Prevalence of orthoflaviviruses in human samples collected from cases presenting with acute febrile illnesses at selected sites in Uganda and Somalia
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Orthoflaviviruses are RNA viruses that have been associated with acute febrile illnesses in humans. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of Orthoflaviviruses among patients presenting with acute undifferentiated febrile illnesses at selected sites in Uganda and Somalia. From Somalia, ATMIS hospital was considered whereas from Uganda, Bwera and Bombo regional hospitals in the Western and Central regions respectively. Whole blood samples were collected from the sites between 2022 and 2023. Orthoflavivirus detection was done using reverse transcriptase PCR and the positive samples speciated to find out the Orthoflavivirus species present. p-value and confidence interval were calculated to measure the association between Orthoflavivirus prevalence, gender, age, hospital site, and country. Of the 371 tested samples, 4.3%(16) tested positive for Orthoflaviviruses. All the positive samples detected came from ATMIS hospital in Somalia and no Orthoflavivirus positive sample was detected from Bwera and Bombo in Uganda. The prevalence of Orthoflaviviruses in males (4.5%) was higher than that in females (4.0%). This difference was not significant (p-value=0.816) at 95% level of confidence. The age groups 1-15 and 16-40 had a significantly higher (p-value<0.05) prevalence of 4.3% and 5.3% respectively compared to age group of 40 years and above (1.5%). In conclusion, Orthoflaviviruses are less prevalent in Uganda as compared to Somalia, and Dengue virus is the most prevalent of the Orthoflavivirus species, with males showing a higher prevalence compared to females.