Views from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

All posts in Health

Worker in sugarcane field. Credit: iStock/alffoto

Why are thousands of sugarcane workers in northwestern Nicaragua dying from chronic kidney disease?

By Dr Marvin Gonzalez, Department of Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; and Research Centre on Health, Work and Environment at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua-León. In the sugarcane fields of Nicaragua, young men work in the scorching heat for 8-12 hours a day cutting down lofty canes with a machete. It’s backbreaking work – in a typical shift they may lose more than 2kg in body weight. The men drink water or electrolyte drinks and take respite in the shade when they can, but this is often not possible. Such physically demanding work can be expected to have a toll. But increasingly worrying numbers of them are being struck down with chronic kidney disease of unknown cause, a long-term condition which will eventually take many of their lives. Read more


The government cited my research in its campaign against porn and anal sex – here’s why I disagree

By Dr Cicely Marston, Senior Lecturer in Social Science at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Are we facing an epidemic of harmful anal sex, brought on only because of the availability of online porn? This is what you’d think from reading a recent policy note from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in support of the government’s aim to require all pornographic websites to use age verification by default. Read more

Empowerhack montage - credit Kriselda Rabino

Empowerhack: inclusive humanitarian crises tech with a focus on women

By Charlotte Seeley-Musgrave (MSc Public Health) and Jessica Morely (Chayn / Empowerhack). In 2015, the news of the mass displacement of over 4.6 million refugees from Syria prompted a spectacular response from across the globe. Volunteer technology communities came together to create digital solutions tailored to refugee needs, including virtual schools, social integration initiatives, and many more. Read more

Aedes Aegypti mosquito - credit VectorBase

Speaking Zika with the man who co-discovered Ebola

Peter Piot portrait - credit Heidi LarsonProfessor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, was part of the team that discovered Ebola in 1976. He talks about the global health community's response to Zika. (Interview by ResearchGate News.) Read more

DR-TB bacteria

Can we eradicate TB by 2035?

By David Moore, Professor of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Tuberculosis (TB) should be a disease of the past, sadly it is very much a disease of the present. We’ve known about it since ancient times yet it is the leading cause of death through a single infectious disease in the world today, causing 1.5 million deaths every year.  Read more


New clues in the fight against tuberculosis

Taane ClarkBy Taane Clark, Professor of Genomics and Global Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Dr Ruth McNerney from the University of Cape Town.   Have you ever wondered why there is not an effective vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), a disease that kills one and half million people each and every year? Or why having an episode of TB does not give protection against a new infection like other diseases such a measles? The answer lies in the fact that TB is an ancient disease and the bacterium (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) has, over the millennia, evolved clever ways of evading the human immune system. To make an effective vaccine we first need to understand the tricks employed by the bacteria to allow them to survive and thrive within the human body. Read more

Medical exam Credit: Jan Ribeiro/Pref.Olinda

Zika: Q&A with Prof Laura Rodrigues

Prof Laura RodriguesLaura Rodrigues, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is studying mothers and babies affected by Zika virus in Brazil. (Interview by Robert Colville.) Read more

Aedes Aegypti mosquito - credit VectorBase

Will current mosquito control methods halt the spread of Zika?

By Dr Laith Yakob and Dr Thomas Walker Zika has caught the world by surprise. The declaration by the World Health Organization that the recent cluster of microcephaly cases and other neurological disorders constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, shows the seriousness of the situation. The virus is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Vector control should be, and is, the focus for stopping the spread of Zika. But will current control methods work? Read more

scanning electron microscope of Mt bacteria

Targeting men could be key to beating TB

white.richardBy Dr Richard White, Reader in Infectious Disease Modelling, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Dr Peter Dodd, School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield Tuberculosis (TB) has been known to mankind since ancient times, and is likely to have caused more deaths in human history than any other infectious disease. Unlike HIV and malaria, globally rates of disease are falling very slowly and last year it once more became the leading cause of death due to a single infectious disease, causing 1.5 million deaths every year. Despite its importance, there is great uncertainty about the transmission of M.tb (the infection causing TB disease) - where it happens and who infects whom. Read more

A fieldworker interviews a mother with her young baby. Credit: Karen Edmond

Are home visits a cost-effective way to prevent deaths in newborn babies?

catherine_pittBy Catherine Pitt, Lecturer in Health Economics at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Babies born in poor countries can be 50 times more likely to die in their first month of life than babies born in rich countries. In the safest country in the world for newborns, Japan, 1 of every 1000 newborn babies die in their first four weeks of life. In the United Kingdom, 3 of every 1000 newborn babies die. But in Sierra Leone, the most dangerous country for newborns, 50 of every 1000 newborn babies die in their first month – one death for every 20 babies born. Read more