SPH Seminars are held every Tuesday from 1pm – 2pm and showcase the latest public health research by the School’s researchers, adjuncts, and visitors.
Date: Tuesday 29 May, 2012
Time: 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Venue: Room 015, Garden Level (0), Public Health Building, Herston campus
Topic: Schistosomiasis in China
Presented by: Dr Darren Gray, Senior Research Fellow, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, School of Population Health
ABSTRACT & SPEAKER PROFILE:
Zoonotic schistosomiasis japonica is a major health risk for more than 40 million Chinese with a million people and several hundred thousand livestock infected. Major endemic foci occur in the lake (Dongting and Poyang) and marshlands along the Yangtze River basin; elimination of transmission has proved difficult. For the past 50 years the Chinese government has made great strides in controlling a disease regarded as a public-health priority, but this is predicted to change as a consequence of the completion of the Three Gorges Dam (TGD), which crosses the Yangtze River. The environmental and ecological impacts will result in exponential expansion of the habitat for the intermediate snail host Oncomelania hupensis, increasing the risk of human and bovine infection, resulting in potentially severe consequences for control. We have shown that bovine infections are responsible for the persistence of human schistosomiasis transmission in China. Schistosomes debilitate infected domestic livestock which are used for food and as work animals, consequently adding to the economic burden and suffering of endemic communities. Transmission reduction is a key step in eliminating schistosomiasis, but current praziquantel-based control programs are unable to achieve this due to the inability of praziquantel to prevent re-infection. We propose that a multi-component integrated approach (incorporating praziquantel chemotherapy, mollusciciding and bovine vaccination) targeting the various transmission pathways is required for sustainable control and elimination in response to the changing environment as a result of the TGD. This presentation will outline research undertaken in recent years into schistosomiasis control and elimination in China.
Dr Darren Gray, an infectious disease epidemiologist and current holder of an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, Visiting Scientist at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Hunan Institute of Parasitic Diseases, China. He completed a Bachelor of Science (Microbiology) in 1999; Master of Science (Tropical Infectious Diseases) in 2001; Graduate Certificate in Public Health (Tropical Health) in 2003; and was awarded in 2008 a PhD (Population Health: Tropical Health) from the University of Queensland, Australia. His current research investigates the transmission and control of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (specifically: schistosomiasis, echinococcosis and the soil-transmitted helminths), some of the most prevalent and important infections that cause much suffering and economic loss worldwide. He aims to develop new public health interventions against these pathogens that will lead to their sustainable control and eventual elimination. Dr Gray is recognised internationally for his work on schistosomiasis epidemiology and control and has published in high quality journals, notably Lancet Infectious Diseases, British Medical Journal, Clinical Microbiology Reviews, PLoS Medicine and PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Dr Gray is a member of the Australian Society for Parasitology, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the Queensland Tropical Health Alliance.
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