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1.  Human–Bat Interactions in Rural West Africa 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2015;21(8):1418-1421.
Because some bats host viruses with zoonotic potential, we investigated human–bat interactions in rural Ghana during 2011–2012. Nearly half (46.6%) of respondents regularly visited bat caves; 37.4% had been bitten, scratched, or exposed to bat urine; and 45.6% ate bat meat. Human–bat interactions in rural Ghana are frequent and diverse.
PMCID: PMC4517717  PMID: 26177344
bats; virus reservoir; Ebola; SARS; severe acute respiratory syndrome; MERS; Middle East respiratory syndrome; Nipah; viruses; West Africa; zoonoses
2.  Risk factors associated with hepatitis B exposure and the reliability of five rapid kits commonly used for screening blood donors in Ghana 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:873.
Hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) is one of the most widespread, chronic viral infections in sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of South America. Therefore, efforts are being made to implement strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of hepatitis B viral infections. One route of HBV transmission is through unsafe blood transfusion, which could occur from the use of less sensitive laboratory diagnostic kits. Information on the sensitivity and specificity of these kits is however limited in many developing countries. This study was therefore performed to describe the prevalence of HBV infections and also to evaluate the performance of five rapid immunochromatographic kits commonly used in Ghana.
A cross-sectional study was designed to describe the prevalence of HBsAg infection and also evaluate the performance of rapid kits used for screening hepatitis B in the northern part of Ghana.
A total of 164 prospective blood donors were enrolled in this study from January 2012 to December 2013. The overall true prevalence of HBsAg was 14.6 (95% CI = 9.6 – 21.0). There was no significant association between transmission related factors and HBV infection. The specificities of all five rapid kits were above 97%, however the sensitivities and Youden’s indexes were below 60%. A comparison of the reported kit sensitivities to those generated by this study showed significant difference with the study results being lower than the ones reported in the kit literature.
Our study has shown that rapid HBsAg kits on the Ghanaian markets may not be helpful for screening blood donor samples. We therefore recommend the use of commercially available enzyme linked immunosorbent assays.
PMCID: PMC4295511  PMID: 25475050
Hepatitis B virus infections; Immunochromatographic kit; Sensitivity and specificity; Blood donor samples; Ghana
3.  Human Coronaviruses Associated with Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Three Rural Areas of Ghana 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e99782.
Acute respiratory tract infections (ARI) are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developing countries, especially in Africa. This study sought to determine whether human coronaviruses (HCoVs) are associated with upper respiratory tract infections among older children and adults in Ghana.
We conducted a case control study among older children and adults in three rural areas of Ghana using asymptomatic subjects as controls. Nasal/Nasopharyngeal swabs were tested for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), HCoV-22E, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-HKU1 using Reverse Transcriptase Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction.
Out of 1,213 subjects recruited, 150 (12.4%) were positive for one or more viruses. Of these, single virus detections occurred in 146 subjects (12.0%) and multiple detections occurred in 4 (0.3%). Compared with control subjects, infections with HCoV-229E (OR = 5.15, 95%CI = 2.24–11.78), HCoV-OC43 (OR = 6.16, 95%CI = 1.77–21.65) and combine HCoVs (OR = 2.36, 95%CI = 1.5 = 3.72) were associated with upper respiratory tract infections. HCoVs were found to be seasonally dependent with significant detections in the harmattan season (mainly HCoV-229E) and wet season (mainly HCoV-NL63). A comparison of the obtained sequences resulted in no differences to sequences already published in GenBank.
HCoVs could play significant role in causing upper respiratory tract infections among adults and older children in rural areas of Ghana.
PMCID: PMC4117488  PMID: 25080241
4.  Human Betacoronavirus 2c EMC/2012–related Viruses in Bats, Ghana and Europe 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2013;19(3):456-459.
We screened fecal specimens of 4,758 bats from Ghana and 272 bats from 4 European countries for betacoronaviruses. Viruses related to the novel human betacoronavirus EMC/2012 were detected in 46 (24.9%) of 185 Nycteris bats and 40 (14.7%) of 272 Pipistrellus bats. Their genetic relatedness indicated EMC/2012 originated from bats.
PMCID: PMC3647674  PMID: 23622767
Africa; Europe; Ghana; coronavirus; bats; human betacoronavirus; CoV-EMC; viruses
5.  Aetiological agents of cerebrospinal meningitis: a retrospective study from a teaching hospital in Ghana 
Meningitis is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in low-resource settings. In sub-Saharan Africa, the meningitis belt has been characterized by particularly high and seasonal incidences of bacterial meningitis extending throughout life. Despite the progress being made in treating the condition, the mortality rates continue to be high, ranging between 2% and 30% globally. In Ghana, the mortality rate of meningitis has been estimated to range from 36% to 50%. However little information is available on the pathogens contributing to meningitis and their antimicrobial susceptibilities. Updated information is essential to adjust the recommendations for empirical treatment or prevention of meningitis which could have immense implications for local and global health.
We retrospectively reviewed laboratory records of all patients suspected of bacterial meningitis who underwent a lumbar puncture from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2010. Data were retrieved from laboratory record books and double entered into a Microsoft® excel spreadsheet.
Records of 4,955 cerebrospinal fluid samples were analysed. Of these, 163 (3.3%, 95%CI: 2.8% to 3.8%) were confirmed meningitis and 106 (2.1%, 95%CI: 1.7% to 2.6%) were probable meningitis cases. Confirmed meningitis cases were made up of 117 (71.8%) culture positive bacteria, 19 (11.7%) culture positive Cryptococcus neoformans and 27(16.6%) Gram positive bacteria with negative culture. The most prevalent bacteria was Streptococcus pneumoniae 91 (77.7%), followed by E.coli 4 (3.4%), Salmonella species 4 (3.4%), Neisseria meningitidis 3 (2.5%), Pseudomonas species 3(2.5%) and others. Pneumococcal isolates susceptibility to penicillin, chloramphenicol and ceftriaxone were 98.9% (95%CI: 94.0% to 100.0%), 83.0% (95%CI: 73.4% to 90.1%) and 100.0% (95%CI: 95.8% to 100.0%) respectively.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important cause of meningitis among all age groups and its susceptibility to penicillin and ceftriaxone still remains very high. Ghanaians of all ages and possibly other developing countries in the meningitis belt could benefit from the use of the pneumococcal vaccine. Other bacterial and fungal pathogens should also be considered in the management of patients presenting with meningitis.
PMCID: PMC3473245  PMID: 23035960
Meningitis; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Cryptococcus neoformans; Ghana
6.  Respiratory viruses in children hospitalized for acute lower respiratory tract infection in Ghana 
Virology Journal  2012;9:78.
Acute respiratory tract infections are one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality among young children in developing countries. Information on the viral aetiology of acute respiratory infections in developing countries is very limited. The study was done to identify viruses associated with acute lower respiratory tract infection among children less than 5 years.
Nasopharyngeal samples and blood cultures were collected from children less than 5 years who have been hospitalized for acute lower respiratory tract infection. Viruses and bacteria were identified using Reverse Transcriptase Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction and conventional biochemical techniques.
Out of 128 patients recruited, 33(25.88%%, 95%CI: 18.5% to 34.2%) were positive for one or more viruses. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) was detected in 18(14.1%, 95%CI: 8.5% to 21.3%) patients followed by Adenoviruses (AdV) in 13(10.2%, 95%CI: 5.5% to 16.7%), Parainfluenza (PIV type: 1, 2, 3) in 4(3.1%, 95%CI: 0.9% to 7.8%) and influenza B viruses in 1(0.8%, 95%CI: 0.0 to 4.3). Concomitant viral and bacterial co-infection occurred in two patients. There were no detectable significant differences in the clinical signs, symptoms and severity for the various pathogens isolated. A total of 61.1% (22/36) of positive viruses were detected during the rainy season and Respiratory Syncytial Virus was the most predominant.
The study has demonstrated an important burden of respiratory viruses as major causes of childhood acute respiratory infection in a tertiary health institution in Ghana. The data addresses a need for more studies on viral associated respiratory tract infection.
PMCID: PMC3364910  PMID: 22490115
Respiratory Viruses; Hospitalized children; Real-Time PCR
7.  Hepatitis B and C viral infections among blood donors. A retrospective study from a rural community of Ghana 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:529.
Infection by Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) cause serious mortality, morbidity and financial burden and are thus a major global health problem. The study was conducted to investigate the prevalence of Hepatitis B and C infections and co-infections among blood donors in a rural community of Ghana.
This was a retrospective study conducted at the Agogo Presbyterian Hospital in the Asanti Akim North District of Ghana to investigate the prevalence of these infections over a three year period among 2773 blood donors. Males constituted a larger proportion of the study population (92.2%). Majority of the study population (43.9%) were within 26-35 age group. The disease prevalence was calculated at a 95% confidence interval.
The prevalence of Hepatitis B viral (HBV) infection was highest in females- 21.4% (95% CI: 11.6-34.4) in 2006 than males in the same year- 13.2% (95% CI: 10.8-15.9). Hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection was highest among males- 11.6% (95% CI: 9.5-13.8) in 2007. HBV and HCV co-infection was higher in males- 2.6% (95% CI: 1.6-3.8) than females- 1.3% (95% CI: 0-7.0) in 2007. The overall prevalence of HBV and HCV was 13.8% (95% CI: 11.4- 16.4) and 9.4% (95% CI: 7.4-11.6) respectively in 2006. The rate of co-infection of HBV and HCV however increased from 1.6% (95% CI: 0.8-2.7) in 2006 to 2.2% (95% CI: 1.3-3.2) in 2008 in males and from 0% (95% CI: 0-6.4) in 2006 to 1.2% (95% CI: 0-6.5) in 2008 in females.
The single infections of HBV and HCV reduced but co-infection of these transfusion transmitted infections increased. Measures such as more sensitive techniques for effective diagnosis and sanitary education to enlighten the population must be implemented.
PMCID: PMC3259119  PMID: 22152159

Results 1-7 (7)