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The University of Southampton
Global Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention

Integrated Geospatial Analysis Framework for Neglected Zoonotic Diseases

In any disease context, antibiotic use is less effective as organisms develop resistance. Learning how behaviours contribute to disease can provide evidence to support behaviour change policies which could prevent infections in the first place.

Dr Nicola Wardrop uses spatial analysis methods to understand how environmental factors, socio-economic factors and behaviours contribute to disease transmission in resource poor settings, particularly related to diseases which transmit from livestock to humans. Her main interest is the relationship between animal health and human health, particularly in a spatial context, and in considering how different landscapes can influence this relationship. By building a strong evidence base on the factors influencing disease risk, researchers can work with local government bodies to improve disease control interventions, preventing environmental contamination and infections in humans and livestock.

When there is only the ground to put food on sanitary conditions are not straightforward to achieve
Food for humans, but dogs allowed!
The pig manure is put into the fish tank  as fish food where parasites present  enter the human food chain via the fish
Pigs next to a fish tank
Contamination of the indoor environment is unavoidable
Animal are close to houses
Helping to control tapeworm and sleeping sickness

The aim of the project is to develop a “One Health analytical framework” to provide advances in the understanding of the spatially heterogeneous risk of neglected zoonotic disease (NZD), such as sleeping sickness and tapeworm, in humans and animals.

Such neglected zoonoses contribute significant levels of morbidity and mortality in both human and livestock populations, and since the rural poor depend heavily on livestock for their livelihoods, they also constrain development and contribute to the cycle of poverty. Current moves towards “One Health” are resulting in the integration of medical and veterinary services for zoonotic disease control, although the evidence required to support effective integration of control is still lacking. The proposed research will utilise research data generated by collaborating projects in a novel, integrated spatial analysis combining human and animal disease data, along with environmental information.

This research, which spans the fields of human and animal health, parasitology, statistics, spatial modelling and environmental science, has the potential to deliver significant evidence to the holistic One Health movement. The project outputs will provide valuable information to support NZD control, benefiting both human and livestock health and increasing livestock productivity.

Where next?

Dr Wardrop would like to collaborate with colleagues in engineering to develop tools for the measurement of soil contamination with human pathogens. These could then be implemented to assess spatial patterns of contamination with a range of human pathogens, and to better understand how landscape factors contribute to contamination levels and risk of infection in humans and livestock.

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