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Liverpool, United Kingdom

Beeching N.J.,University of Liverpool | Beeching N.J.,Clinical Group | Fletcher T.E.,University of Liverpool | Hill D.R.,National Travel Health Network and Center | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents | Year: 2010

Viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHF) are caused by zoonotic viral infections transmitted to humans directly or by ticks or mosquitoes. The overall risk to travellers is conservatively estimated at <1 in 1 million travel episodes to African countries where infection is present, and febrile patients returning from these countries are at least 1000 times more likely to have malaria than Lassa fever or another VHF. No cases have been reported in fellow travellers exposed to a travelling case and only one asymptomatic seroconversion (to Lassa) has been reported in over 2000 contacts following care of VHF cases in modern Western hospital settings. However, healthcare-associated transmission of infection has been a major problem in some endemic settings. The potential for healthcare-associated infection and the threats posed by unrecognised or new agents necessitate a high index of suspicion and a standardised risk assessment approach to febrile travellers. Travel-related hantavirus infections are increasingly being reported from Europe and the Americas. This article summarises the epidemiology and reports of travel-related VHF cases in the past 40 years, together with strategies for their recognition, management and prevention. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. and the International Society of Chemotherapy.

Taegtmeyer M.,Clinical Group | Martineau T.,International Health Group | Namwebya J.H.,Family Health International | Ikahu A.,Liverpool VCT | And 4 more authors.
BMC Public Health | Year: 2011

Background: Kenya experienced rapid scale up of HIV testing and counselling services in government health services from 2001. We set out to examine the human resource policy implications of scaling up HIV testing and counselling in Kenya and to analyse the resultant policy against a recognised theoretical framework of health policy reform (policy analysis triangle). Methods. Qualitative methods were used to gain in-depth insights from policy makers who shaped scale up. This included 22 in-depth interviews with Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) task force members, critical analysis of 53 sets of minutes and diary notes. We explore points of consensus and conflict amongst policymakers in Kenya and analyse this content to assess who favoured and resisted new policies, how scale up was achieved and the importance of the local context in which scale up occurred. Results: The scale up of VCT in Kenya had a number of human resource policy implications resulting from the introduction of lay counsellors and their authorisation to conduct rapid HIV testing using newly introduced rapid testing technologies. Our findings indicate that three key groups of actors were critical: laboratory professionals, counselling associations and the Ministry of Health. Strategic alliances between donors, NGOs and these three key groups underpinned the process. The process of reaching consensus required compromise and time commitment but was critical to a unified nationwide approach. Policies around quality assurance were integral in ensuring standardisation of content and approach. Conclusion: The introduction and scale up of new health service initiatives such as HIV voluntary counselling and testing necessitates changes to existing health systems and modification of entrenched interests around professional counselling and laboratory testing. Our methodological approach enabled exploration of complexities of scale up of HIV testing and counselling in Kenya. We argue that a better understanding of the diverse actors, the context and the process, is required to mitigate risks and maximise impact. © 2011Taegtmeyer et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Langley I.,Clinical Group | Doulla B.,National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme | Lin H.-H.,National Taiwan University | Millington K.,Clinical Group | Squire B.,Clinical Group
Health Care Management Science | Year: 2012

The introduction and scale-up of new tools for the diagnosis of Tuberculosis (TB) in developing countries has the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of millions of people living in poverty. To achieve this, policy makers need the information to make the right decisions about which new tools to implement and where in the diagnostic algorithm to apply them most effectively. These decisions are difficult as the new tools are often expensive to implement and use, and the health system and patient impacts uncertain, particularly in developing countries where there is a high burden of TB. The authors demonstrate that a discrete event simulation model could play a significant part in improving and informing these decisions. The feasibility of linking the discrete event simulation to a dynamic epidemiology model is also explored in order to take account of longer term impacts on the incidence of TB. Results from two diagnostic districts in Tanzania are used to illustrate how the approach could be used to improve decisions. © 2012 The Author(s).

MacPherson P.,Clinical Group | MacPherson P.,HIV and TB Group | Corbett E.L.,HIV and TB Group | Corbett E.L.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Poor rates of linkage from HIV diagnosis to ART initiation are a major barrier to universal coverage of ART in sub-Saharan Africa, with reasons for failure poorly understood. In the first study of this kind at primary care level, we investigated the pathway to care in the Malawian National Programme, one of the strongest in Africa. Methods and Findings: A prospective cohort study was undertaken at two primary care clinics in Blantyre, Malawi. Newly diagnosed HIV-positive adults (>15 years) were followed for 6-months to assess completion of eligibility assessments, initiation of ART and death. Two hundred and eighty participants were followed for 82.6 patient-years. ART eligibility assessments were problematic: only 134 (47.9%) received same day WHO staging and 121 (53.2%) completed assessments by 6-months. Completion of CD4 measurement (stage 1/2 only) was 81/153 (52.9%). By 6-months, 87/280 (31.1%) had initiated ART with higher uptake in participants who were ART eligible (68/91, 74.7%), and among participants who received same-day staging (52/134 [38.8%] vs. 35/146 [24.0%] p = 0.007). Non-completion of ART eligibility assessments (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.11, 95% CI: 0.06-0.21) was associated with failure to initiate ART. Retention in pre-ART care for non-ART initiators was low (55/193 [28.5%]). Of the 15 (5.4%) deaths, 11 (73.3%) occurred after ART initiation. Conclusions: Although uptake of ART was high and prompt for patients with known eligibility, there was frequent failure to complete eligibility assessment and poor retention in pre-ART care. HIV care programmes should urgently evaluate the way patients are linked to ART. In particular, there is a critical need for simplified, same-day ART eligibility assessments, reduced requirements for hospital visits, and active defaulter follow-up. © 2012 MacPherson et al.

Glennie S.J.,University of Malawi | Glennie S.J.,Clinical Group | Banda D.,University of Malawi | Mulwafu W.,University of Malawi | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Worldwide, invasive pneumococcal disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae is most common in young children. In adults, disease rates decline following intermittent colonization and the acquisition of naturally acquired immunity. We characterized mucosal and systemic pneumococcal-specific T-cell responses in African children and adults who contend with intense rates of colonization, up to 100% and 60% respectively. We find most Malawian children have high pneumococcal-specific T-cell responses in tonsil tissue and peripheral blood. In addition, frequent commensalism generates CD25hi (Tregs) which modulate mucosal pneumococcal-specific T-cell responses in some children and ≥50% of adults. We propose that immune regulation may prolong pneumococcal colonization and predispose vulnerable individuals to disease. © 2012 Glennie et al.

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