Publications


Submitted

WANJIRA, DRNJUGUNAPAMELA.  Submitted.  Computerized tomography scan of the brain in a community study of neurological impairment in Kenya. Njuguna PW, Mungala-Odera V, Chong WK, Meehan RA, Newton CR. J Child Neurol. 2007 Jan;22(1):26-32.. J Child Neurol. 2007 Jan;22(1):26-32.. : East African Medical Journal Abstract
Neurological impairment is common in resource-poor countries, but its causes are not clear. Computerized tomography (CT) of the brain has been used to determine the cause of brain insults that may manifest as neurological impairments. The authors conducted a community survey in Kilifi of 10 218 children aged 6 to 9 years to detect neurological impairment. From this survey, 34 children were identified, of whom 16 had motor deficits, 11 complex partial seizures, 4 microcephaly or macrocephaly, and 3 severe developmental delay. These children were assessed with elicitation of history, physical examination, and CT scan of the brain. Sixteen (47%) of the scans showed abnormalities: cerebral atrophy (n = 9), schizencephaly (n = 3), periventricular leukomalacia (n = 2), porencephalic cyst (n = 1), and agenesis of the corpus callosum (n = 1). The minimum prevalence of abnormalities on the CT scan of the brain is 1.56 of 1000, and the prevalence of schizencephaly is 0.29 of 1000. Motor impairments were more likely to show abnormality than the other indications. CT abnormalities are common in children with neurological impairment in Kenya, but the appearances did not identify a major cause.

2008

WANJIRA, DRNJUGUNAPAMELA.  2008.  Prevalence, incidence and risk factors of epilepsy in older children in rural Kenya.Mung'ala-Odera V, White S, Meehan R, Otieno GO, Njuguna P, Mturi N, Edwards T, Neville BG, Newton CR. Seizure. 2008 Jul;17(5):396-404. Epub 2008 Jan 14.. Seizure. 2008 Jul;17(5):396-404. Epub 2008 Jan 14.. : East African Medical Journal Abstract
BACKGROUND: There is little data on the burden or causes of epilepsy in developing countries, particularly in children living in sub-Saharan Africa. METHODS: We conducted two surveys to estimate the prevalence, incidence and risk factors of epilepsy in children in a rural district of Kenya. All children born between 1991 and 1995 were screened with a questionnaire in 2001 and 2003, and those with a positive response were then assessed for epilepsy by a clinician. Active epilepsy was defined as two or more unprovoked seizures with one in the last year. RESULTS: In the first survey 10,218 children were identified from a census, of whom 110 had epilepsy. The adjusted prevalence estimates of lifetime and active epilepsy were 41/1000 (95% CI: 31-51) and 11/1000 (95% CI: 5-15), respectively. Overall two-thirds of children had either generalized tonic-clonic and/or secondary generalized seizures. A positive history of febrile seizures (OR=3.01; 95% CI: 1.50-6.01) and family history of epilepsy (OR=2.55; 95% CI: 1.19-5.46) were important risk factors for active epilepsy. After the second survey, 39 children from the same birth cohort with previously undiagnosed epilepsy were identified, thus the incidence rate of active epilepsy is 187 per 100,000 per year (95% CI: 133-256) in children aged 6-12 years. CONCLUSIONS: There is a considerable burden of epilepsy in older children living in this area of rural Kenya, with a family history of seizures and a history of febrile seizures identified as risk factors for developing epilepsy.

2006

WANJIRA, DRNJUGUNAPAMELA.  2006.  Prevalence and risk factors of neurological disability and impairment in children living in rural Kenya. Mung'ala-Odera V, Meehan R, Njuguna P, Mturi N, Alcock KJ, Newton CR.Int J Epidemiol. 2006 Jun;35(3):683-8. Epub 2006 Feb 21.. Int J Epidemiol. 2006 Jun;35(3):683-8. Epub 2006 Feb 21.. : East African Medical Journal Abstract
BACKGROUND: There is little data on the burden of neurological impairment (NI) in developing countries, particularly in children of Africa. METHODS: We conducted a survey of NI in children aged 6-9 years in a rural district of Kenya. First, we screened for neurological disability by administering the Ten Questions Questionnaire (TQQ) to parents/guardians of children in a defined population. In phase two, we performed a comprehensive clinical and psychological assessment on children who tested positive on TQQ and on a similar number of children who tested negative. RESULTS: A total of 10 218 children were screened, of whom 955 (9.3%) were positive on TQQ. Of these, 810 (84.8%) were assessed, and of those who tested negative 766 (8.3%) were assessed. The prevalence for moderate/severe NI was 61/1000 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 48-74]. The most common domains affected were epilepsy (41/1000), cognition (31/1000), and hearing (14/1000). Motor (5/1000) and vision (2/1000) impairments were less common. Of the neurologically impaired children (n = 251), 56 (22%) had more than one impairment. Neonatal insults were found to have a significant association with moderate/severe NI in both the univariate [odds ratio (OR) = 1.70; 95% CI 1.12-2.47] and multivariate analyses (OR = 1.30; 95% CI 1.09-1.65). CONCLUSIONS: There is a considerable burden of moderate/severe NI in this area of rural Kenya, with epilepsy, cognition, and hearing being the most common domains affected. Neonatal insults were identified as an important risk factor.

2004

WANJIRA, DRNJUGUNAPAMELA.  2004.  Validity and reliability of the 'Ten Questions' questionnaire for detecting moderate to severe neurological impairment in children aged 6-9 years in rural Kenya. Mung'ala-Odera V, Meehan R, Njuguna P, Mturi N, Alcock K, Carter JA, Newton CR.Neuroepidemiol. Neuroepidemiology. 2004 Jan-Apr;23(1-2):67-72.. : East African Medical Journal Abstract

BACKGROUND: The 'Ten Questions' Questionnaire (TQQ) is used to detect severe neurological impairment in children living in resource-poor countries. Its usefulness has been established in Asia and the Caribbean, but there are a few published studies from Africa. We evaluated the TQQ as part of a larger study of neurological impairment in a rural community, on the coast of Kenya. METHODS: The study was conducted in two phases from June 2001 to May 2002; in phase one, a community household screening of 10,218 children aged 6-9 years using the TQQ was performed. Phase two involved a comprehensive clinical and psychological assessment of all children testing positive on the TQQ (n = 810) and an equivalent number of those testing negative (n = 766). Data were interpreted using the impairment-specific approach. RESULTS: Overall, the sensitivity rates for screening the different impairments were: cognitive (70.0%), motor (71.4%), epilepsy (100%), hearing (87.4%) and visual (77.8%). All the specificity rates were greater than 96%. However, the positive predictive values were low, and ranged from 11 to 33%. CONCLUSIONS: These results are similar to those from other continents and provide evidence that the TQQ can be used to compare the epidemiology of moderate/severe impairment in different parts of the world. Furthermore, the TQQ can be used to screen for moderately/severely impaired children in resource-poor countries; however, the low positive predictive values mean that other assessments are required for confirmation. Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

WANJIRA, DRNJUGUNAPAMELA.  2004.  Management of severe falciparum malaria. Njuguna P, Newton C. J Postgrad Med. 2004 Jan-Mar;50(1):45-50.. J Postgrad Med. 2004 Jan-Mar;50(1):45-50.. : East African Medical Journal Abstract
Plasmodium falciparum is the most common cause of severe and life-threatening malaria. Falciparum malaria causes over one million deaths every year. In Africa, a vast majority of these deaths occur in children under five years of age. The presentation of severe malaria varies with age and geographical distribution. The mortality rate is higher in adults than in children but African children develop neuro-cognitive sequelae following severe malaria more frequently. The management of severe malaria includes prompt administration of appropriate parenteral anti-malarial agents and early recognition and treatment of the complications. In children, the complications include metabolic acidosis (often caused by hypovolaemia), hypoglycaemia, hyperlacticacidaemia, severe anaemia, seizures and raised intracranial pressure. In adults, renal failure and pulmonary oedema are more common causes of death. In contrast, concomitant bacterial infections occur more frequently in children and are associated with mortality in children. Admission to critical or intensive care units may help reduce the mortality, and the frequency and severity of sequelae related to severe malaria.
WANJIRA, DRNJUGUNAPAMELA.  2004.  Perturbations in electrolyte levels in kenyan children with severe malaria complicated by acidosis. Maitland K, Pamba A, Fegan G, Njuguna P, Nadel S, Newton CR, Lowe B.Clin Infect Dis. 2005 Jan 1;40(1):9-16. Epub 2004 Dec 6.. Clin Infect Dis. 2005 Jan 1;40(1):9-16. Epub 2004 Dec 6.. : East African Medical Journal Abstract
BACKGROUND: To date, information about the frequency of electrolyte disturbances among children with severe falciparum malaria is limited. METHODS: We describe changes in potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate levels in 56 Kenyan children (42 who survived and 14 who died) admitted to the hospital with clinical features of severe malaria (impaired consciousness or deep breathing) complicated by acidosis (base deficit, >8 mmol/L). RESULTS: Mild-to-moderate hypercalcemia was common at admission, particularly among children with severe anemia. Severe hyperkalemia complicated falciparum malaria in 9 children (16%), of whom 7 (78%) died, generally soon after admission. Hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, and hypophosphatemia were uncommon (<7% of children) at admission but developed in >30% of children within 24 h. Hypocalcemia was infrequent (<5% of children) at any time point. Apart from administration of potassium, electrolyte deficiencies were not corrected and were not associated with an adverse outcome. CONCLUSIONS: At admission to the hospital, hyperkalemia may complicate cases of acidosis due to severe malaria and is associated with high, early mortality. After admission, mild asymptomatic deficiencies in magnesium and phosphate levels were common but were not associated with any deleterious effect. Thus, routine correction when serial measurement of electrolyte levels cannot be performed is unwarranted. Asymptomatic potassium deficiency developed despite provision of this electrolyte at maintenance doses. Further studies are justified but are unlikely to be a major research priority because, as these data suggest, the impact on mortality would at most be limited.

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