• Aetiology and Outcomes of Suspected Infections of the Central Nervous System in Children in Mbarara, Uganda

      Page, A; Boum Ii, Y; Kemigisha, E; Salez, N; Nanjebe, D; Langendorf, C; Aberrane, S; Nyehangane, D; Nackers, F; Baron, E; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2017-06-02)
      Infections of the central nervous system (CNS) are severe conditions, leading to neurological sequelae or death. Knowledge of the causative agents is essential to develop guidelines for case management in resource-limited settings. Between August 2009 and October 2012, we conducted a prospective descriptive study of the aetiology of suspected CNS infections in children two months to 12 years old, with fever and at least one sign of CNS involvement in Mbarara Hospital, Uganda. Children were clinically evaluated on admission and discharge, and followed-up for 6 months for neurological sequelae. Pathogens were identified from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood using microbiological and molecular methods. We enrolled 459 children. Plasmodium falciparum (36.2%) and bacteria in CSF (13.3%) or blood (3.3%) were the most detected pathogens. Viruses were found in 27 (5.9%) children. No pathogen was isolated in 207 (45.1%) children. Patterns varied by age and HIV status. Eighty-three (18.1%) children died during hospitalisation, and 23 (5.0%) during follow-up. Forty-one (13.5%) children had neurological sequelae at the last visit. While malaria remains the main aetiology in children with suspected CNS infections, no pathogen was isolated in many children. The high mortality and high rate of neurological sequelae highlight the need for efficient diagnosis.
    • Antimicrobial treatment practices among Ugandan children with suspicion of central nervous system infection

      Kemigisha, E; Nanjebe, D; Boum, Y; Langendorf, Céline; Aberrane, S; Nyehangane, D; Nackers, F; Mueller, Y; Charrel, R; Murphy, RA; et al. (PLoS One, 2018-10-09)
      Acute central nervous system (CNS) infections in children in sub-Saharan Africa are often fatal. Potential contributors include late presentation, limited diagnostic capacity and inadequate treatment. A more nuanced understanding of treatment practices with a goal of optimizing such practices is critical to prevent avoidable case fatality. We describe empiric antimicrobial treatment, antibiotic resistance and treatment adequacy in a prospective cohort of 459 children aged two months to 12 years hospitalised for suspected acute CNS infections in Mbarara, Uganda, from 2009 to 2012. Among these 459 children, 155 had a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of malaria (case-fatality rate [CFR] 14%), 58 had bacterial infections (CFR 24%) and 6 children had mixed malaria and bacterial infections (CFR 17%). Overall case fatality was 18.1% (n = 83). Of 219 children with laboratory-confirmed malaria and/or bacterial infections, 182 (83.1%) received an adequate antimalarial and/or antibiotic on the day of admission and 211 (96.3%) within 48 hours of admission. The proportion of those receiving adequate treatment was similar among survivors and non-survivors. All bacterial isolates were sensitive to ceftriaxone except one Escherichia coli isolate with extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL). The observed high mortality was not a result of inadequate initial antimicrobial treatment at the hospital. The epidemiology of CNS infection in this setting justifies empirical use of a third-generation cephalosporin, however antibiotic resistance should be monitored closely.
    • A screening tool for psychological difficulties in children aged 6 to 36 months: cross-cultural validation in Kenya, Cambodia and Uganda.

      Nackers, F; Roederer, T; Marquer, C; Ashaba, S; Maling, S; Mwanga-Amumpaire, J; Muny, S; Sokeo, C; Shom, V; Palha, M; et al. (BioMed Central, 2019-04-12)
      In low-resource settings, the lack of mental health professionals and cross-culturally validated screening instruments complicates mental health care delivery. This is especially the case for very young children. Here, we aimed to develop and cross-culturally validate a simple and rapid tool, the PSYCa 6-36, that can be administered by non-professionals to screen for psychological difficulties among children aged six to 36 months. A primary validation of the PSYCa 6-36 was conducted in Kenya (n = 319 children aged 6 to 36 months; 2014), followed by additional validations in Kenya (n = 215; 2014) Cambodia (n = 189; 2015) and Uganda (n = 182; 2016). After informed consent, trained interviewers administered the PSYCa 6-36 to caregivers participating in the study. We assessed the psychometric properties of the PSYCa 6-36 and external validity was assessed by comparing the results of the PSYCa 6-36 against a clinical global impression severity [CGIS] score rated by an independent psychologist after a structured clinical interview with each participant. The PSYCa 6-36 showed satisfactory psychometric properties (Cronbach's alpha > 0.60 in Uganda and > 0.70 in Kenya and Cambodia), temporal stability (intra-class correlation coefficient [ICC] > 0.8), and inter-rater reliability (ICC from 0.6 in Uganda to 0.8 in Kenya). Psychologists identified psychological difficulties (CGIS score > 1) in 11 children (5.1%) in Kenya, 13 children (8.7%) in Cambodia and 15 (10.5%) in Uganda, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.65 in Uganda and 0.80 in Kenya and Cambodia. The PSYCa 6-36 allowed for rapid screening of psychological difficulties among children aged 6 to 36 months among the populations studied. Use of the tool also increased awareness of children's psychological difficulties and the importance of early recognition to prevent long-term consequences. The PSYCa 6-36 would benefit from further use and validation studies in popula`tions with higher prevalence of psychological difficulties.