Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Researchers help find answers to growing typhoid problem

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Otago researchers help find answers to growing typhoid problem in the Pacific

University of Otago researchers have been key partners in a study which has found poor sanitation facilities appear to be a major source of Salmonella Typhi, the cause of typhoid fever, in Fiji.

Typhoid fever is endemic in Fiji with the country experiencing an increase in the disease over the past decade. The research identified that transmission is predominantly through consumption of contaminated surface water and unwashed produce, Co-Director of the Otago Global Health Institute Professor John Crump says.

The research concludes that improved sanitation facilities and protection of surface water sources and produce from contamination by human feces are likely to contribute to typhoid control in Fiji.

Namrata Prasad, a Fijian and Masters of Public Health graduate from the University of Otago was the first joint author of the paper and led the analysis of the study, just published in leading tropical medicine journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Professor Crump, an international typhoid fever expert who oversaw the study design, says the study is important because typhoid fever is a substantial cause of morbidity and mortality in many low and middle-income countries and Oceania is now the global region thought to have the highest typhoid fever incidence.

The study is believed to be the first to investigate sources and modes of transmission for typhoid fever in Fiji. Most previous research on typhoid fever risk factors has been done in Asia and demonstrates considerable variation in major sources and modes of transmission by location.

“We are delighted to help shed light on the neglected problem of typhoid fever in Oceania,” Professor Crump says.

“Even more to be able to provide evidence to inform much-needed non-vaccine control measures.”

Professor Crump says the research also highlights the serious concern that Oceania has fallen behind both Asia and sub-Saharan Africa to become the region with the lowest coverage of improved drinking water and improved sanitation.

The results show typhoid to be common among both the rural and urban population in Fiji. People without access to improved sanitation facilities or with damaged “improved” sewerage systems were at particular risk. Those with typhoid fever were more likely to have someone within their household build their toilet. In Fiji a common “improvement” to sewerage systems is use of buried steel drums as the receptacle for sewage. Such receptacles are subject to flooding, corrosion and leakage, leading to contamination of surface water and crops by human feces.

Related research has shown that gardens of patients with typhoid fever were more often positioned closer to the household toilet or septic tank than in control households and the majority of cases propagated vegetables directly on or below the toilet drainage area.

“In contrast to water-related factors, poor sanitation has seldom been identified as a risk factor for typhoid fever, highlighting the value of our local research,” the research paper states.

The study was a collaboration of international researchers and Otago Global Health Institute Leadership Group member responsible for Pacific engagement and relationships, Dr Patrick Vakaoti, is happy with the outcome.

“As a Fijian, I am very happy to see University of Otago scientists collaborating effectively with the Fijian Ministry of Health and Fiji National University, as well as the University of Melbourne and Edith Cowan University on a health problem of regional concern,” Dr Vakaoti says.

“Such partnerships are vital to understand and address health issues in Pacific countries challenged by more limited resources and research capacity.”

The research paper is available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0006571

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Intertubes: Hawaiki Cable In Business

Hawaiki Submarine Cable has begun commercial operations for its 15,000 km fibre optic deep-sea cable linking Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific and the United States. More>>

ALSO:

Geothermal: World-Leading Silica Extraction Project

Geo40, in cooperation with Contact Energy and the Ngati Tahu Tribal Lands Trust, is this month set to start commercially extracting silica from geothermal fluid as part of a world-leading sustainable energy partnership. More>>

Electrical Vehicles: New Database of Charging Stations

EVRoam, a real-time database of public charging infrastructure, provides one view of a safe, reliable and interoperable public charging network for electric vehicles in New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

FMA Mulls Legal Action: Customers Not Focus At Insurers

Most firms had processes in place to identify when a customer was being advised to replace life or health insurance... Generally, these processes seemed oriented towards reducing firms’ legal risk, rather than to identifying and mitigating risks for customers. More>>

ALSO:

Brands Sale To RJ's: Nestle Job Losses “A Bolt From The Blue”

E tū has about 200 members at the plant, where up to 55 workers could lose their jobs... Well-known Kiwi brands affected by the sale include Mackintosh’s, Heards, Black Knight liquorice, Life Savers and Oddfellows. More>>

ALSO:

'Sanctuaries': New Seabed Mining Project Threatens Endangered Species

Greenpeace is shocked to discover that a new seabed mining exploration permit has been awarded inside a Marine Mammal Sanctuary, and is calling on the Government to reject all attempts to mine the seabed. More>>

ALSO: