Project overview : Prevalence of non-typhoidal Salmonella in pigs in Nairobi and Malawi


This MPhil project looks at the prevalence of non-typhoidal Salmonella in pigs in Nairobi and Busia, Western Kenya and Chikhwawa valley, Malawi.

Non-typhoidal Salmonella causes bacteraemia and febrile illness in humans in developing countries, particularly in those individuals who are young, old, malnourished, or suffer from co-morbidities such as HIV or malaria. In humans multi-drug resistant non-typhoidal Salmonella strains have been found which present a major health concern, especially in health care communities where resources are limited.

There is suspicion that these multi-drug resistant strains of Salmonella may not be restricted to humans; zoonotic transmission may be occurring. Free-range pig production around homesteads is a common method of farming in both Kenya and Malawi, increasing the risk of transmission of disease to humans. Knowledge of the prevalence of the disease in this species will help strategies for prevention of disease transmission and development to be assessed.

This project is funded by the Wellcome Trust.  During the year faecal and mesenteric lymph nodes samples will be collected from pigs at one urban (Nairobi) and one rural (Busia) slaughterhouse in Kenya, and one slaughterhouse in Blantyre, Malawi.  The prevalence of non-typhoidal Salmonella in these samples and their antimicrobial resistance profile will then be determined.  Any isolated positive samples will also be serotyped to determine which strains of non-typhoidal Salmonella are present.  These positive samples will be returned to the UK for genomic analysis at the Wellcome Trust Sanger institute.

Once this work is completed, a comparison can be made between the genomes of pig isolates to those of humans in each respective area, to determine whether there is any relationship between the two, and so the likelihood of zoonotic transmission.

This project forms a link between the Institute of Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool, the International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya and the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Research Centre in Malawi.

Primary Investigator: Dr. Catherine Wilson


This project is supported by the Wellcome Trust, through a Research Taster Fellowship awarded as part of the University of Liverpool’s Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund.

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