Gastrointestinal Pathogens in the Environment. GIP-net

Lead Research Organisation: University of Aberdeen
Department Name: Computing Science

Abstract

In the UK it is estimated that everyone will suffer from a stomach bug every five years. The disease can range from being merely an inconvenience, through to bloody diarrhoea, through to life threatening conditions in some cases, particularly in the already ill, the very young and the elderly. The costs to the economy in absence from work and medical care is considered to be over #750M per year in England alone.
These bugs grow and multiply in farmed and wild animals. They can be caught by a number of routes such as direct contact with animals and their faeces or from contaminated water or food. The bugs can be transmitted between people ? for example in nurseries or care homes, but the main source is animals which often do not show any signs of disease.
New bugs appear from time to time and changes in climate and agriculture may increase the threat of disease from existing bugs.
Traditionally governments in developed countries take the approach of dealing with one part of the agricultural system (eg water, waste, crops, food) but a more integrated approach is required. This should include all interested groups from farmers and farming organisations, to recreational users of the countryside, to regulatory and policy makers such as DEFRA, FSA, Local Councils, etc. Further we require information about the loads and types of bugs in the environment, how they get there, how well they survive and how they move around . Also, we need to find out what key information is missing and so needs to be collected. From a social perspective we need to find out who is responsible for these pathogens, who should pay for cleaning up the environment and what effects these clean-ups would have on the agricultural systems.
It is very important to develop new policies for dealing with these bugs but it is vital that this is acceptable to all. By bringing together the three groups of natural and social sciences, users of the environment , regulatory/policy makers in workshops it will be possible to plan a way forward and formulate a plan for a Phase II proposal through which the findings of the workshops can be implemented.

Technical Summary

In the UK it is estimated that 20% of the population suffers from GI pathogen infections each year. The reservoirs of these pathogens are largely asymptomatic farm and wild animals which excrete these pathogens into the environment and cause disease by a number of pathways: direct contact with animals and their faeces, waterborne and contaminated food. The burden of zoonotic GI disease does not appear to be reducing and drivers such as climate change, agricultural change and re-emerging pathogens are likely to be important to human disease in the future. Currently the approach taken by developed nations is fragmented and narrowly focuses on policy/ regulatory controls and research in particular areas and on particular pathogens.
Here we propose an integrated approach which will encompass users of the environment, policy/ regulatory makers and the social and natural science research base. We will prepare three Strategic Review papers and develop specific themes in follow-on workshops that (1) Outline the agricultural/environmental systems; outline the impact of GIP on public health; identify the players and highlight data gaps; (2) Identify the main drivers of change in agriculture, environment and public health; outline draft conceptual framework for GIPs and identify the strengths and weaknesses of such a framework; (3) Formalise the conceptual framework.
At the end of the project we will have developed a generic framework on which we can tackle current and future GIP disease threats. This will form the basis of our Phase II application.

Publications


10 25 50
Strachan NJ (2013) Identifying the seasonal origins of human campylobacteriosis. in Epidemiology and infection
Strachan NJC (2012) Reducing E. coli O157 risk in rural communities in Conference Proceedings VTEC May 2012, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
 
Description Advisory Committee Sub-Group on Campylobacter
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Scottish Health Protection Network: Campyobacter
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description Aberdeen University - Hutton joint PhD studentship scheme
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Aberdeen 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 09/2013 
End 09/2016
 
Description CREW - The epidemiology and disease burden in private water supplies
Amount £17,643 (GBP)
Funding ID CRW2014/8 
Organisation Scottish Government 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 07/2015 
End 04/2016
 
Description CREW Hydronation PhD Studentship
Amount £95,879 (GBP)
Organisation Scottish Government 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2015 
End 09/2019
 
Description ESEI
Amount £1,771,509 (GBP)
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2012 
End 01/2017
 
Description Food Standards Agency Open Application
Amount £11,000 (GBP)
Organisation Government of Scotland 
Department Food Standards Agency (FSA), Scotland
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 09/2012 
End 04/2013
 
Description OECD Co-operative Research Programme Sposnsorship of Conferences
Amount € 30,000 (EUR)
Organisation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD 
Sector Public
Country France, French Republic
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2013
 
Description RESAS Innovation tender
Amount £190,409 (GBP)
Organisation Scottish Government Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 04/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description Research
Amount £229,972 (GBP)
Organisation Government of Scotland 
Department Food Standards Agency (FSA), Scotland
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2015 
End 03/2017
 
Description Pathogenic E. coli in produce 
Organisation Scottish Government
Department James Hutton Institute
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Meetings have occurred and has led to a PhD being currently advertised.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input on risk assessment and gastrointestinal pathogens associated with produce.
Impact None as yet.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Presentation to Roslin Inst Edinburgh 25th October 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A presentation to the BBSRC Roslin Institute in Edinburgh entitled: A pot-pourri of GI pathogen anecdotes: Campylobacter, STEC and Anisakiasis
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk to Public Health Aberdeen, 2012 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Health professionals
Results and Impact Consultants in Public Health attended a talk on the research being carried out on gastrointestinal pathogens

This took place in October 2012 - the only additional impact was being asked back to give a talk specifically on Campylobacter
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description VTEC, Next Generation Sequencing, Genomic Evolution and Dissemination: The nuts and bolts; Introduction and development of NGS" Oral, VTEC, Boston, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "VTEC, Next Generation Sequencing, Genomic Evolution and Dissemination: The nuts and bolts; Introduction and development of NGS" Oral, VTEC, Boston, USA
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015