[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Refugees are at risk for poor outcomes from acute respiratory infections (ARI) because of overcrowding, suboptimal living conditions, and malnutrition. We implemented surveillance for respiratory viruses in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in Kenya to characterize their role in the epidemiology of ARI among refugees.
From 1 September 2007 through 31 August 2010, we obtained nasopharyngeal (NP) and oropharyngeal (OP) specimens from patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) or severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and tested them by RT-PCR for adenovirus (AdV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human metapneumovirus (hMPV), parainfluenza viruses (PIV), and influenza A and B viruses. Definitions for ILI and SARI were adapted from those of the World Health Organization. Proportions of cases associated with viral aetiology were calculated by camp and by clinical case definition. In addition, for children < 5 years only, crude estimates of rates due to SARI per 1000 were obtained.
We tested specimens from 1815 ILI and 4449 SARI patients (median age = 1 year). Proportion positive for virus were AdV, 21.7%; RSV, 12.5%; hMPV, 5.7%; PIV, 9.4%; influenza A, 9.7%; and influenza B, 2.6%; 49.8% were positive for at least one virus. The annual rate of SARI hospitalisation for 2007-2010 was 57 per 1000 children per year. Virus-positive hospitalisation rates were 14 for AdV; 9 for RSV; 6 for PIV; 4 for hMPV; 5 for influenza A; and 1 for influenza B. The rate of SARI hospitalisation was highest in children < 1 year old (156 per 1000 child-years). The ratio of rates for children < 1 year and 1 to < 5 years old was 3.7:1 for AdV, 5.5:1 for RSV, 4.4:1 for PIV, 5.1:1 for hMPV, 3.2:1 for influenza A, and 2.2:1 for influenza B. While SARI hospitalisation rates peaked from November to February in Dadaab, no distinct seasonality was observed in Kakuma.
Respiratory viral infections, particularly RSV and AdV, were associated with high rates of illness and make up a substantial portion of respiratory infection in these two refugee settings.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An outbreak of watery diarrhea struck within the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya in April 2005; 418 people were treated, and 4 persons died. Vibrio cholerae O1 was isolated from 33 patients. In June 2005, we conducted a retrospective matched case-control study to define risk factors associated with cholera among camp residents and identify interventions that could prevent further cases and future outbreaks. We identified cases of cholera through medical records at the main health facility in the camp and matched controls (without watery diarrhea since November 2004) to the cases by age category (< 2, 2-4, 5-14, and > 14 years) and location of residence within the camp. Cases were defined as any person of any age with profuse, effortless watery diarrhea (three or more stools in 24 hours). A multivariate model showed that storing drinking water at home in sealed or covered containers was protective against cholera (matched odds ratio [MOR] = 0.49 [0.25, 0.96]), whereas "sharing a latrine with at least three households" (MOR = 2.17 [1.01, 4.68]) and arriving at the Kakuma camp on or after November 2004 (MOR = 4.66 [1.35, 16.05]) were risk factors. Improving sanitation and promoting methods to ensure safe drinking water are likely to be effective measures in moderating future cholera outbreaks in this setting. Higher risks for cholera illness among refugees recently "in-migrated" suggest that there may be value in targeting new arrivals in the camp for risk reduction messages and interventions, such as covered water storage containers, to prevent cholera.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 04/2009; 80(4):640-5. · 2.53 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article describes the findings of a participatory assessment of Burundian and Rwandan refugees' perceptions of the quality of health services in camps in Ngara, Tanzania. Taking a beneficiary-centred approach, it examines a collaborative effort by several agencies to develop a generic field guide to analyse refugees' views of healthcare services. The objective was to gather information that would contribute to significant improvements in the care offered in the camps. Although the primary focus was on healthcare, several broader questions considered other general apprehensions that might influence the way refugees perceive their healthcare. Findings indicated that while refugees in Ngara were generally satisfied with the quality of healthcare provided and healthcare promotion activities, recognition of some key refugee concerns would assist healthcare providers in enhancing services. With increasing need for refugee community participation in evaluating humanitarian assistance, this assessment has relevance both in the context of Ngara and beyond.