Intestinal parasites in northern India - Effects of climate patterns on prevalence of different inte (NEW INDIGO),

Budget: 50000

Entamoeba, Cryptosporidium and Giardia are protozoan parasites that are distributed globally, and are a major cause of diarrhea and therefore particularly dangerous for children. Intestinal helminths also occur commonly and billions are infected throughout the world, mainly in the poor or developing nations. Overall, intestinal infections are still highly prevalent in India. It has been reported previously that synoptic-scale weather patterns, particularly monsoons, may play a role in the prevalence of these infections. The transmission stages of these parasites are highly robust, and this feature, along with the low infectious dose and high excretion rate, easily lend themselves to transmission via water and food. Numerous waterborne and food-borne outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis have been reported. However, although these parasites are often associated with countries with less established infrastructure, the majority of information regarding food-borne and waterborne transmission is from industrialised countries. This is probably not because such transmission occurs more frequently in these countries, but because of lack of opportunity to investigate these research transmission routes in countries with less developed infrastructure. However, studies on such transmission dynamics are sorely lacking from developing countries.

The purpose of the project is to investigate the importance of food (fresh produce)- borne and waterborne transmission of these parasites in Chandigarh, a city of 1.1 million inhabitants in Northern India, with a humid, sub-tropical climate that is considered to be ideal for the survival and transmission of these parasites. By investigating patterns of disease and transmission during different seasons for a period of thirty years, this project attempts to test and, if successful, associate large-scale and regional climate patterns with disease transmission, at the light of projected climate change. In particular, investigation of disease transmission during the monsoon season (June to September) would provide data of considerable interest. The study has potential to have huge public health implications as preventive strategies for the infections could be formulated on the basis of prediction of climactic changes in the region and other areas of the world and could act a model for this purpose.

Starting date: 01/11/2013
Final date: 31/10/2016

Nationally funded project:: Mineco, Acciones de Programación Conjunta Internacional