Dual Burden of Disease

Swiss TPH has for long been at the forefront of the fight against infections. As a result, people in low and middle income countries are much more likely to survive or live with an infectious disease. With the resulting demographic aging, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have become much more common. The globalisation of lifestyles and changing environments due to industrialisation and urbanisation addionally contribute to an increase in NCDs.

Yet, despite this change in health patterns in low and middle income countries, infections are still widespread and the lives of many people is jeopardised by a dual disease burden. An example of the complicated interrelation of “old” and “new” risks and “old” and “new” diseases is the fact that household air pollution can lead to repeated respiratory tract infection, which - together with the uptake of tobacco smoking - can predispose to a considerable risk of chronic respiratory tract diseases such as for example COPD. NCDs may at the same time increase the susceptibility to infectious diseases, as in the case of diabetes and tuberculosis. Swiss TPH is conducting research into these disease and risk factor relationships and their underlying mechanisms.

The demographic surveillance system at Taabo collects health and economically relevant data of the population.

Côte d’Ivoire Dual Burden of Disease Study

Swiss TPH investigates the relation between infections (helminth infections, malaria) and NCDs (hypertension, diabetes) in adults living in rural Côte d’Ivoire. A biobank is established to study gut microbiome, methylome, genome, and metabolome and therefore biological mechanisms that mediate the infection-NCD-relations. The project is a collaboration between Swiss TPH, the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques (CSRS), the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the Institut National de Santé Publique and the Ligue Ivoirienne contre l’Hypertension artérielle et les Maladies Cardiovasculaires. It benefits from the existing Health and Demographic Surveillance infrastructure in Taabo. 

Link to Project

Early Detection of Asian Liver Flukes in Lao PDR

Liver fluke (O. viverrini) infections are a major public health threat in Lao PDR. The chronic infections resulting from the consumption of infected raw fish lead to a very high risk of gallbladder cancer (cholangiocarcinoma). Swiss TPH in collaboration with partners from Lao PDR studies the prevalence of different liver fluke associated liver and gallbladder pathologies, the factors that modify the adverse liver fluke effect, and the biology underlying the association between liver flukes and gall bladder duct tumours. The results will provide guidance for Lao PDR liver fluke treatment and cancer screening.

The consumption of raw fish is often the cause for helminth infections.
Intestinal parasites might affect one's physical fitness.

Disease, Activity, and Children’s Health

Swiss TPH analyses the impact of intestinal parasite infections on children's physical fitness, cognitive performance and psychosocial health in an impoverished area of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Addionally, health specialists screen the study participants for risk factors contributing to the development of diabetes and hypertension in adulthood. The 2-year cohort study also evaluates the effect of interventions such as antihelminthic drug treatment, physical activity and dietary recommendations. The interventions were designed together with local principals and teachers to foster a sense of community ownership and sustained use of the interventions after the study has ended.

Link to Website