Neurocysticercosis is a neglected infectious disease caused by larval forms of the pig tapeworm, Taenia solium, infecting people's brains. In our exploratory work in impoverished areas of Western China focusing on disease prevalence and burden in children, we have identified widespread disease, including brain infections and resulting cognitive deficits. We hope to identify transmission pathways and pilot interventions that will reduce transmission.
A surveillance platform for the detection of novel pathogens and emerging infectious diseases. Currently the platform is running throughout Bangladesh and has collected hundreds of samples from high-risk acutely ill individuals. Collaboration with Stanford University, the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, and Columbia University.
Extensive resources are being committed to improve global childhood vaccination coverage, but the response to standard vaccination is often diminished in children from developing nations. The ineffectiveness of vaccination programs in developing communities has been blamed on cold chain lapses and lack of supportable infrastructure, but chronic infections also play a significant role. Multiple maternal parasitic infections affect the unborn infant and are potentially important vaccine response modifiers, but have not been well studied.
Disease outbreaks are not easily predicted because they occur only when multiple factors trigger the rapid spread of disease. Key factors can often be identified, e.g., excess rainfall leading to outbreaks of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV)1,2, but the complex circumstances that lead to outbreaks remain elusive for several reasons. First, gathering varied datasets (climatic, genetics, demographic, historical, and behavioral) is time consuming and expensive.