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1.  Phylogenetic Analysis of Rubella Viruses Identified in Uganda, 2003–2012 
Journal of medical virology  2014;86(12):2107-2113.
Molecular data on rubella viruses are limited in Uganda despite the importance of congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). Routine rubella vaccination, while not administered currently in Uganda, is expected to begin by 2015. The World Health Organization recommends that countries without rubella vaccination programs assess the burden of rubella and CRS before starting a routine vaccination program. Uganda is already involved in integrated case-based surveillance, including laboratory testing to confirm measles and rubella, but molecular epidemiologic aspects of rubella circulation have so far not been documented in Uganda. Twenty throat swab or oral fluid samples collected from 12 districts during routine rash and fever surveillance between 2003 and 2012 were identified as rubella virus RNA positive and PCR products encompassing the region used for genotyping were sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis of the 20 sequences identified 19 genotype 1G viruses and 1 genotype 1E virus. Genotype-specific trees showed that the Uganda viruses belonged to specific clusters for both genotypes 1G and 1E and grouped with similar sequences from neighboring countries. Genotype 1G was predominant in Uganda. More epidemiological and molecular epidemiological data are required to determine if genotype 1E is also endemic in Uganda. The information obtained in this study will assist the immunization program in monitoring changes in circulating genotypes.
PMCID: PMC4269980  PMID: 24700073
genotype; molecular characterization; sequences; rubella epidemiology
2.  Prevalence of influenza A viruses in livestock and free-living waterfowl in Uganda 
Avian influenza viruses may cause severe disease in a variety of domestic animal species worldwide, with high mortality in chickens and turkeys. To reduce the information gap about prevalence of these viruses in animals in Uganda, this study was undertaken.
Influenza A virus prevalence by RT-PCR was 1.1% (45/4,052) while seroprevalence by ELISA was 0.8% (24/2,970). Virus prevalence was highest in domestic ducks (2.7%, 17/629) and turkeys (2.6%, 2/76), followed by free-living waterfowl (1.3%, 12/929) and swine (1.4%, 7/511). A lower proportion of chicken samples (0.4%, 7/1,865) tested positive. No influenza A virus was isolated. A seasonal prevalence of these viruses in waterfowl was 0.7% (4/561) for the dry and 2.2% (8/368) for the wet season. In poultry, prevalence was 0.2% (2/863) for the dry and 1.4% (24/1,713) for the wet season, while that of swine was 0.0% (0/159) and 2.0% (7/352) in the two seasons, respectively. Of the 45 RT-PCR positive samples, 13 (28.9%) of them were H5 but none was H7. The 19 swine sera positive for influenza antibodies by ELISA were positive for H1 antibodies by HAI assay, but the subtype(s) of ELISA positive poultry sera could not be determined. Antibodies in the poultry sera could have been those against subtypes not included in the HAI test panel.
The study has demonstrated occurrence of influenza A viruses in animals in Uganda. The results suggest that increase in volumes of migratory waterfowl in the country could be associated with increased prevalence of these viruses in free-living waterfowl and poultry.
PMCID: PMC3974059  PMID: 24576325
Influenza A viruses; Poultry; Pigs; RNA; Sera; Free-living; Waterfowl
3.  Genetic analysis of influenza B viruses isolated in Uganda during the 2009–2010 seasons 
Virology Journal  2013;10:11.
Influenza B viruses can cause morbidity and mortality in humans but due to the lack of an animal reservoir are not associated with pandemics. Because of this, there is relatively limited genetic sequences available for influenza B viruses, especially from developing countries. Complete genome analysis of one influenza B virus and several gene segments of other influenza B viruses isolated from Uganda from May 2009 through December 2010 was therefore undertaken in this study.
Samples were collected from patients showing influenza like illness and screened for influenza A and B by PCR. Influenza B viruses were isolated on Madin-Darby Canine Kidney cells and selected isolates were subsequently sequenced and analyzed phylogenetically.
Of the 2,089 samples collected during the period, 292 were positive by PCR for influenza A or B; 12.3% of the PCR positives were influenza B. Thirty influenza B viruses were recovered and of these 25 that grew well consistently on subculture were subjected to further analysis. All the isolates belonged to the B/Victoria-lineage as identified by hemagglutination inhibition assay and genetic analysis except one isolate that grouped with the B-Yamagata-lineage. The Ugandan B/Victoria-lineage isolates grouped in clade 1 which was defined by the N75K, N165K and S172P substitutions in hemagglutinin (HA) protein clustered together with the B/Brisbane/60/2008 vaccine strain. The Yamagata-like Ugandan strain, B/Uganda/MUWRP-053/2009, clustered with clade 3 Yamagata viruses such as B/Bangladesh/3333/2007 which is characterized by S150I and N166Y substitutions in HA.
In general there was limited variation among the Ugandan isolates but they were interestingly closer to viruses from West and North Africa than from neighboring Kenya. Our isolates closely matched the World Health Organization recommended vaccines for the seasons.
PMCID: PMC3547786  PMID: 23289789
Influenza B; Genetic analysis; Uganda
4.  Molecular Epidemiology of Influenza A/H3N2 Viruses Circulating in Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27803.
The increasing availability of complete influenza virus genomes is deepening our understanding of influenza evolutionary dynamics and facilitating the selection of vaccine strains. However, only one complete African influenza virus sequence is available in the public domain. Here we present a complete genome analysis of 59 influenza A/H3N2 viruses isolated from humans in Uganda during the 2008 and 2009 season. Isolates were recovered from hospital-based sentinel surveillance for influenza-like illnesses and their whole genome sequenced. The viruses circulating during these two seasons clearly differed from each other phylogenetically. They showed a slow evolution away from the 2009/10 recommended vaccine strain (A/Brisbane/10/07), instead clustering with the 2010/11 recommended vaccine strain (A/Perth/16/09) in the A/Victoria/208/09 clade, as observed in other global regions. All of the isolates carried the adamantane resistance marker S31N in the M2 gene and carried several markers of enhanced transmission; as expected, none carried any marker of neuraminidase inhibitor resistance. The hemagglutinin gene of the 2009 isolates differed from that of the 2008 isolates in antigenic sites A, B, D, and to a lesser extent, C and E indicating evidence of an early phylogenetic shift from the 2008 to 2009 viruses. The internal genes of the 2009 isolates were similar to those of one 2008 isolate, A/Uganda/MUWRP-050/2008. Another 2008 isolate had a truncated PB1-F2 protein. Whole genome sequencing can enhance surveillance of future seasonal changes in the viral genome which is crucial to ensure that selected vaccine strains are protective against the strains circulating in Eastern Africa. This data provides an important baseline for this surveillance. Overall the influenza virus activity in Uganda appears to mirror that observed in other regions of the southern hemisphere.
PMCID: PMC3221667  PMID: 22132146
5.  Possible Interruption of Measles Virus Transmission, Uganda, 2006–2009 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2011;17(1):110-113.
To determine what measles virus genotype(s) circulated in Uganda after strategic interventions aimed at controlling/eliminating measles, we examined samples obtained during 2006–2009 and found only genotype B3.1, which had not been previously detected. Kenya was the likely source, but other countries cannot be excluded.
PMCID: PMC3204633  PMID: 21192868
viruses; measles; interruption; genotype B3.1; Uganda; dispatch
6.  Sero-prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis B virus infection among health care workers in a tertiary hospital in Uganda 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:191.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a global public health challenge. Prevalence of current hepatitis B virus infection in the general population in Uganda is about 10%. Health care workers (HCW) have an extra risk of getting infected from their workplace and yet they are not routinely vaccinated against HBV infection. This study aimed at estimating prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection and associated risk factors among health care workers in a tertiary hospital in Uganda.
Data were obtained from a cross sectional survey conducted in Mulago, a national referral and teaching hospital in Uganda among health care workers in 2003. A proportionate to size random sample was drawn per health care worker category. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographic characteristics and risk factors. ELISA was used to test sera for HBsAg, anti-HBs and total anti-HBc. Descriptive and logistic regression models were used for analysis.
Among the 370 participants, the sero-prevalence of current hepatitis B virus infection was 8.1%; while prevalence of life time exposure to hepatitis B virus infection was 48.1%. Prevalence of needle stick injuries and exposure to mucous membranes was 67.8% and 41.0% respectively. Cuts were also common with 31.7% of doctors reporting a cut in a period of one year preceding the survey. Consistent use of gloves was reported by 55.4% of respondents. The laboratory technicians (18.0% of respondents) were the least likely to consistently use gloves. Only 6.2% of respondents were vaccinated against hepatitis B virus infection and 48.9% were susceptible and could potentially be protected through vaccination. Longer duration in service was associated with a lower risk of current infection (OR = 0.13; p value = 0.048). Being a nursing assistant (OR = 17.78; p value = 0.007) or a laboratory technician (OR = 12.23; p value = 0.009) were associated with a higher risk of current hepatitis B virus infection. Laboratory technicians (OR = 3.99; p value = 0.023) and individuals with no training in infection prevention in last five years (OR = 1.85; p value = 0.015) were more likely to have been exposed to hepatitis B virus infection before.
The prevalence of current and life time exposure to hepatitis B virus infection was high. Exposure to potentially infectious body fluids was high and yet only a small percentage of HCW were vaccinated. There is need to vaccinate all health care workers as a matter of policy and ensure a safer work environment.
PMCID: PMC2910699  PMID: 20587047
7.  Identical Genotype B3 Sequences from Measles Patients in 4 Countries, 2005 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2006;12(11):1779-1781.
Surveillance of measles virus detected an epidemiologic link between a refugee from Kenya and a Dutch tourist in New Jersey, USA. Identical genotype B3 sequences from patients with contemporaneous cases in the United States, Canada, and Mexico in November and December 2005 indicate that Kenya was likely to have been the common source of virus.
PMCID: PMC3372353  PMID: 17283637
measles; genotype; epidemiology; surveillance; dispatch
8.  New Measles Genotype, Uganda 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2005;11(10):1522-1526.
New measles virus genotype will increase epidemiologic and virologic surveillance in Africa.
We report the first genetic characterization of wildtype measles viruses from Uganda. Thirty-six virus isolates from outbreaks in 6 districts were analyzed from 2000 to 2002. Analyses of sequences of the nucleoprotein (N) and hemagglutinin (H) genes showed that the Ugandan isolates were all closely related, and phylogenetic analysis indicated that these viruses were members of a unique group within clade D. Sequences of the Ugandan viruses were not closely related to any of the World Health Organization reference sequences representing the 22 currently recognized genotypes. The minimum nucleotide divergence between the Ugandan viruses and the most closely related reference strain, genotype D2, was 3.1% for the N gene and 2.6% for the H gene. Therefore, Ugandan viruses should be considered a new, proposed genotype (d10). This new sequence information will expand the utility of molecular epidemiologic techniques for describing measles transmission patterns in eastern Africa.
PMCID: PMC3366748  PMID: 16318690
Measles; virus; isolation; sequencing; genotype; research

Results 1-8 (8)