Severe morbidity and hospital-based mortality from Rift Valley fever disease between November 2017 and March 2020 among humans in Uganda

Abstract Background Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a zoonotic viral disease of increasing intensity among humans in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In Uganda, cases reported prior to 2016 were mild or not fully documented. We report in this paper on the severe morbidity and hospital-based mortality of human cases in Uganda. Methods Between November 2017 and March 2020 human cases reported to the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) were confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Ethical and regulatory approvals were obtained to enrol survivors into a one-year follow-up study. Data were collected on socio-demographics, medical history, laboratory tests, potential risk factors, and analysed using Stata software. Results Overall, 40 cases were confirmed with acute RVF during this period. Cases were not geographically clustered and nearly all were male (39/40; 98%), median age 32 (range 11–63). The median definitive diagnosis time was 7 days and a delay of three days between presumptive and definitive diagnosis. Most patients (31/40; 78%) presented with fever and bleeding at case detection. Twenty-eight (70%) cases were hospitalised, out of whom 18 (64%) died. Mortality was highest among admissions in regional referral (11/16; 69%) and district (4/5; 80%) hospitals, hospitalized patients with bleeding at case detection (17/27; 63%), and patients older than 44 years (9/9; 100%). Survivors mostly manifested a mild gastro-intestinal syndrome with nausea (83%), anorexia (75%), vomiting (75%), abdominal pain (50%), and diarrhoea (42%), and prolonged symptoms of severe disease including jaundice (67%), visual difficulties (67%), epistaxis (50%), haemoptysis (42%), and dysentery (25%). Symptom duration varied between two to 120 days. Conclusion RVF is associated with high hospital-based mortality, severe and prolonged morbidity among humans that present to the health care system and are confirmed by PCR. One-health composite interventions should be developed to improve environmental and livestock surveillance, prevent infections, promptly detect outbreaks, and improve patient outcomes.
Severe morbidity; hospital-based mortality; Rift Valley fever disease; November 2017 and March 2020; humans in Uganda
Anywaine, Zacchaeus, Christian Hansen, George M. Warimwe, et al. 'Severe Morbidity and Hospital-Based Mortality from Rift Valley Fever Disease between November 2017 and March 2020 among Humans in Uganda', Virology Journal, vol. 21/no. 1, (2024), pp. 104-104.