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Global Health News


Leishmania-parasite

Predicting treatment outcome for leishmaniasis

For patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis, a skin infection transmitted by a sand fly that can lead to painful and disfiguring ulcers, treatment can be grueling. The first-line therapy offered to many requires daily infusions of the metalloid pentavalent antimony for three weeks, and half of patients don’t respond to just one round of therapy. Some fail two or even three courses. And the side effects of therapy can range from mere irritation to far more serious conditions.

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Keeping parasites from sticking to mosquito guts could block disease transmission

A group of microorganisms known as kinetoplastids includes the parasites that cause devastating diseases such as African sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, and leishmaniasis. They share an ability to adhere to the insides of their insect hosts, using a specialized protein structure. But what if scientists could prevent the parasite from adhering? Would the parasites pass right through the vectors, unable to be passed on to a human?

striepen-header1

Novel model for studying intestinal parasite could advance vaccine development

The intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium, which causes a diarrheal disease, is very good at infecting humans. It’s the leading cause of waterborne disease from recreational waters in the United States. Globally, it’s a serious illness that can stunt the growth of, or even kill, infants and young children. And people with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, are also highly susceptible. There is no vaccine and no effective treatment.

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Making headway against a killer virus

Ebola just isn’t going away. Following the major 2014 outbreak in West Africa, the deadly infection came back with a vengeance last year in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it has claimed nearly 550 lives to date.

The impact has been felt closer to home as well.

Swine Production Facilities at New Bolton Center

Penn Vet Swine Group Discusses Global Challenges Arising from China’s African Swine Fever Outbreak

In China, a country that is home to more than half of the world’s swine population, the spread of deadly infectious disease - such as the current African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak - can carry tremendous implications for food supply and pricing across the globe.

Briana Wilson V'19, helps to establish a commercial goat dairy operation in Gambia.

Vet students’ goat dairy aims to fill a nutrition gap in Gambia

Briana Wilson, a third-year student in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, plans to pursue a career as a small-animal vet, mainly caring for cats and dogs. But this summer, she’s getting a trial-by-fire education in goat husbandry, project management, and negotiating the challenges of helping launch a business in a relatively remote region of a developing nation.

James Ferrara, a third-year student in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

Penn One Health goes abroad

James Ferrara, a third-year student in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, grew up in Montvale, N.J., with his family’s Labrador retriever, Cody. When Ferrara was 10 years old, Cody, also 10, suffered from arthritis and had to be put down. Ferrara says that this childhood experience encouraged his interest in veterinary medicine. While he hoped to one day minimize animal suffering, he later learned that animals and humans have a global impact on each other’s health.

smallholder-farmers-story

Agricultural Sustainability Project Reached 20.9 Million Smallholder Farmers Across China

Smallholder farmers who cultivate perhaps only a few hectares of land dominate the agricultural landscape in places like China, India, and sub-Saharan Africa. Increasing their efficiency while reducing their environmental impact are critical steps to ensuring a sustainable food source for the world’s growing population.

Using a naturally occurring species of mouse Cryptosporidium, a team led by researchers from Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine has developed a model of infection that affects immunologically normal mice.

Intestinal Infection and Immunity Symposium

The Intestinal Infection and Immunity Symposium explore how recent scientific advances in microbiology, immunology, and medicine can help solve this global problem.

one-health

Special Session - CUGH Global Health Conference

Penn Vet Dean Joan Hendricks welcomed a special session of the CUGH Global Health Conference exploring how a One Health approach can tackle pressing global issues.

Dr. Boris Striepen, Penn Vet Faculty

Penn Vet’s Boris Striepen Receives $1.8M Grant to Find Drugs against Deadly Diarrheal Disease in Infants

Boris Striepen, PhD, Professor of Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has received a $1.8-million, three-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to enable the development of drugs for cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites.

toxo-story

Diseases caused by parasites

Toxoplasma infection in humans is very common, but is largely asymptomatic unless the patient is immunosuppressed or infected in utero, in which case it can have devastating consequences.

Dr. James Lok, A Lethal Parasite's Vulnerabilities

Finding a lethal parasite’s vulnerabilities

An estimated 100 million people around the world are infected with Strongyloides stercoralis, a parasitic nematode, yet it’s likely that many don’t know it. The infection can persist for years, usually only causing mild symptoms. But if the immune system is compromised by the use of immunosuppressing drugs such as steroids or chemotherapeutics, for example, the parasite can reproduce uncontrollably, leading to a potentially life-threatening infection.

Swine Production Facilities at New Bolton Center

Penn and Chinese pork producers swap ideas to share and learn

Pork is the world’s most consumed meat, thanks in large part to the Chinese. China consumes half of the planet’s pork and, accordingly, is home to roughly 50 percent of the world’s pigs.

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Developing a drug to fight a deadly childhood parasite

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 10 people around the world do not have a safe water supply close to home. Around the world, diarrheal diseases are responsible for one in 10 deaths of children under the age of 5. One of the leading causes is Cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that is typically transmitted through contaminated water and usually lives in the small intestine. Yet it doesn’t lend itself to easy laboratory investigation and, until recently, scientists have been flummoxed in their attempts to make progress toward finding a treatment.

Leishmania-parasite

Penn Vet Team Identifies New Therapeutic Targets for the Tropical Disease Leishmaniasis

Each year, about 2 million people contract leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of a sand fly. The cutaneous form of the disease results in disfiguring skin ulcers that may take months or years to heal and in rare cases can become metastatic, causing major tissue damage.

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Penn Vet Research Identifies New Target for Taming Ebola

Viruses and their hosts are in a eternal game of one-upmanship. If a host cell evolves a way to stop a virus from spreading, the virus will look for a new path. And so on and so forth.

The Changing Landscape of Mosquito- and Tick-borne Diseases

Targeting Mosquito Immunity to Fight Disease

Before a mosquito can transmit a disease like dengue fever, Zika, or malaria to a human, the mosquito itself must get infected. That means the parasite or virus must find a way around the natural defenses of the insect’s immune system.

Dr. Zhengxia Dou, Penn Vet, Agricultural Systems

Penn Vet Professor Assists in Effort to Empower Smallholder Farmers

To ensure the global population is food secure, it’s estimated that food production must increase at least 50 percent by 2050. One of the best means to achieve that increase is by boosting yield, that is, producing more food on existing cropland with fewer resources.

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Penn Vet Study Blocks Ebola Virus Budding by Regulating Calcium Signaling

The Ebola virus acts fast. The course of infection, from exposure to recovery, or death, can take as little as two weeks. That may not leave enough time for the immune system to mount an effective response.