• Evaluating lactate prognostic value in children suspected of acetaminophen-induced liver failure in Liberia

      Haidar, MK; Morton, N; Roederer, T; Mayronne, S; Bawo, L; Kerkula, J; Porten, K; Baud, FJ (Springer Nature, 2020-01-29)
      BACKGROUND: The prognostic significance of hyperlactatemia in young children with liver injury suspected to be attributed to repeated supratherapeutic doses of acetaminophen remain understudied. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective medical chart review including children aged <5 years admitted with hepatocellular injury. The study was conducted in Bardnesville Junction Hospital operated by Médecins Sans Frontières in Monrovia, Liberia. RESULTS: We analyzed 95 children with liver injury in whom a blood lactate measurement on admission was available. Eighty children (84%) were aged <2 years; 49 children (52%) died during hospitalization. The median acetaminophen concentration on admission was 20 mg/L with 60 (70%) children presenting concentrations exceeding 10 mg/L. Median lactate was significantly higher in children who died (10.7 mmol/L; interquartile range (IQR): 8.5-15.7) than those who survived (6.1 mmol/L; IQR: 4.1-8.5), P value < 0.001). The optimal threshold obtained was 7.2 mmol/L with a sensitivity of 84% and specificity 70% (area under curve = 0.80). The previously established thresholds of 3.5 and 4 mmol/L lactate had very low specificity identifying non-survival in children included in this study. CONCLUSION: In this setting, young children with ALF possibly attributed to acetaminophen toxicity were unlikely to survive if the venous blood lactate concentration exceeded 7.2 mmol/L.
    • Outcomes For Street Children and Youth Under Multidisciplinary Care in a Drop-In Centre in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

      Souza, R; Porten, K; Nicholas, S; Grais, RF; Médecins Sans Frontières, Geneva, Switzerland; Epicentre, Paris, France (2010-09-14)
      BACKGROUND: There is little evidence to describe the feasibility and outcomes of services for the care of street children and youth in low-income countries. AIMS: To describe the outcomes of a multidisciplinary case management approach delivered in a drop-in centre for street children and youth. METHODS: A longitudinal study of street children and youth followed in an urban drop-in centre. Four hundred (400) street children and youth received a multidisciplinary case management therapeutic package based on the community reinforcement approach. The main outcomes were changes in psychological distress, substance abuse and social situation scores. RESULTS: The median follow-up time for the cohort was 18 months. There were reductions in the levels of psychological distress (p = 0.0001) and substance abuse (p ≤ 0.0001) in the cohort as well as an improvement in the social situation of street children and youth (p = 0.0001). There was a main effect of gender (p < 0.001) and a significant interaction of gender over time (p < 0.001) on improvements in levels of psychological distress. Survival analysis showed that the probability of remaining on substances at 12 months was 0.76 (95% CI: 0.69-0.81) and 0.51 (95% CI: 0.42-0.59) at 24 months. At 12 months, fewer female patients remained using substances compared to male (p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: To be most effective, programmes and strategies for children and youth in street situations in developing countries should target both their health and social needs.
    • Suspected paracetamol overdose in Monrovia, Liberia: a matched case–control study

      Haidar, MK; Vogt, F; Takahashi, K; Henaff, F; Umphrey, L; Morton, N; Bawo, L; Kerkula, J; Ferner, R; Porten, K; et al. (BioMed Central, 2020-03-30)
      Background- A cluster of cases of unexplained multi-organ failure was reported in children at Bardnesville Junction Hospital (BJH), Monrovia, Liberia. Prior to admission, children’s caregivers reported antibiotic, antimalarial, paracetamol, and traditional treatment consumption. Since we could not exclude a toxic aetiology, and paracetamol overdose in particular, we implemented prospective syndromic surveillance to better define the clinical characteristics of these children. To investigate risk factors, we performed a case–control study. Methods- The investigation was conducted in BJH between July 2015 and January 2016. In-hospital syndromic surveillance identified children with at least two of the following symptoms: respiratory distress with normal pulse oximetry while breathing ambient air; altered consciousness; hypoglycaemia; jaundice; and hepatomegaly. After refining the case definition to better reflect potential risk factors for hepatic dysfunction, we selected cases identified from syndromic surveillance for a matched case–control study. Cases were matched with in-hospital and community-based controls by age, sex, month of illness/admission, severity (in-hospital), and proximity of residence (community). Results- Between July and December 2015, 77 case-patients were captured by syndromic surveillance; 68 (88%) were under three years old and 35 (46%) died during hospitalisation. Of these 77, 30 children met our case definition and were matched with 53 hospital and 48 community controls. Paracetamol was the most frequently reported medication taken by the cases and both control groups. The odds of caregivers reporting supra-therapeutic paracetamol consumption prior to admission was higher in cases compared to controls (OR 6.6, 95% CI 2.1–21.3). Plasma paracetamol concentration on day of admission was available for 19 cases and exceeded 10 μg/mL in 10/13 samples collected on day one of admission, and 4/9 (44%) collected on day two. Conclusions- In a context with limited diagnostic capacity, this study highlights the possibility of supratherapeutic doses of paracetamol as a factor in multi-organ failure in a cohort of children admitted to BJH. In this setting, a careful history of pre-admission paracetamol consumption may alert clinicians to the possibility of overdose, even when confirmatory laboratory analysis is unavailable. Further studies may help define additional toxicological characteristics in such contexts to improve diagnoses.
    • Unacceptably high mortality related to measles epidemics in Niger, Nigeria, and Chad.

      Grais, RF; Dubray, C; Gerstl, S; Guthmann, J P; Djibo, A; Nargaye, K D; Coker, J; Alberti, K P; Cochet, A; Ihekweazu, C; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2007-01)
      BACKGROUND: Despite the comprehensive World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) measles mortality-reduction strategy and the Measles Initiative, a partnership of international organizations supporting measles mortality reduction in Africa, certain high-burden countries continue to face recurrent epidemics. To our knowledge, few recent studies have documented measles mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. The objective of our study was to investigate measles mortality in three recent epidemics in Niamey (Niger), N'Djamena (Chad), and Adamawa State (Nigeria). METHODS AND FINDINGS: We conducted three exhaustive household retrospective mortality surveys in one neighbourhood of each of the three affected areas: Boukoki, Niamey, Niger (April 2004, n = 26,795); Moursal, N'Djamena, Chad (June 2005, n = 21,812); and Dong District, Adamawa State, Nigeria (April 2005, n = 16,249), where n is the total surveyed population in each of the respective areas. Study populations included all persons resident for at least 2 wk prior to the study, a duration encompassing the measles incubation period. Heads of households provided information on measles cases, clinical outcomes up to 30 d after rash onset, and health-seeking behaviour during the epidemic. Measles cases and deaths were ascertained using standard WHO surveillance-case definitions. Our main outcome measures were measles attack rates (ARs) and case fatality ratios (CFRs) by age group, and descriptions of measles complications and health-seeking behaviour. Measles ARs were the highest in children under 5 y old (under 5 y): 17.1% in Boukoki, 17.2% in Moursal, and 24.3% in Dong District. CFRs in under 5-y-olds were 4.6%, 4.0%, and 10.8% in Boukoki, Moursal, and Dong District, respectively. In all sites, more than half of measles cases in children aged under 5 y experienced acute respiratory infection and/or diarrhoea in the 30 d following rash onset. Of measles cases, it was reported that 85.7% (979/1,142) of patients visited a health-care facility within 30 d after rash onset in Boukoki, 73.5% (519/706) in Moursal, and 52.8% (603/1,142) in Dong District. CONCLUSIONS: Children in these countries still face unacceptably high mortality from a completely preventable disease. While the successes of measles mortality-reduction strategies and progress observed in measles control in other countries of the region are laudable and evident, they should not overshadow the need for intensive efforts in countries that have just begun implementation of the WHO/UNICEF comprehensive strategy.