Melioidosis update

Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU)

MORU was established in 1979 as a research collaboration between Mahidol University (Thailand), Oxford University (UK) and the UK’s Wellcome Trust. MORU’s main office and laboratories are located within the Faculty of Tropical Medicine at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, with MORU study sites and collaborations across Thailand, Asia and Africa. MORU is generously supported with significant funding from the Wellcome Trust, our major funding partner. We also receive funding from other trusts and foundations, governments, and multi-lateral donors.

Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC)

Renowned Japanese photographer Kenro Izu first visited Cambodia in 1993 to photograph the magnificent Angkor Temples. Cambodia was struggling to emerge from the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, and Kenro was deeply touched by the resilient children he met during his trip. Kenro realized he could not leave Cambodia without doing something for these impoverished children he had seen and captured from behind the lens. He founded a non-profit organization called Friends Without a Border (FWAB) and with the help of the international art community, health care professionals and more than 6,000 supporters from around the world, Angkor Hospital for Children opened its gates in 1999. Today, Claudia Turner is the CEO of the hospital and is an Oxford University Principal Investigator.

Paul Turner (COMRU Director)

Paul Turner is a clinical microbiologist based at the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, Cambodia. He is director of the Cambodia-Oxford Medical Research Unit (COMRU).

His research interests include:

  • Antimicrobial resistance surveillance and control;
  • Paediatric healthcare associated infections;
  • Pneumococcal colonisation and disease and the impact of pneumococcal vaccines.

 

Using Mahidol's B. pseudomallei test to confirm melioidosis in the lab

Work at the Cambodia Oxford Medical Research Unit (COMRU) and Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) has highlighted the importance of melioidosis, infection by the soil-dwelling bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, as a cause of severe illness in Cambodian children (P Turner et al and Pagnarith et al).

In October 2017, COMRU will participate in the 2nd Cambodia National Melioidosis workshop, a three day event to improve awareness of Burkholderia pseudomallei infection amongst Cambodian clinicians and laboratory technicians. COMRU’s Miliya Thyl and Soeng Sona will both give presentations at the meeting, alongside director Paul Turner.

To support the workshop’s laboratory sessions, COMRU commissioned a short film in English [above] and Khmer to demonstrate laboratory identification of B. pseudomallei. The video was shot at Angkor Hospital for Children and the microbiology laboratory of the Cambodia Oxford Medical Research Unit. We are very grateful to MORU’s Prof Phaikyeong Cheah and the Wellcome Trust for provision of public engagement funding to support the making of the film.

Cambodia Oxford Medical Research Unit (COMRU)

The Cambodia Oxford Medical Research Unit (COMRU) was established in 2007 as a collaboration between the Angkor Hospital for Children and MORU. The first step in this collaboration was to equip the Angkor Hospital with a microbiological laboratory, and to train the Hospital's technical staff. COMRU are now using this facility to prospectively define the causes of febrile illness and establish susceptibility patterns of common culturable bacterial pathogens. These data will also allow researchers to identify causes of sepsis and sepsis-related death, and will improve diagnosis, treatment and management of paediatric infections in Cambodia. The Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) develops effective and practical means of diagnosing and treating malaria and other neglected diseases such as melioidosis, typhus, TB and leptospirosis.