• Behavioural characteristics, prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis and antibiotic susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in men with urethral discharge in Thyolo, Malawi.

      Zachariah, R; Harries, A D; Nkhoma, W; Arendt, V; Nchingula, D; Chantulo, A; Chimtulo, F; Kirpach, P; Médecins sans Frontières-Luxembourg, Thyolo District, Malawi. zachariah@internet.lu (Elsevier, 2008-01-25)
      A study was carried out in 2000/2001 in a rural district of Malawi among men presenting with urethral discharge, in order to (a) describe their health-seeking and sexual behaviour, (b) determine the prevalence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis, and (c) verify the antibiotic susceptibility of N. gonorrhoeae. A total of 114 patients were entered into the study; 61% reported having taken some form of medication before coming to the sexually transmitted infections clinic. The most frequent alternative source of care was traditional healers. Sixty-eight (60%) patients reported sexual encounters during the symptomatic period, the majority (84%) not using condoms. Using ligase chain reaction on urine, N. gonorrhoeae was detected in 91 (80%) and C. trachomatis in 2 (2%) urine specimens. Forty five of 47 N. gonorrhoeae isolates produced penicillinase, 89% showing multi-antimicrobial resistance. This study emphasizes the need to integrate alternative care providers and particularly traditional healers in control activities, and to encourage their role in promoting safer sexual behaviour. In patients presenting with urethral discharge in our rural setting, C. trachomatis was not found to be a major pathogen. Antimicrobial susceptibility surveillance of N. gonorrhoeae is essential in order to prevent treatment failures and control the spread of resistant strains.
    • Measles outbreaks in the Mozambican refugee camps in Malawi: the continued need for an effective vaccine.

      Porter, J D; Gastellu-Etchegorry, M; Navarre, I; Lungu, G; Moren, A; Epicentre, Paris, France. (Oxford University Press, 1990-12)
      Between November 1988 and January 1989, measles outbreaks occurred in 11 Mozambican refugee camps in Malawi with five camps principally affected. A total of 1214 cases were reported. Despite the reduction of the age of measles vaccination to six months in 1987, attack rates were highest in children aged 6-9 months (10-26%); rates were also high in the 0-5 month age group (3-21%). The case-fatality rate was high among children less than five years old (15-21%). Children were being inappropriately vaccinated, either being vaccinated at less than six months of age (2-29%) or failing to receive a second dose if vaccinated at six months (0-25%). With vaccine coverage between 66-87%, vaccine efficacy in children less than five years old was estimated to be more than 90% in the camps principally affected. Reduction of the age of vaccination leads to logistical problems in vaccine delivery in refugee situations. These outbreaks again indicate the need to improve vaccine coverage with the existing Schwarz vaccine, and also highlight the urgent need for an effective single dose measles vaccine for children less than nine months of age.
    • Practical Field Epidemiology to Investigate a Cholera Outbreak in a Mozambican Refugee Camp in Malawi, 1988.

      Moren, A; Stefanaggi, S; Antona, D; Bitar, D; Etchegorry, M G; Tchatchioka, M; Lungu, G; Epicentre, Paris, France. (1991-02)
      Of all populations affected by cholera, refugees are at particular risk of infection due to overcrowding and poor sanitation. Between 15 March and 17 May 1988, 951 cases of cholera were registered at the cholera treatment centre in a Mozambican refugee camp in Malawi. The epidemic duration was 65 days. Vibrio cholerae biotype E1 Tor serotype Inaba was isolated. To identify high-risk groups and potential risk of acquiring the disease, an epidemiologic investigation was conducted. The attack rate of recorded cases was 2.6% with a range from 0.9 to 5.1% for different sections of the camp. The case fatality rate was 3.3% and decreased from week 1 to week 6. The epidemic started in the section near the market place and radiated out. A matched-pair case-control study of food and water consumption was performed early in the outbreak. It showed that cases were more likely to use shallow wells (surface wells) instead of boreholes compared to controls (OR = 4.5, CI = 1.0-20.8, P = 0.04) and that cases were more likely to have had contact with the market than controls (OR = 3.5, CI = 0.7-16.8, P = 0.09). None of the food items available at the market was more likely to be preferred by cases than controls. Recommendations included early case finding and treatment, temporary closure of the market, tetracycline prophylaxis of contacts, and water chlorination.