EU grants 2.5 million euros for research on childhood gut infections in Latin America

Diarrhoea due to gut infections is a world-wide problem causing about 12,500 deaths/day in children less than 5 years old. Our knowledge about bacterial and parasitic infections causing diarrhoea is limited. Tools for diagnosis and surveillance of many gut infections are inadequate. Leading experts from four European countries and five Latin American countries have teamed up to investigate the effects of gut infections on growth and development in young children. The four year project called "CONTENT" starting on October 1st 2006 is supported by a 2.5 Million Euro research grant from the European Commission's Framework 6 International Cooperation programme.

One of the first infections acquired in infancy is the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori. This infection, which is generally life-long, is a risk factor for developing gastric cancer in adults. Initial infection with H. pylori reduces the amount of acid in the stomach. Acid secretion in the stomach is an important defence mechanism against multiple gut infections which cause diarrhoeal diseases. The CONTENT consortium is investigating the effects of H. pylori on the incidence of diarrhoeal disease, childhood growth and iron deficiency anaemia in Latin American children. The team is also developing new diagnostic tests for gut infections. Latin American partners from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru are involved in the project. European partners are based in Holland, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

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The project is being co-ordinated by partners at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom and Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. The knowledge acquired by the CONTENT consortium will help develop new prevention methods and diagnostic tools for gut infections. The CONTENT consortium will collaborate with public health organisations throughout Latin America to spread information arising from the project and to raise awareness and education on childhood gut infections and diarrhoeal diseases.

For further information on CONTENT project contact Dr. J. Crabtree j.crabtree@leeds.ac.uk


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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