One Health Water is a project taking a one health approach to understanding disease transmission from livestock to people via water. Our researchers are working with colleagues from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), University of Southampton and VIRED International and are supported by the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund.
This project addresses the potential drinking-water contamination risks to human health in rural sub-Saharan Africa, where people and livestock often live in close proximity.
Visit the OneHealthWater project website
The project runs from April 2017 to March 2019. OneHealthWater is a Foundation Project, supported by the UK government's Global Challenges Research Fund.
The project is funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC), with support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
OneHealthWater project aims to:
Preliminary fieldwork will be carried out in rural Kenya, building on an ongoing study that is simultaneously recording human and livestock disease in ten villages. The fieldwork will test different techniques to identify contamination hazards from livestock, alongside water quality testing and recording of diarrhoea in children. These techniques will include the use of GPS collars to track cattle movements, maps of hazardous areas created by the communities themselves, and also checklists for recording signs of livestock hazards at water sources and around water stored in the home.
Since measurement of water contamination used in such areas is based on bacteria found in both livestock and humans, the project will also work on affordable ways of testing for micro-organisms that are specifically found in livestock faeces versus those found in human faeces. If successful, such techniques could be used to investigate the importance of different sources of faecal contamination of drinking-water. This in turn could help manage the safety of rural water sources like wells and rainwater and better protect drinking-water stored in the home from contamination through livestock.
In recent years, microbial source tracking (MST) has been proposed as a way of identifying the source of faecal contamination of drinking and bathing waters. Many different methods have been proposed, which vary widely in cost and their ability to pin-point specific contamination sources. A method recently developed at the University of Brighton (in collaboration with the University of Barcelona) uses traditional laboratory methods to identify contamination sources at relatively low cost.
Further information will follow as the project progresses.
Diogo Trajano Gomes Da Silva
University of Southampton
Kenya Medical Research Institute