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Concept: Burkina Faso


The Sahel region of West Africa has the highest bacterial meningitis attack and case fatality rate in the world. The effect of climatic factors on patterns of invasive respiratory bacterial disease is not well documented.

Concepts: Bacteria, Africa, Sahara, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, West Africa, Sahel, Desertification


A critical stage in malaria transmission occurs in the Anopheles mosquito midgut, when the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, ingested with blood, first makes contact with the gut epithelial surface. To understand the response mechanisms within the midgut environment, including those influenced by resident microbiota against Plasmodium, we focus on a midgut bacteria species' intra-specific variation that confers diversity to the mosquito’s competency for malaria transmission. Serratia marcescens isolated from either laboratory-reared mosquitoes or wild populations in Burkina Faso shows great phenotypic variation in its cellular and structural features. Importantly, this variation is directly correlated with its ability to inhibit Plasmodium development within the mosquito midgut. Furthermore, this anti-Plasmodium function conferred by Serratia marcescens requires increased expression of the flagellum biosynthetic pathway that is modulated by the motility master regulatory operon, flhDC. These findings point to new strategies for controlling malaria through genetic manipulation of midgut bacteria within the mosquito.

Concepts: Gene, Bacteria, Evolution, Malaria, Plasmodium, Anopheles, Mosquito, Burkina Faso


Children with moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) are treated with lipid-based nutrient supplement (LNS) or corn-soy blend (CSB). We assessed the effectiveness of (a) matrix, i.e., LNS or CSB, (b) soy quality, i.e., soy isolate (SI) or dehulled soy (DS), and © percentage of total protein from dry skimmed milk, i.e., 0%, 20%, or 50%, in increasing fat-free tissue accretion.

Concepts: Nutrition, Africa, Milk, Burkina Faso, French language


Context. This study was conducted at the National Tuberculosis Center in Burkina Faso from October 2007 through May 2008. Objective. Our objective was to compare the diagnostic performance of three staining methods: Kinyoun, auramine O, and Ziehl-Neelsen. Methods. Ziehl-Neelsen staining served as the reference method to assess the diagnostic performance of Kinyoun and auramine O staining. In all, 616 sputum smears from 233 patients were read with each method to detect acid-fast bacilli. SPSS was used for data analysis. Results. The results of auramine O staining showed positive diagnoses in 15.9% of the samples; sensitivity was 100%, specificity 95.6%, and the positive and negative predictive values 75.7% and 100% respectively. Kinyoun staining produced a positive diagnosis rate of 12%, sensitivity of 96.4%, specificity of 99.5%, and positive and negative predictive values of 96.4% and 99.5%. Conclusion. Our study indicates that auramine O staining had a better sensitivity for detecting acid-fast bacilli than Kinyoun staining. Accordingly, the use of auramine O staining should increase the detection rate for pulmonary tuberculosis in Burkina Faso.

Concepts: Negative predictive value, Diagnosis, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Burkina Faso, Staining, Ziehl-Neelsen stain, Acid-fast


OBJECTIVES: To measure pre-intervention quality of routine antenatal and childbirth care in rural districts of Burkina Faso, Ghana and Tanzania and to identify shortcomings. METHODS: In each country, we selected two adjoining rural districts. Within each district, we randomly sampled 6 primary healthcare facilities. Quality of care was assessed through health facility surveys, direct observation of antenatal and childbirth care, exit interviews and review of patient records. RESULTS: By and large, quality of antenatal and childbirth care in the six districts was satisfactory, but we did identify some critical gaps common to the study sites in all three countries. Counselling and health education practices are poor; laboratory investigations are often not performed; examination and monitoring of mother and newborn during childbirth are inadequate; partographs are not used. Equipment required to provide assisted vaginal deliveries (vacuum extractor or forceps) was absent in all surveyed facilities. CONCLUSION: Quality of care in the three study sites can be improved with the available human resources and without major investments. This improvement could reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity.

Concepts: Childbirth, Infant, Health, Obstetrics, Burkina Faso, Global Peace Index, Côte d'Ivoire, Mossi


Although influenza surveillance has recently been improved in some sub-Saharan African countries, no information is yet available from Burkina Faso.

Concepts: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Sahara, Burkina Faso, West Africa, Niger


Drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) is a global public health problem. Adequate management requires baseline drug-resistance prevalence data. In West Africa, due to a poor laboratory infrastructure and inadequate capacity, such data are scarce. Therefore, the true extent of drug-resistant TB was hitherto undetermined. In 2008, a new research network, the West African Network of Excellence for Tuberculosis, AIDS and Malaria (WANETAM), was founded, comprising nine study sites from eight West African countries (Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo). The goal was to establish Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) principles and build capacity in standardised smear microscopy and mycobacterial culture across partnering laboratories to generate the first comprehensive West African drug-resistance data.

Concepts: Africa, Burkina Faso, West Africa, Ghana, The Gambia, African Union member states, Atlantic slave trade, Economic Community of West African States


Mutualistic biotic interactions as among flowering plants and their animal pollinators are a key component of biodiversity. Pollination, especially by insects, is a key element in ecosystem functioning, and hence constitutes an ecosystem service of global importance. Not only sexual reproduction of plants is ensured, but also yields are stabilized and genetic variability of crops is maintained, counteracting inbreeding depression and facilitating system resilience. While experiencing rapid environmental change, there is an increased demand for food and income security, especially in sub-Saharan communities, which are highly dependent on small scale agriculture. By combining exclusion experiments, pollinator surveys and field manipulations, this study for the first time quantifies the contribution of bee pollinators to smallholders' production of the major cash crops, cotton and sesame, in Burkina Faso. Pollination by honeybees and wild bees significantly increased yield quantity and quality on average up to 62%, while exclusion of pollinators caused an average yield gap of 37% in cotton and 59% in sesame. Self-pollination revealed inbreeding depression effects on fruit set and low germination rates in the F1-generation. Our results highlight potential negative consequences of any pollinator decline, provoking risks to agriculture and compromising crop yields in sub-Saharan West Africa.

Concepts: Africa, Insect, Pollination, Burkina Faso, Flower, Bee, Bumblebee, Pollinator


We report about field and theoretical studies on the ecology of the aquatic snails (Bulinus spp. and Biomphalaria pfeifferi) that serve as obligate intermediate hosts in the complex life cycle of the parasites causing human schistosomiasis. Snail abundance fosters disease transmission, and thus the dynamics of snail populations are critically important for schistosomiasis modeling and control. Here, we single out hydrological drivers and density dependence (or lack of it) of ecological growth rates of local snail populations by contrasting novel ecological and environmental data with various models of host demography. Specifically, we study various natural and man-made habitats across Burkina Faso’s highly seasonal climatic zones. Demographic models are ranked through formal model comparison and structural risk minimization. The latter allows us to evaluate the suitability of population models while clarifying the relevant covariates that explain empirical observations of snail abundance under the actual climatic forcings experienced by the various field sites. Our results link quantitatively hydrological drivers to distinct population dynamics through specific density feedbacks, and show that statistical methods based on model averaging provide reliable snail abundance projections. The consistency of our ranking results suggests the use of ad hoc models of snail demography depending on habitat type (e.g., natural vs. man-made) and hydrological characteristics (e.g., ephemeral vs. permanent). Implications for risk mapping and space-time allocation of control measures in schistosomiasis-endemic contexts are discussed.

Concepts: Scientific method, Demography, Population, Population ecology, Ecology, Climate, Sociology, Burkina Faso


The use of a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) was tested to survey large mammals in the Nazinga Game Ranch in the south of Burkina Faso. The Gatewing ×100™ equipped with a Ricoh GR III camera was used to test animal reaction as the UAS passed, and visibility on the images. No reaction was recorded as the UAS passed at a height of 100 m. Observations, made on a set of more than 7000 images, revealed that only elephants (Loxodonta africana) were easily visible while medium and small sized mammals were not. The easy observation of elephants allows experts to enumerate them on images acquired at a height of 100 m. We, therefore, implemented an aerial strip sample count along transects used for the annual wildlife foot count. A total of 34 elephants were recorded on 4 transects, each overflown twice. The elephant density was estimated at 2.47 elephants/km(2) with a coefficient of variation (CV%) of 36.10%. The main drawback of our UAS was its low autonomy (45 min). Increased endurance of small UAS is required to replace manned aircraft survey of large areas (about 1000 km of transect per day vs 40 km for our UAS). The monitoring strategy should be adapted according to the sampling plan. Also, the UAS is as expensive as a second-hand light aircraft. However the logistic and flight implementation are easier, the running costs are lower and its use is safer. Technological evolution will make civil UAS more efficient, allowing them to compete with light aircraft for aerial wildlife surveys.

Concepts: Burkina Faso, Elephant, Asian Elephant, African Bush Elephant, Unmanned aerial vehicle, Unmanned Aircraft System, Unmanned Aircraft