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Google Earth typhoid maps reveal secrets of disease outbreaks
Date:10/16/2011

ieved to have spread the disease to dozens of people.

If the disease was spreading within a household due to direct transmission either from an asymptomatic carrier or someone with symptomatic, acute disease, the researchers should be able to isolate the same genotype from a number of individuals in the same household. In fact, the variation of genotypes was more or less random, suggesting that the disease infrequently spreads from asymptomatic carriers. Rather, infections are transmitted predominantly through the environment for example, through the water source.

Dr Baker adds: "Improvements in infrastructure are fundamental to the control and elimination of typhoid. Poor water quality, sanitary conditions and the presence of carriers mean that the organisms will persist in the community long after the limited window of immunity given by the current vaccine. Without integrating improvements in infrastructure alongside other control measures such as diagnosis, treatment and vaccination, it is unlikely that typhoid can be adequately controlled in places like Kathmandu in the long-term."

Combating infectious diseases is one the strategic priorities of the Wellcome Trust. Much of this work is carried out at a local level in regions where disease is endemic. This includes several major overseas programmes, including the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme in Vietnam.

Commenting on the research, Dr Jimmy Whitworth, Head of International Activities at the Wellcome Trust, said: "Just as John Snow's pioneering cholera maps of the nineteenth century showed that poor sanitation leading to contaminated water was spreading disease, this study, which combines accurate mapping with the latest in genotyping technology, further reinforces the importance of improving the quality of water supplies and infrastructure for sanitation if we are to seriously tackle diseases such as typhoid."


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Contact: Craig Brierley
c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7329
Wellcome Trust
Source:Eurekalert  

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