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3.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 29(4): 862-865, 2023 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2248116

ABSTRACT

To assess dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in Greater Accra Region, Ghana, we analyzed SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences from persons in the community and returning from international travel. The Accra Metropolitan District was a major origin of virus spread to other districts and should be a primary focus for interventions against future infectious disease outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Ghana/epidemiology , Biological Evolution , Disease Outbreaks
4.
Int J Infect Dis ; 2022 Mar 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2076178

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The unprecedented and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in African countries' health systems. The impact of shifted focus on COVID-19 for the past 2 years on routine health services, especially those for the epidemics of Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria, have been dramatic in both quantity and quality. METHODS: In this article, we reflect on the COVID-19 related disruptions on the Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria routine health services across Africa. RESULTS: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in disruptions of routine health services and diversion of already limited available resources in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, disease programs like TB, malaria and HIV have recorded gaps in prevention and treatment with the prospects of reversing gains made towards meeting global targets. The extent of the disruption is yet to be fully quantified at country level as most data available is from modelling estimates before and during the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Accurate country-level data is required to convince donors and governments to invest more into revamping these health services and help prepare for managing future pandemics without disruption of routine services. Increasing government expenditure on health is a critical part of Africa's economic policy. Strengthening health systems at various levels to overcome the negative impacts of COVID-19, and preparing for future epidemics will require strong visionary political leadership. Innovations in service delivery and technological adaptations are required as countries aim to limit disruptions to routine services.

6.
Int J Infect Dis ; 2022 Mar 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1739796

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Investments into 'Blue Skies' fundamental TB research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have not been forthcoming. We highlight why blue skies research will be essential for achieving global TB control and eradicating TB. METHODS: We review the historical background to early TB discovery research and give examples of where investments into basic science and fundamental 'blue skies research' are delivering novel data and approaches to advance diagnosis, management and holistic care for patients with active and latent TB infection. FINDINGS: The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that making available adequate funding for priority investments into 'Blue skies research' to delineate scientific understanding of a new infectious diseases threat to global health security can lead to rapid development and rollout of new diagnostic platforms, treatments, and vaccines. Several advances in new TB diagnostics, new treatments and vaccine development are underpinned by basic science research. CONCLUSIONS: Blue Skies research is required to pave the way for a personalized medicine approach for management of TB and other Respiratory Tract Infections and preventing long-term functional disability. Transfer of skills and resources by wealthier nations is required to empower researchers in LMICs countries to engage in and lead Blue Skies research.

8.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0261849, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1623664

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis (TB) and COVID-19 pandemics are both diseases of public health threat globally. Both diseases are caused by pathogens that infect mainly the respiratory system, and are involved in airborne transmission; they also share some clinical signs and symptoms. We, therefore, took advantage of collected sputum samples at the early stage of COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana to conduct differential diagnoses of long-standing endemic respiratory illness, particularly tuberculosis. METHODOLOGY: Sputum samples collected through the enhanced national surveys from suspected COVID-19 patients and contact tracing cases were analyzed for TB. The sputum samples were processed using Cepheid's GeneXpert MTB/RIF assay in pools of 4 samples to determine the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. Positive pools were then decoupled and analyzed individually. Details of positive TB samples were forwarded to the NTP for appropriate case management. RESULTS: Seven-hundred and seventy-four sputum samples were analyzed for Mycobacterium tuberculosis in both suspected COVID-19 cases (679/774, 87.7%) and their contacts (95/774, 12.3%). A total of 111 (14.3%) were diagnosed with SARS CoV-2 infection and six (0.8%) out of the 774 individuals tested positive for pulmonary tuberculosis: five (83.3%) males and one female (16.7%). Drug susceptibility analysis identified 1 (16.7%) rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis case. Out of the six TB positive cases, 2 (33.3%) tested positive for COVID-19 indicating a coinfection. Stratifying by demography, three out of the six (50%) were from the Ayawaso West District. All positive cases received appropriate treatment at the respective sub-district according to the national guidelines. CONCLUSION: Our findings highlight the need for differential diagnosis among COVID-19 suspected cases and regular active TB surveillance in TB endemic settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Coinfection/diagnosis , Coinfection/epidemiology , Mycobacterium tuberculosis/genetics , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Tuberculosis, Pulmonary/diagnosis , Tuberculosis, Pulmonary/epidemiology , Antibiotics, Antitubercular/pharmacology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Coinfection/virology , Diagnosis, Differential , Drug Resistance, Bacterial/drug effects , Female , Ghana/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Mycobacterium tuberculosis/drug effects , Rifampin/pharmacology , Sputum/microbiology , Tuberculosis, Pulmonary/microbiology
9.
Int J Infect Dis ; 113 Suppl 1: S16-S21, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575135

ABSTRACT

In this perspective, we discuss the impact of COVID-19 on tuberculosis (TB)/HIV health services and approaches to mitigating the growing burden of these three colliding epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). SSA countries bear significantly high proportions of TB and HIV cases reported worldwide, compared to countries in the West. Whilst COVID-19 epidemiology appears to vary across Africa, most countries in this region have reported relatively lower-case counts compared to the West. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional burden to already overstretched health systems in SSA, which, among other things, have been focused on the longstanding dual epidemics of TB and HIV. As with these dual epidemics, inadequate resources and poor case identification and reporting may be contributing to underestimations of the COVID-19 case burden in SSA. Modelling studies predict that the pandemic-related disruptions in TB and HIV services will result in significant increases in associated morbidity and mortality over the next five years. Furthermore, limited empirical evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 coinfections with TB and HIV are associated with increased mortality risk in SSA. However, predictive models require a better evidence-base to accurately define the impact of COVID-19, not only on communicable diseases such as TB and HIV, but on non-communicable disease comorbidities. Further research is needed to assess morbidity and mortality data among both adults and children across the African continent, paying attention to geographic disparities, as well as the clinical and socio-economic determinants of COVID-19 in the setting of TB and/or HIV.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Tuberculosis , Africa South of the Sahara/epidemiology , Child , HIV Infections/complications , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Health Services , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Tuberculosis/epidemiology
10.
Int J Infect Dis ; 113 Suppl 1: S68-S72, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1574772

ABSTRACT

Despite slow reductions in the annual burden of active human tuberculosis (TB) cases, zoonotic TB (zTB) remains a poorly monitored and an important unaddressed global problem. There is a higher incidence in some regions and countries, especially where close association exists between growing numbers of cattle (the major source of Mycobacterium bovis) and people, many suffering from poverty, and where dairy products are consumed unpasteurised. More attention needs to be focused on possible increased zTB incidence resulting from growth in dairy production globally and increased demand in low income countries in particular. Evidence of new zoonotic mycobacterial strains in South Asia and Africa (e.g. M. orygis), warrants urgent assessment of prevalence, potential drivers and risk in order to develop appropriate interventions. Control of M. bovis infection in cattle through detect and cull policies remain the mainstay of reducing zTB risk, whilst in certain circumstances animal vaccination is proving beneficial. New point of care diagnostics will help to detect animal infections and human cases. Given the high burden of human tuberculosis (caused by M. tuberculosis) in endemic areas, animals are affected by reverse zoonosis, including multi-drug resistant strains. This, may create drug resistant reservoirs of infection in animals. Like COVID-19, zTB is evolving in an ever-changing global landscape.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Tuberculosis , Africa , Animals , Cattle , Humans , Policy , SARS-CoV-2 , Tuberculosis/diagnosis , Tuberculosis/epidemiology , Tuberculosis/prevention & control
12.
Front Public Health ; 8: 596944, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-979060

ABSTRACT

The World Health Organization defines a zoonosis as any infection naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans. The pandemic of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has been classified as a zoonotic disease, however, no animal reservoir has yet been found, so this classification is premature. We propose that COVID-19 should instead be classified an "emerging infectious disease (EID) of probable animal origin." To explore if COVID-19 infection fits our proposed re-categorization vs. the contemporary definitions of zoonoses, we reviewed current evidence of infection origin and transmission routes of SARS-CoV-2 virus and described this in the context of known zoonoses, EIDs and "spill-over" events. Although the initial one hundred COVID-19 patients were presumably exposed to the virus at a seafood Market in China, and despite the fact that 33 of 585 swab samples collected from surfaces and cages in the market tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, no virus was isolated directly from animals and no animal reservoir was detected. Elsewhere, SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in animals including domesticated cats, dogs, and ferrets, as well as captive-managed mink, lions, tigers, deer, and mice confirming zooanthroponosis. Other than circumstantial evidence of zoonotic cases in mink farms in the Netherlands, no cases of natural transmission from wild or domesticated animals have been confirmed. More than 40 million human COVID-19 infections reported appear to be exclusively through human-human transmission. SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 do not meet the WHO definition of zoonoses. We suggest SARS-CoV-2 should be re-classified as an EID of probable animal origin.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/classification , Communicable Diseases, Emerging , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Zoonoses , Animals , Animals, Wild , China , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/classification , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/transmission , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/virology , Humans , World Health Organization , Zoonoses/classification , Zoonoses/transmission , Zoonoses/virology
13.
BMJ Glob Health ; 5(10)2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-841538

ABSTRACT

Lockdown measures have been introduced worldwide to contain the transmission of COVID-19. However, the term 'lockdown' is not well-defined. Indeed, WHO's reference to 'so-called lockdown measures' indicates the absence of a clear and universally accepted definition of the term 'lockdown'. We propose a definition of 'lockdown' based on a two-by-two matrix that categorises different communicable disease measures based on whether they are compulsory or voluntary; and whether they are targeted at identifiable individuals or facilities, or whether they are applied indiscriminately to a general population or area. Using this definition, we describe the design, timing and implementation of lockdown measures in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. While there were some commonalities in the implementation of lockdown across these countries, a more notable finding was the variation in the design, timing and implementation of lockdown measures. We also found that the number of reported cases is heavily dependent on the number of tests carried out, and that testing rates ranged from 2031 to 63 928 per million population up until 7 September 2020. The reported number of COVID-19 deaths per million population also varies (0.4 to 250 up until 7 September 2020), but is generally low when compared with countries in Europe and North America. While lockdown measures may have helped inhibit community transmission, the pattern and nature of the epidemic remains unclear. However, there are signs of lockdown harming health by affecting the functioning of the health system and causing social and economic disruption.


Subject(s)
Communicable Disease Control , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Africa South of the Sahara , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/statistics & numerical data , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
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