Publisher: African Academy of Sciences (Total: 1 journals)   [Sort by number of followers]

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AAS Open Research     Open Access  
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AAS Open Research
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2515-9321
Published by African Academy of Sciences Homepage  [1 journal]
  • Case studies from the experience of early career researchers in East
           Africa in building community engagement in research [version 2; peer
           review: 2 approved with reservations]

    • Authors: Joel L. Bargul, Denna M. Mkwashapi, Imelda Namagembe, Immaculate Nakityo, Annettee Nakimuli, Josaphat Byamugisha, Daniel Semakula, Janet Seeley, Nelson K. Sewankambo
      Abstract: Background: In this paper, we explain how three early career researchers actively engaged community members in their health research projects in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and what was learnt from the experience. The research project in Kenya was on camel trypanosomiasis and the role of camel biting keds (or louse flies) in disease transmission. The project in Tanzania looked at the effect of human immunodeficiency virus and antiretroviral therapy on fertility and ascertained the trends in the use of family planning services amongst women of reproductive age. The focus of the project in Uganda was the implementation of maternal death surveillance and the response policy to determine the cause of maternal deaths and how they might be prevented. Methods: In the three different settings, efforts to ensure local community engagement provided a focus for the researchers to hone their skills in explaining research concepts and working in partnership with community members to co-develop ideas, their research methods and outputs. Results: Involvement of communities in scientific research, which entailed a two-way mutual engagement process, led to (i) generation of new research ideas that shaped the work, (ii) strengthened mutual trust, and (iii) promoted uptake of research findings. Conclusion: Our key findings strongly support the need for considering community engagement as one of the key components in research studies.
      PubDate: 2022-06-27T10:16:42Z
      DOI: 10.12688/openresafrica.13349.2
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2022)
  • Maize seeds storage systems and post-harvest losses in Benin: diversity,
           efficiency, storage insects, and implications for better products
           conservation [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]

    • Authors: Gabin Samba, Anicet G. Dassou, Rodrigue Idohou, Corinne M. Anagonou, Alexandre Dansi
      Abstract: Background: Storage pests cause extensive damages to stored products and are responsible for huge post-harvest losses affecting the quality, quantity, and germination potential of stored grains and seeds. This study aimed to investigate the variability of traditional methods of storage and conservation of maize seeds practiced by farmers to propose alternative measures for a significant reduction of post-harvest losses of seeds. Methods : Using participatory research approaches, we surveyed farmers from 21 randomly selected villages in 5 districts in southern Benin. Data were collected on the storage structures of the 3 certified and most produced maize seeds varieties. The forms under which maize seeds are stored, as well as the damage caused by the major storage insects, were determined. Results: Results showed that most farmers store maize seeds in the form of grains and spathe. Following the laboratory observation of the three maize varieties studied, the DMR / QPM variety produced only in the district of Zagnanado has a low abundance of storage insects and a low rate of post-harvest losses. Sitophilus zeamais is the most abundant pest of the three maize seed varieties followed by Prostephanus truncatus. The variety 2000 SYN EE was the most attacked by storage insects. The most promising post-harvest agricultural practice is the storage of maize with spathe saved in jute bags, in granaries or cribs. Conclusions: Storage insects contribute to the depreciation of the quality of grains, loss of grain and reduction of their germinability in stock. Improving farmers' awareness of these post-harvest practices could help to reduce the damage of storage insects.
      PubDate: 2022-06-20T15:33:13Z
      DOI: 10.12688/openresafrica.13372.1
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2022)
  • NOMAD: metagenomic characterisation of the viral pathogen composition in
           outbreaks of non-malaria acute febrile illness cases [version 1; peer
           review: awaiting peer review]

    • Authors: Benard W. Kulohoma, Ibrahim Ng'eno
      Abstract: The clinical importance of non-malaria febrile acute illness (NM-AFI) in patients with a negative parasitological test has become apparent, with the progressive reduction in malaria transmission in endemic regions. Bacterial pathogens, for example Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae, which contribute disproportionally to febrile illness, are now preventable by vaccines. However, there are no vaccines, and little is known about viral NM-AFI prevalence, proliferation, virulence, and transmission chains between hosts. Although the predominant viral causes of NM-AFI are established, it is unclear if there are other NM-AFI associated emerging infectious viral pathogens that previously remained undetectable by conventional diagnostic strategies, for example severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-​2). Presumptive broad-spectrum antibiotic prescriptions to aparasitaemic patients not only drive drug resistance, but also lead to poor treatment outcomes. We hypothesized that insights on NM-AFI etiology, and consequently case management, could be improved by exploiting viral sequence diversity to identify viral pathogens present within metagenomics samples. We exploited simulated and existing infectious disease (Ebola, hepatitis C, chikungunya, and mosquito-borne arboviruses) metagenomic datasets to determine the composition of viral pathogens present, by implementing profile Hidden Markov Models derived from Swiss-Prot viral reference sequences for accurate pathogen detection and classification. Our analysis identified a combination of sequences from multiple viral etiological agents within the same disease sample. This approach provides a granular perspective of multiple viral etiological agents present within a single intra-host disease episode. It highlights prevalent viral strains that can subsequently be routinely detected using directed diagnostic tests to improve disease surveillance in endemic regions.
      PubDate: 2022-06-09T08:58:32Z
      DOI: 10.12688/openresafrica.13406.1
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2022)
  • Molecular detection of novel Anaplasma sp. and zoonotic hemopathogens in
           livestock and their hematophagous biting keds (genus Hippobosca) from
           Laisamis, northern Kenya [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]

    • Authors: Daniel M. Mwaki, Kevin O. Kidambasi, Johnson Kinyua, Kenneth Ogila, Collins Kigen, Dennis Getange, Jandouwe Villinger, Daniel K. Masiga, Mark Carrington, Joel L. Bargul
      Abstract: Background: Livestock are key sources of livelihood among pastoral communities. Livestock productivity is chiefly constrained by pests and diseases. Due to inadequate disease surveillance in northern Kenya, little is known about pathogens circulating within livestock and the role of livestock-associated biting keds (genus Hippobosca) in disease transmission. We aimed to identify the prevalence of selected hemopathogens in livestock and their associated blood-feeding keds. Methods: We randomly collected 389 blood samples from goats (245), sheep (108), and donkeys (36), as well as 235 keds from both goats and sheep (116), donkeys (11), and dogs (108) in Laisamis, Marsabit County, northern Kenya. We screened all samples for selected hemopathogens by high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis and sequencing of PCR products amplified using primers specific to the genera: Anaplasma, Trypanosoma, Clostridium, Ehrlichia, Brucella, Theileria, and Babesia. Results: In goats, we detected Anaplasma ovis (84.5%), a novel Anaplasma sp. (11.8%), Trypanosoma vivax (7.3%), Ehrlichia canis (66.1%), and Theileria ovis (0.8%). We also detected A. ovis (93.5%), E. canis (22.2%), and T. ovis (38.9%) in sheep. In donkeys, we detected ‘Candidatus Anaplasma camelii’ (11.1%), T. vivax (22.2%), E. canis (25%), and Theileria equi (13.9%). In addition, keds carried the following pathogens; goat/sheep keds - T. vivax (29.3%), Trypanosoma evansi (0.86%), Trypanosoma godfreyi (0.86%), and E. canis (51.7%); donkey keds - T. vivax (18.2%) and E. canis (63.6%); and dog keds - T. vivax (15.7%), T. evansi (0.9%), Trypanosoma simiae (0.9%), E. canis (76%), Clostridium perfringens (46.3%), Bartonella schoenbuchensis (76%), and Brucella abortus (5.6%). Conclusions: We found that livestock and their associated ectoparasitic biting keds carry a number of infectious hemopathogens, including the zoonotic B. abortus. Dog keds harbored the most pathogens, suggesting dogs, which closely interact with livestock and humans, as key reservoirs of diseases in Laisamis. These findings can guide policy makers in disease control.
      PubDate: 2022-06-06T11:44:10Z
      DOI: 10.12688/openresafrica.13404.1
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2022)
  • Farmers’ knowledge, perceptions, and practices on animal trypanosomosis
           and the tsetse fly vector: A cross-sectional study around Kenya’s
           Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve at the livestock-wildlife interface [version
           1; peer review: awaiting peer review]

    • Authors: Erick K Serem, Joel L Bargul, Moses M Ngari, Osman A Abdullahi, David M Mburu
      Abstract: Background: Animal African trypanosomosis (AAT) is a veterinary disease caused by trypanosomes transmitted cyclically by tsetse flies. AAT causes huge agricultural losses in sub-Saharan Africa. Both tsetse flies and trypanosomosis (T&T) are endemic in the study area inhabited by smallholder livestock farmers at the livestock-wildlife interface around Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve (ASFR) in Kilifi County on the Kenyan coast. We assessed farmers’ knowledge, perceptions and control practices towards T&T. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted during November and December 2017 to collect data from 404 randomly selected cattle-rearing households using a structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were used to determine farmers’ knowledge, perceptions, and control practices towards T&T. Demographic factors associated with knowledge of T&T were assessed using a logistic regression model. Results: Participants consisted of 53% female, 77% married, 30% elderly (>55 years), and the majority (81%) had attained primary education or below. Most small-scale farmers (98%) knew the tsetse fly by its local name, and 76% could describe the morphology of the adult tsetse fly by size in comparison to the housefly’s (Musca domestica). Only 16% of the farmers knew tsetse flies as vectors of livestock diseases. Higher chances of adequate knowledge on T&T were associated with the participants’ (i) age of 15–24 years (aOR 2.88 (95% CI 1.10–7.52), (ii) level of education including secondary (aOR 2.46 (95% CI 1.43–4.24)) and tertiary (aOR 3.80 (95% CI 1.54–9.37)), and (iii) employment status: self-employed farmers (aOR 6.54 (95% CI 4.36–9.80)). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that small-scale farmers around ASFR have limited knowledge of T&T. It is envisaged that efforts geared towards training of the farmers would bridge this knowledge gap and sharpen the perceptions and disease control tactics to contribute to the prevention and control of T&T.
      PubDate: 2022-06-06T11:38:27Z
      DOI: 10.12688/openresafrica.13397.1
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2022)
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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