Background and objectives. Latex allergy, caused by sensitisation in atopic individuals, is a common occupational disease among healthcare workers who use latex gloves. It may be present in non-atopic individuals as well. The main objective of this study was to document the prevalence and disease spectrum of latex allergy at Mankweng Hospital, Limpopo Province, South Africa. The secondary objective was to determine clinical presentation of the disease.
Methods. A cross-sectional descriptive study, with an analytical component, was conducted among healthcare workers who worked in high-risk areas for latex sensitisation. ImmunoCAP testing was performed and followed by a skin-prick test (SPT) in those who tested negative to the blood test.
Results. Two hundred screening questionnaires were distributed to healthcare workers at the hospital. Of these 158 (79.0%) were returned, with 59 participants meeting the inclusion criteria (experiencing symptoms due to wearing latex gloves). The mean age of the participants was 39.6 years (standard deviation 9.8 years, range 20 - 60 years). There were more females (98.1%) than males (1.9%). Glove-related symptoms were present in 59 subjects (37.1%), in 7 (11.9%) of whom the ImmunoCAP was positive to latex (95% confidence interval 4.2 - 22.9%). Fourteen participants were lost to follow-up before the SPT was performed. Thirty-eight of the participants with negative ImmunoCAP tests underwent SPT. Positive SPTs were reported in 5 of these 38 workers (13.2%), indicating that the ImmunoCAP test missed 11.1% (5/45) of latex-allergic individuals. The prevalence of latex allergy in this study was 8.3% (12/144). A denominator of 144 was used, as there is a possibility that some of the 14 individuals lost to follow-up could have tested positive to latex sensitisation by SPT. The symptoms experienced by latex-sensitised workers were rhinitis (100.0%), asthma (50.0%), dermatitis (25.0%), severe anaphylaxis (8.3%), abdominal pain (8.3%) and angio-oedema (8.3%).
Conclusion. Our findings reveal that latex allergy is a problem at our hospital. The prevalence of 8.3% is comparable to findings in other South African centres. We recommend a latex-free protocol for high-risk areas and healthcare workers.
Background. There is a paucity of data on the pharmacokinetics of fixed-dose combination enteral antituberculosis treatment in critically ill patients.
Objectives. To establish the pharmacokinetic profile of a fixed-dose combination of rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide and ethambutol given according to weight via a nasogastric tube to patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU).
Methods. We conducted a prospective, observational study on 10 patients (mean age 32 years, 6 male) admitted to an ICU and treated for tuberculosis (TB). Serum concentrations of the drugs were determined at eight predetermined intervals over 24 hours by means of high-performance liquid chromatography.
Results. The therapeutic maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) for rifampicin at time to peak concentration was achieved in only 4 patients, whereas 2 did not achieve therapeutic Cmax for isoniazid. No patient reached sub-therapeutic Cmax for pyrazinamide (6 were within and 4 above therapeutic range). Three patients reached sub-therapeutic Cmax for ethambutol, and 6 patients were within and 1 above the therapeutic range. Patients with a sub-therapeutic rifampicin level had a higher mean Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score (p=0.03) and a lower estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) (p=0.03).
Conclusions. A fixed-dose combination tablet, crushed and mixed with water, given according to weight via a nasogastric tube to patients with TB admitted to an ICU resulted in sub-therapeutic rifampicin plasma concentrations in the majority of patients, whereas the other drugs had a more favourable pharmacokinetic profile. Patients with a sub-therapeutic rifampicin concentration had a higher APACHE II score and a lower estimated GFR, which may contribute to suboptimal outcomes in critically ill patients. Studies in other settings have reported similar proportions of patients with 'sub-therapeutic' rifampicin concentrations.
Introduction and objectives. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), caused by the John Cunningham (JC) virus, results from lytic infection of predominantly oligodendrocytes. Following the HIV pandemic, the incidence of PML has risen sharply, but has rarely been reported in Africa. An increasing number of PML cases were seen recently in a tertiary South African hospital, and this study describes their clinical and radiological features.
Methods. Patients with positive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) JC virus confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were retrospectively identified from January 2008 to June 2012. Adults seen at Neurology with PML were identified, and clinical features, laboratory findings and imaging studies were analysed.
Results. Of 121 specimens, 19 were positive; records of 17 patients were available (ages 27 - 64; CD4 counts 11 - 328 x 106/µl); clinical manifestations included focal weakness (47%), impaired co-ordination (41%), and speech disturbances (12%), and CSF analysis showed high protein in 76%, and pleocytosis in 35%. Fifteen patients had CT brain scans, showing white matter involvement in 12; MRI studies in 13 patients showed typical PML lesions.
Conclusion. This report is the first case series of patients with PML from a South African neurology unit, emphasising the fact that PML occurs commonly in South African patients with HIV infection.
Background. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is common in parts of South Africa; rural residence is a frequently cited risk factor. We conducted a FAS school prevalence survey of an isolated rural community in a West Coast village of Western Cape Province, so obtaining the first directly measured rate, focusing specifically on a South African rural area, of FAS and partial FAS (PFAS).
Methods. The study area (Aurora village), a community of about 2 500 people in a grain-producing region, has one primary school. All learners were eligible for study inclusion. Initial anthropometry screening was followed by a diagnostic stage entailing examination by a dysmorphologist for features of FAS, neurodevelopmental assessment, and an interview assessing maternal alcohol consumption.
Results. Of 160 learners screened, 78 (49%) were screen-positive, of whom 63 (81%) were clinically assessed for FAS. The overall FAS/PFAS rate among the screened learners was 17.5% (95% confidence interval 12.0 - 24.2%), with 16 (10.0%) children having FAS and 12 (7.5%) PFAS. High rates of stunting, underweight and microcephaly were noted in all learners, especially those with FAS or PFAS. Five (18%) mothers of affected children were deceased by the time of assessment.
Conclusion. We describe very high rates of FAS/PFAS in an isolated rural part of the Western Cape that is not located in a viticultural region. Our study suggests that the prevalence of FAS may be very high in isolated communities, or in particular hot-spots. It adds to the growing evidence that FAS/PFAS is a significant, and underestimated, health problem in South Africa. Expanded screening and surveillance programmes, and preventive interventions, are urgently needed.
Background. Safe and effective contraceptive use can substantially improve women's reproductive health. Although the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) in South Africa is comparable to rates globally, inequalities in CPR affect poor and rural women. This study aimed to determine the CPR and factors associated with contraceptive use in a rural district of Western Cape Province.
Method. Cross-sectional survey data based on 412 face-to-face interviews with female participants between 18 and 44 years of age were collected in 2006 for a primary fetal alcohol syndrome prevention study in a rural district in Western Cape Province. The study used effective contraception (ECC) as the outcome variable. ECC included use of oral contraceptives, condoms, injectables or sterilisation. Independent variables included socio-demographic factors, substance use, psychosocial factors, community factors, childbearing characteristics and partner characteristics.
Results. Women were more likely to use ECC if they reported high self-esteem (compared with low or moderate self-esteem (prevalence risk ratio (PRR)=1.23; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.99 - 1.53); if they strongly or moderately agreed that their culture entitled men to make decisions regarding child-bearing compared with those who disagreed (PRR=1.28; 95% CI 0.96 - 1.71); and if they had one child or more compared with no children (PRR=1.62; 95% CI 1.24 - 2.11).
Conclusion. The CPR for sexually active women in this study was low at 39.3%. To promote contraceptive use in similar rural populations, family planning programmes should focus on increasing men's approval of contraception, improving partner communication around family planning and bolstering women's confidence in their reproductive decision-making, and particularly their self-esteem. There should be greater focus on nulliparous women.
Background. A key objective of the Nephrology Sister Centre Programme between the renal units in Cardiff and Addis Ababa, sponsored by the International Society of Nephrology, is to facilitate development of the local clinical service in Ethiopia specifically focused on the management of acute kidney injury (AKI).
Objectives. To examine the relationship between AKI risk factor recognition and monitoring of renal function in three hospitals in Ethiopia.
Methods. Cross-sectional data were gathered regarding renal function monitoring, recording the presence of AKI risk-associated comorbidities and prescription of nephrotoxic medications across the disciplines of medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology.
Results. Patients were more likely to have their renal function checked at the hospital with specialist services. Across all centres, the highest proportion of patients who had renal function measurements were those admitted to a medical ward. There was a positive relationship between documented comorbidities and the measurement of renal function but not between the prescription of nephrotoxic drugs and measurement of renal function.
Conclusion. There was great variability in the extent to which doctors recognised the presence of risk factors for the development of AKI. Failure to identify these risk factors represents a lost opportunity to identify patients at high risk of developing renal injury who would benefit from renal function monitoring.
The term rhinitis implies inflammation of the lining of the nose. Characteristic symptoms are a blocked nose, anterior and posterior rhinorrhea, sneezing and itching. Not all cases of chronic rhinitis have an allergic basis. Chronic non-allergic rhinitis is defined as a condition where ongoing rhinitic symptoms are present for many months (as for persistent allergic rhinitis) but there is no IgE basis. Many common conditions may present as chronic rhinitis, which will need to be investigated and managed on their own merits. Not all cases of chronic rhinitis respond to allergic rhinitis therapy: continued attempts to manage chronic rhinitis as allergic rhinitis may be hampered by pathophysiological conditions where other specific therapy may be required. Chronic rhinitis impacts on patient quality of life, and therefore therapy is important. Managing patients with chronic rhinitis requires attention to patient education in order to achieve the maximal therapeutic benefit of medication. This update is intended to provide clinicians with a sound basis for management of a common condition.
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is an accepted method of pain control. SCS has been used for many years and is supported by a substantial evidence base. A multidisciplinary consensus group has been convened to create a guideline for the implementation and execution of an SCS programme for South Africa (SA). This article discusses the evidence and appropriate context of SCS delivery, and makes recommendations for patient selection and appropriate use. The consensus group has also described the possible complications following SCS. This guideline includes a literature review and a summary of controlled clinical trials of SCS.
The group notes that, in SA, SCS is performed mainly for painful neuropathies, failed back surgery, and chronic regional pain syndrome. It was noted that SCS is used to treat other conditions such as angina pectoris and ischaemic conditions, which have therefore been included in this guideline. These recommendations give guidance to practitioners delivering this treatment, to those who may wish to refer patients for SCS, and to those who care for patients with stimulators in situ. The recommendations also provide a resource for organisations that fund SCS. This guideline has drawn on the guidelines recently published by the British Pain Society, and parts of which have been reproduced with the society's permission.
These recommendations have been produced by a consensus group of relevant healthcare professionals. Opinion from outside the consensus group has been incorporated through consultation with representatives of all groups for whom these recommendations have relevance. The recommendations refer to the current body of evidence relating to SCS. The consensus group wishes to acknowledge and thank the task team of the British Pain Society for their help and input into this document.