Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

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    Prevalence, risk factors, and antimicrobial resistance of endemic healthcare-associated infections in Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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    Background Healthcare-associated infections (HCAI) place a significant burden on healthcare systems globally. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to investigate the prevalence, risk factors, and aetiologic agents of endemic HCAI in Africa. Methods MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, and Global Health databases (EBSCOhost interface) were searched for studies published in English and French describing HCAI in Africa from 2010 to 2022. We extracted data on prevalence of HCAI, risk factors, aetiologic agents, and associated antimicrobial resistance patterns. We used random-effects models to estimate parameter values with 95% confidence intervals for risk factors associated with HCAI. This study was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42022374559) and followed PRISMA 2020 guidelines. Results Of 2541 records screened, 92 were included, comprising data from 81,968 patients. Prevalence of HCAI varied between 1.6 and 90.2% with a median of 15% across studies. Heterogeneity (I2) varied from 93 to 99%. Contaminated wound (OR: 1.75, 95% CI: 1.31–2.19), long hospital stay (OR: 1.39, 95% CI: 0.92–1.80), urinary catheter (OR: 1.57, 95% CI: 0.35–2.78), intubation and ventilation (OR: 1.53, 95% CI: 0.85–2.22), vascular catheters (OR: 1.49, 95% CI: 0.52–2.45) were among risk factors associated with HCAI. Bacteria reported from included studies comprised 6463 isolates, with E. coli (18.3%, n = 1182), S. aureus (17.3%, n = 1118), Klebsiella spp. (17.2%, n = 1115), Pseudomonas spp. (10.3%, n = 671), and Acinetobacter spp. (6.8%, n = 438) being most common. Resistance to multiple antibiotics was common; 70.3% (IQR: 50–100) of Enterobacterales were 3rd -generation cephalosporin resistant, 70.5% (IQR: 58.8–80.3) of S. aureus were methicillin resistant and 55% (IQR: 27.3–81.3) Pseudomonas spp. were resistant to all agents tested. Conclusions HCAI is a greater problem in Africa than other regions, however, there remains a paucity of data to guide local action. There is a clear need to develop and validate sustainable HCAI definitions in Africa to support the implementation of routine HCAI surveillance and inform implementation of context appropriate infection prevention and control strategies

    Randomized evaluation of 5-month Ticagrelor monotherapy after 1-month dual-antiplatelet therapy in patients with acute coronary syndrome treated with drug-coated balloons: REC-CAGEFREE II trial rationale and design

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    Background: Patients treated with drug-coated balloons (DCB) have the theoretical advantage of adopting a low-intensity antiplatelet regimen due to the absence of struts and polymers. Nevertheless, the optimal antiplatelet strategy for patients undergoing DCB-only treatment remains a topic of debate and has not been investigated in randomized trials. Methods: The REC-CAGEFREE II is an investigator-initiated, prospective, open-label, multi-center, randomized, non-inferiority trial aimed to enroll 1908 patients from ≥ 40 interventional cardiology centers in China to evaluate the non-inferiority of an antiplatelet regimen consisting of Aspirin plus Ticagrelor for one month, followed by five months Ticagrelor monotherapy, and then Aspirin monotherapy for six months (Experimental group) compared to the conventional treatment of Aspirin plus Ticagrelor for 12 months (Reference group) in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) who have undergone percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) using paclitaxel-coated balloons (DCB) exclusively. Participants will be randomly assigned to the Experimental or Reference group in a 1:1 ratio. The randomization will be stratified based on the center and the type of lesion being treated (De novo or in-stent restenosis). The primary endpoint is net adverse clinical events (NACE) within 12 months of PCI, which includes the composite of all-cause death, any stroke, any myocardial infarction, any revascularization and Bleeding Academic Research Consortium (BARC) defined type 3 or 5 bleeding. The secondary endpoint, any ischemic and bleeding event, which includes all-cause death, any stroke, MI, BARC-defined type 3 bleeding, any revascularization, and BARC-defined type 2 bleeding events, will be treated as having hierarchical clinical importance in the above order and analyzed using the win ratio method. Discussion: The ongoing REC-CAGEFREE II trial aims to assess the efficacy and safety of a low-intensity antiplatelet approach among ACS patients with DCB. If non-inferiority is shown, the novel antiplatelet approach could provide an alternative treatment for ACS patients with DCB

    Post-discharge Malaria Chemoprevention in Children Admitted with Severe Anaemia in Malaria-Endemic Settings in Africa: A systematic review and Individual Patient Data meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

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    Background: Severe anaemia is associated with high in-hospital mortality among young children. In malaria-endemic areas, surviving children also have an increased risk of mortality or readmission after hospital discharge. We conducted an individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis to determine the efficacy of monthly post-discharge malaria chemoprevention (PDMC) in children recovering from severe anaemia. Methods: Following PRISMA-IPD guidelines, we searched multiple databases, without time or language restrictions, for randomised controlled trials comparing monthly PDMC with placebo or standard-of-care among children admitted with severe anaemia in malaria-endemic Africa. Trials using daily or weekly malaria prophylaxis were not eligible. Fixed-effects two-stage meta-analysis of risk ratios (RR) was used to generate pooled effect estimates for mortality. Recurrent time-to-event data were analysed using one-stage mixed-effects Prentice-Williams-Peterson Total-Time models to obtain hazard ratios (HRs). This study is registered with PROSPERO-CRD42022308791. Findings: Three double-blind placebo-controlled trials involving 3,663 children with severe anaemia fulfilled the eligibility criteria; 3,507 (95.7%) contributed to the modified intention-to-treat analysis. They received either monthly sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine until the end of the malaria transmission season (average 3.1 courses/child) (N=1,085, the Gambia), monthly artemether-lumefantrine given at the end of the 4th and 8th week post-discharge (N=1,373, Malawi), or monthly dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine given at the end of the 2nd, 6th, and 10th week post-discharge (N=1,049, Uganda and Kenya). During the period of chemoprevention, PDMC was associated with a 77% reduction in mortality (RR=0.23 [95% CI 0.08-0.70], p=0.0094, I2=0%) and a 55% reduction in all-cause readmissions (HR=0.45 [0.36-0.56], p<0.0001). The reductions were not sustained after protective drug levels had waned. The small number of trials limited our ability to assess heterogeneity, its sources and publication bias. Interpretation: In malaria-endemic Africa, PDMC reduces mortality and readmissions in recently discharged children recovering from severe anaemia. PDMC can be a valuable strategy for the post-discharge management of this high-risk group. Future research should focus on methods of PDMC delivery, options to prolong the protection duration, other hospitalised special risk groups, and interventions targeting non-malarial causes of post-discharge morbidity

    Oral swabs with a rapid molecular diagnostic test for pulmonary tuberculosis in adults and children: a systematic review.

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    Tuberculosis is a leading cause of infectious disease mortality worldwide, but diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis remains challenging. Oral swabs are a promising non-sputum alternative sample type for the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis. We aimed to assess the diagnostic accuracy of oral swabs to detect pulmonary tuberculosis in adults and children and suggest research implications. In this systematic review, we searched published and preprint studies from Jan 1, 2000, to July 5, 2022, from eight databases (MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, Science Citation Index, medRxiv, bioRxiv, Global Index Medicus, and Google Scholar). We included diagnostic accuracy studies including cross-sectional, cohort, and case-control studies in adults and children from which we could extract or derive sensitivity and specificity of oral swabs as a sample type for the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis against a sputum microbiological (nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] on sputum or culture) or composite reference standard. Of 550 reports identified by the search, we included 16 eligible reports (including 20 studies and 3083 participants) that reported diagnostic accuracy estimates on oral swabs for pulmonary tuberculosis. Sensitivity on oral swabs ranged from 36% (95% CI 26-48) to 91% (80-98) in adults and 5% (1-14) to 42% (23-63) in children. Across all studies, specificity ranged from 66% (95% CI 52-78) to 100% (97-100), with most studies reporting specificity of more than 90%. Meta-analysis was not performed because of sampling and testing heterogeneity. Sensitivity varies in both adults and children when diverse methods are used. Variability in sampling location, swab type, and type of NAAT used in accuracy studies limits comparison. Although data are suggestive that high accuracy is achievable using oral swabs with molecular testing, more research is needed to define optimal methods for using oral swabs as a specimen for tuberculosis detection. The current data suggest that tongue swabs and swab types that collect increased biomass might have increased sensitivity. We would recommend that future studies use these established methods to continue to refine sample processing to maximise sensitivity

    Too hot to thrive: a qualitative inquiry of community perspectives on the effect of high ambient temperature on postpartum women and neonates in Kilifi, Kenya

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    Objective: To understand community perspectives on the effects of high ambient temperature on the health and wellbeing of neonates, and impacts on post-partum women and infant care in Kilifi. Design: Qualitative study using key informant interviews, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with pregnant and postpartum women (n = 22), mothers-in-law (n = 19), male spouses (n = 20), community health volunteers (CHVs) (n = 22) and stakeholders from health and government ministries (n = 16). Settings: We conducted our research in Kilifi County in Kenya’s Coast Province. The area is largely rural and during summer, air temperatures can reach 37˚C and rarely go below 23˚C. Data analysis: Data were analyzed in NVivo 12, using both inductive and deductive approaches. Results: High ambient temperature is perceived by community members to have direct and indirect health pathways in pregnancy and postpartum periods, including on the neonates. The direct impacts include injuries on the neonate’s skin and in the mouth, leading to discomfort and affecting breastfeeding and sleeping. Participants described babies as “having no peace”. Heat effects were perceived to be amplified by indoor air pollution and heat from indoor cooking fires. Community members believed that exclusive breastfeeding was not practical in conditions of extreme heat because it lowered breast milk production, which was, in turn, linked to a low scarcity of food and time spend by mothers away from their neonates performing household chores. Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) was also negatively affected. Participants reported that postpartum women took longer to heal in the heat, were exhausted most of the time and tended not to attend postnatal care. Conclusions: High ambient temperatures affect postpartum women and their neonates through direct and indirect pathways. Discomfort makes it difficult for the mother to care for the baby. Multi-sectoral policies and programs are required to mitigate the negative impacts of high ambient temperatures on maternal and neonatal health in rural Kilifi and similar settings

    IgG glycosylation associates with risk of progression from latent to active tuberculosis

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    Glycosylation motifs shape antibody structure, stability and antigen affinity and play an important role in antibody localization and function. Serum IgG glycosylation profiles are significantly altered in infectious diseases, including tuberculosis (TB), but have not been studied in the context of progression from latent to active TB. We performed a longitudinal study of paired bulk IgG glycosylation and transcriptomic profiling in blood from individuals with active TB (ATB) or latent TB infection (LTBI) before and after treatment. We identified that a combination of two IgG1 glycosylation traits were sufficient to distinguish ATB from LTBI with high specificity and sensitivity, prior to, and after treatment. Importantly, these two features positively correlated with previously defined cellular and RNA signatures of ATB risk in LTBI, namely monocyte to lymphocyte ratio and the expression of interferon (IFN)-associated gene signature of progression (IFN-risk signature) in blood prior to treatment. Additional glycosylation features at higher prevalence in LTBI individuals with high expression of the IFN-risk signature prior to treatment included fucosylation on IgG1, IgG2 and IgG3. Together, our results demonstrate that bulk IgG glycosylation features could be useful in stratifying the risk of LTBI reactivation and progression to ATB

    Household air pollution and risk of pulmonary tuberculosis in HIV-Infected adults

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    Background: In low- and middle-income countries countries, millions of deaths occur annually from household air pollution (HAP), pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB), and HIV-infection. However, it is unknown whether HAP influences PTB risk among people living with HIV-infection. Methods: We conducted a case-control study among 1,277 HIV-infected adults in Bukavu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (February 2018 – March 2019). Cases had current or recent (<5y) PTB (positive sputum smear or Xpert MTB/RIF), controls had no PTB. Daily and lifetime HAP exposure were assessed by questionnaire and, in a random sub-sample (n=270), by 24-hour measurements of personal carbon monoxide (CO) at home. We used multivariable logistic regression to examine the associations between HAP and PTB. Results: We recruited 435 cases and 842 controls (median age 41 years, [IQR] 33-50; 76% female). Cases were more likely to be female than male (63% vs 37%). Participants reporting cooking for >3h/day and ≥2 times/day and ≥5 days/week were more likely to have PTB (aOR 1·36; 95%CI 1·06-1·75) than those spending less time in the kitchen. Time-weighted average 24h personal CO exposure was related dose-dependently with the likelihood of having PTB, with aOR 4·64 (95%CI 1·1-20·7) for the highest quintile [12·3-76·2 ppm] compared to the lowest quintile [0·1-1·9 ppm]. Conclusion: Time spent cooking and personal CO exposure were independently associated with increased risk of PTB among people living with HIV. Considering the high burden of TB-HIV coinfection in the region, effective interventions are required to decrease HAP exposure caused by cooking with biomass among people living with HIV, especially women

    Is Internalised Homonegativity associated with HIV testing and HIV risk behaviours of men who have sex with men: a multilevel cross-sectional study of sub-Saharan African countries

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    Objectives This study assessed the associations of Internalised Homonegativity (IH) with HIV testing and risk behaviours of adult men who have sex with men (MSM) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and effect modification by the legal climate.DesignWe used data from the cross-sectional 2019 Global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI+) Internet survey study. Setting and participants Overall, the 2019 Global LGBTI Internet Survey collected data from 46 SSA countries. In this secondary analysis, we included data from 3191 MSM in 44 SSA countries as there were no eligible MSM responses in the 2 countries excluded. Outcome measures Our response variables were self-reported binary indicators of ever tested for HIV, recently tested in the past 6 months (from those who reported ever testing), transactional sex (paying for and being paid for sex in the past 12 months), and unprotected anal sex (that is without a condom or pre-exposure prohylaxis (PrEP)) with a non-steady partner (in the past 3 months). Results Our findings showed high levels of IH (range 1-7) in MSM across SSA (mean (SD)=5.3 (1.36)). We found that MSM with higher IH levels were more likely to have ever (adjusted OR (aOR) 1.18, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.35) and recently tested (aOR 1.19, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.32) but no evidence of an association with paying for sex (aOR 1.00, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.12), selling sex (aOR 1.06, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.20) and unprotected sex (aOR 0.99, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.09). However, we observed that a favourable legal climate modifies the associations of IH and paying for sex (aOR 0.75, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.94). Increasing levels of IH had a negative association with paying for sex in countries where same-sex relationships are legal. We found no associations of IH with unprotected anal sex in the population surveyed. Conclusions We confirm that IH is widespread across SSA but in countries that legalise same-sex relationships, MSM were less likely to engage in transactional sex compared with those in countries where homosexuality is criminalised

    Deep learning of heart-sound signals for efficient prediction of obstructive coronary artery disease

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    Background Due to the limitations of current methods for detecting obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD), many individuals are mistakenly or unnecessarily referred for coronary angiography (CAG). Objectives Our goal is to create a comprehensive database of heart sounds in CAD and develop accurate deep learning algorithms to efficiently detect obstructive CAD based on heart sound signals. This will enable effective screening before undergoing CAG. Methods We included 320 subjects suspected of CAD who underwent CAG. We employed advanced filtering techniques and state-of-the-art deep learning models (VGG-16, 1D CNN, and ResNet18) to analyze the heart sound signals and identify obstructive CAD (defined as at least one ≥50 % stenosis). To assess the performance of our models, we prospectively recruited an additional 80 subjects for testing. Results In the test set, VGG-16 exhibited the highest performance with an area under the ROC curve (AUC) of 0.834 (95 % CI, 0.736–0.930), while ResNet-18 and CNN-7 achieved AUCs of only 0.755 (95 % CI, 0.614–0.819) and 0.652 (95 % CI, 0.554–0.770) respectively. VGG-16 demonstrated a sensitivity of 80.4 % and specificity of 86.2 % in the test set. The combined diagnostic model of VGG and DF scores achieved an AUC of 0.915 (95 % CI: 0.855–0.974), and the AUC for VGG combined with PTP scores was 0.908 (95 % CI: 0.845–0.971). The sensitivity and specificity of VGG-16 exceeded 0.85 in patients with coronary artery occlusion and those with 3 vascular lesions. Conclusions Our deep learning model, based on heart sounds, offers a non-invasive and efficient screening method for obstructive CAD. It is expected to significantly reduce the number of unnecessary referrals for downstream screening

    Influence of larval growth and habitat shading on retreatment frequencies of biolarvicides against malaria vectors

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    Effective larviciding for malaria control requires detailed studies of larvicide efficacies, aquatic habitat characteristics, and life history traits of target vectors. Mosquitoes with brief larval phases present narrower timeframes for biolarvicidal effects than mosquitoes with extended periods. We evaluated two biolarvicides, VectoBac (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti)) and VectoMax (Bti and Bacillus sphaericus) against Anopheles funestus and Anopheles arabiensis in shaded and unshaded habitats; and explored how larval development might influence retreatment intervals. These tests were done in semi-natural habitats using field-collected larvae, with untreated habitats as controls. Additionally, larval development was assessed in semi-natural and natural habitats in rural Tanzania, by sampling daily and recording larval developmental stages. Both biolarvicides reduced larval densities of both species by >98% within 72 h. Efficacy lasted one week in sun-exposed habitats but remained >50% for two weeks in shaded habitats. An. funestus spent up to two weeks before pupating (13.2(10.4–16.0) days in semi-natural; 10.0(6.6–13.5) in natural habitats), while An. arabiensis required slightly over one week (8.2 (5.8–10.6) days in semi-natural; 8.3 (5.0–11.6) in natural habitats). The findings suggest that weekly larviciding, which is essential for An.arabiensis might be more effective for An. funestus whose prolonged aquatic growth allows for repeated exposures. Additionally, the longer residual effect of biolarvicides in shaded habitats indicates they may require less frequent treatments compared to sun-exposed areas

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