Publications by authors named "James A Berkley"

192 Publications

Population-level faecal metagenomic profiling as a tool to predict antimicrobial resistance in isolates causing invasive infections: An exploratory study across Cambodia, Kenya, and the UK.

EClinicalMedicine 2021 Jun 30;36:100910. Epub 2021 May 30.

Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Background: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in is a global health threat. Capacity for individual-level surveillance remains limited in many countries, whilst population-level surveillance approaches could inform empiric antibiotic treatment guidelines.

Methods: In this exploratory study, a novel approach to population-level prediction of AMR in clinical isolates using metagenomic (Illumina) profiling of pooled DNA extracts from human faecal samples was developed and tested. Taxonomic and AMR gene profiles were used to derive taxonomy-adjusted population-level AMR metrics. Bayesian modelling, and model comparison based on cross-validation, were used to evaluate the capacity of each metric to predict the number of resistant invasive infections at a population-level, using available bloodstream/cerebrospinal fluid infection data.

Findings: Population metagenomes comprised samples from 177, 157, and 156 individuals in Kenya, the UK, and Cambodia, respectively, collected between September 2014 and April 2016. Clinical data from independent populations included 910, 3356 and 197 bacterial isolates from blood/cerebrospinal fluid infections in Kenya, the UK and Cambodia, respectively (samples collected between January 2010 and May 2017). were common colonisers and pathogens, and faecal taxonomic/AMR gene distributions and proportions of antimicrobial-resistant infections differed by setting. A model including terms reflecting the metagenomic abundance of the commonest clinical species, and of AMR genes known to either increase the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) or confer clinically-relevant resistance, had a higher predictive performance in determining population-level resistance in clinical isolates compared to models considering only AMR gene information, only taxonomic information, or an intercept-only baseline model (difference in expected log predictive density compared to best model, estimated using leave-one-out cross-validation: intercept-only model = -223 [95% credible interval (CI): -330,-116]; model considering only AMR gene information = -186 [95% CI: -281,-91]; model considering only taxonomic information = -151 [95% CI: -232,-69]).

Interpretation: Whilst our findings are exploratory and require validation, intermittent metagenomics of pooled samples could represent an effective approach for AMR surveillance and to predict population-level AMR in clinical isolates, complementary to ongoing development of laboratory infrastructures processing individual samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100910DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8173267PMC
June 2021

Clinical features of bacterial meningitis among hospitalised children in Kenya.

BMC Med 2021 Jun 4;19(1):122. Epub 2021 Jun 4.

Clinical Research Department, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, P.O. Box 230 80108, Kilifi, Kenya.

Background: Diagnosing bacterial meningitis is essential to optimise the type and duration of antimicrobial therapy to limit mortality and sequelae. In sub-Saharan Africa, many public hospitals lack laboratory capacity, relying on clinical features to empirically treat or not treat meningitis. We investigated whether clinical features of bacterial meningitis identified prior to the introduction of conjugate vaccines still discriminate meningitis in children aged ≥60 days.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study to validate seven clinical features identified in 2002 (KCH-2002): bulging fontanel, neck stiffness, cyanosis, seizures outside the febrile convulsion age range, focal seizures, impaired consciousness, or fever without malaria parasitaemia and Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) signs: neck stiffness, lethargy, impaired consciousness or seizures, and assessed at admission in discriminating bacterial meningitis after the introduction of conjugate vaccines. Children aged ≥60 days hospitalised between 2012 and 2016 at Kilifi County Hospital were included in this analysis. Meningitis was defined as positive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture, organism observed on CSF microscopy, positive CSF antigen test, leukocytes ≥50/μL, or CSF to blood glucose ratio <0.1.

Results: Among 12,837 admissions, 98 (0.8%) had meningitis. The presence of KCH-2002 signs had a sensitivity of 86% (95% CI 77-92) and specificity of 38% (95% CI 37-38). Exclusion of 'fever without malaria parasitaemia' reduced sensitivity to 58% (95% CI 48-68) and increased specificity to 80% (95% CI 79-80). IMCI signs had a sensitivity of 80% (95% CI 70-87) and specificity of 62% (95% CI 61-63).

Conclusions: A lower prevalence of bacterial meningitis and less typical signs than in 2002 meant the lower performance of KCH-2002 signs. Clinicians and policymakers should be aware of the number of lumbar punctures (LPs) or empirical treatments needed for each case of meningitis. Establishing basic capacity for CSF analysis is essential to exclude bacterial meningitis in children with potential signs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-01998-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8176744PMC
June 2021

Systemic inflammation is negatively associated with early post discharge growth following acute illness among severely malnourished children - a pilot study.

Wellcome Open Res 2020 16;5:248. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

The Childhood Acute Illness & Nutrition (CHAIN) Network, Nairobi, Kenya.

Rapid growth should occur among children with severe malnutrition (SM) with medical and nutritional management. Systemic inflammation (SI) is associated with death among children with SM and is negatively associated with linear growth. However, the relationship between SI and weight gain during therapeutic feeding following acute illness is unknown. We hypothesised that growth post-hospital discharge is associated with SI among children with SM. We conducted secondary analysis of data from HIV-uninfected children with SM (n=98) who survived and were not readmitted to hospital during one year of follow-up. We examined the relationship between changes in absolute deficits in weight and mid-upper-arm circumference (MUAC) from enrolment at stabilisation to 60 days and one year later, and untargeted plasma proteome, targeted cytokines/chemokines, leptin, and soluble CD14 using multivariate regularized linear regression. The mean change in absolute deficit in weight and MUAC was -0.50kg (standard deviation; SD±0.69) and -1.20cm (SD±0.89), respectively, from enrolment to 60 days later. During the same period, mean weight and MUAC gain was 3.3g/kg/day (SD±2.4) and 0.22mm/day (SD±0.2), respectively. Enrolment interleukins; IL17-alpha and IL-2, and serum amyloid P were negatively associated with weight and MUAC gain during 60 days. Lipopolysaccharide binding protein and complement component 2 were negatively associated with weight gain only. Leptin was positively associated with weight gain. Soluble CD14, beta-2 microglobulin, and macrophage inflammatory protein 1 beta were negatively associated with MUAC gain only. Glutathione peroxidase 3 was positively associated with weight and MUAC gain during one year. Early post-hospital discharge weight and MUAC gain were rapid and comparable to children with uncomplicated SM treated in the community. Higher concentrations of SI markers were associated with less weight and MUAC gain, suggesting inflammation negatively impacts recovery from wasting. This finding warrants further research on reducing inflammation on growth among children with SM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16330.2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8080977PMC
March 2021

IV and oral fosfomycin pharmacokinetics in neonates with suspected clinical sepsis.

J Antimicrob Chemother 2021 06;76(7):1855-1864

Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, UK.

Background: Fosfomycin has the potential to be re-purposed as part of a combination therapy to treat neonatal sepsis where resistance to current standard of care (SOC) is common. Limited data exist on neonatal fosfomycin pharmacokinetics and estimates of bioavailability and CSF/plasma ratio in this vulnerable population are lacking.

Objectives: To generate data informing the appropriate dosing of IV and oral fosfomycin in neonates using a population pharmacokinetic analysis of plasma and CSF data.

Methods: The NeoFosfo study (NCT03453177) was a randomized trial that examined the safety and pharmacokinetics of fosfomycin comparing SOC versus SOC plus fosfomycin. Sixty-one neonates received fosfomycin (100 mg/kg IV q12h for 48 h) and then they converted to oral therapy at the same dose. Two plasma pharmacokinetic samples were taken following the first IV and oral doses, sample times were randomized to cover the whole pharmacokinetic profile and opportunistic CSF pharmacokinetic samples were collected. A population pharmacokinetic model was developed in NONMEM and simulations were performed.

Results: In total, 238 plasma and 15 CSF concentrations were collected. A two-compartment disposition model, with an additional CSF compartment and first-order absorption, best described the data. Bioavailability was estimated as 0.48 (95% CI = 0.347-0.775) and the CSF/plasma ratio as 0.32 (95% CI = 0.272-0.409). Allometric weight and postmenstrual age (PMA) scaling was applied; additional covariates included postnatal age (PNA) on clearance and CSF protein on CSF/plasma ratio.

Conclusions: Through this analysis a population pharmacokinetic model has been developed that can be used alongside currently available pharmacodynamic targets to select a neonatal fosfomycin dose based on an infant's PMA, PNA and weight.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkab083DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8212774PMC
June 2021

Vulnerability, Agency, and the Research Encounter: Family Members' Experiences and Perceptions of Participating in an Observational Clinical Study in Kenya.

J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics 2021 Jul 25;16(3):238-254. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Health Systems and Research Ethics Department, 285561KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya.

Pediatric clinical research in low-resourced countries involves individuals defined as "vulnerable" in research ethics guidance. Insights from research participants can strengthen the design and oversight of studies. We share family members' perspectives and experiences of an observational clinical study conducted in one Kenyan hospital as part of an integrated empirical ethics study. Employing qualitative methods, we explored how research encounters featured in family members' care-seeking journeys. Our data reveals that children's vulnerability is intricately interwoven with that of their families, and that research processes and procedures can inadvertently add to hidden burdens for families. In research, the potential for layered and intersecting situational and structural vulnerability should be considered, and participants' agency in constrained research contexts actively recognized and protected.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/15562646211005304DOI Listing
July 2021

Fetal cranial growth trajectories are associated with growth and neurodevelopment at 2 years of age: INTERBIO-21st Fetal Study.

Nat Med 2021 04 18;27(4):647-652. Epub 2021 Mar 18.

Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Many observational studies and some randomized trials demonstrate how fetal growth can be influenced by environmental insults (for example, maternal infections) and preventive interventions (for example, multiple-micronutrient supplementation) that can have a long-lasting effect on health, growth, neurodevelopment and even educational attainment and income in adulthood. In a cohort of pregnant women (n = 3,598), followed-up between 2012 and 2019 at six sites worldwide, we studied the associations between ultrasound-derived fetal cranial growth trajectories, measured longitudinally from <14 weeks' gestation, against international standards, and growth and neurodevelopment up to 2 years of age. We identified five trajectories associated with specific neurodevelopmental, behavioral, visual and growth outcomes, independent of fetal abdominal growth, postnatal morbidity and anthropometric measures at birth and age 2. The trajectories, which changed within a 20-25-week gestational age window, were associated with brain development at 2 years of age according to a mirror (positive/negative) pattern, mostly focused on maturation of cognitive, language and visual skills. Further research should explore the potential for preventive interventions in pregnancy to improve infant neurodevelopmental outcomes before the critical window of opportunity that precedes the divergence of growth at 20-25 weeks' gestation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01280-2DOI Listing
April 2021

Association Between Preterm-Birth Phenotypes and Differential Morbidity, Growth, and Neurodevelopment at Age 2 Years: Results From the INTERBIO-21st Newborn Study.

JAMA Pediatr 2021 May;175(5):483-493

Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Importance: The etiologic complexities of preterm birth remain inadequately understood, which may impede the development of better preventative and treatment measures.

Objective: To examine the association between specific preterm-birth phenotypes and clinical, growth, and neurodevelopmental differences among preterm newborns compared with term newborns up to age 2 years.

Design, Setting, And Participants: The INTERBIO-21st study included a cohort of preterm and term newborn singletons enrolled between March 2012 and June 2018 from maternity hospitals in 6 countries worldwide who were followed up from birth to age 2 years. All pregnancies were dated by ultrasonography. Data were analyzed from November 2019 to October 2020.

Exposures/interventions: Preterm-birth phenotypes.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Infant size, health, nutrition, and World Health Organization motor development milestones assessed at ages 1 and 2 years; neurodevelopment evaluated at age 2 years using the INTERGROWTH-21st Neurodevelopment Assessment (INTER-NDA) tool.

Results: A total of 6529 infants (3312 boys [50.7%]) were included in the analysis. Of those, 1381 were preterm births (mean [SD] gestational age at birth, 34.4 [0.1] weeks; 5148 were term births (mean [SD] gestational age at birth, 39.4 [0] weeks). Among 1381 preterm newborns, 8 phenotypes were identified: no main maternal, fetal, or placental condition detected (485 infants [35.1%]); infections (289 infants [20.9%]); preeclampsia (162 infants [11.7%]); fetal distress (131 infants [9.5%]); intrauterine growth restriction (110 infants [8.0%]); severe maternal disease (85 infants [6.2%]); bleeding (71 infants [5.1%]); and congenital anomaly (48 infants [3.5%]). For all phenotypes, a previous preterm birth was a risk factor for recurrence. Each phenotype displayed differences in neonatal morbidity and infant outcomes. For example, infants with the no main condition detected phenotype had low neonatal morbidity but increased morbidity and hospitalization incidence at age 1 year (odds ratio [OR], 2.2; 95% CI, 1.8-2.7). Compared with term newborns, the highest risk of scoring lower than the 10th centile of INTER-NDA normative values was observed in the fine motor development domain among newborns with the fetal distress (OR, 10.6; 95% CI, 5.1-22.2) phenotype.

Conclusions And Relevance: Results of this study suggest that phenotypic classification may provide a better understanding of the etiologic factors and mechanisms associated with preterm birth than continuing to consider it an exclusively time-based entity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.6087DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7922239PMC
May 2021

Gender-related influences on adherence to advice and treatment-seeking guidance for infants and young children post-hospital discharge in Bangladesh.

Int J Equity Health 2021 Feb 24;20(1):64. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, icddr,b, GPO Box 128, Dhaka, 1000, Bangladesh.

Background: Post-hospital discharge mortality risk is high among young children in many low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The available literature suggests that child, caregiver and health care provider gender all play important roles in post-discharge adherence to medical advice, treatment-seeking and recovery for ill children in LMICs, including those with undernutrition.

Methods: A qualitative study was embedded within a larger multi-country multi-disciplinary observational cohort study involving children aged less than 2 years conducted by the Childhood Acute Illness and Nutrition (CHAIN) Network. Primary data were collected from family members of 22 purposively selected cohort children. Family members were interviewed several times in their homes over the 6 months following hospital discharge (total n = 78 visits to homes). These in-depth interviews were complemented by semi-structured individual interviews with 6 community representatives, 11 community health workers and 12 facility-based health workers, and three group discussions with a total of 24 community representatives. Data were analysed using NVivo11 software, using both narrative and thematic approaches.

Results: We identified gender-related influences at health service/system and household/community levels. These influences interplayed to family members' adherence to medical advice and treatment-seeking after hospital discharge, with potentially important implications for children's recovery. Health service/system level influences included: fewer female medical practitioners in healthcare facilities, which influenced mothers' interest and ability to consult them promptly for their child's illnesses; gender-related challenges for community health workers in supporting mothers with counselling and advice; and male caregivers' being largely absent from the paediatric wards where information sessions to support post-discharge care are offered. Gendered household/community level influences included: women's role as primary caretakers for children and available levels of support; male family members having a dominant role in decision-making related to food and treatment-seeking behaviour; and greater reluctance among parents to invest money and time in the treatment of female children, as compared to male children.

Conclusions: A complex web of gender related influences at health systems/services and household/community levels have important implications for young children's recovery post-discharge. Immediate interventions with potential for positive impact include awareness-raising among all stakeholders - including male family members - on how gender influences child health and recovery, and how to reduce adverse consequences of gender-based discrimination. Specific interventions could include communication interventions in facilities and homes, and changes in routine practices such as who is present in facility interactions. To maximise and sustain the impact of immediate actions and interventions, the structural drivers of women's position in society and gender inequity must also be tackled. This requires interventions to ensure equal equitable opportunities for men and women in all aspects of life, including access to education and income generation activities. Given patriarchal norms locally and globally, men will likely need special targeting and support in achieving these objectives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12939-021-01404-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7903601PMC
February 2021

Mortality during and following hospital admission among school-aged children: a cohort study.

Wellcome Open Res 2020 4;5:234. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme, P.O Box 230 - 80108, Kilifi, Kenya.

Far less is known about the reasons for hospitalization or mortality during and after hospitalization among school-aged children than among under-fives in low- and middle-income countries. This study aimed to describe common types of illness causing hospitalisation; inpatient mortality and post-discharge mortality among school-age children at Kilifi County Hospital (KCH), Kenya. A retrospective cohort study of children 5-12 years old admitted at KCH, 2007 to 2016, and resident within the Kilifi Health Demographic Surveillance System (KHDSS). Children discharged alive were followed up for one year by quarterly census. Outcomes were inpatient and one-year post-discharge mortality. We included 3,907 admissions among 3,196 children with a median age of 7 years 8 months (IQR 74-116 months). Severe anaemia (792, 20%), malaria (749, 19%), sickle cell disease (408, 10%), trauma (408, 10%), and severe pneumonia (340, 8.7%) were the commonest reasons for admission. Comorbidities included 623 (16%) with severe wasting, 386 (10%) with severe stunting, 90 (2.3%) with oedematous malnutrition and 194 (5.0%) with HIV infection. 132 (3.4%) children died during hospitalisation. Inpatient death was associated with signs of disease severity, age, bacteraemia, HIV infection and severe stunting. After discharge, 89/2,997 (3.0%) children died within one year during 2,853 child-years observed (31.2 deaths [95%CI, 25.3-38.4] per 1,000 child-years). 63/89 (71%) of post-discharge deaths occurred within three months and 45% of deaths occurred outside hospital. Post-discharge mortality was positively associated with weak pulse, tachypnoea, severe anaemia, HIV infection and severe wasting and negatively associated with malaria.  Reasons for admissions are markedly different from those reported in under-fives. There was significant post-discharge mortality, suggesting hospitalisation is a marker of risk in this population. Our findings inform guideline development to include risk stratification, targeted post-discharge care and facilitate access to healthcare to improve survival in the early months post-discharge in school-aged children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16323.2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7656274.2PMC
January 2021

Plasma calprotectin as a biomarker of mortality at antiretroviral treatment initiation in advanced HIV - pilot study.

Wellcome Open Res 2020 27;5:46. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Clinical Research, KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kilifi County, 320-80108, Kenya.

In advanced HIV, significant mortality occurs soon after starting antiretroviral treatment (ART) in low- and middle-incomes countries. Calprotectin is a biomarker of innate response to infection and inflammatory conditions. We examined the association between plasma calprotectin collected before ART treatment and mortality among individuals with advanced HIV.   We conducted a pilot case-cohort study among HIV infected adults and adolescents over 13 years old with CD4+ <100/mm3 at ART initiation at two Kenyan sites. Participants received three factorial randomised interventions in addition to ART within the REALITY trial (ISRCTN43622374). Calprotectin collected at baseline (before ART) and after 4 weeks of treatment was measured in archived plasma of those who died within 24 weeks (cases) and randomly selected participants who survived (non-cases). Association with mortality was assessed using Cox proportional hazards models with inverse sampling probability weights and adjusted for age, sex, site, BMI, viral load, randomised treatments, and clustered by CD4+ count (0-24, 25-49, and 50-99 cells/mm3). Baseline median (IQR) plasma calprotectin was 6.82 (2.65-12.5) µg/ml in cases (n=39) and 5.01 (1.92-11.5) µg/ml in non-cases (n=58). Baseline calprotectin was associated with age, neutrophil count and the presence of cough, but not other measured indicators of infection. In adjusted multivariable models, baseline calprotectin was associated with subsequent mortality: HR 1.64 (95% CI 1.11 - 2.42) and HR 2.77 (95% CI 1.58 - 4.88) for deaths during the first twenty-four and four weeks respectively. Calprotectin levels fell between baseline and 4 weeks among both cases and non-cases irrespective of randomised interventions.   Among individuals with advanced HIV starting ART in Kenya, plasma calprotectin may have potential as a biomarker of early mortality. Validation in larger studies, comparison with other biomarkers and investigation of the sources of infection and inflammation are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15563.2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7722532PMC
November 2020

Measuring growth: descriptive or prescriptive?

Authors:
James A Berkley

Lancet Digit Health 2019 12 7;1(8):e380-e381. Epub 2019 Nov 7.

KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Clinical Research, CGMRC, Kilifi 80108, Kenya. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2589-7500(19)30198-0DOI Listing
December 2019

Excess mortality among people with podoconiosis: secondary analysis of two Ethiopian cohorts.

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 2020 12;114(12):1035-1037

Centre for Global Health Research, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9PX, UK.

Background: While morbidity attributable to podoconiosis is relatively well studied, its pattern of mortality has not been established.

Methods: We compared the age-standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) of two datasets from northern Ethiopia: podoconiosis patients enrolled in a 1-y trial and a Health and Demographic Surveillance System cohort.

Results: The annual crude mortality rate per 1000 population for podoconiosis patients was 28.7 (95% confidence interval [CI] 17.3 to 44.8; n=663) while that of the general population was 2.8 (95% CI 2.3 to 3.4; n=44 095). The overall SMR for the study period was 6.0 (95% CI 3.6 to 9.4).

Conclusions: Podoconiosis patients experience elevated mortality compared with the general population and further research is required to understand the reasons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/trstmh/traa150DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7738655PMC
December 2020

Implications of gestational age at antenatal care attendance on the successful implementation of a maternal respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine program in coastal Kenya.

BMC Public Health 2020 Nov 16;20(1):1723. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Centre for Geographic Medicine Research-Coast, P.O Box 230-80108, Kilifi, Kenya.

Background: Maternal immunisation to boost respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) specific antibodies in pregnant women is a strategy to enhance infant protection. The timing of maternal vaccination during pregnancy may be critical for its effectiveness. However, Kenya has no documented published data on gestational age distribution of pregnant women attending antenatal care (ANC), or the proportion of women attending ANC during the proposed window period for vaccination, to inform appropriate timing for delivery or estimate potential uptake of this vaccine.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted within the Kilifi Health and Demographic Surveillance System (KHDSS), coastal Kenya. A simple random sample of 1000 women who had registered pregnant in 2017 to 2018 and with a birth outcome by the time of data collection was taken. The selected women were followed at their homes, and individually written informed consent was obtained. Records of their antenatal attendance during pregnancy were abstracted from their ANC booklet. The proportion of all pregnant women from KHDSS (55%) who attended for one or more ANC in 2018 was used to estimate vaccine coverage.

Results: Of the 1000 women selected, 935 were traced with 607/935 (64.9%) available for interview, among whom 470/607 (77.4%) had antenatal care booklets. The median maternal age during pregnancy was 28.6 years. The median (interquartile range) gestational age in weeks at the first to fifth ANC attendance was 26 (21-28), 29 (26-32), 32 (28-34), 34 (32-36) and 36 (34-38), respectively. The proportion of women attending for ANC during a gestational age window for vaccination of 28-32 weeks (recommended), 26-33 weeks and 24-36 weeks was 76.6% (360/470), 84.5% (397/470) and 96.2% (452/470), respectively. Estimated vaccine coverage was 42.1, 46.5 and 52.9% within the narrow, wide and wider gestational age windows, respectively.

Conclusions: In a random sample of pregnant women from Kilifi HDSS, Coastal Kenya with card-confirmed ANC clinic attendance, 76.6% would be reached for maternal RSV vaccination within the gestational age window of 28-32 weeks. Widening the vaccination window (26-33 weeks) or (24-36 weeks) would not dramatically increase vaccine coverage and would require consideration of antibody kinetics data that could affect vaccine efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09841-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7670712PMC
November 2020

Cost and cost-effectiveness analysis of treatment for child undernutrition in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review.

Wellcome Open Res 2020 5;5:62. Epub 2020 Oct 5.

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya.

: Undernutrition remains highly prevalent in low- and middle-income countries, with sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia accounting for majority of the cases. Apart from the health and human capacity impacts on children affected by malnutrition, there are significant economic impacts to households and service providers. The aim of this study was to determine the current state of knowledge on costs and cost-effectiveness of child undernutrition treatment to households, health providers, organizations and governments in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).  We conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed studies in LMICs up to September 2019. We searched online databases including PubMed-Medline, Embase, Popline, Econlit and Web of Science. We identified additional articles through bibliographic citation searches. Only articles including costs of child undernutrition treatment were included. We identified a total of 6436 articles, and only 50 met the eligibility criteria. Most included studies adopted institutional/program (45%) and health provider (38%) perspectives. The studies varied in the interventions studied and costing methods used with treatment costs reported ranging between US$0.44 and US$1344 per child. The main cost drivers were personnel, therapeutic food and productivity loss. We also assessed the cost effectiveness of community-based management of malnutrition programs (CMAM). Cost per disability adjusted life year (DALY) averted for a CMAM program integrated into existing health services in Malawi was $42. Overall, cost per DALY averted for CMAM ranged between US$26 and US$53, which was much lower than facility-based management (US$1344). : There is a need to assess the burden of direct and indirect costs of child undernutrition to households and communities in order to plan, identify cost-effective solutions and address issues of cost that may limit delivery, uptake and effectiveness. Standardized methods and reporting in economic evaluations would facilitate interpretation and provide a means for comparing costs and cost-effectiveness of interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15781.2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7569484PMC
October 2020

Antimicrobial and micronutrient interventions for the management of infants under 6 months of age identified with severe malnutrition: a literature review.

PeerJ 2020 10;8:e9175. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya.

Background: Infants under 6 months (U6M) contribute a significant proportion of the burden and mortality of severe malnutrition globally. Evidence of underlying aetiology in this population is sparse, but it is known that the group includes ex-preterm and low birthweight (LBW) infants. They represent a unique population given their dependence on breastmilk or a safe, secure alternative. Nutrition agencies and health providers struggle to make programming decisions on which interventions should be provided to this group based upon the 2013 WHO Guidelines for the 'Management of Severe Acute Malnutrition in Infants and Young Children' since there are no published interventional trial data focussed on this population. Interim guidance for this group might be informed by evidence of safety and efficacy in adjacent population groups.

Methodology: A narrative literature review was performed of systematic reviews, meta-analyses and randomised controlled trials of antimicrobial and micronutrient interventions (antibiotics, deworming, vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, zinc, folic acid and oral rehydration solution (ORS) for malnutrition) across the population groups of low birthweight/preterm infants, infants under 6 months, infants and children over 6 months with acute malnutrition or through supplementation to breastfeeding mothers. Outcomes of interest were safety and efficacy, in terms of mortality and morbidity.

Results: Ninety-four articles were identified for inclusion within this review. None of these studied interventions exclusively in severely malnourished infants U6M. 64% reported on the safety of studied interventions. Significant heterogeneity was identified in definitions of study populations, interventions provided, and outcomes studied. The evidence for efficacy and safety across population groups is reviewed and presented for the interventions listed.

Conclusions: The direct evidence base for medical interventions for severely malnourished infants U6M is sparse. Our review identifies a specific need for accurate micronutrient profiling and interventional studies of micronutrients and oral fluid management of diarrhoea amongst infants U6M meeting anthropometric criteria for severe malnutrition. Indirect evidence presented in this review may help shape interim policy and programming decisions as well as the future research agenda for the management of infants U6M identified as malnourished.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.9175DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7487149PMC
September 2020

Vulnerability and agency across treatment-seeking journeys for acutely ill children: how family members navigate complex healthcare before, during and after hospitalisation in a rural Kenyan setting.

Int J Equity Health 2020 08 10;19(1):136. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, P.O Box 230, Kilifi, 80108, Kenya.

Background: Child mortality rates during hospitalisation for acute illness and after discharge are unacceptably high in many under-resourced settings. Childhood vulnerability to recurrent illness, and death, is linked to their families' situations and ability to make choices and act (their agency). We examined vulnerability and agency across treatment-seeking journeys for acutely ill children and considered the implications for policy and practice.

Method: A qualitative sub-study was embedded within the prospective CHAIN Network cohort study, which is investigating mechanisms of inpatient and post-hospital discharge mortality among acutely ill young children across a spectrum of nutritional status. Primary data were collected from household members of 20 purposively selected cohort children over 18 months through formal interviews (total n = 74), complemented by informal discussions and observations. Data were analysed using narrative and thematic approaches.

Results: Treatment-seeking pathways were often long and complex, particularly for children diagnosed as severely malnourished. Family members' stories reveal that children's carers, usually mothers, navigate diverse challenges related to intersecting vulnerabilities at individual, household and facility levels. Specific challenges include the costs of treatment-seeking, confusing and conflicting messaging on appropriate care and nutrition, and poor continuity of care. Strong power inequities were observed between family members and health staff, with many mothers feeling blamed for their child's condition. Caregivers' agency, as demonstrated in decision-making and actions, often drew on the social support of others but was significantly constrained by their situation and broader structural drivers.

Conclusion: To support children's care and recovery, health systems must be more responsive to the needs of families facing multiple and interacting vulnerabilities. Reducing incurred treatment costs, improving interpersonal quality of care, and strengthening continuity of care across facilities is essential. Promising interventions need to be co-designed with community representatives and health providers and carefully tested for unintended negative consequences and potential for sustainable scale-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12939-020-01252-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7418306PMC
August 2020

Plasma proteomics reveals markers of metabolic stress in HIV infected children with severe acute malnutrition.

Sci Rep 2020 07 8;10(1):11235. Epub 2020 Jul 8.

The Childhood Acute Illness & Nutrition (CHAIN) Network, Nairobi, Kenya.

HIV infection affects up to 30% of children presenting with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in Africa and is associated with increased mortality. Children with SAM are treated similarly regardless of HIV status, although mechanisms of nutritional recovery in HIV and/or SAM are not well understood. We performed a secondary analysis of a clinical trial and plasma proteomics data among children with complicated SAM in Kenya and Malawi. Compared to children with SAM without HIV (n = 113), HIV-infected children (n = 54) had evidence (false discovery rate (FDR) corrected p < 0.05) of metabolic stress, including enriched pathways related to inflammation and lipid metabolism. Moreover, we observed reduced plasma levels of zinc-α-2-glycoprotein, butyrylcholinesterase, and increased levels of complement C2 resembling findings in metabolic syndrome, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. HIV was also associated (FDR corrected p < 0.05) with higher plasma levels of inflammatory chemokines. Considering evidence of biomarkers of metabolic stress, it is of potential concern that our current treatment strategy for SAM regardless of HIV status involves a high-fat therapeutic diet. The results of this study suggest a need for clinical trials of therapeutic foods that meet the specific metabolic needs of children with HIV and SAM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-68143-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7343797PMC
July 2020

Establishing exclusive breastfeeding among in-patient malnourished infants in a rural Kenyan hospital: mothers' experiences of a peer supporter intervention.

Int Breastfeed J 2020 05 14;15(1):40. Epub 2020 May 14.

Centre for Geographic Medicine (Coast), Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Research Programme, P.O. Box 230, Kilifi, 80108, Kenya.

Background: The 2013 WHO guidelines for nutritional rehabilitation of hospitalized and non-hospitalized malnourished infants under six months (u6m) recommend the re-establishment of exclusive breastfeeding. However, in most low-income settings these recommendations are not consistently applied. A recently concluded pilot study on the effects of implementing these guidelines among hospitalized malnourished infants u6m of age in Kilifi, Kenya introduced breastfeeding peer supporters (BFPS) to the inpatient setting to support guideline implementation. Here we report a sub-study investigating mothers' experiences and perceptions of the process of re-establishing exclusive breastfeeding during their infant's admission to hospital.

Methods: Interviews were conducted with mothers just prior to their infant's discharge to explore their experiences and perceptions of the breastfeeding support process. A trained social science researcher conducted the interviews in Kiswahili language using a structured interview guide with open questions. Interviews were tape recorded, transcribed and translated into English for analysis. Data were managed and organized using NVIVO version 10 and analyzed using a framework approach.

Results: Twenty mothers were interviewed. While some mothers found re-establishing breastfeeding challenging, they all reported improved knowledge on the relationships between maternal nutrition, stress management, hygiene practices and breastmilk production. They also reported gaining skills in breast care, breastfeeding techniques, hand expression and handling of expressed breastmilk. The breastfeeding peer supporters were said to have provided technical, social and emotional support which facilitated the process of re-establishing exclusive breastfeeding. The mothers identified the key characteristics of an effective and trustworthy BFPS as well as gaps in support.

Conclusion: BFPS are able share knowledge and skills in a way that is understood and appreciated by the mothers of inpatient malnourished infants u6m of age, enhancing the reestablishment of exclusive breastfeeding. Central to the success of BFPS is their ability to develop close and supportive relationships with the mothers based on shared social and cultural backgrounds. Future studies should focus on evaluating the long-term impact of inpatient breastfeeding support strategies on the quality of breastfeeding and growth, as well as on understanding where, when and how BFPS might be incorporated into routine hospital settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13006-020-00278-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7227239PMC
May 2020

Congenital microcephaly unrelated to flavivirus exposure in coastal Kenya.

Wellcome Open Res 2019 15;4:179. Epub 2019 Nov 15.

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya.

Zika virus (ZIKV) was first discovered in East Africa in 1947.  ZIKV has caused microcephaly in the Americas, but it is not known whether ZIKV is a cause of microcephaly in East Africa. We used surveillance data from 11,061 live births at Kilifi County Hospital in coastal Kenya between January 2012 and October 2016 to identify microcephaly cases and conducted a nested case-control study to determine risk factors for microcephaly. Gestational age at birth was estimated based on antenatal ultrasound scanning ('Scanned cohort') or last menstrual period ('LMP cohort', including births ≥37 weeks' gestation only). Controls were newborns with head circumference Z scores between >-2 and ≤2 SD that were compared to microcephaly cases in relation to ZIKV exposure and other maternal and newborn factors. Of the 11,061 newborns, 214 (1.9%, 95%CI 1.69, 2.21) had microcephaly. Microcephaly prevalence was 1.0% (95%CI 0.64, 1.70, n=1529) and 2.1% (95%CI 1.81, 2.38, n=9532) in the scanned and LMP cohorts, respectively. After excluding babies <2500 g (n=1199) in the LMP cohort the prevalence was 1.1% (95%CI 0.93, 1.39). Microcephaly showed an association with being born small for gestational age (p<0.001) but not with ZIKV neutralising antibodies (p=0.6) or anti-ZIKV NS1 IgM response (p=0.9). No samples had a ZIKV neutralising antibody titre that was at least fourfold higher than the corresponding dengue virus (DENV) titre. No ZIKV or other flavivirus RNA was detected in cord blood from cases or controls. Microcephaly was prevalent in coastal Kenya, but does not appear to be related to ZIKV exposure; the ZIKV response observed in our study population was largely due to cross-reactive responses to DENV or other related flaviviruses. Further research into potential causes and the clinical consequences of microcephaly in this population is urgently needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15568.1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7059837PMC
November 2019

Estimating the burden of iron deficiency among African children.

BMC Med 2020 02 27;18(1):31. Epub 2020 Feb 27.

Centre for Geographic Medicine Research-Coast, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Kilifi, Kenya.

Background: Iron deficiency (ID) is a major public health burden in African children and accurate prevalence estimates are important for effective nutritional interventions. However, ID may be incorrectly estimated in Africa because most measures of iron status are altered by inflammation and infections such as malaria. Through the current study, we have assessed different approaches to the prediction of iron status and estimated the burden of ID in African children.

Methods: We assayed iron and inflammatory biomarkers in 4853 children aged 0-8 years from Kenya, Uganda, Burkina Faso, South Africa, and The Gambia. We described iron status and its relationship with age, sex, inflammation, and malaria parasitemia. We defined ID using the WHO guideline (ferritin < 12 μg/L or < 30 μg/L in the presence of inflammation in children < 5 years old or < 15 μg/L in children ≥ 5 years old). We compared this with a recently proposed gold standard, which uses regression-correction for ferritin levels based on the relationship between ferritin levels, inflammatory markers, and malaria. We further investigated the utility of other iron biomarkers in predicting ID using the inflammation and malaria regression-corrected estimate as a gold standard.

Results: The prevalence of ID was highest at 1 year of age and in male infants. Inflammation and malaria parasitemia were associated with all iron biomarkers, although transferrin saturation was least affected. Overall prevalence of WHO-defined ID was 34% compared to 52% using the inflammation and malaria regression-corrected estimate. This unidentified burden of ID increased with age and was highest in countries with high prevalence of inflammation and malaria, where up to a quarter of iron-deficient children were misclassified as iron replete. Transferrin saturation < 11% most closely predicted the prevalence of ID according to the regression-correction gold standard.

Conclusions: The prevalence of ID is underestimated in African children when defined using the WHO guidelines, especially in malaria-endemic populations, and the use of transferrin saturation may provide a more accurate approach. Further research is needed to identify the most accurate measures for determining the prevalence of ID in sub-Saharan Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-1502-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7045745PMC
February 2020

International gestational age-specific centiles for umbilical artery Doppler indices: a longitudinal prospective cohort study of the INTERGROWTH-21 Project.

Am J Obstet Gynecol 2020 06 16;222(6):602.e1-602.e15. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; Oxford Maternal & Perinatal Health Institute, Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Background: Reference values for umbilical artery Doppler indices are used clinically to assess fetal well-being. However, many studies that have produced reference charts have important methodologic limitations, and these result in significant heterogeneity of reported reference ranges.

Objectives: To produce international gestational age-specific centiles for umbilical artery Doppler indices based on longitudinal data and the same rigorous methodology used in the original Fetal Growth Longitudinal Study of the INTERGROWTH-21 Project.

Study Design: In Phase II of the INTERGROWTH-21 Project (the INTERBIO-21st Study), we prospectively continued enrolling pregnant women according to the same protocol from 3 of the original populations in Pelotas (Brazil), Nairobi (Kenya), and Oxford (United Kingdom) that had participated in the Fetal Growth Longitudinal Study. Women with a singleton pregnancy were recruited at <14 weeks' gestation, confirmed by ultrasound measurement of crown-rump length, and then underwent standardized ultrasound every 5±1 weeks until delivery. From 22 weeks of gestation umbilical artery indices (pulsatility index, resistance index, and systolic/diastolic ratio) were measured in a blinded fashion, using identical equipment and a rigorously standardized protocol. Newborn size at birth was assessed using the international INTERGROWTH-21 Standards, and infants had detailed assessment of growth, nutrition, morbidity, and motor development at 1 and 2 years of age. The appropriateness of pooling data from the 3 study sites was assessed using variance component analysis and standardized site differences. Umbilical artery indices were modeled as functions of the gestational age using an exponential, normal distribution with second-degree fractional polynomial smoothing; goodness of fit for the overall models was assessed.

Results: Of the women enrolled at the 3 sites, 1629 were eligible for this study; 431 (27%) met the entry criteria for the construction of normative centiles, similar to the proportion seen in the original fetal growth longitudinal study. They contributed a total of 1243 Doppler measures to the analysis; 74% had 3 measures or more. The healthy low-risk status of the population was confirmed by the low rates of preterm birth (4.9%) and preeclampsia (0.7%). There were no neonatal deaths and satisfactory growth, health, and motor development of the infants at 1 and 2 years of age were documented. Only a very small proportion (2.8%-6.5%) of the variance of Doppler indices was due to between-site differences; in addition, standardized site difference estimates were marginally outside this threshold in only 1 of 27 comparisons, and this supported the decision to pool data from the 3 study sites. All 3 Doppler indices decreased with advancing gestational age. The 3rd, 5th 10th, 50th, 90th, 95th, and 97th centiles according to gestational age for each of the 3 indices are provided, as well as equations to allow calculation of any value as a centile and z scores. The mean pulsatility index according to gestational age = 1.02944 + 77.7456*(gestational age) - 0.000004455*gestational age.

Conclusion: We present here international gestational age-specific normative centiles for umbilical artery Doppler indices produced by studying healthy, low-risk pregnant women living in environments with minimal constraints on fetal growth. The centiles complement the existing INTERGROWTH-21 Standards for assessment of fetal well-being.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2020.01.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7287403PMC
June 2020

Performance of three rapid diagnostic tests for the detection of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia duodenalis in children with severe acute malnutrition and diarrhoea.

Infect Dis Poverty 2019 Nov 28;8(1):96. Epub 2019 Nov 28.

Academic Medical Centre, Department of Medical Microbiology, Parasitology Unit, Amsterdam University Medical Centres, Meibergdreef 9, 1105, AZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: There is significant need for accurate diagnostic tools for Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia duodenalis infections in resource limited countries where diarrhoeal disease caused by these parasites is often prevalent. The present study assessed the diagnostic performance of three commercially available rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) based on faecal-antigen detection for Cryptosporidium spp. and/or G. duodenalis infections in stool samples of children admitted with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and diarrhoea. An established multiplex PCR was used as reference test.

Methods: Stool samples from children with SAM and diarrhoea enrolled in a randomized controlled trial (registered at clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02246296) in Malawi (n = 175) and Kenya (n = 120) between December 2014 and December 2015 were analysed by a multiplex PCR for the presence of Cryptosporidium spp., G. duodenalis or Entamoeba histolytica parasite DNA. Cryptosporidium-positive samples were species typed using restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. A sub-sample of the stool specimens (n = 236) was used for testing with three different RDTs. Diagnostic accuracy of the tests under evaluation was assessed using the results of PCR as reference standard using MedCalc software. Pearson Chi-square test and Fisher's exact test were used to determine (significant) difference between the number of cryptosporidiosis or giardiasis cases found by PCR in Malawi and Kenya. The overall diagnostic accuracy of each RDT was calculated by plotting a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for each test and to determine the area under the curve (AUC) using SPSS8 software.

Results: Prevalence of Cryptosporidium spp. by PCR was 20.0 and 21.7% in Malawi and Kenya respectively, mostly C. hominis. G. duodenalis prevalence was 23.4 and 5.8% in Malawi and Kenya respectively. E. histolytica was not detected by PCR. RDT testing followed the same pattern of prevalence. RDT sensitivities ranged for cryptosporidiosis from 42.9 to 76.9% and for G. duodenalis from 48.2 to 85.7%. RDT specificities ranged from 88.4 to 100% for Cryptosporidium spp. and from 91.2 to 99.2% for G. duodenalis infections. Based on the estimated area under the curve (AUC) values, all tests under evaluation had an acceptable overall diagnostic accuracy (> 0.7), with the exception of one RDT for Cryptosporidium spp. in Malawi.

Conclusions: All three RDTs for Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia duodenalis evaluated in this study have a moderate sensitivity, but sufficient specificity. The main value of the RDTs is within their rapidness and their usefulness as screening assays in surveys for diarrhoea.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40249-019-0609-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6882336PMC
November 2019

Phenotype is sustained during hospital readmissions following treatment for complicated severe malnutrition among Kenyan children: A retrospective cohort study.

Matern Child Nutr 2020 04 22;16(2):e12913. Epub 2019 Nov 22.

The Childhood Acute Illness & Nutrition (CHAIN) Network, Nairobi, Kenya.

Hospital readmission is common among children with complicated severe acute malnutrition (cSAM) but not well-characterised. Two distinct cSAM phenotypes, marasmus and kwashiorkor, exist, but their pathophysiology and whether the same phenotype persists at relapse are unclear. We aimed to test the association between cSAM phenotype at index admission and readmission following recovery. We performed secondary data analysis from a multicentre randomised trial in Kenya with 1-year active follow-up. The main outcome was cSAM phenotype upon hospital readmission. Among 1,704 HIV-negative children with cSAM discharged in the trial, 177 children contributed a total of 246 readmissions with cSAM. cSAM readmission was associated with age<12 months (p = .005), but not site, sex, season, nor cSAM phenotype. Of these, 42 children contributed 44 readmissions with cSAM that occurred after a monthly visit when SAM was confirmed absent (cSAM relapse). cSAM phenotype was sustained during cSAM relapse. The adjusted odds ratio for presenting with kwashiorkor during readmission after kwashiorkor at index admission was 39.3 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) [2.69, 1,326]; p = .01); and for presenting with marasmus during readmission after kwashiorkor at index admission was 0.02 (95% CI [0.001, 0.037]; p = .01). To validate this finding, we examined readmissions to Kilifi County Hospital, Kenya occurring at least 2 months after an admission with cSAM. Among 2,412 children with cSAM discharged alive, there were 206 readmissions with cSAM. Their phenotype at readmission was significantly influenced by their phenotype at index admission (p < .001). This is the first report describing the phenotype and rate of cSAM recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12913DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7083470PMC
April 2020

Safety and immunogenicity of the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine in infants and children identified as HIV-infected during a randomized trial in sub-Saharan Africa.

Vaccine 2020 01 7;38(4):897-906. Epub 2019 Nov 7.

GSK, Wavre, Belgium. Electronic address:

Background: We assessed the safety and immunogenicity of the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine in a subset of children identified as HIV-infected during a large phase III randomized controlled trial conducted in seven sub-Saharan African countries.

Methods: Infants 6-12 weeks and children 5-17 months old were randomized to receive 4 RTS,S/AS01 doses (R3R group), 3 RTS,S/AS01 doses plus 1 comparator vaccine dose (R3C group), or 4 comparator vaccine doses (C3C group) at study months 0, 1, 2 and 20. Infants and children with WHO stage III/IV HIV disease were excluded but HIV testing was not routinely performed on all participants; our analyses included children identified as HIV-infected based on medical history or clinical suspicion and confirmed by polymerase chain reaction or antibody testing. Serious adverse events (SAEs) and anti-circumsporozoite (CS) antibodies were assessed.

Results: Of 15459 children enrolled in the trial, at least 1953 were tested for HIV and 153 were confirmed as HIV-infected (R3R: 51; R3C: 54; C3C: 48). Among these children, SAEs were reported for 92.2% (95% CI: 81.1-97.8) in the R3R, 85.2% (72.9-93.4) in the R3C and 87.5% (74.8-95.3) in the C3C group over a median follow-up of 39.3, 39.4 and 38.3 months, respectively. Fifteen HIV-infected participants in each group (R3R: 29.4%, R3C: 27.8%, C3C: 31.3%) died during the study. No deaths were considered vaccination-related. In a matched case-control analysis, 1 month post dose 3 anti-CS geometric mean antibody concentrations were 193.3 EU/mL in RTS,S/AS01-vaccinated HIV-infected children and 491.5 EU/mL in RTS,S/AS01-vaccinated immunogenicity controls with unknown or negative HIV status (p = 0.0001).

Conclusions: The safety profile of RTS,S/AS01 in HIV-infected children was comparable to that of the comparator (meningococcal or rabies) vaccines. RTS,S/AS01 was immunogenic in HIV-infected children but antibody concentrations were lower than in children with an unknown or negative HIV status.

Clinical Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00866619.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.10.077DOI Listing
January 2020

Cost-effectiveness and social outcomes of a community-based treatment for podoconiosis lymphoedema in the East Gojjam zone, Ethiopia.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2019 10 23;13(10):e0007780. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom.

Background: Podoconiosis is a disease of the lymphatic vessels of the lower extremities that is caused by chronic exposure to irritant soils. It results in leg swelling, commonly complicated by acute dermatolymphangioadenitis (ADLA), characterised by severe pain, fever and disability.

Methods: We conducted cost-effectiveness and social outcome analyses of a pragmatic, randomised controlled trial of a hygiene and foot-care intervention for people with podoconiosis in the East Gojjam zone of northern Ethiopia. Participants were allocated to the immediate intervention group or the delayed intervention group (control). The 12-month intervention included training in foot hygiene, skin care, bandaging, exercises, and use of socks and shoes, and was supported by lay community assistants. The cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted using the cost of productivity loss due to acute dermatolymphangioadenitis. Household costs were not included. Health outcomes in the cost-effectiveness analysis were: the incidence of ADLA episodes, health-related quality of life captured using the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), and disability scores measured using the WHO Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS 2.0).

Results: The cost of the foot hygiene and lymphoedema management supplies was 529 ETB (69 I$, international dollars) per person per year. The cost of delivery of the intervention as part of the trial, including transportation, storage, training of lay community assistants and administering the intervention was 1,890 ETB (246 I$) per person. The intervention was effective in reducing the incidence of acute dermatolymphangioadenitis episodes and improving DLQI scores, while there were no significant improvements in the disability scores measured using WHODAS 2.0. In 75% of estimations, the intervention was less costly than the control. This was due to improved work productivity. Subgroup analyses based on income group showed that the intervention was cost-effective (both less costly and more effective) in reducing the number of acute dermatolymphangioadenitis episodes and improving health-related quality of life in families with monthly income <1,000 ETB (130 I$). For the subgroup with family income ≥1,000 ETB, the intervention was more effective but more costly than the control.

Conclusions: Whilst there is evident benefit of the intervention for all, the economic impact would be greatest for the poorest.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007780DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6808421PMC
October 2019

Antimicrobial Resistance Following Azithromycin Mass Drug Administration: Potential Surveillance Strategies to Assess Public Health Impact.

Clin Infect Dis 2020 03;70(7):1501-1508

Pediatric Infectious Diseases, University Children's Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

The reduction in childhood mortality noted in trials investigating azithromycin mass drug administration (MDA) for trachoma control has been confirmed by a recent large randomized controlled trial. Population-level implementation of azithromycin MDA may lead to selection of multiresistant pathogens. Evidence suggests that repeated azithromycin MDA may result in a sustained increase in macrolide and other antibiotic resistance in gut and respiratory bacteria. Current evidence comes from standard microbiological techniques in studies focused on a time-limited intervention, while MDA implemented for mortality benefits would likely repeatedly expose the population over a prolonged period and may require a different surveillance approach. Targeted short-term and long-term surveillance of resistance emergence to key antibiotics, especially those from the World Health Organization Access group, is needed throughout any implementation of azithromycin MDA, focusing on a genotypic approach to overcome the limitations of resistance surveillance in indicator bacteria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciz893DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7670997PMC
March 2020

Author Correction: Airway response to respiratory syncytial virus has incidental antibacterial effects.

Nat Commun 2019 Jul 18;10(1):3291. Epub 2019 Jul 18.

Oxford Vaccine Group, University of Oxford, and the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Oxford, Oxford, OX3 7LE, UK.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11222-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6639366PMC
July 2019

Undernutrition, Host Immunity and Vulnerability to Infection Among Young Children.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2019 08;38(8):e175-e177

From the The Childhood Acute Illness & Nutrition (CHAIN) Network, Nairobi.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000002363DOI Listing
August 2019
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