• Biological diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis in the African meningitis belt: current epidemic strategy and new perspectives.

      Chanteau, S; Rose, A; Djibo, S; Nato, F; Boisier, P; CERMES, Réseau International Institut Pasteur, PO Box 10887, Niamey, Niger. schanteau@cermes.org (Elsevier, 2007-09-03)
      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.
    • Pneumococcal Meningitis Outbreaks in Africa, 2000-2018: Systematic Literature Review and Meningitis Surveillance Database Analyses.

      Franklin, K; Kwambana-Adams, B; Lessa, FC; Soeters, HM; Cooper, L; Coldiron, ME; Mwenda, J; Antonio, M; Nakamura, T; Novak, R; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2021-09-01)
      Background The meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa has traditionally experienced large outbreaks of meningitis mainly caused by Neisseria meningitidis. More recently, Streptococcus pneumoniae has been recognized as a cause of meningitis outbreaks in the region. Little is known about the natural history and epidemiology of these outbreaks, and, in contrast to meningococcal meningitis, there is no agreed definition for a pneumococcal meningitis epidemic. The aim of this analysis was to systematically review and understand pneumococcal meningitis outbreaks in Africa between 2000 and 2018. Methods Meningitis outbreaks were identified using a systematic literature review and analyses of meningitis surveillance databases. Potential outbreaks were included in the final analysis if they reported at least 10 laboratory-confirmed meningitis cases above baseline per week with ≥50% of cases confirmed as pneumococcus. Results A total of 10 potential pneumococcal meningitis outbreaks were identified in Africa between 2000 and 2018. Of these, 2 were classified as confirmed, 7 were classified as possible, and 1 was classified as unlikely. Three outbreaks spanned more than 1 year. In general, the outbreaks demonstrated lower peak attack rates than meningococcal meningitis outbreaks and had a predominance of serotype 1. Patients with pneumococcal meningitis tended to be older and had higher case fatality rates than meningococcal meningitis cases. An outbreak definition, which includes a weekly district-level incidence of at least 10 suspected cases per 100 000 population per week, with >10 cumulative confirmed cases of pneumococcus per year, would have identified all 10 potential outbreaks. Conclusions Given the frequency of and high case fatality from pneumococcal meningitis outbreaks, public health recommendations on vaccination strategies and the management of outbreaks are needed. Improved laboratory testing for S. pneumoniae is critical for early outbreak identification.
    • Public Health. The cholera crisis in Africa.

      Bhattacharya, S; Black, R; Bourgeois, L; Clemens, J; Cravioto, A; Deen, J L; Dougan, Gordon; Glass, R; Grais, RF F; Greco, M; et al. (2009-05-15)
    • Should outbreak response immunization be recommended for measles outbreaks in middle- and low-income countries? An update.

      Cairns, K Lisa; Perry, Robert T; Ryman, Tove K; Nandy, Robin K; Grais, RFebecca F; Global Immunization Division, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30306, USA. kfc4@cdc.gov (2011-07)
      Measles caused mortality in >164,000 children in 2008, with most deaths occurring during outbreaks. Nonetheless, the impact and desirability of conducting measles outbreak response immunization (ORI) in middle- and low-income countries has been controversial. World Health Organization guidelines published in 1999 recommended against ORI in such settings, although recently these guidelines have been reversed for countries with measles mortality reduction goals.
    • 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.