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Tracking the introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in coastal Kenya

Genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 is important for understanding both the evolution and the patterns of local and global transmission. Here, we generated 311 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from samples collected in coastal Kenya between 17(th) March and 31(st) July 2020. We estimated multiple independent SARS-CoV-2 introductions into the region were primarily of European origin, although introductions could have come through neighbouring countries. Lineage B.1 accounted for 74% of sequenced cases. Lineages A, B and B.4 were detected in screened individuals at the Kenya-Tanzania border or returning travellers. Though multiple lineages were introduced into coastal Kenya following the initial confirmed case, none showed extensive local expansion other than lineage B.1. International points of entry were important conduits of SARS-CoV-2 importations into coastal Kenya and early public health responses prevented established transmission of some lineages. Undetected introductions through points of entry including imports from elsewhere in the country gave rise to the local epidemic at the Kenyan coast.
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Revitalizing child health: lessons from the past

Essential health, education and other service disruptions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic risk reversing some of the hard-won gains in improving child survival over the past 40 years. Although children have milder symptoms of COVID-19 disease than adults, pandemic control measures in many countries have disrupted health, education and other services for children, often leaving them without access to birth and postnatal care, vaccinations and early childhood preventive and treatment services. These disruptions mean that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, along with climate change and shifting epidemiological and demographic patterns, are challenging the survival gains that we have seen over the past 40 years. We revisit the initiatives and actions of the past that catalyzed survival improvements in an effort to learn how to maintain these gains even in the face of today's global challenges.
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Temporal trends of SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence during the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in Kenya

Observed SARS-CoV-2 infections and deaths are low in tropical Africa raising questions about the extent of transmission. We measured SARS-CoV-2 IgG by ELISA in 9,922 blood donors across Kenya and adjusted for sampling bias and test performance. By 1st September 2020, 577 COVID-19 deaths were observed nationwide and seroprevalence was 9.1% (95%CI 7.6-10.8%). Seroprevalence in Nairobi was 22.7% (18.0-27.7%). Although most people remained susceptible, SARS-CoV-2 had spread widely in Kenya with apparently low associated mortality.
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Temporal trends of SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence during the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in Kenya

Observed SARS-CoV-2 infections and deaths are low in tropical Africa raising questions about the extent of transmission. We measured SARS-CoV-2 IgG by ELISA in 9,922 blood donors across Kenya and adjusted for sampling bias and test performance. By 1st September 2020, 577 COVID-19 deaths were observed nationwide and seroprevalence was 9.1% (95%CI 7.6-10.8%). Seroprevalence in Nairobi was 22.7% (18.0-27.7%). Although most people remained susceptible, SARS-CoV-2 had spread widely in Kenya with apparently low associated mortality.
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Prevalence and fluid management of dehydration in children without diarrhoea admitted to Kenyan hospitals: a multisite observational study

OBJECTIVES: To examine the prevalence of dehydration without diarrhoea among admitted children aged 1-59 months and to describe fluid management practices in such cases. DESIGN: A multisite observational study that used routine in-patient data collected prospectively between October 2013 and December 2018. SETTINGS: Study conducted in 13 county referral hospitals in Kenya. PARTICIPANTS: Children aged 1-59 months with admission or discharge diagnosis of dehydration but had no diarrhoea as a symptom or diagnosis. Children aged <28 days and those with severe acute malnutrition were excluded. RESULTS: The prevalence of dehydration in children without diarrhoea was 3.0% (2019/68 204) and comprised 15.9% (2019/12 702) of all dehydration cases. Only 55.8% (1127/2019) of affected children received either oral or intravenous fluid therapy. Where fluid treatment was given, the volumes, type of fluid, duration of fluid therapy and route of administration were similar to those used in the treatment of dehydration secondary to diarrhoea. Pneumonia (1021/2019, 50.6%) and malaria (715/2019, 35.4%) were the two most common comorbid diagnoses. Overall case fatality in the study population was 12.9% (260/2019). CONCLUSION: Sixteen per cent of children hospitalised with dehydration do not have diarrhoea but other common illnesses. Two-fifths do not receive fluid therapy; a regimen similar to that used in diarrhoeal cases is used in cases where fluid is administered. Efforts to promote compliance with guidance in routine clinical settings should recognise special circumstances where guidelines do not apply, and further studies on appropriate management for dehydration in the absence of diarrhoea are required.
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Nocturnal dipping of heart rate and blood pressure in people with HIV in Tanzania

People with HIV (PWH) have a >2-fold greater risk for development of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which may be associated with abnormalities in 24-h ambulatory blood pressure measurement (ABPM) profile. We conducted a nested case-control study of ABPM in 137 PWH and HIV-uninfected controls with normal and high clinic blood pressure (BP) in Tanzania. Nocturnal non-dipping of heart rate (HR) was significantly more common among PWH than HIV-uninfected controls (p = .01). Nocturnal non-dipping of BP was significantly more common in PWH with normal clinic BP (p = .048). Clinical correlates of nocturnal non-dipping were similar in PWH and HIV-uninfected adults and included higher BMI, higher CD4(+) cell count, and high C-reactive protein for HR and markers of renal disease for BP. In conclusion, nocturnal non-dipping of both BP and HR was more common in PWH but further research is needed to determine causes and consequences of this difference.
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Neonatal mortality in Kenyan hospitals: a multisite, retrospective, cohort study

BACKGROUND: Most of the deaths among neonates in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) can be prevented through universal access to basic high-quality health services including essential facility-based inpatient care. However, poor routine data undermines data-informed efforts to monitor and promote improvements in the quality of newborn care across hospitals. METHODS: Continuously collected routine patients' data from structured paper record forms for all admissions to newborn units (NBUs) from 16 purposively selected Kenyan public hospitals that are part of a clinical information network were analysed together with data from all paediatric admissions ages 0-13 years from 14 of these hospitals. Data are used to show the proportion of all admissions and deaths in the neonatal age group and examine morbidity and mortality patterns, stratified by birth weight, and their variation across hospitals. FINDINGS: During the 354 hospital months study period, 90 222 patients were admitted to the 14 hospitals contributing NBU and general paediatric ward data. 46% of all the admissions were neonates (aged 0-28 days), but they accounted for 66% of the deaths in the age group 0-13 years. 41 657 inborn neonates were admitted in the NBUs across the 16 hospitals during the study period. 4266/41 657 died giving a crude mortality rate of 10.2% (95% CI 9.97% to 10.55%), with 60% of these deaths occurring on the first-day of admission. Intrapartum-related complications was the single most common diagnosis among the neonates with birth weight of 2000 g or more who died. A threefold variation in mortality across hospitals was observed for birth weight categories 1000-1499 g and 1500-1999 g. INTERPRETATION: The high proportion of neonatal deaths in hospitals may reflect changing patterns of childhood mortality. Majority of newborns died of preventable causes (>95%). Despite availability of high-impact low-cost interventions, hospitals have high and very variable mortality proportions after stratification by birth weight.
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Prevalence and mortality of epilepsies with convulsive and non-convulsive seizures in Kilifi, Kenya

OBJECTIVES: The prevalence of all epilepsies (both convulsive and non-convulsive seizures) in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC), particularly sub-Saharan Africa is unknown. Under estimation of non-convulsive epilepsies in data from these countries may lead to inadequate and sub-optimal allocation of resources to control and prevent epilepsy. We determined the prevalence of all types of epilepsies and compared the mortality between convulsive seizures and non-convulsive seizures in a resource limited rural area in Kenya. METHODS: Trained clinicians identified cases of epilepsy in a randomly selected sample of 4,441 residents in the Kilifi Health and Demographic Surveillance System site using a cross-sectional survey design. Seizure types were classified by epileptologists using the current guidelines of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE). We estimated prevalence for epilepsy with convulsive seizures and non-convulsive seizures and for epilepsy with non-convulsive seizures only and compared premature mortality between these groups of seizures. RESULTS: Of the 4441 people visited, 141 had lifetime epilepsy and 96 active epilepsy, which is a crude prevalence of 31.7/1,000 persons (95% CI: 26.6-36.9) and 21.6/1,000 (95% CI: 17.3-25.9), respectively. Both convulsive and non-convulsive seizures occurred in 7% people with epilepsy (PWE), only convulsive seizures in 52% and only non-convulsive seizures in 35% PWE; there was insufficient information to classify epilepsy in the remainder 6%. The age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of lifetime people was 23.5/1,000 (95% CI: 11.0-36.0), with the adjusted prevalence of epilepsy with non-convulsive seizures only estimated at 8.2/1,000 (95%CI:3.9-12.6). The mortality rate in PWE was 6.3/1,000 (95%CI: 3.4-11.8), compared to 2.8/1,000 (2.3-3.3) in those without epilepsy; hazard ratio (HR) =2.31 (1.22-4.39; p=0.011). The annual mortality rate was 11.2/1,000 (95%CI: 5.3-23.4) in PWE with convulsive and non-convulsive seizures and none died in PWE with non-convulsive seizures alone. CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that epilepsy with non-convulsive seizures is common and adds to the prevalence of previously reported estimates of active convulsive epilepsy. Both epilepsy with convulsive seizures and that with non-convulsive seizures should be identified for optimising treatment and for planning resource allocation.
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Extracellular vesicles isolated from milk can improve gut barrier dysfunction induced by malnutrition

Malnutrition impacts approximately 50 million children worldwide and is linked to 45% of global mortality in children below the age of five. Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) is associated with intestinal barrier breakdown and epithelial atrophy. Extracellular vesicles including exosomes (EVs; 30-150 nm) can travel to distant target cells through biofluids including milk. Since milk-derived EVs are known to induce intestinal stem cell proliferation, this study aimed to examine their potential efficacy in improving malnutrition-induced atrophy of intestinal mucosa and barrier dysfunction. Mice were fed either a control (18%) or a low protein (1%) diet for 14 days to induce malnutrition. From day 10 to 14, they received either bovine milk EVs or control gavage and were sacrificed on day 15, 4 h after a Fluorescein Isothiocyanate (FITC) dose. Tissue and blood were collected for histological and epithelial barrier function analyses. Mice fed low protein diet developed intestinal villus atrophy and barrier dysfunction. Despite continued low protein diet feeding, milk EV treatment improved intestinal permeability, intestinal architecture and cellular proliferation. Our results suggest that EVs enriched from milk should be further explored as a valuable adjuvant therapy to standard clinical management of malnourished children with high risk of morbidity and mortality.
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Extracellular vesicles isolated from milk can improve gut barrier dysfunction induced by malnutrition

Malnutrition impacts approximately 50 million children worldwide and is linked to 45% of global mortality in children below the age of five. Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) is associated with intestinal barrier breakdown and epithelial atrophy. Extracellular vesicles including exosomes (EVs; 30-150 nm) can travel to distant target cells through biofluids including milk. Since milk-derived EVs are known to induce intestinal stem cell proliferation, this study aimed to examine their potential efficacy in improving malnutrition-induced atrophy of intestinal mucosa and barrier dysfunction. Mice were fed either a control (18%) or a low protein (1%) diet for 14 days to induce malnutrition. From day 10 to 14, they received either bovine milk EVs or control gavage and were sacrificed on day 15, 4 h after a Fluorescein Isothiocyanate (FITC) dose. Tissue and blood were collected for histological and epithelial barrier function analyses. Mice fed low protein diet developed intestinal villus atrophy and barrier dysfunction. Despite continued low protein diet feeding, milk EV treatment improved intestinal permeability, intestinal architecture and cellular proliferation. Our results suggest that EVs enriched from milk should be further explored as a valuable adjuvant therapy to standard clinical management of malnourished children with high risk of morbidity and mortality.
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