Salmonella unmasked as major killer of young children in Africa


Invasive Salmonella infections in sub-Saharan Africa are a major cause of child illness and deaths, a new body of research into this usually overlooked infectious disease has revealed.

In the West, Salmonella is commonly thought of as a bacterium responsible for relatively benign cases of food poisoning. However, a supplement to the leading infectious diseases journal Clinical Infectious Diseases now exposes the unacceptable toll of sickness and death caused by invasive Salmonella infections in sub-Saharan Africa.

The supplement, sponsored by New Zealand’s University of Otago and supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a key output of a project to better understand the disease burden of this major cause of child death in sub-Saharan Africa.

Guest edited by Professor John Crump, Co-Director of the University’s Centre for International Health, and by Professor Robert Heyderman, Professor of Infectious Diseases and International Health, at University College London, the supplement emerged from a consensus meeting of experts held in Malawi last year, supported by the Wellcome Trust and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The supplement includes 19 scientific papers that describe the toll of invasive Salmonella infections in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, and Tanzania.

It also includes papers on the application of genetic fingerprinting and mathematical modelling to understand disease sources and modes of transmission, as well as vaccines and other prevention measures.


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