Bilharziasis also known as Schistosomiasis is a tropical neglected disease caused by the infection of Schistosoma spp parasite. The disease is endemic in contexts of poverty since mainly spread due to poor hygiene and sanitation conditions. Seven hundred million people are at risk in 74 countries, and million are already infected.
Schistosomiasis ranks second only to malaria as the most common parasitic disease, and kills an estimated , people each year in the African region alone. These figures are thought to represent an underestimation of the global burden of the disease. Schistosomiasis is often empirically diagnosed since to date no point of care strategy for its diagnosis has been implemented in endemic countries. Alongside, other diagnostic tools which could improve specificity and sensitivity of the test exist. Worldwide, approximately million people are infected with malaria resulting in , deaths each year.
Some infectious diseases have similar clinical symptoms, which make them difficult to distinguish. Resource-poor countries do not have access to laboratory-based diagnostic facilities to support treatment decisions. As a consequence, empirical treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics in addition to antimalarials has emerged as a standard treatment method to make sure the infection is cleared.
The aim of this project is to identify biomarkers that are specific for malaria and bacterial bloodstream infections in order to develop a point-of-care test that is applicable in resource-poor settings. The increase in diagnostic accuracy should optimize clinical treatment decisions and contribute to the prevention of antimalarial and antibiotic drug resistance. The World Health Organization has called on the global health community to capitalize national existing knowledge, experience and political will to priorize implementation of NTDs control and elimination programms. The study is the first to systematically investigate the german commitment to NTD-research and fomulate a vision for future investments and activities.
Under the leadership of the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute, a project team out of 35 experts for specific NTDs from german research institutions and from the german industry was formed. The aim was to show in compressed form where research gaps exist and which approaches are necessary to achieve the goals set by the WHO to eliminate or eradicate 10 of the 20 NTDs by The expertise presents key figures on NTD research and development in Germany in a comprehensive and disease-differentiated form.
The study is available online: www.
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In the past years, clinical studies on diarrheal diseases in developing countries have shed more light on the predominating causes of infection. Campylobacter spp. So far, no studies have been conducted on Arcobacter spp. Arcobacter spp. In the past years, studies conducted in Africa estimated the attributable fraction of diarrhoeal disease on pathogen level. Moderate associations with diarrhoea have been demonstrated for Shigella spp. However, the associations on bacterial sub-type level have not been studied thoroughly for the bacteria under investigation. But it may be specific bacterial sub-types particularly being associated with diarrhoea.
This study aims to identify associations of the above-mentioned bacterial pathogens and their subtypes with diarrhoea among children less than five years old.
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A clinical partnership with Setthatirath hospital in the capital city Vientiane has been established in February in order to develop this hospital as a reference center for snakebite treatment in Lao PDR. Clinical studies have been implemented at 4 study sites, namely Vientiane provincial hospital, Setthatirath hospital in Vientiane capital, Savannakhet and Pakse provincial hospital. A randomized controlled trial investigates the usefulness of antibiotic prophylaxis after venomous snakebites and the second study investigates the aetiology of anaphylactic reactions after antivenom administration.
The Hue — Hamburg research program on neglected tropical diseases and emerging infections started in October The first project focuses on epidemiology and management of snakebites in Vietnam. The study team in Hue implemented community-based studies in Thua Thien Hue province, in central Vietnam in and Can Tho Municipality in the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam in in order to estimate the incidence of snakebites in these regions.
A second project started in March and investigates the prevalence of Cryptosporidiosis in children with acute diarrhoea in Thua Thien Hue province. Cryptosporidiosis is increasingly identified as an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The apicomplexan parasite Cryptosporidium is the causative agent of cryptosporidiosis, recognized as an opportunistic infection in AIDS, but is also responsible for large outbreaks in immunocompetent individuals in developed countries.
In developing countries, cryptosporidiosis is a common cause of prolonged and persistent diarrhoea, malnutrition and growth deficits among immunocompetent children and of severe diarrhoea in immunocompromised persons. Cryptosporidium is transmitted anthroponotically or zoonotically depending on the subspecies. Data on the main transmission routes, environmental contamination and animal reservoirs are still missing from sub-Saharan Africa.
It will be carried out in Ghana, Gabon, Madagascar and Tanzania.
Schistosoma species, as well as intestinal helminths cause Neglected Tropical Diseases NTD with an enormous impact on affected populations. They are highly prevalent in Africa where they share the same geographical distribution with Plasmodium falciparum and consequently affect the same population. Epidemiological and experimental evidence suggests that chronic helminthiasis can alter the host response to a concomitant Plasmodium infection.
The influence of helminth on malariometric indices is thought to reflect a profound effect of helminth infection on the host's immune response to P. Chronic helminth infection has been shown to be associated with an impairment of the protective immune response to Plasmodium. This latter effect of helminth on malaria transmission is of particular interest and has not yet been fully investigated despite a reported increase in P. Therefore, helminths can significantly affect malaria transmission in area of co-endemicity.
This effect can interfere with current effort to eliminate malaria in these areas.
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So far it is unknown how coinfection may affect transmission intensity and there are no published studies that have assessed this question under natural settings. The proposed study will generate relevant results that will ultimately guide intervention programmes and will provide a basis for improving diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases in co-endemic countries.
Influenza A viruses affect a wide range of hosts including poultry, pigs and humans. Usually, transmission between birds and mammals is restricted by host adaptation - avian viruses do not replicate well in mammalian hosts and vice versa. Influenza viruses have evolved mechanisms to overcome host restrictions and infect other species, for example through reassortment of gene segments during simultaneous infection of two virus subtypes.
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Poultry and pigs are a major source of protein and employment for the population of Ghana. These agricultural commodities contribute substantially to the food security, which is threatened by recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian H5N1. Although no human infection has yet been recorded, animal-handlers remain at high risk from infection by H5N1 and other Influenza A subtypes circulating in domestic animals. Data on the epidemiology of Influenza A viruses in the animal sector in Ghana is scarce.
Our study aims to determine the prevalence and subtypes of circulating Influenza A viruses in poultry, pigs and their respective animal-handlers in Ghana. We further aim to assess the risk that these isolates pose to human hosts using phenotypic markers of increased transmissibility and pathogenicity. Long persisting wound infections cause morbidity and suffering and require long-term treatment. Treatment success is under serious threat due to the rise of antimicrobial resistance.
This has hampered specific treatment, which especially applies for chronic wounds, for which standard treatment strategies are ineffective. This study takes place at Agogo Presbyterian Hospital in rural Ghana and aims to. According to the WHO treatment guidelines, malaria is defined as fever combined with Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia. However, there is evidence to question this classification, because of the high frequency of co-infections and asymptomatic parasitaemia in malaria-endemic areas.
Due to the lack of appropriate diagnostics it is hardly possible to fully identify possible pathogens causing febrile illnesses beyond malaria in African patients. Thus, the clinical relevance of other infection and co-infections for childhood fever is likely to be underestimated. While there is increasing evidence that bacterial blood stream infections are an important cause of fever in Africa, information on other pathogens is lacking. Especially, viral bloodstream infections, respiratory pathogens, urinary tract infections and gastrointestinal infections as causes of fever have hardly been studied systematically.
To fully identify pathogens that cause severe febrile illness in children we are conducting a study at Agogo Presbyterian Hospital in rural Ghana. Using a screening-algorithm based on the WHO Integrated Management of Childhood Illness we combine epidemiological field research, clinical research, basic diagnostic techniques and state of the art molecular diagnostics. The study will generate information on the frequency and interactions of specific pathogens and assess associated determinants, such as seasonal and age-related differences.
Additionally, clinical symptoms and the clinical course of infections are assessed to identify typical signs for distinct pathogens to establish a diagnostic algorithm for medical personnel.
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The ongoing Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa and the possible re-emergence of new Ebola virus infections in countries such as Nigeria require to strengthen the disease surveillance and control capabilities in these countries. The aim of the project "EBOKON 10" is to exploit information technology to support in identifying emerging infections and Ebola suspected cases as well as their contacts immediately. In this way, further spread of infections can be prevented. In order to meet the specific technical requirements of West African countries, a management tool for infection control and for real time transmission of epidemiological data will be developed.
It will run on normal mobile phones that are widely spread in West African countries. The complexity of the data processing is, however, handled by a high-performance data management platform and the use of cloud technology provided by SAP, a German Software Corporation. Staphylococcus aureus S. It can be found as a commensal bacterium colonizing the anterial nares of asymptomatic carriers who may transmit the pathogen in the community or in health care facilities.
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Since the introduction of beta-lactam antibiotics, the spread of methicillin resistant S. However, data on methicllin sensitive S. To describe the epidemiology of S. In cooperation with the Laboratory of Microbiology and Parasitology of the University of Antananarivo, we analyzed the samples with conventional microbiological methods in Madagascar in Further detailed analyses of the isolates are currently performed in Germany.
New data might guide the implementation of preventive measures in Madagascan hospitals. In resource-poor settings mobile phones can be used to disseminate life-saving health information.
Via such electronic health information systems eHealth even illiterate individuals or people living in remote areas can obtain valuable information on the prevention or treatment of acute diseases.
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