Exposure to Zoonotic Diseases Among Namibian Blood Donors

Researcher/s: Dr. Bruce Noden, Ms. Elzabe van der Colf
Department: Department of Bio-medical Sciences
Research Period: 2011-2012

The influence of most Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the Namibian population remains a mystery with few published indicators since independence. Because of the prevalence of ticks and flea exposure in Namibia due to high levels of cattle, sheep and goat production, two major port cities and the high pet: owner ratio of urban dwellers, it is hypothesized that zoonotic infectious diseases are prevalent but are considerably under-diagnosed because of the disproportionate focus on the Big Three (malaria, HIV, and TB). The objective of the proposed research is to conduct a ‘pilot study’ to evaluate the exposure to Bartonella, Rickettsia, and Coxiella of 300 volunteers identified by The Blood Transfusion Service of Namibia (NAM-BTS). Through this research, capacity will be built at the NUST, Biomedical Science students will receive valuable training, seroprevalence rates will be established among Namibian blood donors, and preliminary data will be gathered on which larger sero-studies can be developed.

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