Evaluation of Arthropod-Borne Viruses and Other Infectious Disease Pathogens as the Causes of Febrile Illnesses in the Khartoum Province of Sudan

Evaluation of Arthropod-Borne Viruses and Other Infectious Disease Pathogens as the Causes of Febrile Illnesses in the Khartoum Province of Sudan

Evaluation of Arthropod-Borne Viruses and Other Infectious Disease Pathogens as the Causes of Febrile Illnesses in the Khartoum Province of Sudan

Abstract

The relative importance of arthropod-borne and other disease pathogens as the cause of an outbreak of febrile illnesses was assessed during August 1988, following severe flooding in Khartoum, Sudan. A total of 200 patients with acute febrile illness and 100 afebrile controls were enrolled in the study during October and November 1988; at the Omdurman Military Hospital, Khartoum, Sudan. Sera were tested for IgM and IgG antibodies to sixarthropod-borne viruses by an enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay, and for similar antibodies to Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and Ebola and Marburg viruses by an indirect fluorescence assay. Thick and thin blood smears were examined microscopically for malaria parasites, and fecal and blood specimens were tested for bacteria by standard culture methods. Among the acute and convalescent sera collected from 67febrile patients, five cases were caused by sandfly fever Sicilian (SFS), six by sandfly fever Naples (SFN), and 12 by unidentified phleboviruses. Of 233 remaining unpaired, acute-phase sera collected from cases and controls, 49 (21%) had IgM antibodies to SFS or SFN, RVF, West Nile (WN), and Chikungunya (CHIK) viruses. Forty-three (22%) of 192 febrile cases and two of the 100 afebrile controls were positive for Plasmodium falciparum, and bacterial enteropathogens were associated with 25 (13%) cases and four controls. These data indicated that phleboviruses and to a lesser extent, WN, P. falciparum, and enterobacterial pathogens were causes of acute febrile illnesses following the 1988 flood in Khartoum, Sudan.

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