AbstractIntroduction: Respiratory pathogens continue to present an ever increasing threat to public health (1,2). Influenza, Respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus and other respiratory viruses are major etiological agents for influenza like illnesses (ILI) (3-5). Establishment of viral causes of ILI is critical for prevention and mitigation strategies to disease threats. Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP) together with the Ugandan Ministry of Health and partners undertook surveillance to determine viral causes of influenza-like illness in Uganda.
Methods: From 2008, MUWRP established hospital-based sentinel sites for surveillance activities. A total of five hospital-based sites were established, where patients aged 6 months or older presenting with ILI were enrolled. Consents were obtained as required, and a throat and/ or nasopharyngeal swab collected. Samples were screened by PCR for viral causes.
Results: From October 2008 to March 2017 a total of 9,472 participants were enrolled in the study from five hospital-based surveillance sentinel sites. Majority of participants were children under 5 years n= 8,169 (86.2%). 615 (6.5%) samples tested positive for influenza A, while 385 (4.1%) tested positive for influenza B viruses and 10 (0.1%) were co-infections between influenza A and B. Of the 2,062 influenza negative samples, results indicated positivity for the following organisms; adenoviruses (9.4%), respiratory syncytial B (7.3%), parainfluenza-3 (4.5%), parainfluenza-1 (4.3%), respiratory syncytial A (3.5%), human bocavirus (1.7%), human metapneumovirus (1.7%), human coronavirus (1.5%), parainfluenza-4 (1.4%) and parainfluenza-2 (0.9%) by PCR.
Conclusions: Influenza viruses account for about 11% of the causes of influenza like illness, with influenza A being the dominant type. Among the other viral causes of ILI, adenoviruses were the most dominant. Detection of other viral causes of ILI is an indication of the public health threats posed by respiratory pathogens.
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