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1.  An increase in the burden of neonatal admissions to a rural district hospital in Kenya over 19 years 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:591.
Background
Most of the global neonatal deaths occur in developing nations, mostly in rural homes. Many of the newborns who receive formal medical care are treated in rural district hospitals and other peripheral health centres. However there are no published studies demonstrating trends in neonatal admissions and outcome in rural health care facilities in resource poor regions. Such information is critical in planning public health interventions. In this study we therefore aimed at describing the pattern of neonatal admissions to a Kenyan rural district hospital and their outcome over a 19 year period, examining clinical indicators of inpatient neonatal mortality and also trends in utilization of a rural hospital for deliveries.
Methods
Prospectively collected data on neonates is compared to non-neonatal paediatric (≤ 5 years old) admissions and deliveries' in the maternity unit at Kilifi District Hospital from January 1st 1990 up to December 31st 2008, to document the pattern of neonatal admissions, deliveries and changes in inpatient deaths. Trends were examined using time series models with likelihood ratios utilised to identify indicators of inpatient neonatal death.
Results
The proportion of neonatal admissions of the total paediatric ≤ 5 years admissions significantly increased from 11% in 1990 to 20% by 2008 (trend 0.83 (95% confidence interval 0.45 -1.21). Most of the increase in burden was from neonates born in hospital and very young neonates aged < 7days. Hospital deliveries also increased significantly. Clinical diagnoses of neonatal sepsis, prematurity, neonatal jaundice, neonatal encephalopathy, tetanus and neonatal meningitis accounted for over 75% of the inpatient neonatal admissions. Inpatient case fatality for all ≤ 5 years declined significantly over the 19 years. However, neonatal deaths comprised 33% of all inpatient death among children aged ≤ 5 years in 1990, this increased to 55% by 2008. Tetanus 256/390 (67%), prematurity 554/1,280(43%) and neonatal encephalopathy 253/778(33%) had the highest case fatality. A combination of six indicators: irregular respiration, oxygen saturation of <90%, pallor, neck stiffness, weight < 1.5 kg, and abnormally elevated blood glucose > 7 mmol/l predicted inpatient neonatal death with a sensitivity of 81% and a specificity of 68%.
Conclusions
There is clear evidence of increasing burden in neonatal admissions at a rural district hospital in contrast to reducing numbers of non-neonatal paediatrics' admissions aged ≤ 5years. Though the inpatient case fatality for all admissions aged ≤ 5 years declined significantly, neonates now comprise close to 60% of all inpatient deaths. Simple indicators may identify neonates at risk of death.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-591
PMCID: PMC2965720  PMID: 20925939
2.  Evaluation of psychometric properties and factorial structure of the pre-school child behaviour checklist at the Kenyan Coast 
Background
Behavioural/emotional problems may be common in preschool children living in resource-poor settings, but assessment of these problems in preschool children from poor areas is challenging owing to lack of appropriate behavioural screening tools. The child behaviour checklist (CBCL) is widely known for its reliability in identifying behavioural/emotional problems in preschool children, but it has not been validated for use in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods
With permission from developers of CBCL, we translated this tool into Ki-Swahili and adapted the items to make them culturally appropriate and contextually relevant and examined the psychometric properties of the CBCL, particularly reliability, validity and factorial structure in a Kenyan community preschool sample of 301 children. It was also re-administered after 2 weeks to 38 randomly selected respondents, for the purpose of evaluating retest reliability. To evaluate inter-informant reliability, the CBCL was administered to 46 respondents (17 alternative caretakers and 29 fathers) alongside the child’s mother. Generalised linear model was used to measure associations with behavioural/emotional scores. We used structural equation modelling to perform a confirmatory factor analysis to examine the seven-syndrome CBCL structure.
Results
During the first phase we found that most of the items could be adequately translated and easily understood by the participants. The inter-informant agreement for CBCL scores was excellent between the mothers and other caretakers [Pearson’s correlation coefficient (r) = 0.89, p < 0.001] and fathers (r = 0.81; p < 0.001). The test–retest reliability was acceptable (r = 0.76; p < 0.001). The scale internal consistency coefficients were excellent for total problems [Cronbach’s alpha (α) = 0.95] and between good and excellent for most CBCL sub-scales (α = 0.65–0.86). Behavioural/emotional scores were associated with pregnancy complications [adjusted beta coefficient (β) = 0.44 (95 % CI, 0.07–0.81)] and adverse perinatal events [β = 0.61 (95 % CI, 0.09–1.13)] suggesting discriminant validity of the CBCL. Most fit indices for the seven-syndrome CBCL structure were within acceptable range, being <0.09 for root mean squared error of approximation and >0.90 for Tucker–Lewis Index and Comparative Fit Index.
Conclusion
The CBCL has good psychometric properties and the seven-syndrome structure fits well with the Kenyan preschool children suggesting it can be used to assess behavioural/emotional problems in this rural area.
doi:10.1186/s13034-015-0089-9
PMCID: PMC4719674  PMID: 26793272
Child Behaviour Checklist; Factor analysis; Psychometric properties; Preschool children; Kenya
3.  ‘Everyone has a secret they keep close to their hearts’: challenges faced by adolescents living with HIV infection at the Kenyan coast 
BMC Public Health  2016;16:197.
Background
The upsurge in the uptake of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has led to a significant increase in the survival of vertically acquired HIV infected children, many of whom are currently living into adolescence and early adulthood. However little if anything is known of the lived experiences and the challenges faced by HIV positive adolescents in the African context. We set out to investigate psychosocial challenges faced by HIV infected adolescents on the Kenyan coast.
Methods
A total of 44 participants (12 HIV-infected adolescents, 7 HIV uninfected adolescents, and 25 key informants) took part in this qualitative study, using individually administered in-depth interviews. A framework approach was used to analyze the data using NVIVO software.
Results
We observed that the challenges faced by adolescents in rural Kenya could be placed into six major themes: poverty, poor mental and physical health, the lack of a school system that is responsive to their needs, challenges in how to disclose to peers and family members, high levels of stigma in its various forms, and challenges of medical adherence leading to the need for close monitoring.
Conclusion
In this African community, vertically acquired HIV-infected adolescents face a complex set of social, economic and medical challenges. Our study points to the urgent need to develop multisectorial intervention support programmes to fully address these challenges.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-016-2854-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12889-016-2854-y
PMCID: PMC4772469  PMID: 26927422
HIV; Adolescents; In-depth interviews; Kenya
4.  Bacteraemia in sickle cell anaemia is associated with low haemoglobin: a report of 890 admissions to a tertiary hospital in Tanzania 
British Journal of Haematology  2015;171(2):273-276.
Summary
Bacteraemia is a leading cause of morbidity in sickle cell anaemia (SCA), but information from studies in Africa is limited. We evaluated 890 admissions from 648 SCA patients at a tertiary hospital in Tanzania. Bacteraemia was present in 43 admissions (4·8%); isolates included Staphylococcus aureus (12/43; 28%), non‐Typhi Salmonella (9/43; 21%), Streptococcus pneumoniae (3/43; 7%) and Salmonella Typhi (2/43; 5%). Compared to SCA patients without bacteraemia, SCA patients with bacteraemia had significantly lower haemoglobin [71 g/l vs. 62 g/l, odds ratio 0·72 (95% confidence interval 0·56–0·91), P < 0·01]. Further exploration is needed of the relationship between anaemia and bacterial infections in SCA in Africa.
doi:10.1111/bjh.13553
PMCID: PMC4744759  PMID: 26084722
bacteraemia; sickle cell anaemia; haemoglobin; admission; Africa
5.  Electroencephalographic features of convulsive epilepsy in Africa: A multicentre study of prevalence, pattern and associated factors 
Clinical Neurophysiology  2016;127(2):1099-1107.
Highlights
•Electroencephalographic abnormalities are common in Africans with epilepsy, with an adjusted prevalence of 2.7 (95% confidence interval, 2.5–2.9) per 1000 population.•Electroencephalographic abnormalities are associated with preventable factors such as adverse perinatal events and frequent seizures.•Electroencephalography is helpful in identifying focal epilepsy in Africa, where timing of focal aetiologies is problematic and there is a lack of neuroimaging services.
Objective
We investigated the prevalence and pattern of electroencephalographic (EEG) features of epilepsy and the associated factors in Africans with active convulsive epilepsy (ACE).
Methods
We characterized electroencephalographic features and determined associated factors in a sample of people with ACE in five African sites. Mixed-effects modified Poisson regression model was used to determine factors associated with abnormal EEGs.
Results
Recordings were performed on 1426 people of whom 751 (53%) had abnormal EEGs, being an adjusted prevalence of 2.7 (95% confidence interval (95% CI), 2.5–2.9) per 1000. 52% of the abnormal EEG had focal features (75% with temporal lobe involvement). The frequency and pattern of changes differed with site. Abnormal EEGs were associated with adverse perinatal events (risk ratio (RR) = 1.19 (95% CI, 1.07–1.33)), cognitive impairments (RR = 1.50 (95% CI, 1.30–1.73)), use of anti-epileptic drugs (RR = 1.25 (95% CI, 1.05–1.49)), focal seizures (RR = 1.09 (95% CI, 1.00–1.19)) and seizure frequency (RR = 1.18 (95% CI, 1.10–1.26) for daily seizures; RR = 1.22 (95% CI, 1.10–1.35) for weekly seizures and RR = 1.15 (95% CI, 1.03–1.28) for monthly seizures)).
Conclusions
EEG abnormalities are common in Africans with epilepsy and are associated with preventable risk factors.
Significance
EEG is helpful in identifying focal epilepsy in Africa, where timing of focal aetiologies is problematic and there is a lack of neuroimaging services.
doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2015.07.033
PMCID: PMC4725253  PMID: 26337840
Electroencephalographic features; Active convulsive epilepsy; Risk factors; Africa
6.  Intramuscular Artesunate for Severe Malaria in African Children: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2016;13(1):e1001938.
Background
Current artesunate (ARS) regimens for severe malaria are complex. Once daily intramuscular (i.m.) injection for 3 d would be simpler and more appropriate for remote health facilities than the current WHO-recommended regimen of five intravenous (i.v.) or i.m. injections over 4 d. We compared both a three-dose i.m. and a three-dose i.v. parenteral ARS regimen with the standard five-dose regimen using a non-inferiority design (with non-inferiority margins of 10%).
Methods and Findings
This randomized controlled trial included children (0.5–10 y) with severe malaria at seven sites in five African countries to assess whether the efficacy of simplified three-dose regimens is non-inferior to a five-dose regimen. We randomly allocated 1,047 children to receive a total dose of 12 mg/kg ARS as either a control regimen of five i.m. injections of 2.4 mg/kg (at 0, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h) (n = 348) or three injections of 4 mg/kg (at 0, 24, and 48 h) either i.m. (n = 348) or i.v. (n = 351), both of which were the intervention arms. The primary endpoint was the proportion of children with ≥99% reduction in parasitemia at 24 h from admission values, measured by microscopists who were blinded to the group allocations. Primary analysis was performed on the per-protocol population, which was 96% of the intention-to-treat population. Secondary analyses included an analysis of host and parasite genotypes as risks for prolongation of parasite clearance kinetics, measured every 6 h, and a Kaplan–Meier analysis to compare parasite clearance kinetics between treatment groups. A post hoc analysis was performed for delayed anemia, defined as hemoglobin ≤ 7g/dl 7 d or more after admission.
The per-protocol population was 1,002 children (five-dose i.m.: n = 331; three-dose i.m.: n = 338; three-dose i.v.: n = 333); 139 participants were lost to follow-up. In the three-dose i.m. arm, 265/338 (78%) children had a ≥99% reduction in parasitemia at 24 h compared to 263/331 (79%) receiving the five-dose i.m. regimen, showing non-inferiority of the simplified three-dose regimen to the conventional five-dose regimen (95% CI −7, 5; p = 0.02). In the three-dose i.v. arm, 246/333 (74%) children had ≥99% reduction in parasitemia at 24 h; hence, non-inferiority of this regimen to the five-dose control regimen was not shown (95% CI −12, 1; p = 0.24). Delayed parasite clearance was associated with the N86YPfmdr1 genotype. In a post hoc analysis, 192/885 (22%) children developed delayed anemia, an adverse event associated with increased leukocyte counts. There was no observed difference in delayed anemia between treatment arms.
A potential limitation of the study is its open-label design, although the primary outcome measures were assessed in a blinded manner.
Conclusions
A simplified three-dose i.m. regimen for severe malaria in African children is non-inferior to the more complex WHO-recommended regimen. Parenteral ARS is associated with a risk of delayed anemia in African children.
Trial registration
Pan African Clinical Trials Registry PACTR201102000277177
In a randomized trial, Sanjeev Krishna and colleagues test for non-inferiority of a simplified artemisinin regimen as treatment for malaria in a low-resource setting.
Editors' Summary
Background
Globally, about 200 million cases of malaria—a mosquito-borne parasitic disease—occur every year. Malaria infections, which can be caused by several parasites, can be “uncomplicated” or “severe.” Prompt treatment of uncomplicated malaria, which presents with flu-like symptoms, is essential to prevent the development of severe malaria. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) for the first-line treatment of uncomplicated malaria in countries where the disease is always present. In ACT, artemisinin derivatives (fast-acting antimalarial drugs that are cleared rapidly from the body) are combined with a slower-acting, more slowly eliminated partner drug to prevent the original infection recurring and to reduce the risk of the malaria parasites becoming resistant to either drug. Severe malaria, which is usually caused by Plasmodium falciparum, is characterized by anemia and by damage to the brain and other organs. Severe malaria kills more than 400,000 people (mainly young children living in sub-Saharan Africa) every year.
Why Was This Study Done?
WHO recommends that severe malaria be treated with intravenous or intramuscular injections of artesunate, a parenteral (injectable) form of artemisinin; patients with severe malaria cannot take pills reliably or safely. Specifically, WHO recommends that patients be given 2.4 mg of artesunate per kilogram of body weight intravenously or intramuscularly at the time of admission (0 hours) and at 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours (followed by ACT to ensure full parasite clearance). But this five-dose regimen is complex. A simpler regimen would be easier to administer in resource-limited settings, where giving the correct doses on time to small, sick children can be challenging. In this open-label, non-inferiority randomized controlled trial (RCT), the researchers investigate the efficacy of a three-dose artesunate regimen for the treatment of severe malaria in African children. RCTs compare outcomes in people randomly chosen to receive different interventions; in an open-label RCT, both the researchers and the participants know which treatment is being given; a non-inferiority trial investigates whether one treatment is not worse than another treatment.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly allocated 1,047 children aged six months to ten years with severe malaria attending seven clinical centers in five African countries to receive a total dose of 12 mg of artesunate per kilogram of body weight as five intramuscular injections of 2.4 mg/kg given at 0, 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours (the control regimen) or as three intramuscular or intravenous injections of 4 mg/kg given at 0, 12, and 24 hours (three-dose intramuscular and intravenous regimens, respectively). The trial’s primary endpoint was the proportion of children whose parasitemia (parasite count in the blood) at 24 hours was ≤1% of that at admission (in other words, ≥99% parasite clearance). Among the 1,002 children who received the planned drug doses (the per-protocol population), 78% in the three-dose intramuscular group had ≥99% parasite clearance compared to 79% in the five-dose intramuscular group, a result that met a preset criterion for non-inferiority at 24 hours of the three-dose intramuscular regimen to the control regimen. However, because only 74% of the children in the three-dose intravenous group had ≥99% parasite clearance, this regimen was not shown to be non-inferior to the conventional five-dose regimen.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings when combined with the findings of several secondary analyses suggest that, in African children, a three-dose intramuscular artesunate regimen is non-inferior to the WHO-recommended regimen for the treatment of severe malaria. The study’s open-label design may limit the accuracy of its findings, as may its use of a primary endpoint midway through drug treatment rather than at the end (the researchers note that 60% of deaths from severe malaria occur during the first 24 hours of illness and that parasitemia is harder to measure later during treatment) and its use of parasite clearance rather than death as the primary endpoint (case fatality rates in severe malaria treatment trials are very low, so a much larger study would be needed if death were used as the primary endpoint). Overall, these findings support the use of the three-dose intramuscular artesunate regimen for the treatment of severe malaria. Importantly, however, 22% of the children in the study developed delayed anemia, irrespective of treatment regimen. Thus, although further studies are needed to clarify whether treatment with artesunate or the malaria infection itself was responsible for the delayed anemia, patients treated with artesunate for severe malaria should be routinely monitored for this complication.
Additional Information
This list of resources contains links that can be accessed when viewing the PDF on a device or via the online version of the article at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001938.
Information is available from the World Health Organization on malaria (in several languages); the World Malaria Report 2014 provides details of the current global malaria situation, including information on malaria in individual African countries; WHO’s Guidelines for the Treatment of Malaria and its Management of Severe Malaria: A Practical Handbook are available
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on malaria (in English and Spanish), including personal stories about malaria
The UK National Health Service Choices website also provides information about malaria, including a personal story
Information is available from the Roll Back Malaria Partnership on the global control of malaria
The Scientists Against Malaria collaboration applies modern drug design and modeling techniques to develop new treatments against malaria; its website includes information about many aspects of malaria
Public Health England provides a collection of guidance and research and analysis on malaria
MedlinePlus provides links to additional information on malaria (in English and Spanish)
More information about this trial is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001938
PMCID: PMC4710539  PMID: 26757276
7.  Differing Methods and Definitions Influence DALY estimates: Using Population-Based Data to Calculate the Burden of Convulsive Epilepsy in Rural South Africa 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(12):e0145300.
Background
The disability adjusted life year (DALY) is a composite measure of disease burden that includes both morbidity and mortality, and is relevant to conditions such as epilepsy that can limit productive functioning. The 2010 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study introduced a number of new methods and definitions, including a prevalence-based approach and revised disability weights to calculate morbidity and new standard life expectancies to calculate premature mortality. We used these approaches, and local, population-based data, to estimate the burden of convulsive epilepsy in rural South Africa.
Methods & Findings
Comprehensive prevalence, incidence and mortality data on convulsive epilepsy were collected within the Agincourt sub-district in rural northeastern South Africa between 2008 and 2012. We estimated DALYs using both prevalence- and incidence-based approaches for calculating years of life lived with disability. Additionally, we explored how changing the disease model by varying the disability weights influenced DALY estimates. Using the prevalence-based approach, convulsive epilepsy in Agincourt resulted in 332 DALYs (95% uncertainty interval (UI): 216–455) and 4.1 DALYs per 1,000 individuals (95%UI: 2.7–5.7) annually. Of this, 26% was due to morbidity while 74% was due to premature mortality. DALYs increased by 10% when using the incidence-based method. Varying the disability weight from 0.072 (treated epilepsy, seizure free) to 0.657 (severe epilepsy) caused years lived with disability to increase from 18 (95%UI: 16–19) to 161 (95%UI: 143–170).
Conclusions
DALY estimates are influenced by both the methods applied and population parameters used in the calculation. Irrespective of method, a significant burden of epilepsy is due to premature mortality in rural South Africa, with a lower burden than rural Kenya. Researchers and national policymakers should carefully interrogate the methods and data used to calculate DALYs as this will influence policy priorities and resource allocation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145300
PMCID: PMC4689490  PMID: 26697856
8.  Prevalence and factors associated with convulsive status epilepticus in Africans with epilepsy 
Neurology  2015;84(18):1838-1845.
Objective:
We conducted a community survey to estimate the prevalence and describe the features, risk factors, and consequences of convulsive status epilepticus (CSE) among people with active convulsive epilepsy (ACE) identified in a multisite survey in Africa.
Methods:
We obtained clinical histories of CSE and neurologic examination data among 1,196 people with ACE identified from a population of 379,166 people in 3 sites: Agincourt, South Africa; Iganga-Mayuge, Uganda; and Kilifi, Kenya. We performed serologic assessment for the presence of antibodies to parasitic infections and HIV and determined adherence to antiepileptic drugs. Consequences of CSE were assessed using a questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to identify risk factors.
Results:
The adjusted prevalence of CSE in ACE among the general population across the 3 sites was 2.3 per 1,000, and differed with site (p < 0.0001). Over half (55%) of CSE occurred in febrile illnesses and focal seizures were present in 61%. Risk factors for CSE in ACE were neurologic impairments, acute encephalopathy, previous hospitalization, and presence of antibody titers to falciparum malaria and HIV; these differed across sites. Burns (15%), lack of education (49%), being single (77%), and unemployment (78%) were common in CSE; these differed across the 3 sites. Nine percent with and 10% without CSE died.
Conclusions:
CSE is common in people with ACE in Africa; most occurs with febrile illnesses, is untreated, and has focal features suggesting preventable risk factors. Effective prevention and the management of infections and neurologic impairments may reduce the burden of CSE in ACE.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000001542
PMCID: PMC4433462  PMID: 25841025
9.  Differential Plasmodium falciparum surface antigen expression among children with Malarial Retinopathy 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:18034.
Retinopathy provides a window into the underlying pathology of life-threatening malarial coma (“cerebral malaria”), allowing differentiation between 1) coma caused by sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes in the brain and 2) coma with other underlying causes. Parasite sequestration in the brain is mediated by PfEMP1; a diverse parasite antigen that is inserted into the surface of infected erythrocytes and adheres to various host receptors. PfEMP1 sub-groups called “DC8” and “DC13” have been proposed to cause brain pathology through interactions with endothelial protein C receptor. To test this we profiled PfEMP1 gene expression in parasites from children with clinically defined cerebral malaria, who either had or did not have accompanying retinopathy. We found no evidence for an elevation of DC8 or DC13 PfEMP1 expression in children with retinopathy. However, the proportional expression of a broad subgroup of PfEMP1 called “group A” was elevated in retinopathy patients suggesting that these variants may play a role in the pathology of cerebral malaria. Interventions targeting group A PfEMP1 may be effective at reducing brain pathology.
doi:10.1038/srep18034
PMCID: PMC4677286  PMID: 26657042
10.  Changes in health in England, with analysis by English regions and areas of deprivation, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 
Newton, John N | Briggs, Adam D M | Murray, Christopher J L | Dicker, Daniel | Foreman, Kyle J | Wang, Haidong | Naghavi, Mohsen | Forouzanfar, Mohammad H | Ohno, Summer Lockett | Barber, Ryan M | Vos, Theo | Stanaway, Jeffrey D | Schmidt, Jürgen C | Hughes, Andrew J | Fay, Derek F J | Ecob, Russell | Gresser, Charis | McKee, Martin | Rutter, Harry | Abubakar, Ibrahim | Ali, Raghib | Anderson, H Ross | Banerjee, Amitava | Bennett, Derrick A | Bernabé, Eduardo | Bhui, Kamaldeep S | Biryukov, Stanley M | Bourne, Rupert R | Brayne, Carol E G | Bruce, Nigel G | Brugha, Traolach S | Burch, Michael | Capewell, Simon | Casey, Daniel | Chowdhury, Rajiv | Coates, Matthew M | Cooper, Cyrus | Critchley, Julia A | Dargan, Paul I | Dherani, Mukesh K | Elliott, Paul | Ezzati, Majid | Fenton, Kevin A | Fraser, Maya S | Fürst, Thomas | Greaves, Felix | Green, Mark A | Gunnell, David J | Hannigan, Bernadette M | Hay, Roderick J | Hay, Simon I | Hemingway, Harry | Larson, Heidi J | Looker, Katharine J | Lunevicius, Raimundas | Lyons, Ronan A | Marcenes, Wagner | Mason-Jones, Amanda J | Matthews, Fiona E | Moller, Henrik | Murdoch, Michele E | Newton, Charles R | Pearce, Neil | Piel, Frédéric B | Pope, Daniel | Rahimi, Kazem | Rodriguez, Alina | Scarborough, Peter | Schumacher, Austin E | Shiue, Ivy | Smeeth, Liam | Tedstone, Alison | Valabhji, Jonathan | Williams, Hywel C | Wolfe, Charles D A | Woolf, Anthony D | Davis, Adrian C J
Lancet (London, England)  2015;386(10010):2257-2274.
Summary
Background
In the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (GBD 2013), knowledge about health and its determinants has been integrated into a comparable framework to inform health policy. Outputs of this analysis are relevant to current policy questions in England and elsewhere, particularly on health inequalities. We use GBD 2013 data on mortality and causes of death, and disease and injury incidence and prevalence to analyse the burden of disease and injury in England as a whole, in English regions, and within each English region by deprivation quintile. We also assess disease and injury burden in England attributable to potentially preventable risk factors. England and the English regions are compared with the remaining constituent countries of the UK and with comparable countries in the European Union (EU) and beyond.
Methods
We extracted data from the GBD 2013 to compare mortality, causes of death, years of life lost (YLLs), years lived with a disability (YLDs), and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) in England, the UK, and 18 other countries (the first 15 EU members [apart from the UK] and Australia, Canada, Norway, and the USA [EU15+]). We extended elements of the analysis to English regions, and subregional areas defined by deprivation quintile (deprivation areas). We used data split by the nine English regions (corresponding to the European boundaries of the Nomenclature for Territorial Statistics level 1 [NUTS 1] regions), and by quintile groups within each English region according to deprivation, thereby making 45 regional deprivation areas. Deprivation quintiles were defined by area of residence ranked at national level by Index of Multiple Deprivation score, 2010. Burden due to various risk factors is described for England using new GBD methodology to estimate independent and overlapping attributable risk for five tiers of behavioural, metabolic, and environmental risk factors. We present results for 306 causes and 2337 sequelae, and 79 risks or risk clusters.
Findings
Between 1990 and 2013, life expectancy from birth in England increased by 5·4 years (95% uncertainty interval 5·0–5·8) from 75·9 years (75·9–76·0) to 81·3 years (80·9–81·7); gains were greater for men than for women. Rates of age-standardised YLLs reduced by 41·1% (38·3–43·6), whereas DALYs were reduced by 23·8% (20·9–27·1), and YLDs by 1·4% (0·1–2·8). For these measures, England ranked better than the UK and the EU15+ means. Between 1990 and 2013, the range in life expectancy among 45 regional deprivation areas remained 8·2 years for men and decreased from 7·2 years in 1990 to 6·9 years in 2013 for women. In 2013, the leading cause of YLLs was ischaemic heart disease, and the leading cause of DALYs was low back and neck pain. Known risk factors accounted for 39·6% (37·7–41·7) of DALYs; leading behavioural risk factors were suboptimal diet (10·8% [9·1–12·7]) and tobacco (10·7% [9·4–12·0]).
Interpretation
Health in England is improving although substantial opportunities exist for further reductions in the burden of preventable disease. The gap in mortality rates between men and women has reduced, but marked health inequalities between the least deprived and most deprived areas remain. Declines in mortality have not been matched by similar declines in morbidity, resulting in people living longer with diseases. Health policies must therefore address the causes of ill health as well as those of premature mortality. Systematic action locally and nationally is needed to reduce risk exposures, support healthy behaviours, alleviate the severity of chronic disabling disorders, and mitigate the effects of socioeconomic deprivation.
Funding
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Public Health England.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00195-6
PMCID: PMC4672153  PMID: 26382241
12.  Parents’ and Professionals’ Perceptions on Causes and Treatment Options for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in a Multicultural Context on the Kenyan Coast 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0132729.
Objective
To explore parents’ and professionals’ perceived causes and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) on the Kenyan Coast.
Methods
In-depth interviews and focus group discussions using guiding questions were utilized in data collection. One hundred and three participants, who included parents of children with ASD, special needs teachers, clinicians, and social workers from diverse cultural background, participated in this study. The interviews and focus groups were recorded, transcribed verbatim and then translated to English. Themes were generated using content analysis.
Results
Preternatural causes were mentioned and included evil spirits, witchcraft, and curses. Biomedical causes comprised infections, drug abuse, birth complications, malnutrition, and genetic related problems. Treatment varied from traditional and spiritual healing to modern treatment in health facilities, and included consultations with traditional healers, offering prayers to God, and visits to hospitals.
Conclusions
The results suggest that regardless of cultural backgrounds, people on the Kenyan Coast have similar views on perceived causes and treatment of ASD. These findings provide valuable conceptual understanding for professionals when planning and implementing community based rehabilitation interventions targeting children with ASD within a local context.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132729
PMCID: PMC4534101  PMID: 26267668
13.  Incidence, Remission and Mortality of Convulsive Epilepsy in Rural Northeast South Africa 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0129097.
Background
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological conditions globally, estimated to constitute 0.75% of the global burden of disease, with the majority of this burden found in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs). Few studies from LMICs, including much of sub-Saharan Africa, have described the incidence, remission or mortality rates due to epilepsy, which are needed to quantify the burden and inform policy. This study investigates the epidemiological parameters of convulsive epilepsy within a context of high HIV prevalence and an emerging burden of cardiovascular disease.
Methods
A cross-sectional population survey of 82,818 individuals, in the Agincourt Health and Socio-demographic Surveillance Site (HDSS) in rural northeast South Africa was conducted in 2008, from which 296 people were identified with active convulsive epilepsy. A follow-up survey was conducted in 2012. Incidence and mortality rates were estimated, with duration and remission rates calculated using the DISMOD II software package.
Results
The crude incidence for convulsive epilepsy was 17.4/100,000 per year (95%CI: 13.1-23.0). Remission was 4.6% and 3.9% per year for males and females, respectively. The standardized mortality ratio was 2.6 (95%CI: 1.7-3.5), with 33.3% of deaths directly related to epilepsy. Mortality was higher in men than women (adjusted rate ratio (aRR) 2.6 (95%CI: 1.2-5.4)), and was significantly associated with older ages (50+ years versus those 0-5 years old (RR 4.8 (95%CI: 0.6-36.4)).
Conclusions
The crude incidence was lower whilst mortality rates were similar to other African studies; however, this study found higher mortality amongst older males. Efforts aimed at further understanding what causes epilepsy in older people and developing interventions to reduce prolonged seizures are likely to reduce the overall burden of ACE in rural South Africa.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0129097
PMCID: PMC4459982  PMID: 26053071
14.  Incidence and Risk Factors for Neonatal Tetanus in Admissions to Kilifi County Hospital, Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0122606.
Background
Neonatal Tetanus (NT) is a preventable cause of mortality and neurological sequelae that occurs at higher incidence in resource-poor countries, presumably because of low maternal immunisation rates and unhygienic cord care practices. We aimed to determine changes in the incidence of NT, characterize and investigate the associated risk factors and mortality in a prospective cohort study including all admissions over a 15-year period at a County hospital on the Kenyan coast, a region with relatively high historical NT rates within Kenya.
Methods
We assessed all neonatal admissions to Kilifi County Hospital in Kenya (1999–2013) and identified cases of NT (standard clinical case definition) admitted during this time. Poisson regression was used to examine change in incidence of NT using accurate denominator data from an area of active demographic surveillance. Logistic regression was used to investigate the risk factors for NT and factors associated with mortality in NT amongst neonatal admissions. A subset of sera from mothers (n = 61) and neonates (n = 47) were tested for anti-tetanus antibodies.
Results
There were 191 NT admissions, of whom 187 (98%) were home deliveries. Incidence of NT declined significantly (Incidence Rate Ratio: 0.85 (95% Confidence interval 0.81–0.89), P<0.001) but the case fatality (62%) did not change over the study period (P = 0.536). Younger infant age at admission (P = 0.001) was the only independent predictor of mortality. Compared to neonatal hospital admittee controls, the proportion of home births was higher among the cases. Sera tested for antitetanus antibodies showed most mothers (50/61, 82%) had undetectable levels of antitetanus antibodies, and most (8/9, 89%) mothers with detectable antibodies had a neonate without protective levels.
Conclusions
Incidence of NT in Kilifi County has significantly reduced, with reductions following immunisation campaigns. Our results suggest immunisation efforts are effective if sustained and efforts should continue to expand coverage.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122606
PMCID: PMC4388671  PMID: 25849440
15.  Caregiver Perceptions of Children who have Complex Communication Needs Following a Home-based Intervention Using Augmentative and Alternative Communication in Rural Kenya: An Intervention Note 
A high level of unmet communication need exists amongst children with developmental disabilities in sub-Saharan Africa. This study investigated preliminary evidence of the impact associated with a home-based, caregiver-implemented intervention employing AAC methods, with nine children in rural Kenya who have complex communication needs. The intervention used mainly locally-sourced low-tech materials, and was designed to make use of the child's strengths and the caregiver's natural expertise. A pretest-posttest design was used in the study. Data were gathered using an adapted version of the Communication Profile, which was based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) framework. The non-parametric Wilcoxon signed-rank test was applied to data from the first two sections of the Communication Profile-Adapted. Qualitative analysis was conducted on the final section. The data provided evidence of statistically significant positive changes in caregiver perceptions of communication at the levels of Body Structure and Function, and Activities for Communication. Also, analysis of the Participation for Communication section revealed some expansion to the children's social activities. The potential impact of the home-based intervention would benefit from investigation on a larger scale. Limitations of the study are discussed.
doi:10.3109/07434618.2014.970294
PMCID: PMC4364268  PMID: 25379627
Low-income country; Developmental condition; Home-based intervention; Augmentative and alternative communication
16.  Child Neurology Services in Africa 
Journal of child neurology  2011;26(12):1555-1563.
The first African Child Neurology Association meeting identified key challenges that the continent faces to improve the health of children with neurology disorders. The capacity to diagnose common neurologic conditions and rare disorders is lacking. The burden of neurologic disease on the continent is not known, and this lack of knowledge limits the ability to lobby for better health care provision. Inability to practice in resource-limited settings has led to the migration of skilled professionals away from Africa. Referral systems from primary to tertiary are often unpredictable and chaotic. There is a lack of access to reliable supplies of basic neurology treatments such as antiepileptic drugs. Few countries have nationally accepted guidelines either for the management of epilepsy or status epilepticus. There is a great need to develop better training capacity across Africa in the recognition and management of neurologic conditions in children, from primary health care to the subspecialist level.
doi:10.1177/0883073811420601
PMCID: PMC3672989  PMID: 22019842
Africa; child neurology; resources
17.  Global, regional, and national levels and causes of maternal mortality during 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 
Kassebaum, Nicholas J | Bertozzi-Villa, Amelia | Coggeshall, Megan S | Shackelford, Katya A | Steiner, Caitlyn | Heuton, Kyle R | Gonzalez-Medina, Diego | Barber, Ryan | Huynh, Chantal | Dicker, Daniel | Templin, Tara | Wolock, Timothy M | Ozgoren, Ayse Abbasoglu | Abd-Allah, Foad | Abera, Semaw Ferede | Abubakar, Ibrahim | Achoki, Tom | Adelekan, Ademola | Ademi, Zanfina | Adou, Arsène Kouablan | Adsuar, José C | Agardh, Emilie E | Akena, Dickens | Alasfoor, Deena | Alemu, Zewdie Aderaw | Alfonso-Cristancho, Rafael | Alhabib, Samia | Ali, Raghib | Al Kahbouri, Mazin J | Alla, François | Allen, Peter J | AlMazroa, Mohammad A | Alsharif, Ubai | Alvarez, Elena | Alvis-Guzmán, Nelson | Amankwaa, Adansi A | Amare, Azmeraw T | Amini, Hassan | Ammar, Walid | Antonio, Carl A T | Anwari, Palwasha | Ärnlöv, Johan | Arsenijevic, Valentina S Arsic | Artaman, Ali | Asad, Majed Masoud | Asghar, Rana J | Assadi, Reza | Atkins, Lydia S | Badawi, Alaa | Balakrishnan, Kalpana | Basu, Arindam | Basu, Sanjay | Beardsley, Justin | Bedi, Neeraj | Bekele, Tolesa | Bell, Michelle L | Bernabe, Eduardo | Beyene, Tariku J | Bhutta, Zulfiqar | Abdulhak, Aref Bin | Blore, Jed D | Basara, Berrak Bora | Bose, Dipan | Breitborde, Nicholas | Cárdenas, Rosario | Castañeda-Orjuela, Carlos A | Castro, Ruben Estanislao | Catalá-López, Ferrán | Cavlin, Alanur | Chang, Jung-Chen | Che, Xuan | Christophi, Costas A | Chugh, Sumeet S | Cirillo, Massimo | Colquhoun, Samantha M | Cooper, Leslie Trumbull | Cooper, Cyrus | da Costa Leite, Iuri | Dandona, Lalit | Dandona, Rakhi | Davis, Adrian | Dayama, Anand | Degenhardt, Louisa | De Leo, Diego | del Pozo-Cruz, Borja | Deribe, Kebede | Dessalegn, Muluken | deVeber, Gabrielle A | Dharmaratne, Samath D | Dilmen, Uğur | Ding, Eric L | Dorrington, Rob E | Driscoll, Tim R | Ermakov, Sergei Petrovich | Esteghamati, Alireza | Faraon, Emerito Jose A | Farzadfar, Farshad | Felicio, Manuela Mendonca | Fereshtehnejad, Seyed-Mohammad | de Lima, Graça Maria Ferreira | Forouzanfar, Mohammad H | França, Elisabeth B | Gaffikin, Lynne | Gambashidze, Ketevan | Gankpé, Fortuné Gbètoho | Garcia, Ana C | Geleijnse, Johanna M | Gibney, Katherine B | Giroud, Maurice | Glaser, Elizabeth L | Goginashvili, Ketevan | Gona, Philimon | González-Castell, Dinorah | Goto, Atsushi | Gouda, Hebe N | Gugnani, Harish Chander | Gupta, Rahul | Gupta, Rajeev | Hafezi-Nejad, Nima | Hamadeh, Randah Ribhi | Hammami, Mouhanad | Hankey, Graeme J | Harb, Hilda L | Havmoeller, Rasmus | Hay, Simon I | Heredia Pi, Ileana B | Hoek, Hans W | Hosgood, H Dean | Hoy, Damian G | Husseini, Abdullatif | Idrisov, Bulat T | Innos, Kaire | Inoue, Manami | Jacobsen, Kathryn H | Jahangir, Eiman | Jee, Sun Ha | Jensen, Paul N | Jha, Vivekanand | Jiang, Guohong | Jonas, Jost B | Juel, Knud | Kabagambe, Edmond Kato | Kan, Haidong | Karam, Nadim E | Karch, André | Karema, Corine Kakizi | Kaul, Anil | Kawakami, Norito | Kazanjan, Konstantin | Kazi, Dhruv S | Kemp, Andrew H | Kengne, Andre Pascal | Kereselidze, Maia | Khader, Yousef Saleh | Khalifa, Shams Eldin Ali Hassan | Khan, Ejaz Ahmed | Khang, Young-Ho | Knibbs, Luke | Kokubo, Yoshihiro | Kosen, Soewarta | Defo, Barthelemy Kuate | Kulkarni, Chanda | Kulkarni, Veena S | Kumar, G Anil | Kumar, Kaushalendra | Kumar, Ravi B | Kwan, Gene | Lai, Taavi | Lalloo, Ratilal | Lam, Hilton | Lansingh, Van C | Larsson, Anders | Lee, Jong-Tae | Leigh, James | Leinsalu, Mall | Leung, Ricky | Li, Xiaohong | Li, Yichong | Li, Yongmei | Liang, Juan | Liang, Xiaofeng | Lim, Stephen S | Lin, Hsien-Ho | Lipshultz, Steven E | Liu, Shiwei | Liu, Yang | Lloyd, Belinda K | London, Stephanie J | Lotufo, Paulo A | Ma, Jixiang | Ma, Stefan | Machado, Vasco Manuel Pedro | Mainoo, Nana Kwaku | Majdan, Marek | Mapoma, Christopher Chabila | Marcenes, Wagner | Marzan, Melvin Barrientos | Mason-Jones, Amanda J | Mehndiratta, Man Mohan | Mejia-Rodriguez, Fabiola | Memish, Ziad A | Mendoza, Walter | Miller, Ted R | Mills, Edward J | Mokdad, Ali H | Mola, Glen Liddell | Monasta, Lorenzo | de la Cruz Monis, Jonathan | Hernandez, Julio Cesar Montañez | Moore, Ami R | Moradi-Lakeh, Maziar | Mori, Rintaro | Mueller, Ulrich O | Mukaigawara, Mitsuru | Naheed, Aliya | Naidoo, Kovin S | Nand, Devina | Nangia, Vinay | Nash, Denis | Nejjari, Chakib | Nelson, Robert G | Neupane, Sudan Prasad | Newton, Charles R | Ng, Marie | Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark J | Nisar, Muhammad Imran | Nolte, Sandra | Norheim, Ole F | Nyakarahuka, Luke | Oh, In-Hwan | Ohkubo, Takayoshi | Olusanya, Bolajoko O | Omer, Saad B | Opio, John Nelson | Orisakwe, Orish Ebere | Pandian, Jeyaraj D | Papachristou, Christina | Park, Jae-Hyun | Caicedo, Angel J Paternina | Patten, Scott B | Paul, Vinod K | Pavlin, Boris Igor | Pearce, Neil | Pereira, David M | Pesudovs, Konrad | Petzold, Max | Poenaru, Dan | Polanczyk, Guilherme V | Polinder, Suzanne | Pope, Dan | Pourmalek, Farshad | Qato, Dima | Quistberg, D Alex | Rafay, Anwar | Rahimi, Kazem | Rahimi-Movaghar, Vafa | Rahman, Sajjad ur | Raju, Murugesan | Rana, Saleem M | Refaat, Amany | Ronfani, Luca | Roy, Nobhojit | Sánchez Pimienta, Tania Georgina | Sahraian, Mohammad Ali | Salomon, Joshua A | Sampson, Uchechukwu | Santos, Itamar S | Sawhney, Monika | Sayinzoga, Felix | Schneider, Ione J C | Schumacher, Austin | Schwebel, David C | Seedat, Soraya | Sepanlou, Sadaf G | Servan-Mori, Edson E | Shakh-Nazarova, Marina | Sheikhbahaei, Sara | Shibuya, Kenji | Shin, Hwashin Hyun | Shiue, Ivy | Sigfusdottir, Inga Dora | Silberberg, Donald H | Silva, Andrea P | Singh, Jasvinder A | Skirbekk, Vegard | Sliwa, Karen | Soshnikov, Sergey S | Sposato, Luciano A | Sreeramareddy, Chandrashekhar T | Stroumpoulis, Konstantinos | Sturua, Lela | Sykes, Bryan L | Tabb, Karen M | Talongwa, Roberto Tchio | Tan, Feng | Teixeira, Carolina Maria | Tenkorang, Eric Yeboah | Terkawi, Abdullah Sulieman | Thorne-Lyman, Andrew L | Tirschwell, David L | Towbin, Jeffrey A | Tran, Bach X | Tsilimbaris, Miltiadis | Uchendu, Uche S | Ukwaja, Kingsley N | Undurraga, Eduardo A | Uzun, Selen Begüm | Vallely, Andrew J | van Gool, Coen H | Vasankari, Tommi J | Vavilala, Monica S | Venketasubramanian, N | Villalpando, Salvador | Violante, Francesco S | Vlassov, Vasiliy Victorovich | Vos, Theo | Waller, Stephen | Wang, Haidong | Wang, Linhong | Wang, XiaoRong | Wang, Yanping | Weichenthal, Scott | Weiderpass, Elisabete | Weintraub, Robert G | Westerman, Ronny | Wilkinson, James D | Woldeyohannes, Solomon Meseret | Wong, John Q | Wordofa, Muluemebet Abera | Xu, Gelin | Yang, Yang C | Yano, Yuichiro | Yentur, Gokalp Kadri | Yip, Paul | Yonemoto, Naohiro | Yoon, Seok-Jun | Younis, Mustafa Z | Yu, Chuanhua | Jin, Kim Yun | El SayedZaki, Maysaa | Zhao, Yong | Zheng, Yingfeng | Zhou, Maigeng | Zhu, Jun | Zou, Xiao Nong | Lopez, Alan D | Naghavi, Mohsen | Murray, Christopher J L | Lozano, Rafael
Lancet  2014;384(9947):980-1004.
Summary
Background
The fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG 5) established the goal of a 75% reduction in the maternal mortality ratio (MMR; number of maternal deaths per 100 000 livebirths) between 1990 and 2015. We aimed to measure levels and track trends in maternal mortality, the key causes contributing to maternal death, and timing of maternal death with respect to delivery.
Methods
We used robust statistical methods including the Cause of Death Ensemble model (CODEm) to analyse a database of data for 7065 site-years and estimate the number of maternal deaths from all causes in 188 countries between 1990 and 2013. We estimated the number of pregnancy-related deaths caused by HIV on the basis of a systematic review of the relative risk of dying during pregnancy for HIV-positive women compared with HIV-negative women. We also estimated the fraction of these deaths aggravated by pregnancy on the basis of a systematic review. To estimate the numbers of maternal deaths due to nine different causes, we identified 61 sources from a systematic review and 943 site-years of vital registration data. We also did a systematic review of reports about the timing of maternal death, identifying 142 sources to use in our analysis. We developed estimates for each country for 1990–2013 using Bayesian meta-regression. We estimated 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs) for all values.
Findings
292 982 (95% UI 261 017–327 792) maternal deaths occurred in 2013, compared with 376 034 (343 483–407 574) in 1990. The global annual rate of change in the MMR was −0·3% (−1·1 to 0·6) from 1990 to 2003, and −2·7% (−3·9 to −1·5) from 2003 to 2013, with evidence of continued acceleration. MMRs reduced consistently in south, east, and southeast Asia between 1990 and 2013, but maternal deaths increased in much of sub-Saharan Africa during the 1990s. 2070 (1290–2866) maternal deaths were related to HIV in 2013, 0·4% (0·2–0·6) of the global total. MMR was highest in the oldest age groups in both 1990 and 2013. In 2013, most deaths occurred intrapartum or postpartum. Causes varied by region and between 1990 and 2013. We recorded substantial variation in the MMR by country in 2013, from 956·8 (685·1–1262·8) in South Sudan to 2·4 (1·6–3·6) in Iceland.
Interpretation
Global rates of change suggest that only 16 countries will achieve the MDG 5 target by 2015. Accelerated reductions since the Millennium Declaration in 2000 coincide with increased development assistance for maternal, newborn, and child health. Setting of targets and associated interventions for after 2015 will need careful consideration of regions that are making slow progress, such as west and central Africa.
Funding
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60696-6
PMCID: PMC4255481  PMID: 24797575
18.  The INTERGROWTH-21st Project Neurodevelopment Package: A Novel Method for the Multi-Dimensional Assessment of Neurodevelopment in Pre-School Age Children 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113360.
Background
The International Fetal and Newborn Growth Consortium for the 21st Century (INTERGROWTH-21st) Project is a population-based, longitudinal study describing early growth and development in an optimally healthy cohort of 4607 mothers and newborns. At 24 months, children are assessed for neurodevelopmental outcomes with the INTERGROWTH-21st Neurodevelopment Package. This paper describes neurodevelopment tools for preschoolers and the systematic approach leading to the development of the Package.
Methods
An advisory panel shortlisted project-specific criteria (such as multi-dimensional assessments and suitability for international populations) to be fulfilled by a neurodevelopment instrument. A literature review of well-established tools for preschoolers revealed 47 candidates, none of which fulfilled all the project's criteria. A multi-dimensional assessment was, therefore, compiled using a package-based approach by: (i) categorizing desired outcomes into domains, (ii) devising domain-specific criteria for tool selection, and (iii) selecting the most appropriate measure for each domain.
Results
The Package measures vision (Cardiff tests); cortical auditory processing (auditory evoked potentials to a novelty oddball paradigm); and cognition, language skills, behavior, motor skills and attention (the INTERGROWTH-21st Neurodevelopment Assessment) in 35–45 minutes. Sleep-wake patterns (actigraphy) are also assessed. Tablet-based applications with integrated quality checks and automated, wireless electroencephalography make the Package easy to administer in the field by non-specialist staff. The Package is in use in Brazil, India, Italy, Kenya and the United Kingdom.
Conclusions
The INTERGROWTH-21st Neurodevelopment Package is a multi-dimensional instrument measuring early child development (ECD). Its developmental approach may be useful to those involved in large-scale ECD research and surveillance efforts.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113360
PMCID: PMC4244160  PMID: 25423589
19.  Burden of epilepsy in rural Kenya measured in disability-adjusted life years 
Epilepsia  2014;55(10):1626-1633.
Objectives
The burden of epilepsy, in terms of both morbidity and mortality, is likely to vary depending on the etiology (primary [genetic/unknown] vs. secondary [structural/metabolic]) and with the use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). We estimated the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and modeled the remission rates of active convulsive epilepsy (ACE) using epidemiologic data collected over the last decade in rural Kilifi, Kenya.
Methods
We used measures of prevalence, incidence, and mortality to model the remission of epilepsy using disease-modeling software (DisMod II). DALYs were calculated as the sum of Years Lost to Disability (YLD) and Years of Life Lost (YLL) due to premature death using the prevalence approach, with disability weights (DWs) from the 2010 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. DALYs were calculated with R statistical software with the associated uncertainty intervals (UIs) computed by bootstrapping.
Results
A total of 1,005 (95% UI 797–1,213) DALYs were lost to ACE, which is 433 (95% UI 393–469) DALYs lost per 100,000 people. Twenty-six percent (113/100,000/year, 95% UI 106–117) of the DALYs were due to YLD and 74% (320/100,000/year, 95% UI 248–416) to YLL. Primary epilepsy accounted for fewer DALYs than secondary epilepsy (98 vs. 334 DALYs per 100,000 people). Those taking AEDs contributed fewer DALYs than those not taking AEDs (167 vs. 266 DALYs per 100,000 people). The proportion of people with ACE in remission per year was estimated at 11.0% in males and 12.0% in females, with highest rates in the 0–5 year age group.
Significance
The DALYs for ACE are high in rural Kenya, but less than the estimates of 2010 GBD study. Three-fourths of DALYs resulted from secondary epilepsy. Use of AEDs was associated with 40% reduction of DALYs. Improving adherence to AEDs may reduce the burden of epilepsy in this area.
doi:10.1111/epi.12741
PMCID: PMC4238788  PMID: 25131901
Burden; Disability-adjusted life years; Epilepsy; Remission; Treatment gap
20.  Evaluation of Kilifi Epilepsy Education Programme: A randomized controlled trial 
Epilepsia  2014;55(2):344-352.
Objectives
The epilepsy treatment gap is largest in resource-poor countries. We evaluated the efficacy of a 1-day health education program in a rural area of Kenya. The primary outcome was adherence to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) as measured by drug levels in the blood, and the secondary outcomes were seizure frequency and Kilifi Epilepsy Beliefs and Attitudes Scores (KEBAS).
Methods
Seven hundred thirty-eight people with epilepsy (PWE) and their designated supporter were randomized to either the intervention (education) or nonintervention group. Data were collected at baseline and 1 year after the education intervention was administered to the intervention group. There were 581 PWE assessed at both time points. At the end of the study, 105 PWE from the intervention group and 86 from the nonintervention group gave blood samples, which were assayed for the most commonly used AEDs (phenobarbital, phenytoin, and carbamazepine). The proportions of PWE with detectable AED levels were determined using a standard blood assay method. The laboratory technicians conducting the assays were blinded to the randomization. Secondary outcomes were evaluated using questionnaires administered by trained field staff. Modified Poisson regression was used to investigate the factors associated with improved adherence (transition from nonoptimal AED level in blood at baseline to optimal levels at follow-up), reduced seizures, and improved KEBAS, which was done as a post hoc analysis. This trial is registered in ISRCTN register under ISRCTN35680481.
Results
There was no significant difference in adherence to AEDs based on detectable drug levels (odds ratio [OR] 1.46, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.74–2.90, p = 0.28) or by self-reports (OR 1.00, 95% CI 0.71–1.40, p = 1.00) between the intervention and nonintervention group. The intervention group had significantly fewer beliefs about traditional causes of epilepsy, cultural treatment, and negative stereotypes than the nonintervention group. There was no difference in seizure frequency. A comparison of the baseline and follow-up data showed a significant increase in adherence—intervention group (36–81% [p < 0.001]) and nonintervention group (38–74% [p < 0.001])—using detectable blood levels. The number of patients with less frequent seizures (≤3 seizures in the last 3 months) increased in the intervention group (62–80% [p = 0.002]) and in the nonintervention group (67–75% [p = 0.04]). Improved therapeutic adherence (observed in both groups combined) was positively associated with positive change in beliefs about risks of epilepsy (relative risk [RR] 2.00, 95% CI 1.03–3.95) and having nontraditional religious beliefs (RR 2.01, 95% CI 1.01–3.99). Reduced seizure frequency was associated with improved adherence (RR 1.72, 95% CI 1.19–2.47). Positive changes in KEBAS were associated with having tertiary education as compared to none (RR 1.09, 95% CI 1.05–1.14).
Significance
Health education improves knowledge about epilepsy, but once only contact does not improve adherence. However, sustained education may improve adherence in future studies.
doi:10.1111/epi.12498
PMCID: PMC4233970  PMID: 24447063
Epilepsy; Education intervention; Adherence; Beliefs about epilepsy; Seizure frequency
21.  Global, regional, and national incidence and mortality for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria during 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 
Murray, Christopher J L | Ortblad, Katrina F | Guinovart, Caterina | Lim, Stephen S | Wolock, Timothy M | Roberts, D Allen | Dansereau, Emily A | Graetz, Nicholas | Barber, Ryan M | Brown, Jonathan C | Wang, Haidong | Duber, Herbert C | Naghavi, Mohsen | Dicker, Daniel | Dandona, Lalit | Salomon, Joshua A | Heuton, Kyle R | Foreman, Kyle | Phillips, David E | Fleming, Thomas D | Flaxman, Abraham D | Phillips, Bryan K | Johnson, Elizabeth K | Coggeshall, Megan S | Abd-Allah, Foad | Ferede, Semaw | Abraham, Jerry P | Abubakar, Ibrahim | Abu-Raddad, Laith J | Abu-Rmeileh, Niveen Me | Achoki, Tom | Adeyemo, Austine Olufemi | Adou, Arsène Kouablan | Adsuar, José C | Agardh, Emilie Elisabet | Akena, Dickens | Al Kahbouri, Mazin J | Alasfoor, Deena | Albittar, Mohammed I | Alcalá-Cerra, Gabriel | Alegretti, Miguel Angel | Alemu, Zewdie Aderaw | Alfonso-Cristancho, Rafael | Alhabib, Samia | Ali, Raghib | Alla, Francois | Allen, Peter J | Alsharif, Ubai | Alvarez, Elena | Alvis-Guzman, Nelson | Amankwaa, Adansi A | Amare, Azmeraw T | Amini, Hassan | Ammar, Walid | Anderson, Benjamin O | Antonio, Carl Abelardo T | Anwari, Palwasha | Ärnlöv, Johan | Arsenijevic, Valentina S Arsic | Artaman, Ali | Asghar, Rana J | Assadi, Reza | Atkins, Lydia S | Badawi, Alaa | Balakrishnan, Kalpana | Banerjee, Amitava | Basu, Sanjay | Beardsley, Justin | Bekele, Tolesa | Bell, Michelle L | Bernabe, Eduardo | Beyene, Tariku Jibat | Bhala, Neeraj | Bhalla, Ashish | Bhutta, Zulfiqar A | Abdulhak, Aref Bin | Binagwaho, Agnes | Blore, Jed D | Basara, Berrak Bora | Bose, Dipan | Brainin, Michael | Breitborde, Nicholas | Castañeda-Orjuela, Carlos A | Catalá-López, Ferrán | Chadha, Vineet K | Chang, Jung-Chen | Chiang, Peggy Pei-Chia | Chuang, Ting-Wu | Colomar, Mercedes | Cooper, Leslie Trumbull | Cooper, Cyrus | Courville, Karen J | Cowie, Benjamin C | Criqui, Michael H | Dandona, Rakhi | Dayama, Anand | De Leo, Diego | Degenhardt, Louisa | Del Pozo-Cruz, Borja | Deribe, Kebede | Jarlais, Don C Des | Dessalegn, Muluken | Dharmaratne, Samath D | Dilmen, Uğur | Ding, Eric L | Driscoll, Tim R | Durrani, Adnan M | Ellenbogen, Richard G | Ermakov, Sergey Petrovich | Esteghamati, Alireza | Faraon, Emerito Jose A | Farzadfar, Farshad | Fereshtehnejad, Seyed-Mohammad | Fijabi, Daniel Obadare | Forouzanfar, Mohammad H | Paleo, Urbano Fra. | Gaffikin, Lynne | Gamkrelidze, Amiran | Gankpé, Fortuné Gbètoho | Geleijnse, Johanna M | Gessner, Bradford D | Gibney, Katherine B | Ginawi, Ibrahim Abdelmageem Mohamed | Glaser, Elizabeth L | Gona, Philimon | Goto, Atsushi | Gouda, Hebe N | Gugnani, Harish Chander | Gupta, Rajeev | Gupta, Rahul | Hafezi-Nejad, Nima | Hamadeh, Randah Ribhi | Hammami, Mouhanad | Hankey, Graeme J | Harb, Hilda L | Haro, Josep Maria | Havmoeller, Rasmus | Hay, Simon I | Hedayati, Mohammad T | Pi, Ileana B Heredia | Hoek, Hans W | Hornberger, John C | Hosgood, H Dean | Hotez, Peter J | Hoy, Damian G | Huang, John J | Iburg, Kim M | Idrisov, Bulat T | Innos, Kaire | Jacobsen, Kathryn H | Jeemon, Panniyammakal | Jensen, Paul N | Jha, Vivekanand | Jiang, Guohong | Jonas, Jost B | Juel, Knud | Kan, Haidong | Kankindi, Ida | Karam, Nadim E | Karch, André | Karema, Corine Kakizi | Kaul, Anil | Kawakami, Norito | Kazi, Dhruv S | Kemp, Andrew H | Kengne, Andre Pascal | Keren, Andre | Kereselidze, Maia | Khader, Yousef Saleh | Khalifa, Shams Eldin Ali Hassan | Khan, Ejaz Ahmed | Khang, Young-Ho | Khonelidze, Irma | Kinfu, Yohannes | Kinge, Jonas M | Knibbs, Luke | Kokubo, Yoshihiro | Kosen, S | Defo, Barthelemy Kuate | Kulkarni, Veena S | Kulkarni, Chanda | Kumar, Kaushalendra | Kumar, Ravi B | Kumar, G Anil | Kwan, Gene F | Lai, Taavi | Balaji, Arjun Lakshmana | Lam, Hilton | Lan, Qing | Lansingh, Van C | Larson, Heidi J | Larsson, Anders | Lee, Jong-Tae | Leigh, James | Leinsalu, Mall | Leung, Ricky | Li, Yichong | Li, Yongmei | De Lima, Graça Maria Ferreira | Lin, Hsien-Ho | Lipshultz, Steven E | Liu, Shiwei | Liu, Yang | Lloyd, Belinda K | Lotufo, Paulo A | Machado, Vasco Manuel Pedro | Maclachlan, Jennifer H | Magis-Rodriguez, Carlos | Majdan, Marek | Mapoma, Christopher Chabila | Marcenes, Wagner | Marzan, Melvin Barrientos | Masci, Joseph R | Mashal, Mohammad Taufiq | Mason-Jones, Amanda J | Mayosi, Bongani M | Mazorodze, Tasara T | Mckay, Abigail Cecilia | Meaney, Peter A | Mehndiratta, Man Mohan | Mejia-Rodriguez, Fabiola | Melaku, Yohannes Adama | Memish, Ziad A | Mendoza, Walter | Miller, Ted R | Mills, Edward J | Mohammad, Karzan Abdulmuhsin | Mokdad, Ali H | Mola, Glen Liddell | Monasta, Lorenzo | Montico, Marcella | Moore, Ami R | Mori, Rintaro | Moturi, Wilkister Nyaora | Mukaigawara, Mitsuru | Murthy, Kinnari S | Naheed, Aliya | Naidoo, Kovin S | Naldi, Luigi | Nangia, Vinay | Narayan, K M Venkat | Nash, Denis | Nejjari, Chakib | Nelson, Robert G | Neupane, Sudan Prasad | Newton, Charles R | Ng, Marie | Nisar, Muhammad Imran | Nolte, Sandra | Norheim, Ole F | Nowaseb, Vincent | Nyakarahuka, Luke | Oh, In-Hwan | Ohkubo, Takayoshi | Olusanya, Bolajoko O | Omer, Saad B | Opio, John Nelson | Orisakwe, Orish Ebere | Pandian, Jeyaraj D | Papachristou, Christina | Caicedo, Angel J Paternina | Patten, Scott B | Paul, Vinod K | Pavlin, Boris Igor | Pearce, Neil | Pereira, David M | Pervaiz, Aslam | Pesudovs, Konrad | Petzold, Max | Pourmalek, Farshad | Qato, Dima | Quezada, Amado D | Quistberg, D Alex | Rafay, Anwar | Rahimi, Kazem | Rahimi-Movaghar, Vafa | Rahman, Sajjad Ur | Raju, Murugesan | Rana, Saleem M | Razavi, Homie | Reilly, Robert Quentin | Remuzzi, Giuseppe | Richardus, Jan Hendrik | Ronfani, Luca | Roy, Nobhojit | Sabin, Nsanzimana | Saeedi, Mohammad Yahya | Sahraian, Mohammad Ali | Samonte, Genesis May J | Sawhney, Monika | Schneider, Ione J C | Schwebel, David C | Seedat, Soraya | Sepanlou, Sadaf G | Servan-Mori, Edson E | Sheikhbahaei, Sara | Shibuya, Kenji | Shin, Hwashin Hyun | Shiue, Ivy | Shivakoti, Rupak | Sigfusdottir, Inga Dora | Silberberg, Donald H | Silva, Andrea P | Simard, Edgar P | Singh, Jasvinder A | Skirbekk, Vegard | Sliwa, Karen | Soneji, Samir | Soshnikov, Sergey S | Sreeramareddy, Chandrashekhar T | Stathopoulou, Vasiliki Kalliopi | Stroumpoulis, Konstantinos | Swaminathan, Soumya | Sykes, Bryan L | Tabb, Karen M | Talongwa, Roberto Tchio | Tenkorang, Eric Yeboah | Terkawi, Abdullah Sulieman | Thomson, Alan J | Thorne-Lyman, Andrew L | Towbin, Jeffrey A | Traebert, Jefferson | Tran, Bach X | Dimbuene, Zacharie Tsala | Tsilimbaris, Miltiadis | Uchendu, Uche S | Ukwaja, Kingsley N | Uzun, Selen Begüm | Vallely, Andrew J | Vasankari, Tommi J | Venketasubramanian, N | Violante, Francesco S | Vlassov, Vasiliy Victorovich | Vollset, Stein Emil | Waller, Stephen | Wallin, Mitchell T | Wang, Linhong | Wang, XiaoRong | Wang, Yanping | Weichenthal, Scott | Weiderpass, Elisabete | Weintraub, Robert G | Westerman, Ronny | White, Richard A | Wilkinson, James D | Williams, Thomas Neil | Woldeyohannes, Solomon Meseret | Wong, John Q | Xu, Gelin | Yang, Yang C | Yano, Yuichiro | Yentur, Gokalp Kadri | Yip, Paul | Yonemoto, Naohiro | Yoon, Seok-Jun | Younis, Mustafa | Yu, Chuanhua | Jin, Kim Yun | El Sayed Zaki, Maysaa | Zhao, Yong | Zheng, Yingfeng | Zhou, Maigeng | Zhu, Jun | Zou, Xiao Nong | Lopez, Alan D | Vos, Theo
Lancet  2014;384(9947):1005-1070.
Summary
Background
The Millennium Declaration in 2000 brought special global attention to HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria through the formulation of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6. The Global Burden of Disease 2013 study provides a consistent and comprehensive approach to disease estimation for between 1990 and 2013, and an opportunity to assess whether accelerated progress has occurred since the Millennium Declaration.
Methods
To estimate incidence and mortality for HIV, we used the UNAIDS Spectrum model appropriately modified based on a systematic review of available studies of mortality with and without antiretroviral therapy (ART). For concentrated epidemics, we calibrated Spectrum models to fit vital registration data corrected for misclassification of HIV deaths. In generalised epidemics, we minimised a loss function to select epidemic curves most consistent with prevalence data and demographic data for all-cause mortality. We analysed counterfactual scenarios for HIV to assess years of life saved through prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and ART. For tuberculosis, we analysed vital registration and verbal autopsy data to estimate mortality using cause of death ensemble modelling. We analysed data for corrected case-notifications, expert opinions on the case-detection rate, prevalence surveys, and estimated cause-specific mortality using Bayesian meta-regression to generate consistent trends in all parameters. We analysed malaria mortality and incidence using an updated cause of death database, a systematic analysis of verbal autopsy validation studies for malaria, and recent studies (2010–13) of incidence, drug resistance, and coverage of insecticide-treated bednets.
Findings
Globally in 2013, there were 1·8 million new HIV infections (95% uncertainty interval 1·7 million to 2·1 million), 29·2 million prevalent HIV cases (28·1 to 31·7), and 1·3 million HIV deaths (1·3 to 1·5). At the peak of the epidemic in 2005, HIV caused 1·7 million deaths (1·6 million to 1·9 million). Concentrated epidemics in Latin America and eastern Europe are substantially smaller than previously estimated. Through interventions including PMTCT and ART, 19·1 million life-years (16·6 million to 21·5 million) have been saved, 70·3% (65·4 to 76·1) in developing countries. From 2000 to 2011, the ratio of development assistance for health for HIV to years of life saved through intervention was US$4498 in developing countries. Including in HIV-positive individuals, all-form tuberculosis incidence was 7·5 million (7·4 million to 7·7 million), prevalence was 11·9 million (11·6 million to 12·2 million), and number of deaths was 1·4 million (1·3 million to 1·5 million) in 2013. In the same year and in only individuals who were HIV-negative, all-form tuberculosis incidence was 7·1 million (6·9 million to 7·3 million), prevalence was 11·2 million (10·8 million to 11·6 million), and number of deaths was 1·3 million (1·2 million to 1·4 million). Annualised rates of change (ARC) for incidence, prevalence, and death became negative after 2000. Tuberculosis in HIV-negative individuals disproportionately occurs in men and boys (versus women and girls); 64·0% of cases (63·6 to 64·3) and 64·7% of deaths (60·8 to 70·3). Globally, malaria cases and deaths grew rapidly from 1990 reaching a peak of 232 million cases (143 million to 387 million) in 2003 and 1·2 million deaths (1·1 million to 1·4 million) in 2004. Since 2004, child deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa have decreased by 31·5% (15·7 to 44·1). Outside of Africa, malaria mortality has been steadily decreasing since 1990.
Interpretation
Our estimates of the number of people living with HIV are 18·7% smaller than UNAIDS’s estimates in 2012. The number of people living with malaria is larger than estimated by WHO. The number of people living with HIV, tuberculosis, or malaria have all decreased since 2000. At the global level, upward trends for malaria and HIV deaths have been reversed and declines in tuberculosis deaths have accelerated. 101 countries (74 of which are developing) still have increasing HIV incidence. Substantial progress since the Millennium Declaration is an encouraging sign of the effect of global action.
Funding
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60844-8
PMCID: PMC4202387  PMID: 25059949
22.  Accuracy of clinical stroke scores for distinguishing stroke subtypes in resource poor settings: A systematic review of diagnostic test accuracy 
Background:
Stroke is the second leading cause of death globally. Computerized tomography is used to distinguish between ischemic and hemorrhagic subtypes, but it is expensive and unavailable in low and middle income countries. Clinical stroke scores are proposed to differentiate between stroke subtypes but their reliability is unknown.
Materials and Methods:
We searched online databases for studies written in English and identified articles using predefined criteria. We considered studies in which the Siriraj, Guy's Hospital, Besson and Greek stroke scores were compared to computerized tomography as the reference standard. We calculated the pooled sensitivity and specificity of the clinical stroke scores using a bivariate mixed effects binomial regression model.
Results:
In meta-analysis, sensitivity and specificity for the Siriraj stroke score, were 0.69 (95% CI 0.62-0.75) and 0.83 (95% CI 0.75-0.88) for ischemic stroke and 0.65 (95% CI 0.56-0.73) and 0.88 (95% CI 0.83-0.91) for hemorrhagic stroke. For the Guy's hospital stroke score overall sensitivity and specificity were 0.70 (95% CI 0.53-0.83) and 0.79 (95% CI 0.68-0.87) for ischemic stroke and 0.54 (95% CI 0.42-0.66) and 0.89 (95% CI 0.83-0.94) for hemorrhagic stroke.
Conclusions:
Clinical stroke scores are not accurate enough for use in clinical or epidemiological settings. Computerized tomography is recommended for differentiating stroke subtypes. Larger studies using different patient populations are required for validation of clinical stroke scores.
doi:10.4103/0976-3147.139966
PMCID: PMC4173228  PMID: 25288833
Besson score; Guy's hospital stroke score; Greek stroke score; Siriraj stroke score; stroke
23.  Risk factors associated with the epilepsy treatment gap in Kilifi, Kenya: a cross-sectional study 
Lancet Neurology  2012;11(8):688-696.
Summary
Background
Many people with epilepsy in low-income countries do not receive appropriate biomedical treatment. This epilepsy treatment gap might be caused by patients not seeking biomedical treatment or not adhering to prescribed antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). We measured the prevalence of and investigated risk factors for the epilepsy treatment gap in rural Kenya.
Methods
All people with active convulsive epilepsy identified during a cross-sectional survey of 232 176 people in Kilifi were approached. The epilepsy treatment gap was defined as the percentage of people with active epilepsy who had not accessed biomedical services or who were not on treatment or were on inadequate treatment. Information about risk factors was obtained through a questionnaire-based interview of sociodemographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, access to health facilities, seizures, stigma, and beliefs and attitudes about epilepsy. The factors associated with people not seeking biomedical treatment and not adhering to AEDs were investigated separately, adjusted for age.
Findings
673 people with epilepsy were interviewed, of whom 499 (74%) reported seeking treatment from a health facility. Blood samples were taken from 502 (75%) people, of whom 132 (26%) reported taking AEDs, but 189 (38%) had AEDs detectable in the blood. The sensitivity and specificity of self-reported adherence compared with AEDs detected in blood were 38·1% (95% CI 31·1–45·4) and 80·8% (76·0–85·0). The epilepsy treatment gap was 62·4% (58·1–66·6). In multivariable analysis, failure to seek biomedical treatment was associated with a patient holding traditional animistic religious beliefs (adjusted odds ratio 1·85, 95% CI 1·11–2·71), reporting negative attitudes about biomedical treatment (0·86, 0·78–0·95), living more than 30 km from health facilities (3·89, 1·77–8·51), paying for AEDs (2·99, 1·82–4·92), having learning difficulties (2·30, 1·29–4·11), having had epilepsy for longer than 10 years (4·60, 2·07–10·23), and having focal seizures (2·28, 1·50–3·47). Reduced adherence was associated with negative attitudes about epilepsy (1·10, 1·03–1·18) and taking of AEDs for longer than 5 years (3·78, 1·79–7·98).
Interpretation
The sensitivity and specificity of self-reported adherence is poor, but on the basis of AED detection in blood almost two-thirds of patients with epilepsy were not on treatment. Education about epilepsy and making AEDs freely available in health facilities near people with epilepsy should be investigated as potential ways to reduce the epilepsy treatment gap.
Funding
Wellcome Trust.
doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(12)70155-2
PMCID: PMC3404220  PMID: 22770914
24.  Retinopathy, histidine-rich protein-2 and perfusion pressure in cerebral malaria 
Brain  2014;137(9):e298.
doi:10.1093/brain/awu144
PMCID: PMC4132642  PMID: 24919968
25.  Exposure to Multiple Parasites Is Associated with the Prevalence of Active Convulsive Epilepsy in Sub-Saharan Africa 
Background
Epilepsy is common in developing countries, and it is often associated with parasitic infections. We investigated the relationship between exposure to parasitic infections, particularly multiple infections and active convulsive epilepsy (ACE), in five sites across sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods and Findings
A case-control design that matched on age and location was used. Blood samples were collected from 986 prevalent cases and 1,313 age-matched community controls and tested for presence of antibodies to Onchocerca volvulus, Toxocara canis, Toxoplasma gondii, Plasmodium falciparum, Taenia solium and HIV. Exposure (seropositivity) to Onchocerca volvulus (OR = 1.98; 95%CI: 1.52–2.58, p<0.001), Toxocara canis (OR = 1.52; 95%CI: 1.23–1.87, p<0.001), Toxoplasma gondii (OR = 1.28; 95%CI: 1.04–1.56, p = 0.018) and higher antibody levels (top tertile) to Toxocara canis (OR = 1.70; 95%CI: 1.30–2.24, p<0.001) were associated with an increased prevalence of ACE. Exposure to multiple infections was common (73.8% of cases and 65.5% of controls had been exposed to two or more infections), and for T. gondii and O. volvulus co-infection, their combined effect on the prevalence of ACE, as determined by the relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI), was more than additive (T. gondii and O. volvulus, RERI = 1.19). The prevalence of T. solium antibodies was low (2.8% of cases and 2.2% of controls) and was not associated with ACE in the study areas.
Conclusion
This study investigates how the degree of exposure to parasites and multiple parasitic infections are associated with ACE and may explain conflicting results obtained when only seropositivity is considered. The findings from this study should be further validated.
Author Summary
The prevalence of epilepsy is greater in developing countries compared to developed countries, and parasitic infestations are thought to contribute to this increased burden. We conducted a case-control study across five sites in sub-Saharan Africa to investigate the relationship between epilepsy and exposure to parasitic infections, and the association between epilepsy and multiple co-incidental infections. Exposure to Onchocerca volvulus, Toxocara canis and Toxoplasma gondii as well as high antibody levels (top tertile) to Toxocara canis was positively associated with the prevalence of active convulsive epilepsy (ACE). Multiple co-incidental parasitic infections were common, and the combined effect of T. gondii and O. volvulus co-infection on ACE was greater than the sum of the individual effects. The contribution of each of these parasitic infections on the burden of epilepsy in sub-Saharan Africa should be explored.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002908
PMCID: PMC4038481  PMID: 24875312

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