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The pathogenesis of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Enterobacter cloacae related neonatal sepsis in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Belgium (BeMSA) - Ghent University, Ghent
Department of Diagnostic Sciences
English, Dutch, French
Type of Research Project
- Clinical Project without Laboratory work
What is the background of the project?
Neonatal sepsis causes 1 million neonatal deaths yearly. The burden is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In industrialized countries, the leading pathogens causing neonatal sepsis are Escherichia coli and Group B Streptococci, and these are thought to originate from the vagina and infect the neonate during passage through the birth channel. However, the etiology of neonatal sepsis in SSA is one big black box. This is worrisome, as neonates with signs of sepsis are treated empirically with antibiotics that are chosen on the assumption that the same pathogens as in industrialized cause the sepsis. Recently, we performed a study in Bukavu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in order to identify the pathogens causing neonatal sepsis in the population. We found that Enterobacter cloacae and Klebsiella pneumoniae were the leading pathogens. However, it is not clear to use what the pathway is that leads to the infection of neonates with E. cloacae and K. pneumoniae. These pathogens might infect the neonates also originating from the vagina, but they might as well infect neonates originating from the environment.
What is the aim of the project?
The aim of the project is to document the different (pathogenic) bacteria (K. pneumoniae and E. cloacae) that colonize the vagina of pregnant women and that colonize neonates in order to research the transmission of pathogens from mother to neonate.
What techniques and methods are used?
- Matrix-assisted laser-desorption Time of Flight (Maldi-TOF) based identification of bacteria - Assessment of the antibiotic susceptibility patterns of a selection of pathogenic bacteria - Molecular techniques such as quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR), sequencing
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- If the project includes “lab work”
- the student will take active part in the practical aspect of the project
- The tasks of the student will be performed on his/her own
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
- Identification of strains isolated in Bukavu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo from mothers and their neonates. - Assessment of the antibiotic resistance of a selection of strains of different (pathogenic) bacteria (K. pneumoniae and E. cloacae) that colonize the vagina of pregnant women and neonates. - Typing of strains (i.e. are different isolates identical?) in order to prove transmission from mother to neonate.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a scientific report - The student’s name will be mentioned in a future publication - The student will have the opportunity to present the results together with the supervisor at a conference
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
- highly motivated - very organized in the laboratory - good communication skills - critical attitude - the student needs only the theoretical background of the techniques used, such as the Maldi-TOF MS-based identification. Subjects passed: microbiology Previous experience with: laboratory work
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system - Students in biomedical fields
- Cools; P. C. (2019; 13 april). Antibiotic susceptibility of bacterial etiological agents causing early-onset neonatal sepsis in Bukavu; Democratic Republic of Congo. Geraadpleegd van https://www.escmid.org/escmid_publications/escmid_elibrary/?tx_solr%5Bfilter%5D%5B0%5D=main_category%253AParasitic%2BDiseases%2B%2526%2BInternational%2BHealth
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