Human, Food and Environmental data collection
Human, food and environmental data are among the wide range of data collected within the 99 households. The data are often collected by Clinical Officers. Human sampling involves among others, individual consenting to participate, questionnaire interviews administration, general physical examination and anthropometric measurements, biological data collection and offering feedback and health education on the outcome of the laboratory based investigations. Two sets of structured questionnaires are administered; a general household and individual participant questionnaires. Biological data that is collected includes fecal samples and nasal swabs. Fecal samples are assessed for E. coli and campylobacter bacteria while nasal swabs are assessed for antimicrobial resistance. Collection and transportation of human samples from the field to laboratories involves sterile techniques.
Like human sampling, sterile steps are also observed during food and environmental data collection. Only livestock sourced foods are collected in the study. A sample of meat, milk and a wipe of egg shells if available, are collected. Sterile wipes of kitchen working surfaces such as chopping boards as well as kitchen door knobs are also collected. Environmental samples are collected using sterile boot socks. Normal saline-wet boot socks are worn and environmental samples collected by walking around the area surrounding the household as well as surfaces within livestock pens if available. Whirl pack bags are used in transportation of environmental samples. Water samples from water puddles, boreholes or storage water tanks are also collected as environmental samples. Subsamples of food and environmental samples are marked with a red dot to identify those going for whole genome sequencing and a blue dot on those being analyzed for campylobacter. All collected data are de-identified using barcode numbers to enhance participant and sample anonymity.
On completion of data collection, participants in the household are either given Albendazole or Mebendazole anthelminthic depending on age. Anyone found to be clinically ill is offered a prescription. If they are seriously ill a written referral letter to the nearest and most preferred health facility for further management is offered. Laboratory outcomes are communicated back to individual participants within two to three weeks of data collection. This is accompanied by health education with emphasis on how to maintain proper hygiene as well as interaction with livestock. Like many other community studies, our study is not devoid of challenges. Some of the challenges encountered involve heavy traffic. As investigators, we have to sometimes anticipate early morning starts. Participants which means rescheduling the day to collect data. Others include withdrawal from participation and inability to access household heads especially in high income settings.
This blog entry is an article on our quarterly Urban Zoo Newsletter Volume 3 Issue 3 which can be accessed by clicking here.