• Estimates of measles case fatality ratios: a comprehensive review of community-based studies.

      Wolfson, Lara J; Grais, Rebecca F; Luquero, Francisco J; Birmingham, Maureen E; Strebel, Peter M; Health Security and Environment, World Health Organization, Geneva 27, Switzerland. wolfsonl@who.int (2009-02)
      BACKGROUND: Global deaths from measles have decreased notably in past decades, due to both increases in immunization rates and decreases in measles case fatality ratios (CFRs). While some aspects of the reduction in measles mortality can be monitored through increases in immunization coverage, estimating the level of measles deaths (in absolute terms) is problematic, particularly since incidence-based methods of estimation rely on accurate measures of measles CFRs. These ratios vary widely by geographic and epidemiologic context and even within the same community from year-to-year. METHODS: To understand better the variations in CFRs, we reviewed community-based studies published between 1980 and 2008 reporting age-specific measles CFRs. RESULTS: The results of the search consistently document that measles CFRs are highest in unvaccinated children under age 5 years; in outbreaks; the lowest CFRs occur in vaccinated children regardless of setting. The broad range of case and death definitions, study populations and geography highlight the complexities in extrapolating results for global public health planning. CONCLUSIONS: Values for measles CFRs remain imprecise, resulting in continued uncertainty about the actual toll measles exacts.
    • Konzo Outbreak Among Refugees From Central African Republic in Eastern region, Cameroon

      Ciglenečki, I; Eyema, R; Kabanda, C; Taafo, F; Mekaoui, H; Urbaniak, V; Médecins Sans Frontières, Geneva, Switzerland; Médecins Sans Frontières, Yaounde, Cameroon (2010-06)
      Konzo is a spastic paraparesis of sudden onset, linked to the exclusive consumption of insufficiently processed bitter cassava as staple food combined with low protein intake. Around 60,000 refugees from the Central African Republic sought refuge in villages in eastern Cameroon between 2005 and 2007. Médecins Sans Frontières was providing nutritional and medical assistance in the villages affected by displacement. We describe cases of konzo seen at the mobile clinics organized in these villages. Basic information including demographic data, history and clinical presentation was recorded for each konzo patient. All patients were given nutritional supplements, and selected cases were referred for physiotherapy to a rehabilitation center. A total of 469 patients were diagnosed with konzo. The majority (80%) were refugees. Children and women of reproductive age predominated. Most of the patients developed symptoms after 2007 in a seasonal pattern with most of the cases occurring during the dry winter season. Most of the patients complained about walking difficulties and weight loss and had exaggerated lower limb reflexes and muscle wasting on observation. Eastern Cameroon is an area with konzo. More effort needs to be put into preventive and educational measures. In addition, timely balanced food rations have to be provided to refugees.