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New study identifies significance of co-infection in disease control
Date:1/9/2013

Universities of Bristol and Basel (Switzerland) and from the Ministry of Health in Tanzania), found that co-infection cannot be explained away as a simple coincidence that is due, for example by co-exposure in the environment.

They found that co-infection is itself a very important risk factor, and sometimes more important than any of the other risks considered, such as a child's living conditions, behaviour and sex. However, the risk does not always increase. They also find that infection with one parasite species can sometimes be associated with a lower risk of infection with a second parasite species.

Explaining the significance of these findings, Dr Lello, said: "We were able to include in our statistical model many different things which have been identified as risks before, for example a child's living conditions, behaviour, sex and so on. As such we could tell that the co-infections were not just caused by these 'other' risks and importantly we could also tell how much difference every risk made compared to one another. This showed us that co-infection was important for all the diseases we looked at and often it was more important than most of these 'other' risks.

"When medics and government design programmes to control diseases they use their knowledge of what things change the probability of becoming infected, called risk factors. If we miss out important risk factors then control programmes are unlikely to work effectively and resources can be wasted targeting the wrong things. Knowing that co-infection is a major risk factor is therefore really important and our study demonstrates this for the first time.

"Although our study was conducted on children in Tanzania, co-infection with different parasites occurs everywhere and so the principle that one parasite can change the probability of being infected with another has wide implications."


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Contact: Lowri Jones
joneslc3@cardiff.ac.uk
44-292-087-0995
Cardiff University
Source:Eurekalert  

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