Background Fever with jaundice is a common symptom of some infectious diseases. In public health surveillance within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), yellow fever is the only recognized cause of fever with jaundice. However, only 5% of the surveillance cases are positive for yellow fever and thus indicate the involvement of other pathogens. Leptospira spp. are the causative agents of leptospirosis, a widespread bacterial zoonosis, a known cause of fever with jaundice. This study aimed to determine the seropositivity of anti-Leptospira antibodies among suspected yellow fever cases and map the geographical distribution of possible leptospirosis in the DRC. Methods We conducted a retrospective study using 1,300 samples from yellow fever surveillance in the DRC from January 2017 to December 2018. Serum samples were screened for the presence of IgM against Leptospira spp. by a whole cell-based IgM ELISA (Patoc-IgM ELISA) at the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale in Kinshasa (INRB) according to World Health Organization (WHO) guidance. Exploratory univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were undertaken to assess associations between socio-demographic factors and the presence of Leptospira IgM. Results Of the 1,300 serum samples screened, 88 (7%) showed evidence of IgM against Leptospira spp. Most positive cases (34%) were young adult males in the 20-29-year group. There were statistically significant associations between having Leptospira IgM antibodies, age, sex, and living area. Observed positive cases were mostly located in urban settings, and the majority lived in the province of Kinshasa. There was a statistically significant association between seasonality and IgM Leptospira spp. positivity amongst those living in Kinshasa, where most of the positive cases occurred during the rainy season. Conclusions This study showed that leptospirosis is likely an overlooked cause of unexplained cases of fever with jaundice in the DRC and highlights the need to consider leptospirosis in the differential diagnosis of fever with jaundice, particularly in young adult males. Further studies are needed to identify animal reservoirs, associated risk factors, and the burden of human leptospirosis in the DRC.Author summary Leptospirosis is an Important bacterial zoonosis with a worldwide distribution. Each year there are an estimated one million cases, with about 60,000 deaths. The true burden of the disease, however, is unknown. The burden of leptospirosis is probably underestimated due to the lack of specific clinical symptoms and diagnostic techniques that are not readily available. Clinical diagnosis of leptospirosis is difficult because of the diversity of symptoms, ranging from asymptomatic forms to severe multivisceral icteric states. Differential diagnoses with infections presenting with fever or fever and jaundice are numerous and may mislead the clinician. Leptospirosis is considered endemic in sub-Saharan Africa and is known to cause fever with jaundice in African countries; however, for most countries, available epidemiologic data are scarce, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). An improved understanding of the epidemiology of leptospirosis will improve clinical management, lead to policy formulation, and have implications for national surveillance of infectious diseases in these countries. We conducted a retrospective seroepidemiological study to extend the description of the pathogens responsible for fever with jaundice in the DRC and to clarify the circulation of possible leptospirosis in the country. This study showed that leptospirosis is a likely cause of fever with jaundice in the DRC.

Leptospirosis as a cause of fever associated with jaundice in the Democratic Republic of the Congo / Mukadi Kakoni, Patrick; Munyeku Bazitama, Yannick; Nepomuceno, Jean Raphael; Pukuta-Simbu, Elisabeth; Kawhata Mawika, Francois; Kashitu Mujinga, Gracia; Palla, Luigi; Ahuka-Mundeke, Steve; Muyembe Tamfum, Jean-Jacques; Koizumi, Nobuo; Kubo, Yoshinao; Ariyoshi, Koya; Smith, Chris. - In: PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES. - ISSN 1935-2735. - 15:8(2021), pp. 1-14. [10.1371/journal.pntd.0009670]

Leptospirosis as a cause of fever associated with jaundice in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Palla, Luigi;
2021

Abstract

Background Fever with jaundice is a common symptom of some infectious diseases. In public health surveillance within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), yellow fever is the only recognized cause of fever with jaundice. However, only 5% of the surveillance cases are positive for yellow fever and thus indicate the involvement of other pathogens. Leptospira spp. are the causative agents of leptospirosis, a widespread bacterial zoonosis, a known cause of fever with jaundice. This study aimed to determine the seropositivity of anti-Leptospira antibodies among suspected yellow fever cases and map the geographical distribution of possible leptospirosis in the DRC. Methods We conducted a retrospective study using 1,300 samples from yellow fever surveillance in the DRC from January 2017 to December 2018. Serum samples were screened for the presence of IgM against Leptospira spp. by a whole cell-based IgM ELISA (Patoc-IgM ELISA) at the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale in Kinshasa (INRB) according to World Health Organization (WHO) guidance. Exploratory univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were undertaken to assess associations between socio-demographic factors and the presence of Leptospira IgM. Results Of the 1,300 serum samples screened, 88 (7%) showed evidence of IgM against Leptospira spp. Most positive cases (34%) were young adult males in the 20-29-year group. There were statistically significant associations between having Leptospira IgM antibodies, age, sex, and living area. Observed positive cases were mostly located in urban settings, and the majority lived in the province of Kinshasa. There was a statistically significant association between seasonality and IgM Leptospira spp. positivity amongst those living in Kinshasa, where most of the positive cases occurred during the rainy season. Conclusions This study showed that leptospirosis is likely an overlooked cause of unexplained cases of fever with jaundice in the DRC and highlights the need to consider leptospirosis in the differential diagnosis of fever with jaundice, particularly in young adult males. Further studies are needed to identify animal reservoirs, associated risk factors, and the burden of human leptospirosis in the DRC.Author summary Leptospirosis is an Important bacterial zoonosis with a worldwide distribution. Each year there are an estimated one million cases, with about 60,000 deaths. The true burden of the disease, however, is unknown. The burden of leptospirosis is probably underestimated due to the lack of specific clinical symptoms and diagnostic techniques that are not readily available. Clinical diagnosis of leptospirosis is difficult because of the diversity of symptoms, ranging from asymptomatic forms to severe multivisceral icteric states. Differential diagnoses with infections presenting with fever or fever and jaundice are numerous and may mislead the clinician. Leptospirosis is considered endemic in sub-Saharan Africa and is known to cause fever with jaundice in African countries; however, for most countries, available epidemiologic data are scarce, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). An improved understanding of the epidemiology of leptospirosis will improve clinical management, lead to policy formulation, and have implications for national surveillance of infectious diseases in these countries. We conducted a retrospective seroepidemiological study to extend the description of the pathogens responsible for fever with jaundice in the DRC and to clarify the circulation of possible leptospirosis in the country. This study showed that leptospirosis is a likely cause of fever with jaundice in the DRC.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1566448
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