• The 2014–2015 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa: Hands On

      Vetter, P; Dayer, JA; Schibler, M; Allegranzi, B; Brown, D; Calmy, A; Christie, D; Eremin, S; Hagon, O; Henderson, D; Iten, A; Kelley, E; Marais, F; Ndoye, B; Pugin, J; Robert-Nicoud, H; Sterk, E; Tapper, M; Siegrist, CA; Kaiser, L; Pittet, D (BioMed Central, 2016-05-05)
      The International Consortium for Prevention and Infection Control (ICPIC) organises a biannual conference (ICPIC) on various subjects related to infection prevention, treatment and control. During ICPIC 2015, held in Geneva in June 2015, a full one-day session focused on the 2014–2015 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa. This article is a non-exhaustive compilation of these discussions. It concentrates on lessons learned and imagining a way forward for the communities most affected by the epidemic. The reader can access video recordings of all lectures delivered during this one-day session, as referenced. Topics include the timeline of the international response, linkages between the dynamics of the epidemic and infection prevention and control, the importance of community engagement, and updates on virology, diagnosis, treatment and vaccination issues. The paper also includes discussions from public health, infectious diseases, critical care and infection control experts who cared for patients with EVD in Africa, in Europe, and in the United Sates and were involved in Ebola preparedness in both high- and low-resource settings and countries. This review concludes that too little is known about the pathogenesis and treatment of EVD, therefore basic and applied research in this area are urgently required. Furthermore, it is clear that epidemic preparedness needs to improve globally, in particular through the strengthening of health systems at local and national levels. There is a strong need for culturally sensitive approaches to public health which could be designed and delivered by social scientists and medical professionals working together. As of December 2015, this epidemic killed more than 11,000 people and infected more than 28,000; it has also generated more than 17,000 survivors and orphans, many of whom face somatic and psychological complications. The continued treatment and rehabilitation of these people is a public health priority, which also requires an integration of specific medical and social science approaches, not always available in West Africa.
    • 2017 Outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Northern Democratic Republic of Congo

      Nsio, J; Kapetshi, J; Makiala, S; Raymond, F; Tshapenda, G; Boucher, N; Corbeil, J; Okitandjate, A; Mbuyi, G; Kiyele, M; Mondonge, V; Kikoo, MJ; Van Herp, M; Barboza, P; Petrucci, R; Benedetti, G; Formenty, P; Muzinga, BM; Kalenga, OI; Ahuka, S; Fausther-Bovendo, H; Ilunga, BK; Kobinger, GP; Muyembe, JJT (Oxford University Press, 2019-04-03)
      Background In 2017, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded its eighth Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak, approximately 3 years after the previous outbreak. Methods Suspect cases of EVD were identified on the basis of clinical and epidemiological information. Reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis or serological testing was used to confirm Ebola virus infection in suspected cases. The causative virus was later sequenced from a RT-PCR–positive individual and assessed using phylogenetic analysis. Results Three probable and 5 laboratory-confirmed cases of EVD were recorded between 27 March and 1 July 2017 in the DRC. Fifty percent of cases died from the infection. EVD cases were detected in 4 separate areas, resulting in > 270 contacts monitored. The complete genome of the causative agent, a variant from the Zaireebolavirus species, denoted Ebola virus Muyembe, was obtained using next-generation sequencing. This variant is genetically closest, with 98.73% homology, to the Ebola virus Mayinga variant isolated from the first DRC outbreaks in 1976–1977. Conclusion A single spillover event into the human population is responsible for this DRC outbreak. Human-to-human transmission resulted in limited dissemination of the causative agent, a novel Ebola virus variant closely related to the initial Mayinga variant isolated in 1976–1977 in the DRC.
    • [A foci of Schistosomiasis mekongi rediscovered in Northeast Cambodia: cultural perception of the illness; description and clinical observation of 20 severe cases]

      Biays, S; Stich, A H; Odermatt, P; Long, C; Yersin, C; Men, C; Saem, C; Lormand, J D; Médecins sans Frontières, Suisse. Odermatt_Biays@hotmail.com (Wiley-Blackwell, 1999-10)
      RésuméLa découverte en 1992 d'une population présentant des signes cliniques d'hypertension portale très évoluée a permis la redécouverte d'un foyer de bilharziose 'oublié' pendant plus de vingt ans dans la province de Kracheh au nord-est du Cambodge. Des éléments de la perception culturelle de la maladie par la population et des observations cliniques sur la morbidité grave provoquée par Schistosoma mekongi sont présentés. Les entretiens avec les patients et la population des villages alentours révèlent que la bilharziose a de lourdes conséquences psychosociales: angoisse de la mort, infirmité, invalidité. Les symptômes sont bien identifiés et auraient augmenté ces vingt dernières années. Ils font l'objet de dénominations et de traitements traditionnels spécifiques. Les descriptions cliniques de 20 patients illustrent la pathologie grave observée dans l'hôpital de Sambour, au nord de la province de Kracheh. Elles montrent le pouvoir pathogène de S. mekongi aux différents âges de la vie (de 7 à 58 ans): cachexie, hépatosplénomégalie, retard de croissance et pubertaire, décompensation d'hypertension portale avec ascite et rupture de varices oesophagiennes. L'efficacité du traitement à ces stades avancés de la maladie est inconstant: le suivi des patients sur 30 mois montre que 5 d'entre eux sont décédés, 5 se sont améliorés puis ont récidivés, 3 étaient dans des états stationnaires et 5 se sont nettement améliorés, 2 ont été perdus de vus. Les observations cliniques et les entretiens montrent qu'une pathologie très sévère, aux graves conséquences individuelles et communautaires, est présente dans la province de Kracheh. Cette maladie est liée à une infection par S. mekongi mais l'aggravation des symptômes par d'éventuelles infections associées est à préciser. A un stade avancé de la maladie le pronostic vital est très réservé même après traitement. Ces observations démontrent l'importance d'une intervention globale à long-terme sur toute la population touchée, à des degrés divers, par cette maladie. SUMMARY: In 1992 a foci of Schistosomiasis mekongi was rediscovered in the province of Kracheh in Northeast Cambodia. Severe clinical signs due to portal hypertension, which were frequently observed in this population, allowed the discovery of this 'forgotten' focus. Elements of the perception of the population and clinical observations of 20 severe cases due to S. mekongi infections are presented. Interviews with patients and villagers of the area of Kracheh showed severe psychosocial impact including fear from death, infirmity and invalidity. The symptoms of schistosomiasis were well known by the population and were reported to have increased in frequency in the last two decades. They have received traditional names and specific traditional treatment. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED)
    • Accelerating the Elimination of Viral Hepatitis: a Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology Commission.

      Cooke, GS; Andrieux-Meyer, I; Applegate, TL; Atun, R; Burry, JR; Cheinquer, H; Dusheiko, G; Feld, JJ; Gore, C; Griswold, MG; Hamid, S; Hellard, ME; Hou, J; Howell, J; Jia, J; Kravchenko, N; Lazarus, JV; Lemoine, M; Lesi, OA; Maistat, L; McMahon, BJ; Razavi, H; Roberts, TR; Simmons, B; Sonderup, MW; Spearman, WC; Taylor, BE; Thomas, DL; Waked, I; Ward, JW; Wiktor, SZ (Elsevier, 2019-02-01)
      Viral hepatitis is a major public health threat and a leading cause of death worldwide. Annual mortality from viral hepatitis is similar to that of other major infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis. Highly effective prevention measures and treatments have made the global elimination of viral hepatitis a realistic goal, endorsed by all WHO member states. Ambitious targets call for a global reduction in hepatitis-related mortality of 65% and a 90% reduction in new infections by 2030. This Commission draws together a wide range of expertise to appraise the current global situation and to identify priorities globally, regionally, and nationally needed to accelerate progress. We identify 20 heavily burdened countries that account for over 75% of the global burden of viral hepatitis. Key recommendations include a greater focus on national progress towards elimination with support given, if necessary, through innovative financing measures to ensure elimination programmes are fully funded by 2020. In addition to further measures to improve access to vaccination and treatment, greater attention needs to be paid to access to affordable, high-quality diagnostics if testing is to reach the levels needed to achieve elimination goals. Simplified, decentralised models of care removing requirements for specialised prescribing will be required to reach those in need, together with sustained efforts to tackle stigma and discrimination. We identify key examples of the progress that has already been made in many countries throughout the world, demonstrating that sustained and coordinated efforts can be successful in achieving the WHO elimination goals.
    • Access to diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease/infection in endemic and non-endemic countries in the XXI century.

      Villa, L; Morote, S; Bernal, O; Bulla, D; Albajar-Vinas, P; Médicos Sin Fronteras, Barcelona, Catalunya, Espana. (2007-10-30)
      In this article, Médicos Sin Fronteras (MSF) Spain faces the challenge of selecting, piecing together, and conveying in the clearest possible way, the main lessons learnt over the course of the last seven years in the world of medical care for Chagas disease. More than two thousand children under the age of 14 have been treated; the majority of whom come from rural Latin American areas with difficult access. It is based on these lessons learnt, through mistakes and successes, that MSF advocates that medical care for patients with Chagas disease be a reality, in a manner which is inclusive (not exclusive), integrated (with medical, psychological, social, and educational components), and in which the patient is actively followed. This must be a multi-disease approach with permanent quality controls in place based on primary health care (PHC). Rapid diagnostic tests and new medications should be available, as well as therapeutic plans and patient management (including side effects) with standardised flows for medical care for patients within PHC in relation to secondary and tertiary level, inclusive of epidemiological surveillance systems.
    • Acquisition of virulence genes by a carrier strain gave rise to the ongoing epidemics of meningococcal disease in West Africa

      Brynildsrud, OB; Eldholm, V; Bohlin, J; Uadiale, K; Obaro, S; Caugant, DA (National Academy of Sciences, 2018-05-07)
      In the African meningitis belt, a region of sub-Saharan Africa comprising 22 countries from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, large epidemics of serogroup A meningococcal meningitis have occurred periodically. After gradual introduction from 2010 of mass vaccination with a monovalent meningococcal A conjugate vaccine, serogroup A epidemics have been eliminated. Starting in 2013, the northwestern part of Nigeria has been affected by yearly outbreaks of meningitis caused by a novel strain of serogroup C Neisseria meningitidis (NmC). In 2015, the strain spread to the neighboring country Niger, where it caused a severe epidemic. Following a relative calm in 2016, the largest ever recorded epidemic of NmC broke out in Nigeria in 2017. Here, we describe the recent evolution of this new outbreak strain and show how the acquisition of capsule genes and virulence factors by a strain previously circulating asymptomatically in the African population led to the emergence of a virulent pathogen. This study illustrates the power of long-read whole-genome sequencing, combined with Illumina sequencing, for high-resolution epidemiological investigations.
    • Adherence to Nucleos(t)ide Analogue Therapies for Chronic Hepatitis B Infection: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

      Ford, N; Scourse, R; Lemoine, M; Hutin, Y; Bulterys, M; Shubber, Z; Donchuk, D; Wandeler, G (Wiley Open Access, 2018-09-25)
      Successful treatment outcomes for chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection requires high levels of adherence to treatment. We searched three databases and abstracts from two conferences up to January 2018 for studies reporting the proportion of patients who were adherent to HBV antiviral therapy and pooled data using random effects meta-analysis. We included 30 studies, providing data for 23,823 patients. Overall, adherence to treatment was 74.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 67.1%-82.1%). Adherence was similar in high-income settings (75.1%; 95% CI, 65.4%-85.0%) and in low-income and middle-income settings (72.9%; 95% CI, 57.8%-88.0%). Reported barriers to adherence included forgetting, limited understanding of the importance of adherence, and change to routine. Conclusion : There is a need to reinforce assessment and reporting of adherence as a routine part of HBV care and to assess the extent to which evidence-based interventions to improve adherence to medication for human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] and other chronic diseases are effective for HBV infection.
    • Anthropometry and Clinical Features of Kashin-Beck Disease in Central Tibet.

      Mathieu, F; Begaux, F; Suetens, C; De Maertelaer, V; Hinsenkamp, M; Médecins Sans Frontières, Département Médical, Bruxelles, Belgium. (Springer, 2001)
      We compared two different populations living in central Tibet with the purpose of establishing standard values for different anthropometric parameters in a rural population. Later on, these values were used as references for a similar study on a KBD population. One group (KBD) (n=1,246) came from the endemic areas, and the other group, serving as the control population (n=815), came from non-endemic areas. Both groups included children and adults and were of the Mongoloid type; they were farmers or semi-nomads. Height, weight, segment length, joint perimeter, joint diameter, joint movement were recorded. Also more subjective information such as general feeling of tiredness, rapid fatigue at work, work limitation, joint pain, muscle weakness, muscular atrophy, dwarfism, flatfoot, and waddling gate was also collected. Those variables were compared between the two groups.
    • Antibiotic Resistance in Pacific Island Countries and Territories: A Systematic Scoping Review

      Foxlee, ND; Townell, N; McIver, L; Lau, CL (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2019-03-19)
      Several studies have investigated antimicrobial resistance in low- and middle-income countries, but to date little attention has been paid to the Pacific Islands Countries and Territories (PICTs). This study aims to review the literature on antibiotic resistance (ABR) in healthcare settings in PICTs to inform further research and future policy development for the region. Following the PRISMA-ScR checklist health databases and grey literature sources were searched. Three reviewers independently screened the literature for inclusion, data was extracted using a charting tool and the results were described and synthesised. Sixty-five studies about ABR in PICTs were identified and these are primarily about New Caledonia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Ten PICTs contributed the remaining 21 studies and nine PICTs were not represented. The predominant gram-positive pathogen reported was community-acquired methicillin resistant S. aureus and the rates of resistance ranged widely (>50% to <20%). Resistance reported in gram-negative pathogens was mainly associated with healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). Extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing K. pneumoniae isolates were reported in New Caledonia (3.4%) and Fiji (22%) and carbapenem resistant A. baumannii (CR-ab) isolates in the French Territories (24.8%). ABR is a problem in the PICTs, but the epidemiology requires further characterisation. Action on strengthening surveillance in PICTs needs to be prioritised so strategies to contain ABR can be fully realised.
    • Antibiotic Resistance in West Africa: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

      Bernabé, K; Langendorf, C; Ford, N; Ronat, J; Murphy, R (Elsevier, 2017-07-01)
      Growing data suggest that antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections are common in low and middle-income countries. This review summarizes the microbiology of key bacterial syndromes encountered in West Africa and estimates the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) that could compromise first-line empirical treatment.
    • Antibiotic Sensitivity of Endemic Shigella in Mbarara, Uganda.

      Legros, D; Ochola, D; Lwanga, N; Guma, G; Epicentre, Kampala, Uganda. (1998-03)
      We analysed the chimio-sensitivity to antibiotics of endemic strains of Shigella isolated in Mbarara district, southwest Uganda. Twenty four strains were isolated, of which none was sensitive to cotrimoxazole and eight (33.4%, 95% CI [15.6-55.3]) to ampicillin, the two antibiotics recommended to treat dysentery during non epidemic periods in Uganda. Two isolates were resistant to nalidixic acid and none was resistant to the fluoroquinolones (Ciprofloxacin, Norfloxacin). It is concluded that the results of this survey could be used to facilitate the elaboration of a new treatment protocol to treat endemic dysentery cases in Uganda.
    • Assessing the performance of real-time epidemic forecasts: A case study of Ebola in the Western Area Region of Sierra Leone, 2014-15

      Funk, S; Camacho, A; Kucharski, AJ; Lowe, R; Eggo, RM; Edmunds, WJ (London School Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 2018-11-23)
    • Assessment of the MSF Triage System, Separating Patients into Different Wards Pending Ebola Virus Laboratory Confirmation, Kailahun, Sierra Leone, July to September 2014

      Vogt, F; Fitzpatrick, G; Patten, G; van den Bergh, R; Stinson, K; Pandolfi, L; Squire, J; Decroo, T; Declerck, H; Van Herp, M (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 2015-12-17)
      Prevention of nosocomial Ebola virus (EBOV) infection among patients admitted to an Ebola management centre (EMC) is paramount. Current Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) guidelines recommend classifying admitted patients at triage into suspect and highly-suspect categories pending laboratory confirmation. We investigated the performance of the MSF triage system to separate patients with subsequent EBOV-positive laboratory test (true-positive admissions) from patients who were initially admitted on clinical grounds but subsequently tested EBOV-negative (false-positive admissions). We calculated standard diagnostic test statistics for triage allocation into suspect or highly-suspect wards (index test) and subsequent positive or negative laboratory results (reference test) among 433 patients admitted into the MSF EMC Kailahun, Sierra Leone, between 1 July and 30 September 2014. 254 (59%) of admissions were classified as highly-suspect, the remaining 179 (41%) as suspect. 276 (64%) were true-positive admissions, leaving 157 (36.3%) false-positive admissions exposed to the risk of nosocomial EBOV infection. The positive predictive value for receiving a positive laboratory result after being allocated to the highly-suspect ward was 76%. The corresponding negative predictive value was 54%. Sensitivity and specificity were 70% and 61%, respectively. Results for accurate patient classification were unconvincing. The current triage system should be changed. Whenever possible, patients should be accommodated in single compartments pending laboratory confirmation. Furthermore, the initial triage step on whether or not to admit a patient in the first place must be improved. What is ultimately needed is a point-of-care EBOV diagnostic test that is reliable, accurate, robust, mobile, affordable, easy to use outside strict biosafety protocols, providing results with quick turnaround time.
    • Beauty and the beast.

      Cox, H; Isles, S; Médecins Sans Frontières, 7 Ganges Street, Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria. helenscox@yahoo.com.au (Elsevier, 2003-01)
    • 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.
    • Benznidazole Treatment Safety: The Médecins Sans Frontières Experience in a Large Cohort of Bolivian Patients with Chagas' Disease

      Sperandio da Silva, G; Felix Mediano, M; Hasslocher-Moreno, A; Holanda, M; Silvestre de Sousa, A; Sangenis, L; Brasil, P; Mejía, R; Fux, C; Cubides, J; Saraiva, R; Brum-Soares, L (2017-06-22)
      Up to half of patients with Chagas' disease under benznidazole treatment present adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and up to one-third do not complete standard treatment.
    • 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.
    • Brain injury: Iraq's unseen burden of wounded civilians

      Guerrier, Gilles; Baron, Emmanuel; Fakri, Rasheed; Mouniaman, Isabelle; Epicentre, Paris, France; Médecins Sans Frontières, Amman, Jordan; Médecins Sans Frontières, Paris, France (Nature Publishing Group, 2011-10-27)
      The burden of war-related mental disorders is well documented among US veterans (Nature 477, 390–393; 2011), but not among civilians in Iraq. This oversight must be rectified so that adequate medical support can be provided to the Iraqi people. US combat troops will soon depart Iraq, leaving Iraqis to cope with the consequences of the 2003 invasion. Although the number of violent deaths is falling, civilians have been killed almost every day this year, most of them in coordinated bomb attacks. Roadside blasts cause long-term disabilities and societal effects among injured civilians. However, these have been largely neglected by the media and no systematic surveillance has been undertaken.
    • Burden of disease and circulating serotypes of rotavirus infection in sub-Saharan Africa: systematic review and meta-analysis.

      Sanchez-Padilla, Elisabeth; Grais, Rebecca F; Guerin, Philippe J; Steele, Andrew D; Burny, Marie-Eve; Luquero, Francisco J; Epicentre, Research Unit, Paris, France. elisabeth.sanchez@epicentre.msf.org (2009-09-09)
      Two new rotavirus vaccines have recently been licensed in many countries. However, their efficacy has only been shown against certain serotypes commonly circulating in Europe, North America, and Latin America, but thought to be globally important. To assess the potential impact of these vaccines in sub-Saharan Africa, where rotavirus mortality is high, knowledge of prevalent types is essential because an effective rotavirus vaccine is needed to protect against prevailing serotypes in the community. We did two systematic reviews and two meta-analyses of the most recent published data on the burden of rotavirus disease in children aged under 5 years and rotavirus serotypes circulating in countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Eligible studies were selected from PubMed/Medline, Cochrane Library, EmBase, LILACS, Academic Search Premier, Biological Abstracts, ISI Web of Science, and the African Index Medicus. Depending on the heterogeneity, DerSimonian-Laird random-effects or fixed-effects models were used for meta-analyses. Geographical variability in rotavirus burden within countries in sub-Saharan Africa is substantial, and most countries lack information on rotavirus epidemiology. We estimated that annual mortality for this region was 243.3 (95% CI 187.6-301.7) deaths per 100,000 under 5 years (ie, a total of 300,000 children die of rotavirus infection in this region each year). The most common G type detected was G1 (34.9%), followed by G2 (9.1%), and G3 (8.6%). The most common P types detected were P[8] (35.5%) and P[6] (27.5%). Accurate information should be collected from surveillance based on standardised methods in these countries to obtain comparable data on the burden of disease and the circulating strains to assess the potential impact of vaccine introduction.
    • Buruli et VIH: une interaction complexe et peu etudiee

      Christinet V, Di Benedetto C, Comte E, Calmy A; MSF Suisse (2012-09)