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Kenema, Sierra Leone

Bausch D.G.,Tulane University | Hadi C.M.,Tulane University | Khan S.H.,Kenema Government Hospital | Lertora J.J.L.,U.S. National Institutes of Health
Clinical Infectious Diseases | Year: 2010

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness; the virus is endemic in West Africa and also of concern with regard to bioterrorism. Transmission of Lassa virus between humans may occur through direct contact with infected blood or bodily secretions. Oral administration of the antiviral drug ribavirin is often considered for postexposure prophylaxis, but no systematically collected data or uniform guidelines exist for this indication. Furthermore, the relatively low secondary attack rates for Lassa fever, the restriction of the area of endemicity to West Africa, and the infrequency of high-risk exposures make it unlikely that controlled prospective efficacy trials will ever be possible. Recommendations for postexposure use of ribavirin can therefore be made only on the basis of a thorough understanding and logical extrapolation of existing data. Here, we review the pertinent issues and propose guidelines based on extensive review of the literature, as well as our experience in this field. We recommend oral ribavirin postexposure prophylaxis for Lassa fever exclusively for definitive high-risk exposures. These guidelines may also serve for exposure to other hemorrhagic fever viruses susceptible to ribavirin. © 2010 by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. Source

Bausch D.G.,Tulane University | Bausch D.G.,Us Naval Medical Research | Bangura J.,Kenema Government Hospital | Garry R.F.,Tulane University | And 7 more authors.
Antiviral Research | Year: 2014

The Kenema Government Hospital Lassa Fever Ward in Sierra Leone, directed since 2005 by Dr. Sheikh Humarr Khan, is the only medical unit in the world devoted exclusively to patient care and research of a viral hemorrhagic fever. When Ebola virus disease unexpectedly appeared in West Africa in late 2013 and eventually spread to Kenema, Khan and his fellow healthcare workers remained at their posts, providing care to patients with this devastating illness. Khan and the chief nurse, Mbalu Fonnie, became infected and died at the end of July, a fate that they have sadly shared with more than ten other healthcare workers in Kenema and hundreds across the region. This article pays tribute to Sheik Humarr Khan, Mbalu Fonnie and all the healthcare workers who have acquired Ebola virus disease while fighting the epidemic in West Africa. Besides the emotional losses, the death of so many skilled and experienced healthcare workers will severely impair health care and research in affected regions, which can only be restored through dedicated, long-term programs. © 2014 Published by Elsevier B.V. Source

Roth P.J.,University of Illinois at Chicago | Grant D.S.,Kenema Government Hospital | Grant D.S.,University of the Sierra | Ngegbai A.S.,University of the Sierra | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene | Year: 2015

There is a paucity of data on the etiologies and outcomes of febrile illness in rural Sierra Leone, especially in the Lassa-endemic district of Kenema. We conducted a retrospective study of patients with subjective or documented fever (T ≥ 38.0°C) who were admitted to a rural tertiary care hospital in Kenema between November 1, 2011 and October 31, 2012. Of 854 patients admitted during the study period, 429 (50.2%) patients had fever on admission. The most common diagnoses were malaria (27.3%), pneumonia (5.1%), and Lassa fever (4.9%). However, 53.4% of febrile patients had no diagnosis at discharge. The in-hospital mortality rate was 18.9% and associated with documented temperature ≥ 38.0 °C (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.89, P = 0.001) and lack of diagnosis at discharge (AOR = 2.04, P = 0.03). Failure to diagnose the majority of febrile adults and its association with increased mortality highlight the need for improved diagnostic capacity to improve patient outcomes. Copyright © 2015 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Source

Schoepp R.J.,U.S. Army | Rossi C.A.,U.S. Army | Khan S.H.,Kenema Government Hospital | Goba A.,Kenema Government Hospital | Fair J.N.,Metabiota
Emerging Infectious Diseases | Year: 2014

Sierra Leone in West Africa is in a Lassa fever- hyperendemic region that also includes Guinea and Liberia. Each year, suspected Lassa fever cases result in submission of ≈500-700 samples to the Kenema Government Hospital Lassa Diagnostic Laboratory in eastern Sierra Leone. Generally only 30%-40% of samples tested are positive for Lassa virus (LASV) antigen and/or LASVspecific IgM; thus, 60%-70% of these patients have acute diseases of unknown origin. To investigate what other arthropod- borne and hemorrhagic fever viral diseases might cause serious illness in this region and mimic Lassa fever, we tested patient serum samples that were negative for malaria parasites and LASV. Using IgM-capture ELISAs, we evaluated samples for antibodies to arthropod-borne and other hemorrhagic fever viruses. Approximately 25% of LASV-negative patients had IgM to dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever, chikungunya, Ebola, and Marburg viruses but not to Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus. Source

Schieffelin J.S.,Tulane University | Shaffer J.G.,Tulane University | Goba A.,Kenema Government Hospital | Gbakie M.,Kenema Government Hospital | And 53 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2014

Background: Limited clinical and laboratory data are available on patients with Ebola virus disease (EVD). The Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone, which had an existing infrastructure for research regarding viral hemorrhagic fever, has received and cared for patients with EVD since the beginning of the outbreak in Sierra Leone in May 2014. Methods: We reviewed available epidemiologic, clinical, and laboratory records of patients in whom EVD was diagnosed between May 25 and June 18, 2014. We used quantitative reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction assays to assess the load of Ebola virus (EBOV, Zaire species) in a subgroup of patients. Results: Of 106 patients in whom EVD was diagnosed, 87 had a known outcome, and 44 had detailed clinical information available. The incubation period was estimated to be 6 to 12 days, and the case fatality rate was 74%. Common findings at presentation included fever (in 89% of the patients), headache (in 80%), weakness (in 66%), dizziness (in 60%), diarrhea (in 51%), abdominal pain (in 40%), and vomiting (in 34%). Clinical and laboratory factors at presentation that were associated with a fatal outcome included fever, weakness, dizziness, diarrhea, and elevated levels of blood urea nitrogen, aspartate aminotransferase, and creatinine. Exploratory analyses indicated that patients under the age of 21 years had a lower case fatality rate than those over the age of 45 years (57% vs. 94%, P = 0.03), and patients presenting with fewer than 100,000 EBOV copies per milliliter had a lower case fatality rate than those with 10 million EBOV copies per milliliter or more (33% vs. 94%, P = 0.003). Bleeding occurred in only 1 patient. Conclusions: The incubation period and case fatality rate among patients with EVD in Sierra Leone are similar to those observed elsewhere in the 2014 outbreak and in previous outbreaks. Although bleeding was an infrequent finding, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal manifestations were common. Copyright © 2014 Massachusetts Medical Society. Source

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