Area of Research
Infectious disease outbreaks have become more frequent, and the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic reinforced the need to have a robust disease surveillance network and rapid outbreak response capabilities. Furthermore, there is a growing need from military partners in host nations for additional training to prepare for outbreak threats. Under the Global Emerging Infections Surveillance (GEIS) program, when cases are diagnosed in a specific region, an outbreak response is triggered to stop the spread of an infectious disease swiftly to minimize infections. HJFMRI supports the U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate – Africa and GEIS activities in three countries in Africa. During FY22, the GEIS team quickly responded to two outbreaks by coordinating the response of entomology surveillance teams and procuring supplies for 10-day excursions to different Kenyan regions.
Yellow Fever Outbreak in Isiolo
On March 4, 2022, the Kenya MoH declared a yellow fever outbreak in the county of Isiolo in central Kenya, and by March 8, the Kenya Defense Force (KDF) requested assistance from the HJF-supported entomology study team from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) to respond. Yellow fever is an epidemic-prone, mosquito-borne, vaccine-preventable arboviral disease. The team quickly responded and conducted entomological collections targeting Aedes mosquitoes, collecting eggs and conducting larval and pupal surveys. The team also collected mosquitoes, ticks, and sand flies for the vector-borne illnesses (VBI) surveillance protocol, as well as conducted morphological identification of mosquitoes that were collected.
Increase of Dengue Cases in Mombasa and Manda Bay
On Feb. 23, 2022, the KDF requested assistance in managing a dengue fever outbreak along the Kenyan coastal region. Dengue fever is a viral infection transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes occurring in tropical and subtropical areas. The entomology study team quickly began entomological collections inside and outside the Mtongwe military facility targeting Aedes mosquitoes, collecting eggs and conducting larval and pupal surveys. As part of their work, they also collected mosquitos, ticks, and sand flies in Kwale County for the vector-borne illnesses (VBI) pathogen surveillance study, conducted morphological identification of mosquitoes collected, and provided entomology protocol training for KDF staff.