Urinary schistosomiasis caused by Schistosoma haematobium remains a major health burden in areas of Africa and the Middle East, affecting more than 110 million people in rural, agricultural, and peri-urban areas. Individuals infected by S. haematobium frequently experience dysuria, pelvic pain, and hematuria, and are at risk of developing bladder cancer or renal failure later in life. In addition, schistosome infection is significantly associated with anemia, impaired growth, and impaired development and cognition. Consequently, schistosomiasis affects not only the health of individuals, but the economic strength of an affected area as well.
I am pursuing long-term collaborative research with Case colleagues and with the Ministry of Health (Kenya) on the epidemiology of schistosomiasis and other human parasite infections and the ecology of infectious disease transmission. Through recent collaborations with vector-borne disease specialists/ecologists at Emory University, and with public health specialists at University of Michigan, I am also pursuing the design of novel and optimal control strategies for disease due to schistosomiasis in Kenya and other endemic areas of the world.
These programs involve the implementation of new PCR and GIS database technologies for disease mapping and for modeling of spatially linked data, and new statistical approaches to study the influence of socio-economic and other household environmental factors in the transmission of chronic parasitic diseases. Formal clinical trials of the efficacy and effectiveness of different schistosomiasis control strategies are planned, including cost-benefit analysis from a societal perspective, to be performed in conjunction with Kenyan researchers and Health Economics colleagues.
Collateral studies have engaged us in the study of transmission of Rift Valley Fever during epidemic and inter-epidemic periods in Kenya, and in studies of the transmission of West Nile Virus in Cuyahoga County, in collaboration with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.