Nutrition and Infectious Disease

GhanaA woman and her child in Mahama Akuraa, Ghana. 

A woman and her child in Mahama Akuraa, Ghana.

Malnutrition affects over a billion people worldwide, ranging from the extremes of stunting and obesity, to the less visible micronutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin A, iron and zinc. Malnutrition increases morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases, and supplementation with micronutrients can decrease morbidity and mortality.  Given the prevalence of infectious diseases and the spread of drug resistant pathogens, alternative approaches to decreasing morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases and delaying the spread of drug resistance are critical for addressing the global burden of disease. Improvements in nutritional status may provide such an approach. Careful characterization of the relationship between host nutritional status and infections is critical for evaluating the role of nutritional status in susceptibility to infectious diseases and response to treatment. 

Current Projects

Nutritional and Dietary Assessment of Participants in VEDCO’s Sustainable Livelihoods Program, Kamuli District, Uganda (in collaboration with Robert Mazur at Iowa State University).

An investigation into the relationship between nutritional status and hookworm infection in schoolchildren in Kintampo North Municipality, Ghana (in collaboration with Michael Cappello, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra, and the Kintampo Health Research Center in Kintampo, Ghana).

Publications  

Humphries D, Mosites E, Otchere J et al. Epidemiology of Hookworm Infection in Kintampo North Municipality, Ghana: Patterns of Malaria Coinfection, Anemia, and Albendazole Treatment Failure. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2011; 84(5):792-800.

Humphries, D., Gomez, L., Hartwig, K.   Sustainability of NGO capacity building in southern Africa: successes and opportunities.  International Journal of Health Planning and Management 2011 Apr;26(2):e38-54. doi: 10.1002/hpm.1029. Epub 2010 Jun 16.