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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Check out this article by one of our research assistants, Molly Cliff working with Professor Caroline Trotter.  The correspondence piece was recently published in Nature examining the relationship between displacement and pneumococcal disease outbreaks and highlighting current data gaps. The research focuses on a key overlap between the geographies of the meningitis belt (a region in Africa at higher risk of bacterial meningitis outbreaks) and forced displacement across sub-Saharan Africa, exemplified by the recent Sudanese conflict.  Additionally with displacement significantly increased in recent years, immunization programs including pneumococcal conjugate vaccination (PCVs) are consistently negatively affected. PCVs are consistently under-used within crises leading to increased risk of pneumococcal disease and outbreaks in vulnerable populations with limited access to healthcare. This is compounded by underreporting of pneumococcal disease due to poorly resourced surveillance systems.

Molly said, "Our paper has suggested new research strategies to quantify the pneumococcal burden within displaced populations focusing on the use of catch-up campaigns complemented by routine carriage. We are aiming for this paper to serve as a guide to government agencies, local populations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) encouraging collaborative work to strengthen pneumococcal surveillance and guide action in humanitarian emergencies."

Check out the paper here: