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Research: Malaria and respiratory syncytial virus as causes of acute febrile illness in an urban paediatric population in Ghana

February 6, 2014 - 22:04 -- Ingeborg van Schayk
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Author(s): 
Keziah L. Malm, Kofi M. Nyarko, Ernest Kenu, Constance Bart-Plange, Kojo Koram, Gyapong J.O., Seth Owusu-Agyei, George Armah, Fred N. Binka
Reference: 
MWJ 2014, 5, 1

This study determined the proportion of acute febrile illness in an urban paediatric population that was due to malaria or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). A hospital based surveillance system recruited children below five years of age reporting with fever (axillary temperature ≥ 37.5°C). Thick blood film from capillary blood taken through a finger prick, was Giemsa-stained and microscopically examined for malaria parasites to confirm malaria diagnosis. Nasopharyngeal aspirate was also examined for RSV by polymerase chain reaction. Out of 481 febrile children, 51(10.8%) were positive for malaria whilst 75 (15.4%) were positive for RSV. Seven of the 75 RSV-positive cases (9.3%) were co-infected with malaria. Based on judgement by clinicians, over 80% of the febrile children were diagnosed and treated as having malaria either alone or in combination with other diseases. It is concluded that the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of patients based solely on clinical diagnosis leads to an over diagnosis of malaria. Improvement in the guidelines and facilities for the diagnosis of non-malaria febrile illness leads to improved malaria diagnosis. 

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January 29, 2014 - 11:40 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

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Research: Duration of the mosquitocidal effect of ivermectin

October 23, 2012 - 15:43 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Author(s): 
Guido J.H. Bastiaens, Geert-Jan van Gemert, Jo Hooghof, Steve W. Lindsay, Chris Drakeley, Thomas S. Churcher, Jan Peter Verhave, Clemens H.M. Kocken, Robert W. Sauerwein, Teun Bousema
Reference: 
MWJ 2012, 3, 10

Ivermectin (IVM) reduces the lifespan of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes after feeding on humans treated with IVM but limited data are available on the exact duration of the mosquitocidal effect of IVM. Daily mosquito feeding assays were conducted to determine this. Mosquito mortality was 70-100% when mosquitoes fed on mice, rats, or cynomolgus monkeys 1-2 days after the last IVM administration. The findings reported here, of a pronounced but short-lived mosquitocidal effect, makes the timing of IVM administration crucial to form a useful addition to anti-malarial drugs.

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PhD thesis: Effect of preventive supplementation with zinc and other micronutrients on malaria and diarrhoeal morbidity in African children

September 5, 2012 - 09:13 -- Bart G.J. Knols
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Author(s): 
Jacobien Veenemans
Reference: 
MWJ 2012, 3, 8

Multi-nutrient supplementation may be unsafe in malaria-endemic areas, particularly in young children with iron deficiency. Thus the recommendation by the World Health Organization that iron supplements should be administered routinely to iron-deficient infants in settings with adequate access to anti-malarial treatment is insufficiently supported by evidence and should be reconsidered. The results presented in this PhD thesis underscore that supplementation or home fortification, even when targeting deficient subgroups in settings with access to adequate primary care, should not be recommended in malaria-endemic areas until their safety has been demonstrated.

[Note: Full copy of PhD thesis attached]

Opinion: Paradigm shifts in malaria study and control

September 5, 2012 - 08:18 -- Bart G.J. Knols
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Author(s): 
Jan Peter Verhave
Reference: 
MWJ 2012, 3, 7

This article describes some major events in the history of malaria research and control, some of the investigators involved, and how they promoted their ways of the fight against this disease. Every episode or moment is calibrated with the theory of science, developed by Thomas Kuhn. His idea of paradigms in science and sudden shifts is helpful for the understanding of what steered the various levels of malaria research. It also may keep investigators on the alert of dead ends and breakthroughs in future.

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Book review: ’Four passions: Conversations with myself’, by Wallace Peters

August 15, 2012 - 14:43 -- Bart G.J. Knols
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Author(s): 
Bart G.J. Knols
Reference: 
MWJ 2012, 3, 6

This book review focuses on the life and work of Professor Wallace Peters. It is autobiographical and describes his career that covers half a century as well as his personal life during that period. 'Four passions' is a book for anyone interested in malaria and leishmaniasis and presents numerous issues of interest, many of which will be recognizable to scientists working on malaria today.

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Research: Malaria pattern observed in the highland fringe of Butajira, Southern Ethiopia: a ten-year retrospective analysis from parasitological and metrological data

July 1, 2012 - 11:55 -- Bart G.J. Knols
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Author(s): 
Solomon Tesfaye, Yeshambel Belyhun, Takele Teklu, Girmay Medhin, Tesfaye Mengesha, Beyene Petros
Reference: 
MWJ 2012, 3, 5

The authors of this article aimed to determine malaria occurrence and its association withmeteorological variables in the highland fringe of Butajira, Southern Ethiopia from parasitological and metrological data. They found no significant association between malaria occurrences and meteorological variables between January 2000 and December 2009; therefore non-climatic factors together with climatic variables should be assessed to know the spread and intensity of malaria in the highland fringe of Butajira. This report also warrants the Ministry of Health to include highland areas in its current malaria control campaign so as to address those non-endemic foci of the country.

[Note: Review & author's response included]

Research: A novel experimental hut for the study of entrance and exit behaviour of endophilic malaria vectors

March 30, 2012 - 08:51 -- Bart G.J. Knols
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Author(s): 
J. Derek Charlwood, Ayubo Kampango
Reference: 
MWJ 2012, 3, 3

Experimental huts have played a long and illustrious role in the study of mosquito vectors of disease. Here we present a design of a novel, cheap, 12 sided, experimental hut based on the African roundhouse. The panels covering each side can open and act as a door and above each panel there is a shutter that can also open. This allows for a great combination of possible openings for the study of entry and exit behaviour of mosquitoes. Preliminary results describing the exit behaviour of Anopheles funestus when four of the panels were open are described.

[Note: Review & author's response included]

Research: The AMFm and Medicine Diversion: Good intent enabling corrupt practices

February 22, 2012 - 19:24 -- Bart G.J. Knols
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Author(s): 
Roger Bate, Julissa Milligan, Lorraine Mooney
Reference: 
MWJ 2012, 3, 2

Increased donated and subsidised medicines for malaria are saving countless lives in Africa, but there is probably increasing theft and diversion of those medicines. The impact of medicine diversion is unknown but potentially dangerous and may bolster criminal networks and increase medicine stock outs. This study demonstrates that diversion is widespread; diverted subsidised medicines were found in 11 of 14 cities investigated, and in four of those, over half the pharmacies researchers visited had diverted subsidised malaria products.

[Note: Review & author's response included]

For press coverage in Kenya's Daily Nation click here.

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