Ross Colgate of the University of Vermont in the U.S. will test whether mother-to-child transmission of the potentially deadly diarrhea-causing pathogen Campylobacter is a major cause of infection in infants in low- to middle-income countries. Campylobacter infections are assumed to occur via contaminated food or water, or infected animals. However, infants are often also infected even though their exposure to these sources is limited given they are immobile and only ingest milk. They will enroll 85 infants and mothers from an urban clinic in Zimbabwe, and collect monthly stool and breast milk samples over an 11-month period and during any diarrheal episodes. All samples will be tested for Campylobacter by culture and PCR. Samples from infants suffering from repeat infections will be subjected to advanced genomic sequencing to determine whether they are caused by one strain that persists within the host, which could require alternative prevention strategies.
More information about Campylobacter spp. Transmission Dynamics in Low- and Middle-Income Countries