Duke Study in Peru Yields Unexpected Discoveries

August 25, 2015

Axel Berky, an Associate in Research at the Duke Global Health Institute and a member of the Bass Connections Environmental Epidemiology Research Training in the Peruvian Amazon project team, recently traveled to Peru to pursue public health research. Upon arrival, Berky and his team were surprised to find a very high number of hepatitis B cases, as well as a high-risk case of tuberculosis, in the region. Working with Peru’s Ministry of Health, the team sought out the best solutions to handling and reducing these outbreaks.

“While performing fieldwork in indigenous communities, the Duke team found an alarmingly high number of positive rapid tests for hepatitis B (~17%)—an outbreak previously unknown to Peru’s Ministry of Health. Through their collaborative work with the local Ministry of Health, the researchers promptly shared their results, which has led to several public health interventions. Thanks to the researchers’ immediate report of the findings, the Ministry of Health was able to perform tests to confirm the reported cases, initiate the appropriate treatment to the confirmed cases and provide vaccinations as well as educational sessions to all the members of the affected communities.”

Read more about the team’s experience on the Duke Global Health Institute’s website.