and scanned publicly available humanitarian databases and clearinghouses for grey literature. To evaluate the surveys, we developed minimum reporting criteria based on available guidelines and selected peer-review articles. We identified 38 reports through our search strategy; three surveys met our inclusion criteria. The surveys varied in methodological quality. Reporting against minimum criteria was generally good, but presentation of ethical procedures, raw data and survey limitations were missed in all surveys. All surveys also failed to consider contextual factors important for data interpretation. From this review, we conclude that mechanisms to ensure sound survey design and conduct must be implemented by operational organisations to improve data quality and reporting. Training in data interpretation would also be useful. Novel survey methods should be trialled and prospective data gathering (surveillance) employed wherever feasible.
    • Learning Without Borders: A Review of the Implementation of Medical Error Reporting in Médecins Sans Frontières

      Shanks, Leslie; Bil, Karla; Fernhout, Jena (Public Library of Science, 2015-09-18)
      To analyse the results from the first 3 years of implementation of a medical error reporting system in Médecins Sans Frontières-Operational Centre Amsterdam (MSF) programs.
    • Leave no one behind: response to new evidence and guidelines for the management of cryptococcal meningitis in low-income and middle-income countries

      Loyse, A; Burry, J; Cohn, J; Ford, N; Chiller, T; Ribeiro, I; Koulla-Shiro, S; Mghamba, J; Ramadhani, A; Nyirenda, R; et al. (The Lancet, 2018-10-18)
      In 2018, WHO issued guidelines for the diagnosis, prevention, and management of HIV-related cryptococcal disease. Two strategies are recommended to reduce the high mortality associated with HIV-related cryptococcal meningitis in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs): optimised combination therapies for confirmed meningitis cases and cryptococcal antigen screening programmes for ambulatory people living with HIV who access care. WHO's preferred therapy for the treatment of HIV-related cryptococcal meningitis in LMICs is 1 week of amphotericin B plus flucytosine, and the alternative therapy is 2 weeks of fluconazole plus flucytosine. In the ACTA trial, 1-week (short course) amphotericin B plus flucytosine resulted in a 10-week mortality of 24% (95% CI -16 to 32) and 2 weeks of fluconazole and flucytosine resulted in a 10-week mortality of 35% (95% CI -29 to 41). However, with widely used fluconazole monotherapy, mortality because of HIV-related cryptococcal meningitis is approximately 70% in many African LMIC settings. Therefore, the potential to transform the management of HIV-related cryptococcal meningitis in resource-limited settings is substantial. Sustainable access to essential medicines, including flucytosine and amphotericin B, in LMICs is paramount and the focus of this Personal View.
    • Legislation governing the US incentive scheme for neglected diseases needs to be amended, urges MSF

      Reid, Jennifer; Potet, Julien; Athersuch, Katy; Grovestock, Maisy; Sanjuan, Judit Rius (BMJ, 2014-09-30)
    • Leishmania Antigenuria to Predict Initial Treatment Failure and Relapse in Visceral Leishmaniasis/HIV Coinfected Patients: An Exploratory Study Nested Within a Clinical Trial in Ethiopia

      van Griensven, J; Mengesha, B; Mekonnen, T; Fikre, H; Takele, Y; Adem, E; Mohammed, R; Ritmeijer, K; Vogt, F; Adriaensen, W; et al. (Frontiers Media, 2018-03-29)
      Background: Biomarkers predicting the risk of VL treatment failure and relapse in VL/HIV coinfected patients are needed. Nested within a two-site clinical trial in Ethiopia (2011-2015), we conducted an exploratory study to assess whether (1) levels of Leishmania antigenuria measured at VL diagnosis were associated with initial treatment failure and (2) levels of Leishmania antigenuria at the end of treatment (parasitologically-confirmed cure) were associated with subsequent relapse. Methods:Leishmania antigenuria at VL diagnosis and cure was determined using KAtex urine antigen test and graded as negative (0), weak/moderate (grade 1+/2+) or strongly-positive (3+). Logistic regression and Kaplan-Meier methods were used to assess the association between antigenuria and (1) initial treatment failure, and (2) relapse over the 12 months after cure, respectively. Results: The analysis to predict initial treatment failure included sixty-three coinfected adults [median age: 30 years interquartile range (IQR) 27-35], median CD4 count: 56 cells/μL (IQR 38-113). KAtex results at VL diagnosis were negative in 11 (17%), weak/moderate in 17 (27%) and strongly-positive in 35 (36%). Twenty (32%) patients had parasitologically-confirmed treatment failure, with a risk of failure of 9% (1/11) with KAtex-negative results, 0% (0/17) for KAtex 1+/2+ and 54% (19/35) for KAtex 3+ results. Compared to KAtex-negative patients, KAtex 3+ patients were at increased risk of treatment failure [odds ratio 11.9 (95% CI 1.4-103.0); P: 0.025]. Forty-four patients were included in the analysis to predict relapse [median age: 31 years (IQR 28-35), median CD4 count: 116 cells/μL (IQR 95-181)]. When achieving VL cure, KAtex results were negative in 19 (43%), weak/moderate (1+/2+) in 10 (23%), and strongly positive (3+) in 15 patients (34%). Over the subsequent 12 months, eight out of 44 patients (18%) relapsed. The predicted 1-year relapse risk was 6% for KAtex-negative results, 14% for KAtex 1+/2+ and 42% for KAtex 3+ results [hazard ratio of 2.2 (95% CI 0.1-34.9) for KAtex 1+/2+ and 9.8 (95% CI 1.8-82.1) for KAtex 3+, compared to KAtex negative patients; P: 0.03]. Conclusion: A simple field-deployable Leishmania urine antigen test can be used for risk stratification of initial treatment failure and VL relapse in HIV-patients. A dipstick-format would facilitate field implementation.
    • Leishmaniasis

      Burza, S; Croft, SL; Boelaert, M (Elsevier, 2018-08-17)
      Leishmaniasis is a poverty-related disease with two main clinical forms: visceral leishmaniasis and cutaneous leishmaniasis. An estimated 0·7-1 million new cases of leishmaniasis per year are reported from nearly 100 endemic countries. The number of reported visceral leishmaniasis cases has decreased substantially in the past decade as a result of better access to diagnosis and treatment and more intense vector control within an elimination initiative in Asia, although natural cycles in transmission intensity might play a role. In east Africa however, the case numbers of this fatal disease continue to be sustained. Increased conflict in endemic areas of cutaneous leishmaniasis and forced displacement has resulted in a surge in these endemic areas as well as clinics across the world. WHO lists leishmaniasis as one of the neglected tropical diseases for which the development of new treatments is a priority. Major evidence gaps remain, and new tools are needed before leishmaniasis can be definitively controlled.