Infectious diseases caused by pathogens associated with poor water, sanitation and hygiene, such as Vibrio cholerae (cholera) and Salmonella typhi (typhoid), are responsible for hundreds of thousands of global deaths per year. Understanding how these and other agents of disease such as Ebolavirus are spread in low-income settings is critical for the prevention of onward transmission and for identifying the most effective control measures.
When cholera or Ebola outbreaks occur in a low-income country, the rapid construction and successful operation of treatment centres can reduce mortality rates significantly. However, such emergency field centres generate considerable quantities of human excreta, including faeces and vomit, that can be the source of further disease transmission amongst patients, health-workers and local populations. Approaches for safely handling, containing and treating infectious faecal waste are vital to safeguard health and prevent infection.
University of Brighton research at the research Centre for Aquatic Environments has made life-saving advances in the fight against faecal-borne diseases. Breakthroughs help protect some of the most vulnerable human populations globally by supporting a multiple barrier approach to disease control, particularly in low-resource and emergency settings. The research has helped identify and reduce human health risks from diseases including cholera, Ebola, typhoid and childhood diarrhoea in regions of Africa, Asia and South America. This life-changing work has stemmed from research into safer excreta management and improved low-cost faecal and vomit contaminant treatment, leading to improved protocols for the safe handling and disposal of human excreta and improved approaches for the surveillance of potential disease transmission routes.