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.