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A Combined Syndromic Approach to Examine Viral, Bacterial, and Parasitic Agents among Febrile Patients: A Pilot Study in Kilombero, Tanzania

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  • Alternative Title:
    Am J Trop Med Hyg
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    The use of fever syndromic surveillance in sub-Saharan Africa is an effective approach to determine the prevalence of both malarial and nonmalarial infectious agents. We collected both blood and naso/oro-pharyngeal (NP/OP) swabs from consecutive consenting patients ≥ 1 year of age, with an axillary temperature ≥ 37.5°C, and symptom onset of ≤ 5 days. Specimens were analyzed using both acute febrile illness (AFI) and respiratory TaqMan array cards (Resp TAC) for multiagent detection of 56 different bloodstream and respiratory agents. In addition, we collected epidemiologic data to further characterize our patient population. We enrolled 205 febrile patients, including 70 children (1 < 15 years of age; 34%) and 135 adults (≥ 15 years of age; 66%). AFI TAC and Resp TAC were performed on 191 whole blood specimens and 115 NP/OP specimens, respectively. We detected nucleic acid for | (57%), | (2%), and dengue virus (1%) among blood specimens. In addition, we detected 17 different respiratory agents, most notably, | (64%), | (56%), | (39%), and respiratory syncytial virus (11%) among NP/OP specimens. Overall median cycle threshold was measured at 26.5. This study provides a proof-of-concept for the use of a multiagent diagnostic approach for exploratory research on febrile illness and underscores the utility of quantitative molecular diagnostics in complex epidemiologic settings of sub-Saharan Africa.
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