Background. Diarrhea is a leading cause of illness and death among children aged <5 years in developing countries. This paper describes the clinical and epidemiological methods used to conduct the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS), a 3-year, prospective, age-stratified, case/control study to estimate the population-based burden, microbiologic etiology, and adverse clinical consequences of acute moderate-to-severe diarrhea (MSD) among a censused population of children aged 0–59 months seeking care at health centers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Methods. GEMS was conducted at 7 field sites, each serving a population whose demography and healthcare utilization practices for childhood diarrhea were documented. We aimed to enroll 220 MSD cases per year from selected health centers serving each site in each of 3 age strata (0–11, 12–23, and 24–59 months), along with 1–3 matched community controls. Cases and controls supplied clinical, epidemiologic, and anthropometric data at enrollment and again approximately 60 days later, and provided enrollment stool specimens for identification and characterization of potential diarrheal pathogens. Verbal autopsy was performed if a child died. Analytic strategies will calculate the fraction of MSD attributable to each pathogen and the incidence, financial costs, nutritional consequences, and case fatality overall and by pathogen.
Conclusions. When completed, GEMS will provide estimates of the incidence, etiology, and outcomes of MSD among infants and young children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This information can guide development and implementation of public health interventions to diminish morbidity and mortality from diarrheal diseases.
Beyond the morbidity and mortality burden of childhood diarrhea in sub-Saharan African are significant economic costs to affected households. Using survey data from 3 of the 4 sites in sub-Saharan Africa (Gambia, Kenya, Mali) participating in the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS), we estimated the direct medical, direct nonmedical, and indirect (productivity losses) costs borne by households due to diarrhea in young children. Mean cost per episode was $2.63 in Gambia, $6.24 in Kenya, and $4.11 in Mali. Direct medical costs accounted for less than half of these costs. Mean costs understate the distribution of costs, with 10% of cases exceeding $6.50, $11.05, and $13.84 in Gambia, Kenya, and Mali. In all countries there was a trend toward lower costs among poorer households and in 2 of the countries for diarrheal illness affecting girls. For poor children and girls, this may reflect reduced household investment in care, which may result in increased risks of mortality.
Reductions in the use of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) in sub-Saharan Africa highlight the need to examine caregiver perceptions of ORT during diarrheal episodes. Qualitative research involving group discussions with childcare providers and in-depth interviews with 45 caregivers of children < 5 years of age who had experienced diarrhea was conducted in one rural and urban site in Kenya during July–December 2007. Diarrhea was considered a dangerous condition that can kill young children. Caregivers preferred to treat diarrhea with Western drugs believed to be more effective in stopping diarrhea than ORT. Inconsistent recommendations from health workers regarding use of oral rehydration solution (ORS) caused confusion about when ORS is appropriate and whether it requires a medical prescription. In the rural community, causal explanations about diarrhea, beliefs in herbal remedies, cost, and distance to health facilities presented additional barriers to ORS use. Health communication is needed to clarify the function of ORT in preventing dehydration.
We sought to determine factors associated with appropriate diarrhea case management in Kenya. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of caregivers of children < 5 years of age with diarrhea in rural Asembo and urban Kibera. In Asembo, 61% of respondents provided oral rehydration therapy (ORT), 45% oral rehydration solution (ORS), and 64% continued feeding. In Kibera, 75% provided ORT, 43% ORS, and 46% continued feeding. Seeking care at a health facility, risk perception regarding death from diarrhea, and treating a child with oral medications were associated with ORT and ORS use. Availability of oral medication was negatively associated. A minority of caregivers reported that ORS is available in nearby shops. In Kenya, household case management of diarrhea remains inadequate for a substantial proportion of children. Health workers have a critical role in empowering caregivers regarding early treatment with ORT and continued feeding. Increasing community ORS availability is essential to improving diarrhea management.
An outbreak of acute febrile illness was reported among Somali pastoralists in remote, arid Northeast Kenya, where drinking raw milk is common. Blood specimens from 12 patients, collected mostly in the late convalescent phase, were tested for viral, bacterial, and parasitic pathogens. All were negative for viral and typhoid serology. Nine patients had Brucella antibodies present by at least one of the tests, four of whom had evidence suggestive of acute infection by the reference serologic microscopic agglutination test. Three patients were positive for leptospiral antibody by immunoglobulin M enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and two were positive for malaria. Although sensitive and specific point-of-care testing methods will improve diagnosis of acute febrile illness in developing countries, challenges of interpretation still remain when the outbreaks are remote, specimens collected too late, and positive results for multiple diseases are obtained. Better diagnostics and tools that can decipher overlapping signs and symptoms in such settings are needed.
A healthcare-use survey was conducted in the Kibera informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, in July 2005 to inform subsequent surveillance in the site for infectious diseases. Sets of standardized questionnaires were administered to 1,542 caretakers and heads of households with one or more child(ren) aged less than five years. The average household-size was 5.1 (range 1-15) persons. Most (90%) resided in a single room with monthly rents of US$ 4.50-7.00. Within the previous two weeks, 49% of children (n=1,378) aged less than five years (under-five children) and 18% of persons (n=1,139) aged ≥5 years experienced febrile, diarrhoeal or respiratory illnesses. The large majority (>75%) of illnesses were associated with healthcare-seeking. While licensed clinics were the most-frequently visited settings, kiosks, unlicensed care providers, and traditional healers were also frequently visited. Expense was cited most often (50%) as the reason for not seeking healthcare. Of those who sought healthcare, 34-44% of the first and/or the only visits were made with non-licensed care providers, potentially delaying opportunities for early optimal intervention. The proportions of patients accessing healthcare facilities were higher with diarrhoeal disease and fever (but not for respiratory diseases in under-five children) than those reported from a contemporaneous study conducted in a rural area in Kenya. The findings support community-based rather than facility-based surveillance in this setting to achieve objectives for comprehensive assessment of the burden of disease.
Acute respiratory infection; Diarrhoeal diseases; Febrile illness; Healthcare-seeking; Healthcare-use; Informal settlements; Pneumonia; Slums; Urbanization; Kenya
In Kenya, >1,200 laboratory-confirmed 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) (pH1N1) cases occurred since June 2009. We used population-based infectious disease surveillance (PBIDS) data to assess household transmission of pH1N1 in urban Nairobi (Kibera) and rural Lwak.
We defined a pH1N1 patient as laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 infection among PBIDS participants during August 1, 2009–February 5, 2010, in Kibera, or August 1, 2009–January 20, 2010, in Lwak, and a case household as a household with a laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 patient. Community interviewers visited PBIDS-participating households to inquire about illnesses among household members. We randomly selected 4 comparison households per case household matched by number of children aged <5. Comparison households had a household visit 10 days before or after the matched patient symptom onset date. We defined influenza-like illnesses (ILI) as self-reported cough or sore throat, and a self-reported fever ≤8 days after the pH1N1 patient's symptom onset in case households and ≤8 days before selected household visit in comparison households. We used the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test to compare proportions of ILIs among case and comparison households, and log binomial-model to compare that of Kibera and Lwak.
Among household contacts of patients with confirmed pH1N1 in Kibera, 4.6% had ILI compared with 8.2% in Lwak (risk ratio [RR], 0.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.3–0.9). Household contacts of patients were more likely to have ILIs than comparison-household members in both Kibera (RR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1–2.8) and Lwak (RR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.6–4.3). Overall, ILI was not associated with patient age. However, ILI rates among household contacts were higher among children aged <5 years than persons aged ≥5 years in Lwak, but not Kibera.
Substantial pH1N1 household transmission occurred in urban and rural Kenya. Household transmission rates were higher in the rural area.
Isolates represent multiple genetic lineages, a finding consistent with multiple emergences from endemic reservoirs.
Numerous outbreaks of cholera have occurred in Kenya since 1971. To more fully understand the epidemiology of cholera in Kenya, we analyzed the genetic relationships among 170 Vibrio cholerae O1 isolates at 5 loci containing variable tandem repeats. The isolates were collected during January 2009–May 2010 from various geographic areas throughout the country. The isolates grouped genetically into 5 clonal complexes, each comprising a series of genotypes that differed by an allelic change at a single locus. No obvious correlation between the geographic locations of the isolates and their genotypes was observed. Nevertheless, geographic differentiation of the clonal complexes occurred. Our analyses showed that multiple genetic lineages of V. cholerae were simultaneously infecting persons in Kenya. This finding is consistent with the simultaneous emergence of multiple distinct genetic lineages of V. cholerae from endemic environmental reservoirs rather than recent introduction and spread by travelers.
phenotypes; genotypes; Vibrio cholerae; cholera; characterization; molecular epidemiology; outbreaks; bacteria; Kenya
There are limited data about the effect of maternal influenza infection on fetuses and newborns. We performed a secondary analysis of data from the Mother’s Gift project, a randomized study designed to test the effectiveness of inactivated influenza and pneumococcal vaccines during pregnancy.
In the Mother’s Gift project, 340 pregnant women in Bangladesh received either inactivated influenza vaccine or 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (control). This study was performed from August 2004 through December 2005. We performed a secondary analysis of outcomes following maternal influenza immunization during two periods: when influenza virus was not circulating (September 2004 through January 2005) and when influenza virus was circulating (February through October 2005). We assessed gestational age, mean birth weight and the proportion of infants who were small for gestational age.
During the period with no circulating influenza virus, there were no differences in the incidence of respiratory illness with fever per 100 person-months among mothers and infants in the two groups (influenza vaccine: 3.9; control: 4.0; p > 0.9). The proportion of infants who were small for gestational age and the mean birth weight were similar between groups (small for gestational age: influenza vaccine 29.1%, control 34.3%; mean birth weight: influenza vaccine 3083 g, control 3053 g). During the period with circulating influenza virus, there was a substantial reduction in the incidence per 100 person-months of respiratory illness with fever among the mothers and infants who had received the influenza vaccine (influenza vaccine: 3.7; control: 7.2; p = 0.0003). During this period, the proportion of infants who were small for gestational age was lower in the influenza vaccine group than in the control group (25.9% v. 44.8%; p = 0.03). The mean birth weight was higher among infants whose mothers received the influenza vaccine than among those who received the control vaccine during this period (3178 g v. 2978 g; p = 0.02).
During the period with circulating influenza virus, maternal immunization during pregnancy was associated with a lower proportion of infants who were small for gestational age and an increase in mean birth weight. These data need confirmation but suggest that prevention of influenza infection in pregnancy can influence intrauterine growth.
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT 00142389
Background. During the Rift Valley fever (RVF) epidemic of 2006–2007 in eastern Africa, spatial mapping of the outbreaks across Kenya, Somalia, and Tanzania was performed and the RVF viruses were isolated and genetically characterized.
Methods. Following confirmation of the RVF epidemic in Kenya on 19 December 2006 and in Tanzania on 2 February 2007, teams were sent to the field for case finding. Human, livestock, and mosquito specimens were collected and viruses isolated. The World Health Organization response team in Kenya worked with the WHO’s polio surveillance team inside Somalia to collect information and specimens from Somalia.
Results. Seven geographical foci that reported hundreds of livestock and >25 cases in humans between December 2006 and June 2007 were identified. The onset of RVF cases in each epidemic focus was preceded by heavy rainfall and flooding for at least 10 days. Full-length genome analysis of 16 RVF virus isolates recovered from humans, livestock, and mosquitoes in 5 of the 7 outbreak foci revealed 3 distinct lineages of the viruses within and across outbreak foci.
Conclusion. The findings indicate that the sequential RVF epidemics in the region were caused by multiple lineages of the RVF virus, sometimes independently activated or introduced in distinct outbreak foci.
The epidemiology of non-Typhi Salmonella (NTS) bacteremia in Africa will likely evolve as potential co-factors, such as HIV, malaria, and urbanization, also change.
As part of population-based surveillance among 55,000 persons in malaria-endemic, rural and malaria-nonendemic, urban Kenya from 2006–2009, blood cultures were obtained from patients presenting to referral clinics with fever ≥38.0°C or severe acute respiratory infection. Incidence rates were adjusted based on persons with compatible illnesses, but whose blood was not cultured.
NTS accounted for 60/155 (39%) of blood culture isolates in the rural and 7/230 (3%) in the urban sites. The adjusted incidence in the rural site was 568/100,000 person-years, and the urban site was 51/100,000 person-years. In both sites, the incidence was highest in children <5 years old. The NTS-to-typhoid bacteremia ratio in the rural site was 4.6 and in the urban site was 0.05. S. Typhimurium represented >85% of blood NTS isolates in both sites, but only 21% (urban) and 64% (rural) of stool NTS isolates. Overall, 76% of S. Typhimurium blood isolates were multi-drug resistant, most of which had an identical profile in Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis. In the rural site, the incidence of NTS bacteremia increased during the study period, concomitant with rising malaria prevalence (monthly correlation of malaria positive blood smears and NTS bacteremia cases, Spearman's correlation, p = 0.018 for children, p = 0.16 adults). In the rural site, 80% of adults with NTS bacteremia were HIV-infected. Six of 7 deaths within 90 days of NTS bacteremia had HIV/AIDS as the primary cause of death assigned on verbal autopsy.
NTS caused the majority of bacteremias in rural Kenya, but typhoid predominated in urban Kenya, which most likely reflects differences in malaria endemicity. Control measures for malaria, as well as HIV, will likely decrease the burden of NTS bacteremia in Africa.
We estimated Rift Valley fever (RVF) incidence as a function of geological, geographical, and climatological factors during the 2006–2007 RVF epidemic in Kenya. Location information was obtained for 214 of 340 (63%) confirmed and probable RVF cases that occurred during an outbreak from November 1, 2006 to February 28, 2007. Locations with subtypes of solonetz, calcisols, solonchaks, and planosols soil types were highly associated with RVF occurrence during the outbreak period. Increased rainfall and higher greenness measures before the outbreak were associated with increased risk. RVF was more likely to occur on plains, in densely bushed areas, at lower elevations, and in the Somalia acacia ecological zone. Cases occurred in three spatial temporal clusters that differed by the date of associated rainfall, soil type, and land usage.
To determine previous exposure and incidence of rickettsial infections in western Kenya during 2007–2010, we conducted hospital-based surveillance. Antibodies against rickettsiae were detected in 57.4% of previously collected serum samples. In a 2008–2010 prospective study, Rickettsia felis DNA was 2.2× more likely to be detected in febrile than in afebrile persons.
rickettsial infections; Rickettsia felis; rickettsia; Kenya; fever of unknown origin
High rates of typhoid fever in children in urban settings in Asia have led to focus on childhood immunization in Asian cities, but not in Africa, where data, mostly from rural areas, have shown low disease incidence. We set out to compare incidence of typhoid fever in a densely populated urban slum and a rural community in Kenya, hypothesizing higher rates in the urban area, given crowding and suboptimal access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
During 2007-9, we conducted population-based surveillance in Kibera, an urban informal settlement in Nairobi, and in Lwak, a rural area in western Kenya. Participants had free access to study clinics; field workers visited their homes biweekly to collect information about acute illnesses. In clinic, blood cultures were processed from patients with fever or pneumonia. Crude and adjusted incidence rates were calculated.
In the urban site, the overall crude incidence of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) bacteremia was 247 cases per 100,000 person-years of observation (pyo) with highest rates in children 5–9 years old (596 per 100,000 pyo) and 2–4 years old (521 per 100,000 pyo). Crude overall incidence in Lwak was 29 cases per 100,000 pyo with low rates in children 2–4 and 5–9 years old (28 and 18 cases per 100,000 pyo, respectively). Adjusted incidence rates were highest in 2–4 year old urban children (2,243 per 100,000 pyo) which were >15-fold higher than rates in the rural site for the same age group. Nearly 75% of S. Typhi isolates were multi-drug resistant.
This systematic urban slum and rural comparison showed dramatically higher typhoid incidence among urban children <10 years old with rates similar to those from Asian urban slums. The findings have potential policy implications for use of typhoid vaccines in increasingly urban Africa.
The large and growing number of viral and bacterial pathogens responsible for respiratory infections poses a challenge for laboratories seeking to provide rapid and comprehensive pathogen identification. We evaluated a novel application of the TaqMan low-density array (TLDA) cards for real-time PCR detection of 21 respiratory-pathogen targets. The performance of the TLDA was compared to that of individual real-time PCR (IRTP) assays with the same primers and probes using (i) nucleic acids extracted from the 21 pathogen strains and 66 closely related viruses and bacteria and (ii) 292 clinical respiratory specimens. With spiked samples, TLDA cards were about 10-fold less sensitive than IRTP assays. By using 292 clinical specimens to generate 2,238 paired individual assays, the TLDA card exhibited 89% sensitivity (95% confidence interval [CI], 86 to 92%; range per target, 47 to 100%) and 98% specificity (95% CI, 97 to 99%; range per target, 85 to 100%) overall compared to IRTP assays as the gold standard with a threshold cycle (CT) cutoff of 43. The TLDA card approach offers promise for rapid and simultaneous identification of multiple respiratory pathogens for outbreak investigations and disease surveillance.
Background: Aflatoxin, a potent fungal toxin, contaminates 25% of crops worldwide. Since 2004, 477 aflatoxin poisonings associated with eating contaminated maize have been documented in Eastern Kenya, with a case-fatality rate of 40%.
Objective: We characterized maize aflatoxin contamination during the high-risk season (April–June) after the major harvests in 2005, 2006 (aflatoxicosis outbreak years), and 2007 (a non-outbreak year).
Methods: Households were randomly selected each year from the region in Kenya where outbreaks have consistently occurred. At each household, we obtained at least one maize sample (n = 716) for aflatoxin analysis using immunoaffinity methods and administered a questionnaire to determine the source (i.e., homegrown, purchased, or relief) and amount of maize in the household.
Results: During the years of outbreaks in 2005 and 2006, 41% and 51% of maize samples, respectively, had aflatoxin levels above the Kenyan regulatory limit of 20 ppb in grains that were for human consumption. In 2007 (non-outbreak year), 16% of samples were above the 20-ppb limit. In addition, geometric mean (GM) aflatoxin levels were significantly higher in 2005 (GM = 12.92, maximum = 48,000 ppb) and 2006 (GM = 26.03, maximum = 24,400 ppb) compared with 2007 (GM = 1.95, maximum = 2,500 ppb) (p-value < 0.001). In all 3 years combined, maize aflatoxin levels were significantly higher in homegrown maize (GM = 17.96) when compared with purchased maize (GM = 3.64) or relief maize (GM = 0.73) (p-value < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Aflatoxin contamination is extreme within this region, and homegrown maize is the primary source of contamination. Prevention measures should focus on reducing homegrown maize contamination at the household level to avert future outbreaks.
aflatoxicosis; aflatoxin; contamination; Kenya; maize
Africa’s strategies for pandemic influenza must also strengthen overall public health capacity.
Global concerns about an impending influenza pandemic escalated when highly pathogenic influenza A subtype H5N1 appeared in Nigeria in January 2006. The potential devastation from emergence of a pandemic strain in Africa has led to a sudden shift of public health focus to pandemic preparedness. Preparedness and control activities must work within the already strained capacity of health infrastructure in Africa to respond to immense existing public health problems. Massive attention and resources directed toward influenza could distort priorities and damage critical public health programs. Responses to concerns about pandemic influenza should strengthen human and veterinary surveillance and laboratory capacity to help address a variety of health threats. Experiences in Asia should provide bases for reassessing strategies for Africa and elsewhere. Fowl depopulation strategies will need to be adapted for Africa. Additionally, the role of avian vaccines should be comprehensively evaluated and clearly defined.
Influenza; avian; Africa; H5N1; capacity; Nigeria; surveillance; pandemic; IDSR; health priorities; research
To describe the epidemiology and clinical course of patients hospitalized with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in Kenya, we reviewed medical records of 49 such patients hospitalized during July–November 2009. The median age (7 years) was lower than that in industrialized countries. More patients had HIV than the general Kenyan population.
influenza; pandemic (H1N1) 2009; hospitalized patients; viruses; Kenya
A large Rift Valley fever (RVF) outbreak occurred in Kenya from December 2006 to March 2007. We conducted a study to define risk factors associated with infection and severe disease. A total of 861 individuals from 424 households were enrolled. Two hundred and two participants (23%) had serologic evidence of acute RVF infection. Of these, 52 (26%) had severe RVF disease characterized by hemorrhagic manifestations or death. Independent risk factors for acute RVF infection were consuming or handling products from sick animals (odds ratio [OR] = 2.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.78–3.61, population attributable risk percentage [PAR%] = 19%) and being a herdsperson (OR 1.77, 95% CI = 1.20–2.63, PAR% = 11%). Touching an aborted animal fetus was associated with severe RVF disease (OR = 3.83, 95% CI = 1.68–9.07, PAR% = 14%). Consuming or handling products from sick animals was associated with death (OR = 3.67, 95% CI = 1.07–12.64, PAR% = 47%). Exposures related to animal contact were associated with acute RVF infection, whereas exposures to mosquitoes were not independent risk factors.
Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an important viral zoonotic disease in Africa with periodic outbreaks associated with severe disease, death, and economic hardship. During the 2006–2007 outbreaks in Eastern Africa, postmortem and necropsy tissue samples from 14 animals and 20 humans clinically suspected of RVF were studied with histopathologic evaluation and immunohistochemical (IHC) assays. Six animal and 11 human samples had IHC evidence of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) antigens. We found that extensive hepatocellular necrosis without prominent inflammatory cell infiltrates is the most distinctive histopathologic change in liver tissues infected with RVFV. Pathologic studies on postmortem tissue samples can help establish the diagnosis of RVF, differentiating from endemic diseases with clinical manifestations similar to RVF, such as malaria, leptospirosis, or yellow fever.
An outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF) occurred in Kenya during November 2006 through March 2007. We characterized the magnitude of the outbreak through disease surveillance and serosurveys, and investigated contributing factors to enhance strategies for forecasting to prevent or minimize the impact of future outbreaks. Of 700 suspected cases, 392 met probable or confirmed case definitions; demographic data were available for 340 (87%), including 90 (26.4%) deaths. Male cases were more likely to die than females, Case Fatality Rate Ratio 1.8 (95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.3–3.8). Serosurveys suggested an attack rate up to 13% of residents in heavily affected areas. Genetic sequencing showed high homology among viruses from this and earlier RVF outbreaks. Case areas were more likely than non-case areas to have soil types that retain surface moisture. The outbreak had a devastatingly high case-fatality rate for hospitalized patients. However, there were up to 180,000 infected mildly ill or asymptomatic people within highly affected areas. Soil type data may add specificity to climate-based forecasting models for RVF.
In December 2006, Rift Valley fever (RVF) was diagnosed in humans in Garissa Hospital, Kenya and an outbreak reported affecting 11 districts. Entomologic surveillance was performed in four districts to determine the epidemic/epizootic vectors of RVF virus (RVFV). Approximately 297,000 mosquitoes were collected, 164,626 identified to species, 72,058 sorted into 3,003 pools and tested for RVFV by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Seventy-seven pools representing 10 species tested positive for RVFV, including Aedes mcintoshi/circumluteolus (26 pools), Aedes ochraceus (23 pools), Mansonia uniformis (15 pools); Culex poicilipes, Culex bitaeniorhynchus (3 pools each); Anopheles squamosus, Mansonia africana (2 pools each); Culex quinquefasciatus, Culex univittatus, Aedes pembaensis (1 pool each). Positive Ae. pembaensis, Cx. univittatus, and Cx. bitaeniorhynchus was a first time observation. Species composition, densities, and infection varied among districts supporting hypothesis that different mosquito species serve as epizootic/epidemic vectors of RVFV in diverse ecologies, creating a complex epidemiologic pattern in East Africa.
Historical outbreaks of Rift Valley fever (RVF) since the early 1950s have been associated with cyclical patterns of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon, which results in elevated and widespread rainfall over the RVF endemic areas of Africa. Using satellite measurements of global and regional elevated sea surface temperatures, elevated rainfall, and satellite derived-normalized difference vegetation index data, we predicted with lead times of 2–4 months areas where outbreaks of RVF in humans and animals were expected and occurred in the Horn of Africa, Sudan, and Southern Africa at different time periods from September 2006 to March 2008. Predictions were confirmed by entomological field investigations of virus activity and by reported cases of RVF in human and livestock populations. This represents the first series of prospective predictions of RVF outbreaks and provides a baseline for improved early warning, control, response planning, and mitigation into the future.
In January 2007, an outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF) was detected among humans in northern Tanzania districts. By the end of the outbreak in June, 2007, 511 suspect RVF cases had been recorded from 10 of the 21 regions of Tanzania, with laboratory confirmation of 186 cases and another 123 probable cases. All confirmed RVF cases were located in the north-central and southern regions of the country, with an eventual fatality rate of 28.2% (N = 144). All suspected cases had fever; 89% had encephalopathy, 10% hemorrhage, and 3% retinopathy. A total of 169 (55%) of the 309 confirmed or probable cases were also positive for malaria as detected by peripheral blood smear. In a cohort of 20 RVF cases with known outcome that were also positive for human immunodeficiency virus, 15 (75%) died. Contact with sick animals and animal products, including blood, meat, and milk, were identified as major risk factors of acquiring RVF.