Unravelling the reservoirs for colonisation of infants with Campylobacter spp. in rural Ethiopia: protocol for a longitudinal study during a global pandemic and political tensions

Arie H. Havelaar, Mussie Brhane, Ibsa Abdusemed Ahmed, Jafer Kedir, Dehao Chen, Loic Deblais, Nigel French, Wondwossen A. Gebreyes, Jemal Yousuf Hassen, Xiaolong Li, Mark J. Manary, Zelealem Mekuria, Abdulmuen Mohammed Ibrahim, Bahar Mummed, Amanda Ojeda, Gireesh Rajashekara, Kedir Teji Roba, Cyrus Saleem, Nitya Singh, Ibsa Aliyi UsmaneYang Yang, Getnet Yimer, Sarah McKune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Undernutrition is an underlying cause of mortality in children under five (CU5) years of age. Animal-source foods have been shown to decrease malnutrition in CU5. Livestock are important reservoirs for Campylobacter bacteria, which are recognised as risk factors for child malnutrition. Increasing livestock production may be beneficial for improving nutrition of children but these benefits may be negated by increased exposure to Campylobacter and research is needed to evaluate the complex pathways of Campylobacter exposure and infection applicable to low-income and middle-income countries. We aim to identify reservoirs of infection with Campylobacter spp. of infants in rural Eastern Ethiopia and evaluate interactions with child health (environmental enteric dysfunction and stunting) in the context of their sociodemographic environment. Methods and analysis This longitudinal study involves 115 infants who are followed from birth to 12 months of age and are selected randomly from 10 kebeles of Haramaya woreda, East Hararghe zone, Oromia region, Ethiopia. Questionnaire-based information is obtained on demographics, livelihoods, wealth, health, nutrition and women empowerment; animal ownership/management and diseases; and water, sanitation and hygiene. Faecal samples are collected from infants, mothers, siblings and livestock, drinking water and soil. These samples are analysed by a range of phenotypic and genotypic microbiological methods to characterise the genetic structure of the Campylobacter population in each of these reservoirs, which will support inference about the main sources of exposure for infants. Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval was obtained from the University of Florida Internal Review Board (IRB201903141), the Haramaya University Institutional Health Research Ethics Committee (COHMS/1010/3796/20) and the Ethiopia National Research Ethics Review Committee (SM/14.1/1059/20). Written informed consent is obtained from all participating households. Research findings will be disseminated to stakeholders through conferences and peer-reviewed journals and through the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere061311
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 5 2022


  • Epidemiology
  • Nutrition
  • Public health


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