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Examining Histoplasmosis in household and community environments at the human-animal interface


Project Description

Little is known about the current prevalence or transmission of Histoplasmosis despite its persistence in Sub-Saharan Africa, representing a public health blind spot (Oladele et al., 2018). Furthermore, the contribution of equine and wildlife reservoirs of Histoplasma and their interactions with human Histoplasma spp. are unknown despite phylogenetic based studies from other countries reflecting close relationships between Histoplasma species (Teixeira et al., 2016).

This project aims to determine risk factors and transmission routes for Histoplasmosis within an endemic environment.

Three inter-linked prospective population based studies are due to launch September 2018 and will run for 15 months in Gambia and Ethiopia. These studies are taking a One-health approach to investigating Histoplasma at the host-environment interface, enabled through an international collaboration of academics, clinicians and NGO’s. This clinical PhD will involve sampling and comparing households and community sites with, and without, active cases of equine histoplasmosis, and will address the following research questions;

1. How frequently are people exposed to Histoplasma in Sub-Saharan Africa?
2. What are the risk factors for exposure? and;
3. How are Histoplasma spp. that affect people related to clinical strains affecting equids or situated in wildlife / environmental reservoirs?

Findings from this study will support the development of disease prevention programmes, and inform diagnostic and clinical facilities in low-resource settings. The project is suited to a post graduate student with a medical qualification, experience in international community based research and laboratory diagnostics. A masters in Global Health, Infectious disease, or relevant subject would be advantageous but not essential.

Funding Notes

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Principal Supervisor directly to discuss their application, options for funding and the project.

Assistance will be given to applicants who are applying to international funding schemes.

A PhD fee bursary may be available for well qualified and motivated applicants.

Details of costs can be found on the University website: View Website

References

Scantlebury, C.E., Pinchbeck, G.L., Loughnane, P., Aklilu, N., Ashine, T., Stringer, A.P., Gordon, L., Marshall, M., Christley, R.M., McCarthy, A. (2016) Development and evaluation of a molecular diagnostic method to rapidly detect Histoplasma capsulatum var. farciminosum, the causative agent of Epizootic Lymphangitis, in equine clinical samples. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 54 (12): 2990-2999.

Oladele et al. (2018) Histoplasmosis in Africa: An emerging or a neglected disease? PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0006046

Teixeira et al. (2016) Worldwide Phylogenetic Distributions and Population Dynamics of the Genus Histoplasma PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0004732

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