Professor David Mabey


of Communicable Diseases

Room 302

Keppel Street
United Kingdom

+44 20 7927 2297

David Mabey is a physician specialising in Infectious and Tropical Diseases. After training in the UK, he went to work at the Medical Research Council unit in The Gambia, West Africa in 1978, and was in charge of clinical services there from 1982-86. He joined the School as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Clinical Sciences in 1986, and was made Professor of Communicable Diseases in 1994. He was an Honorary Consultant Physician at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London from 1987-2019 and head of the Clinical Research Unit at the School from 1995-2002 and 2017-2020.  He was Director of the Wellcome Trust Bloomsbury Centre for Clinical Tropical Medicine/Global Health Research from 1995 to 2018. His research interests are in Neglected Tropical Diseases, in particular trachoma, which he has been working on since 1984 and yaws, sexually transmitted infections and causes of fever.  He has been a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group of the WHO Department of Reproductive Healh and Research, and was Director of the WHO Collaborating centre for the Prevention and Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections at the School from 2014-2020.  He currently chairs the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group of the WHO Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases. He is a member of the WHO Global Alliance for the elimination of trachoma, and has sat on the Trachoma Expert Committee of the International Trachoma Initiative. He was awarded the CBE in 2014 for services to health development in Africa and Asia, and the Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health in 2019 for his work on trachoma.


Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases
Department of Clinical Research


Malaria Centre


David Mabey ran the DTM&H course at the School from 1988 to 1996. He teaches on the London  DTM&H course  and the MSc courses on the Control of  Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine and International Health.  Since 2010 he has worked with Philip Gothard and colleagues at Makerere University, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington in Seattle to establish and run the School's East African DTM&H course.



David Mabey became interested in trachoma, caused by ocular infection with Chlamydia trachomatis, and in genital C. trachomatis infection, while working in the Gambia. Since the early 1980s he has continued to do research on both trachoma and sexually transmitted infections, with many collaborators both within and outside the School. Most of his field work has been done in The Gambia and Tanzania  and, in addition to clinical and epidemiological studies, he has been involved in research on the pathogenesis of and immune response to C. trachomatis infection. He is particularly interested in the link between HIV infection and other STIs and worked with Richard Hayes on the Mwanza intervention trial, which showed that it was possible to reduce the transmission of HIV by improved case management of other STIs at the primary health care level. With Robin Bailey,  Martin Holland and Matthew Burton, he established one of the largest research groups in the world working on the pathogenesis, control and elimination of blinding trachoma. He is particularly interested in the development and evaluation of new,  point-of-care diagnostics for infectious diseases, and worked with Rosanna Peeling to establish the International Diagnostics Centre at the School in 2012. He currently leads the FIEBRE  study on causes of fever in 4 countries in Africa and Asia, funded by the UK government, and works with Anna Last and colleagues on a research programme on the control of malaria and Neglected Tropical  Diseases n the Bijagos Islands of Guinea Bissau

Research Area
Clinical care
Clinical trials
Innate immunity
Sexual health
Disease control
Impact evaluation
Implementation research
Randomised controlled trials
Reproductive health
Genetic epidemiology
Disease and Health Conditions
Eye diseases
Infectious disease
Sexually transmitted disease
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
Sexually transmitted infection
Skin disease
Tropical diseases
East Asia & Pacific (all income levels)
Latin America & Caribbean (developing only)
Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only)

Selected Publications

Protocol for a cluster randomised placebo-controlled trial of adjunctive ivermectin mass drug administration for malaria control on the Bijagós Archipelago of Guinea-Bissau: the MATAMAL trial.
Hutchins H; Bradley J; Pretorius E; Teixeira da Silva E; Vasileva H; Jones RT; Ndiath MO; Dit Massire Soumare H; Mabey D; Nante EJ
BMJ open
Safety of integrated mass drug administration of azithromycin, albendazole and ivermectin versus standard treatment regimens: a cluster-randomised trial in Ethiopia.
McPherson S; Tafese G; Tafese T; Behaksra SW; Solomon H; Oljira B; Miecha H; Debebe KA; Kebede B; Gebre T
Population dynamics and drug resistance mutations in Plasmodium falciparum on the Bijagós Archipelago, Guinea-Bissau.
Moss S; Mańko E; Vasileva H; Da Silva ET; Goncalves A; Osborne A; Phelan J; Rodrigues A; Djata P; D'Alessandro U
Scientific reports
Peeling RW; Mabey D; Chen X-S; Garcia PJ
Lancet (London, England)
The conjunctival microbiome before and after azithromycin mass drug administration for trachoma control in a cohort of Tanzanian children.
Pickering H; Ramadhani AM; Massae P; Mafuru E; Malisa A; Mbuya K; Makupa W; Mtuy T; Derrick T; Houghton J
Frontiers in public health
Uptake of and factors associated with testing for sexually transmitted infections in community-based settings among youth in Zimbabwe: a mixed-methods study.
Martin K; Olaru ID; Buwu N; Bandason T; Marks M; Dauya E; Muzangwa J; Mabey D; Dziva Chikwari C; Francis SC
The Lancet. Child & adolescent health
The Epidemiology of Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in the Bijagos Islands of Guinea-Bissau.
McGregor D; Texeira da Silva E; Grignard L; Goncalves A; Vasileva H; Mabey D; Last A
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
Prevalence of syphilis among men who have sex with men: a global systematic review and meta-analysis from 2000-20.
Tsuboi M; Evans J; Davies EP; Rowley J; Korenromp EL; Clayton T; Taylor MM; Mabey D; Chico RM
The Lancet. Global health
Oral doxycycline for the prevention of postoperative trachomatous trichiasis in Ethiopia: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Habtamu E; Wondie T; Aweke S; Tadesse Z; Zerihun M; Gashaw B; Roberts CH; Kello AB; Mabey DCW; Rajak SN
The Lancet Global health
Azithromycin to Reduce Childhood Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Keenan JD; Bailey RL; West SK; Arzika AM; Hart J; Weaver J; Kalua K; Mrango Z; Ray KJ; Cook C
The New England journal of medicine
Population-based analysis of ocular Chlamydia trachomatis in trachoma-endemic West African communities identifies genomic markers of disease severity.
Last AR; Pickering H; Roberts CH; Coll F; Phelan J; Burr SE; Cassama E; Nabicassa M; Seth-Smith HMB; Hadfield J
Genome medicine
Comparative efficacy of low-dose versus standard-dose azithromycin for patients with yaws: a randomised non-inferiority trial in Ghana and Papua New Guinea.
Marks M; Mitjà O; Bottomley C; Kwakye C; Houinei W; Bauri M; Adwere P; Abdulai AA; Dua F; Boateng L
The Lancet Global health
Randomized Trial of Community Treatment With Azithromycin and Ivermectin Mass Drug Administration for Control of Scabies and Impetigo.
Marks M; Toloka H; Baker C; Kositz C; Asugeni J; Puiahi E; Asugeni R; Azzopardi K; Diau J; Kaldor JM
Clinical infectious diseases
The utility of serology for elimination surveillance of trachoma.
Pinsent A; Solomon AW; Bailey RL; Bid R; Cama A; Dean D; Goodhew B; Gwyn SE; Jack KR; Kandel RP
Nat Commun
Diagnostics for Yaws Eradication: Insights From Direct Next-Generation Sequencing of Cutaneous Strains of Treponema pallidum.
Marks M; Fookes M; Wagner J; Butcher R; Ghinai R; Sokana O; Sarkodie Y-A; Lukehart SA; Solomon AW; Mabey DCW
Clinical infectious diseases
Genome-wide profiling of humoral immunity and pathogen genes under selection identifies immune evasion tactics of Chlamydia trachomatis during ocular infection.
Pickering H; Teng A; Faal N; Joof H; Makalo P; Cassama E; Nabicassa M; Last AR; Burr SE; Rowland-Jones SL
Scientific reports
Posterior lamellar versus bilamellar tarsal rotation surgery for trachomatous trichiasis in Ethiopia: a randomised controlled trial.
Habtamu E; Wondie T; Aweke S; Tadesse Z; Zerihun M; Zewudie Z; Kello AB; Roberts CH; Emerson PM; Bailey RL
The Lancet Global health
Metaanalysis of the Performance of a Combined Treponemal and Nontreponemal Rapid Diagnostic Test for Syphilis and Yaws.
Marks M; Yin Y-P; Chen X-S; Castro A; Causer L; Guy R; Wangnapi R; Mitjà O; Aziz A; Castro R
Clinical infectious diseases
Pathogenesis of progressive scarring trachoma in Ethiopia and Tanzania and its implications for disease control: two cohort studies.
Burton MJ; Rajak SN; Hu VH; Ramadhani A; Habtamu E; Massae P; Tadesse Z; Callahan K; Emerson PM; Khaw PT
PLoS neglected tropical diseases
Challenges and key research questions for yaws eradication.
Marks M; Mitjà O; Vestergaard LS; Pillay A; Knauf S; Chen C-Y; Bassat Q; Martin DL; Fegan D; Taleo F
The Lancet infectious diseases
Conjunctival fibrosis and the innate barriers to Chlamydia trachomatis intracellular infection: a genome wide association study.
Roberts CH; Franklin CS; Makalo P; Joof H; Sarr I; Mahdi OS; Sillah A; Bah M; Payne F; Jeffreys AE
Scientific reports
Towards a safe and effective chlamydial vaccine: lessons from the eye.
Mabey DCW; Hu V; Bailey RL; Burton MJ; Holland MJ
Haemophilus ducreyi associated with skin ulcers among children, Solomon Islands.
Marks M; Chi K-H; Vahi V; Pillay A; Sokana O; Pavluck A; Mabey DC; Chen CY; Solomon AW
Emerging infectious diseases
Whole-genome analysis of diverse Chlamydia trachomatis strains identifies phylogenetic relationships masked by current clinical typing.
Harris SR; Clarke IN; Seth-Smith HMB; Solomon AW; Cutcliffe LT; Marsh P; Skilton RJ; Holland MJ; Mabey D; Peeling RW
Nature genetics
Point-of-care tests to strengthen health systems and save newborn lives: the case of syphilis.
Mabey DC; Sollis KA; Kelly HA; Benzaken AS; Bitarakwate E; Changalucha J; Chen X-S; Yin Y-P; Garcia PJ; Strasser S
PLoS medicine
A dual point-of-care test shows good performance in simultaneously detecting nontreponemal and treponemal antibodies in patients with syphilis: a multisite evaluation study in China.
Yin Y-P; Chen X-S; Wei W-H; Gong K-L; Cao W-L; Yong G; Feng L; Huang S-J; Wang D-M; Han Y
Clinical infectious diseases
Surgery versus epilation for the treatment of minor trichiasis in Ethiopia: a randomised controlled noninferiority trial.
Rajak SN; Habtamu E; Weiss HA; Kello AB; Gebre T; Genet A; Bailey RL; Mabey DCW; Khaw PT; Gilbert CE
PLoS medicine
See more Publications