Shistosomiasis Research

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Dr. Humphrey Kariuki Njaanake, a PhD (Trop. & Infect. Dis.) degree holder, is a post-doctoral researcher at KAVI – Institute for Clinical Research (KAVI-ICR) and a lecturer in parasitology in the Department of Medical Microbiology, College of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, at the University of Nairobi. His main research interests are in diagnosis, immunology, pathology and treatment of parasitic infections. His research work includes studies on treatment and mucosal immunology of Schistosoma haematobium infections. He is also widely experienced in field research in a wide range of parasitic infections in Kenya including malaria and filariasis.

Schistosoma haematobium infects more than 110 million individuals causing urinary schistosomiasis, which results in more than 150,000 deaths annually in tropical and sub-tropical countries. As a result, several countries have started, and others are about to start, mass praziquantel administration in endemic areas with an aim to control morbidity. This is expensive and may be required for a long time thus exerting enormous demands on limited national resources. There is, therefore, a need for accurate, easy-to-use, cheap and easily available tools to monitor the performance of such morbidity control programmes. Infections with S. haematobium results in cytokine-mediated urinary tract inflammation. These cytokines, particularly interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-10 are present in the urine of S. haematobium-infected individuals and their levels are positively associated with infection intensity and urinary tract pathology. This suggests that urinary cytokines may be a useful indicator of the performance of mass praziquantel administration programmes in endemic areas.
Dr. Njaanake is currently undertaking his post-doctoral research at KAVI- Institute for Clinical Research, University of Nairobi, on assessment of urinary IL-6 and IL-10 ELISA as a tool for monitoring S. haematobium-related urinary tract pathology in primary schoolchildren in Kwale County of Kenya before and after treatment with praziquantel. This project is part of the EDCTP2 programme supported by the European Union.


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