Determination of schistosomiasis environmental contamination and potential intervention strategies

PS: Poppy Lamberton
Co-supervisors: Stephanie Connelly and Cindy Smith

The focus of Teteh's project is to investigate the distribution of Schistosoma mansoni (S. mansoni) in the environment by environmental DNA (eDNA) detection. Both infective stages of the schistosome lifecycle (cercaria and miracidium) live in freshwater, and the lack of adequate sanitation and safe water supplies in endemic areas contribute to the reinfection of humans following preventative chemotherapy. The two core aims of the project are: to ascertain the environmental contamination of the free-living stages of the parasite and characterise the potential impact of local engineering interventions on reducing this contamination.

All fieldwork is based in Mayuge District, Uganda and is carried out in collaboration with technicians from the Vector Control Division of the Ministry of Health. To measure the environmental contamination, species-specific PCR will be employed to detect and quantify environmental DNA from field samples. This research is being carried out in collaboration with Dr Steph Connelly and Dr Cindy Smith from the Infrastructure and Environment Department, School of Engineering, University of Glasgow. The Engineering and Physical Science Research Council and College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences have funded this research.

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Mapping the environmental distribution of Schistosoma mansoni from faeces to water in rural sub-Saharan Africa.

Institutional Support Fund PI: Lynne McCorriston

Schistosomiasis is a debilitating parasite that is transmitted in areas of inadequate sanitation. We will couple hydrogeological modelling with molecular characterisation of soil microbiota to map the environmental prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni at key sites in Bugoto, a high endemicity village on the shores of Lake Victoria, Mayuge District, Uganda. Arising mapping data will be used to identify environmental targets for engineered intervention in the disease transmission route by application of locally appropriate water and wastewater treatment processes, and, to enable design of future field trials of such with local stakeholders. Our University of Glasgow team includes Poppy Lamberton from the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences and Stephanie Connelly and Cindy Smith, Infrastructure and Environment, College of Engineering. The work will build on long-term collaborations with the Edridah Muheki Tukahebwa at the Vector Control Division, Ministry of Health, Uganda, and enable introductory meetings and pilot studies with David Musoke a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene [PL3] researcher at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.