Ecology and Epidemiology

Northern Thailand is an ideal study site for investigations into scrub typhus - even remote rural villages in hyper endemic areas of the hilly highlands are linked via primary health care centers to larger regional hospitals

We contribute to ongoing causes-of-fever studies by providing serological and molecular diagnostics. Fever studies have been central in unraveling the causes of undifferentiated febrile illness in the region.

We have developed, evaluated and/or validated a wide panel of diagnostic tools, including the indirect immunofluorescent assay, ELISA-based assays, diagnostic accuracy of multiple rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), molecular assays (qPCR, LAMP, MLST, PCR-RFLP etc.) have contributed to understanding the challenges and clinically relevant requirements for further studies into diagnostics and epidemiology. Ongoing studies link epidemiology to health economics, to try and estimate the impact of rickettsial illnesses on economy and population, using mathematical modeling and predictions.

Investigations into ecological aspects have recently started as a collaborative effort with the Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University. The current focus is on capturing vectors and mammalian hosts related to scrub and murine typhus. We are aiming to morphologically characterize vectors and hosts, the pathogens they harbor and transmit, and the relation of their habitats to that of humans.