Suraj Bhattarai Poster 2024

Suraj Bhattarai

Dr Suraj Bhattarai

Global Health Research & Medical Interventions for Development (GLOHMED), Nepal

Burden of Melioidosis in Nepal: A Prospective Cross-sectional Pilot Study in Two Provinces.


Poster Abstract

Authors and Affiliations: Suraj Bhattarai, Raj Shrestha, Jaya Dhungana, Isabel Klugherz, Chiranjay Mukhopadhyay, Ivo Steinmetz
Melioidosis is an emerging infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, a gram-negative bacillus.1,2 South and South-east Asian countries, such as India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China, Thailand, has the highest burden.3,4,5,6 Although Nepal shares most of its border with India where melioidosis is endemic in many parts, and that most people in the hilly and mountainous regions are agriculture oriented, the country has not formally reported melioidosis cases.
To determine if B. pseudomallei infections occur in Nepal through anti-B. pseudomallei seroprevalence and to understand clinical and socio-epidemiological characteristics of seropositive and culture-positive cases.
This is a prospective cross-sectional observational study conducted among the adult patients aged 40 years and above, visiting outpatient and emergency units of two selected hospitals, one of which lies in the Southern plains (tarai) bordering India, and another lies in the hilly region. Sample size is total 400 individuals. Laboratory analysis
General laboratory tests (hematology, bacterial culture, antimicrobial sensitivity) will be performed in routinely collected human specimens. Bacterial identification will be confirmed by conventional PCR and isolates will further undergo genomic typing.7,8 With around 20 μL to 50 μL of serum extracted from each participant, anti-B. pseudomallei antibodies will be tested using a protein array approach developed by the research team in University of Graz, Austria.9,10 Ethics
Local ethics application is under review. Consent and regulatory approvals will be obtained.
Study impact
The project will let us estimate the overall scenario of melioidosis in Nepal. It will give data about melioidosis positivity and suspected cases. Among cases positive for B. pseudomaellei, we will also know whether they are imported or indigenous. Funding will be sought for the sustainability of research and capacity strengthening, including technology transfer and training in collaboration with regional and global networks like VALIDATE.
Suraj is a clinician researcher based in Nepal, actively collaborating with global research groups. He leads the Global Health and Clinical Research Institute in Nepal (GLOHMED), which he co-founded with a vision to promote and implement global health and clinical research in the country. Currently, Suraj's research focuses on childhood respiratory infections, point-of-care diagnostics, climate-sensitive infectious diseases such as dengue, scrub typhus, and leishmaniasis, as well as the burden of melioidosis and epidemiology and treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis. He also works on strengthening primary and urban health systems. Suraj has contributed significantly to national reports on the vulnerability and adaptation of climate-sensitive diseases. He received his medical training in Nepal before pursuing postgraduate medical and research training in the US and UK. He holds higher education credentials in Tropical Medicine from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, and is currently pursuing a joint PhD in Global Health from LSHTM, UK, and Nagasaki University School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Japan. His PhD research focuses on point-of-care diagnostics for respiratory infections.