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Enhanced Place Finding (EPF) of TB transmission hotspots

Objective

TB is transmitted via person-to-person aerosols. Recent studies suggests that in TB endemic areas up to 70% of transmission events take place outside the household in public places. Moreover, TB transmission is unequally spatially distributed and occurs in transmission hotspot areas. Mathematical models consequently demonstrated that identifying hotspots and blocking within-hotspot-transmission through targeted public health interventions will be the most efficient way of lowering the TB burden. In the present PoC proposal we aim to complement the population-based Enhanced-Case-Finding intervention tested in the INTERRUPTB study, with a spatially more targeted “Enhanced-Place-Finding” (EPF) approach to identify transmission hotspots in an unbiased fashion. Using traditional methods to find transmission hotspots can only be done retrospectively after years of data collection. Therefore we propose a novel EPF strategy to detect transmission hotspots in real-time using phone-tracking technology to establish a spatial map of aggregated TB patients movements. Within the ERC-funded INTERRUPTB study in The Gambia, we sequenced 2000 mycobacterial isolates, which allows us to establish a bacterial genetic transmission network. Within the PoC proposal, we seek to reconsent these patients to analyze their everyday movements using classical contact investigation complemented by phone tracking, to determine which public places have an increased risk of TB transmission. We aim to demonstrate that phone tracking of TB patients can be a cheap, easy, and, most importantly, prospective TB transmission hotspots identification tool, no longer requiring molecular epidemiological investigations. Such a finding can ultimately be developed into an app that warns national TB programs of early TB outbreaks, so that early public health measures like increased ventilation and active case finding can be initiated. This approach can furthermore be applied to other infectious diseases.

Call for proposal

ERC-2016-PoC
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Funding Scheme

ERC-POC - Proof of Concept Grant

Host institution

PRINS LEOPOLD INSTITUUT VOOR TROPISCHE GENEESKUNDE
Address
Nationalestraat 155
2000 Antwerpen
Belgium
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 69 523

Beneficiaries (4)

PRINS LEOPOLD INSTITUUT VOOR TROPISCHE GENEESKUNDE
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 69 523
Address
Nationalestraat 155
2000 Antwerpen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNITED KINGDOM RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 31 661,25
Address
Polaris House North Star Avenue
SN2 1FL Swindon
Activity type
Research Organisations
UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 2 321,25
Address
Place De L Universite 1
1348 Louvain La Neuve
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
DALBERG DATA INSIGHTS
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 46 277,50
Address
Place Du Champ De Mars 5
1050 Bruxelles
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)