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Title: Towards understanding the genomic epidemiology of bacterial infections in West Africa
Author: Senghore, Madikay
ISNI:       0000 0004 7223 7605
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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Bacterial infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa especially among young children. Despite the high burden of disease caused by bacterial infection in Africa, there remains a significant paucity of data on the molecular epidemiology of most pathogens in the sub-region. Healthcare facilities are generally underfunded in West Africa and most facilities lack the basic capacity to perform standard microbiological identification of bacterial pathogens. Understanding the biology and epidemiology of pathogens is fundamental to a successful intervention strategy. Genomics offers unprecedented insights into the epidemiology and biology of infectious diseases, which dominate the public health agenda in West Africa. Here, I introduce a case study of three important pathogens in West Africa. I describe a unique scenario associated with each pathogen and present WGS as a solution to the problem. Firstly, whole genome sequencing has provided insights into the evolutionary origin of Staphylococcus aureus in monkeys from The Gambia and established that monkeys in The Gambia do not pose a threat of serving as reservoirs of highly virulent S. aureus that can infect humans. Secondly, genomics has unravelled the evolutionary mechanisms that led to the emergence of a novel clone of serotype 1 Streptococcus pneumoniae, which caused an outbreak of meningitis in Ghana following the introduction of the 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine, PCV-13. Thirdly, through genomics we are beginning to build a deeper understanding of the epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in West Africa. Genomics is unravelling the evolutionary mechanisms that are driving the emergence of multidrug resistant tuberculosis. Importantly, genomics has shown that lineages of MTBC that are endemic to West Africa are the principal proponents of multidrug resistance in this sub-region. The time has come for West Africa to embrace the genomics era and exploit the full potential of microbial genomics. I hope that my work will inspire West African scientists to embrace whole genome sequencing in the fight against infectious bacterial disease.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RA Public aspects of medicine