Kenema, Sierra Leone
Kenema, Sierra Leone

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Lo Iacono G.,University of Cambridge | Cunningham A.A.,UK Institute of Zoology | Fichet-Calvet E.,Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine | Garry R.F.,Tulane University | And 9 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2015

Zoonotic infections, which transmit from animals to humans, form the majority of new human pathogens. Following zoonotic transmission, the pathogen may already have, or may acquire, the ability to transmit from human to human. With infections such as Lassa fever (LF), an often fatal, rodent-borne, hemorrhagic fever common in areas of West Africa, rodent-to-rodent, rodent-to-human, human-to-human and even human-to-rodent transmission patterns are possible. Indeed, large hospital-related outbreaks have been reported. Estimating the proportion of transmission due to human-to-human routes and related patterns (e.g. existence of super-spreaders), in these scenarios is challenging, but essential for planned interventions.Here, we make use of an innovative modeling approach to analyze data from published outbreaks and the number of LF hospitalized patients to Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone to estimate the likely contribution of human-to-human transmission. The analyses show that almost (Formula presented.) of the cases at KGH are secondary cases arising from human-to-human transmission. However, we found much of this transmission is associated with a disproportionally large impact of a few individuals (‘super-spreaders’), as we found only (Formula presented.) of human cases result in an effective reproduction number (i.e. the average number of secondary cases per infectious case) (Formula presented.) , with a maximum value up to (Formula presented.) .This work explains the discrepancy between the sizes of reported LF outbreaks and a clinical perception that human-to-human transmission is low. Future assessment of risks of LF and infection control guidelines should take into account the potentially large impact of super-spreaders in human-to-human transmission. Our work highlights several neglected topics in LF research, the occurrence and nature of super-spreading events and aspects of social behavior in transmission and detection. © 2015 Lo Iacono et al.

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.

PubMed | Kenema Government Hospital Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Kenema Government Hospital, Zalgen Labs, Corgenix and 5 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Journal of infectious diseases | Year: 2016

The 2013-2016 West African Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic is the largest recorded. Triage on the basis of clinical signs had limited success, and the time to diagnosis by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) could exceed 5 days. Here we describe the development and field validation of the ReEBOV Antigen Rapid Test (ReEBOV RDT) to aid triage of individuals with suspected EVD.Samples from patients with suspected EVD were submitted to Kenema Government Hospital, Sierra Leone, for Lassa fever and EVD screening throughout 2014. Banked residual clinical samples were tested in November 2014 and January 2015 in a blinded field trial to estimate the clinical effectiveness of the ReEBOV RDT, compared with EBOV-specific qRT-PCR.Preliminary ReEBOV RDT performance demonstrated a positive percentage agreement (PPA) of 91.1% (195 of 214 results; 95% confidence interval [CI], 86.5%-94.6%) and a negative percentage agreement (NPA) of 90.2% (175 of 194; 95% CI, 85.1%-94.0%). The final estimates used by the Food and Drug Administration to determine whether to grant emergency use authorization for the test, which excluded a qRT-PCR reference method threshold cutoff, were a PPA of 62.1% (72 of 116 results; 95% CI, 52.6%-70.9%) and a NPA of 96.7% (58 of 60; 95% CI, 88.5%-99.6%), with a diagnostic likelihood of 18.6. A subsequent, independent evaluation by the World Health Organization generated results consistent with the preliminary performance estimates.The ReEBOV RDT demonstrated the potential to provide clinically effective rapid and accurate point-of-care test results and, thus, to be a powerful tool for increasing triage efficiency.

PubMed | Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Kenema Government Hospital, Autoimmune Technologies, Llc, University of the Sierra and 8 more.
Type: | Journal: Nature communications | Year: 2016

Lassa fever is a severe multisystem disease that often has haemorrhagic manifestations. The epitopes of the Lassa virus (LASV) surface glycoproteins recognized by naturally infected human hosts have not been identified or characterized. Here we have cloned 113 human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for LASV glycoproteins from memory B cells of Lassa fever survivors from West Africa. One-half bind the GP2 fusion subunit, one-fourth recognize the GP1 receptor-binding subunit and the remaining fourth are specific for the assembled glycoprotein complex, requiring both GP1 and GP2 subunits for recognition. Notably, of the 16 mAbs that neutralize LASV, 13 require the assembled glycoprotein complex for binding, while the remaining 3 require GP1 only. Compared with non-neutralizing mAbs, neutralizing mAbs have higher binding affinities and greater divergence from germline progenitors. Some mAbs potently neutralize all four LASV lineages. These insights from LASV human mAb characterization will guide strategies for immunotherapeutic development and vaccine design.

PubMed | Kenema Government Hospital, 34 Military Hospital, Davidson Nicol Memorial Hospital, Physio Fitness and Rehabilitation Center and 2 more.
Type: | Journal: The Journal of infection | Year: 2016

Convalescent blood therapy has been a promising form of treatment for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), but less attention has been focused on it for treatment.We assessed the effectiveness of convalescent whole blood (CWB) in the treatment of consented EVD patients. We recruited 69 subjects in December 2014 up to April 2015, at the 34 Military Hospital in Wilberforce and the PTS 1 Ebola Treatment Unit in Hastings, Freetown. Forty-four were given CWB, and 25 who consented but preferred to be exempted from the CWB treatment were used to compare clinical outcomes. All were given routine treatment used at the Ebola Treatment Unit.One of 44 subjects treated with CWB dropped out of the study and 31 recovered while 12 succumbed to the disease with a case fatality rate of 27.9%. For the group that was given routine treatment without CWB, 11 died with a case fatality rate of 44%. There was a significant difference between admission viral load and viral load after the first 24h of treatment with convalescent whole blood (P<0.01). The odds ratio for survival with CWB was 2.3 (95% CI, 0.8-6.5).CWB is promising for treating EVD in resource-poor settings, especially in the early phases of outbreaks when resource-mobilization is done. Even though our sample size was small and the evaluation was not randomised, our results contribute to existing evidence that convalescent whole blood could be considered as a useful candidate for treating EVD. Further studies that are randomised will be required to further assess the efficacy of CWB as treatment option during any EVD outbreak.

PubMed | Zalgen Labs, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, University of the Sierra, Section of Infectious Disease and 19 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Journal of infectious diseases | Year: 2016

Kenema Government Hospital (KGH) has developed an advanced clinical and laboratory research capacity to manage the threat of Lassa fever, a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF). The 2013-2016 Ebola virus (EBOV) disease (EVD) outbreak is the first to have occurred in an area close to a facility with established clinical and laboratory capacity for study of VHFs.Because of its proximity to the epicenter of the EVD outbreak, which began in Guinea in March 2014, the KGH Lassa fever Team mobilized to establish EBOV surveillance and diagnostic capabilities.Augustine Goba, director of the KGH Lassa laboratory, diagnosed the first documented case of EVD in Sierra Leone, on 25 May 2014. Thereafter, KGH received and cared for numbers of patients with EVD that quickly overwhelmed the capacity for safe management. Numerous healthcare workers contracted and lost their lives to EVD. The vast majority of subsequent EVD cases in West Africa can be traced back to a single transmission chain that includes this first diagnosed case.Responding to the challenges of confronting 2 hemorrhagic fever viruses will require continued investments in the development of countermeasures (vaccines, therapeutic agents, and diagnostic assays), infrastructure, and human resources.

PubMed | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Naval Medical Research Center, Kenema Government Hospital and University of Toronto
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America | Year: 2016

Ebola virus disease (EVD) in health workers (HWs) has been a major challenge during the 2014-2015 outbreak. We examined factors associated with Ebola virus exposure and mortality in HWs in Kenema District, Sierra Leone.We analyzed data from the Sierra Leone National Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Database, contact tracing records, Kenema Government Hospital (KGH) staff and Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) rosters, and burial logs.From May 2014 through January 2015, 600 cases of EVD originated in Kenema District, including 92 (15%) HWs, 66 (72%) of whom worked at KGH. Among KGH medical staff and international volunteers, 18 of 62 (29%) who worked in the ETU developed EVD, compared with 48 of 83 (58%) who worked elsewhere in the hospital. Thirteen percent of HWs with EVD reported contact with EVD patients, while 27% reported contact with other infected HWs. The number of HW EVD cases at KGH declined roughly 1 month after implementation of a new triage system at KGH and the opening of a second ETU within the district. The case fatality ratio for HWs and non-HWs with EVD was 69% and 74%, respectively.The cluster of HW EVD cases in Kenema District is one of the largest ever reported. Most HWs with EVD had potential virus exposure both inside and outside of hospitals. Prevention measures for HWs must address a spectrum of infection risks in both formal and informal care settings as well as in the community.

Trombley A.R.,U.S. Army | Wachter L.,Medimmune | Garrison J.,Battelle | Buckley-Beason V.A.,U.S. Army | And 7 more authors.
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene | Year: 2010

Viral hemorrhagic fever is caused by a diverse group of single-stranded, negative-sense or positive-sense RNA viruses belonging to the families Filoviridae (Ebola and Marburg), Arenaviridae (Lassa, Junin, Machupo, Sabia, and Guanarito), and Bunyaviridae (hantavirus). Disease characteristics in these families mark each with the potential to be used as a biological threat agent. Because other diseases have similar clinical symptoms, specific laboratory diagnostic tests are necessary to provide the differential diagnosis during outbreaks and for instituting acceptable quarantine procedures. We designed 48 TaqMan™-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for specific and absolute quantitative detection of multiple hemorrhagic fever viruses. Forty-six assays were determined to be virus-specific, and two were designated as pan assays for Marburg virus. The limit of detection for the assays ranged from 10 to 0.001 plaque-forming units (PFU)/PCR. Although these real-time hemorrhagic fever virus assays are qualitative (presence of target), they are also quantitative (measure a single DNA/RNA target sequence in an unknown sample and express the final results as an absolute value (e.g., viral load, PFUs, or copies/mL) on the basis of concentration of standard samples and can be used in viral load, vaccine, and antiviral drug studies. Copyright © 2010 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

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.

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.

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