S. Typhi and Protozoa in Contaminated Water in Zimbabwe
Robert Kingsley of the Quadram Institute Bioscience in the United Kingdom will locate the typhoid fever-causing bacteria S. Typhi in water reservoirs in Harare, Zimbabwe, and identify any associated protozoa species present in the water that may be supporting disease spread. Typhoid fever is endemic in Zimbabwe, with several major outbreaks reported in the last decade. The bacteria persist in unclean aquatic environments, possibly supported by protozoa, and are transmitted to humans through ingestion of contaminated drinking water. They will detect S. Typhi in sewage effluent and low-quality drinking water in hotspots of typhoid transmission by enrichment culture and PCR, and use whole genome sequencing to establish the phylogenetic relationship between these bacteria and clinical typhoid isolates in the same city. They will also amplify 18S rDNA from the sewage and drinking water samples to characterize the microbial community in water and define the protozoa population. These data will help identify potential synergistic interactions between S. Typhi and other microbes to inform prevention strategies.