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Biological diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis in the African meningitis belt: current epidemic strategy and new perspectives.Laboratory diagnosis is an essential component in surveillance of meningococcal epidemics, as it can inform decision-makers of the Neisseria meningitidis serogroup(s) involved and the most appropriate vaccine to be selected for mass vaccination. However, countries most affected face real limitations in laboratory diagnostics, due to lack of resources. We describe current diagnostic tools and examine their cost-effectiveness for use in an epidemic context. The conclusion is that current WHO recommendations to use only the latex agglutination assay (Pastorex) at epidemic onset is cost-effective, but recently developed rapid diagnostic tests for the major epidemic-causing meningococcal serogroups may prove a breakthrough for the future.
Short Report: Molecular Markers Associated with Plasmodium Falciparum Resistance to Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is the first line antimalarial treatment in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Using polymerase chain reaction, we assessed the prevalence of mutations in the dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) (codons 108, 51, 59) and dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) (codons 437, 540) genes of Plasmodium falciparum, which have been associated with resistance to pyrimethamine and sulfadoxine, respectively. Four hundred seventy-four patients were sampled in Kilwa (N = 138), Kisangani (N = 112), Boende (N = 106), and Basankusu (N = 118). The proportion of triple mutations dhfr varied between sites but was always > 50%. The proportion of dhps double mutations was < 20%, with some sites as low as 0.9%. A quintuple mutation was present in 12.8% (16/125) samples in Kilwa; 11.9% (13/109) in Kisangani, 2.9% (3/102) in Boende, and 0.9% (1/112) in Basankusu. These results suggest high resistance to pyrimethamine alone or combined with sulfadoxine. Adding artesunate to SP does not seem a valid alternative to the current monotherapy.