A Present Day Battle Against Cholera in Dhaka
About: The risk for cholera infection is >100 times higher for household contacts of cholera patients the week after they seek hospital care than it is for the general population. This is likely because of poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practices at home. The time that patients and their caregivers spend at a health facility for the treatment of severe diarrhea episodes presents an opportunity to deliver WASH interventions. Effective and scalable WASH interventions are urgently needed to reduce diarrheal diseases globally. Dr. Christine George’s research group recently developed the Cholera-Hospital-Based-Intervention-for-7-Days (CHoBI7), a WASH intervention which promotes handwashing with soap and water treatment to diarrhea patients and their household members in a health facility setting. Our recent randomized controlled trial (RCT) in Bangladesh of CHoBI7 demonstrated this WASH intervention was effective in significantly reducing symptomatic cholera in diarrhea patient households, and led to sustained improvements in WASH practices over time.
Biography: Dr. George is an Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is an environmental epidemiologist and environmental engineer whose career focuses on identifying transmission routes for environmental exposures and the development of WASH interventions to intervene upon these identified transmission routes. She has been working on WASH studies domestically and internationally for 14 years, including directing six RCTs of community and health facility based WASH interventions. Dr. George’s current research focuses on identifying environmental transmission routes for enteric pathogens and environmental enteropathy, and the development and evaluation of participatory interventions to reduce exposure to contaminants in the environment. She is currently directing RCTs and cohort studies in Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Tribal Nations in the United States.