Sri Lanka Leptospirosis Project Update

The Sri Lanka Leptospirosis Project aims to identify risk factors and reservoir species for Leptospirosis in Sri Lanka.

By June 2013, all the planning and training of staff had been completed, patients began to be recruited from seven selected sentinel hospitals and preparations were made for blood samples to be obtained from associated animals with a view of identifying possible reservoirs.


Challenges

Areas of concern included establishing laboratory support for analysis and the prospect of recruiting 400 patients for the study due to current low incidence of cases. Plus, implementation of the rodent study was another key area that would be a challenge. 

Solutions

The possibility of increasing the number of sites from 7 to 10 was considered to reach the target of 400 cases. However, the other 3 sites too had very few cases (fewer than the already established 7). Therefore, the study period (data and sample collection period) was increased from 3 months to 5 months in the same 7 sites.

Moreover, the Epidemiology Unit has a good relationship with the Plant Protection Services (PPS) of the Agriculture Department. They conduct field-level rodent control measures and are a partner in leptospirosis control activities conducted by the Epidemiology Unit. Their expertise in rat trapping was sought for the present project. Dr Jagath Amarasekera (PI) and Dr Muditha Kodituwakku (PI) had a meeting with Deputy Director/Plant Protection Services, Mr Jayasundara. He assured the support of his Department towards the rodent trapping and an implementation plan was formulated. In addition, certain procedures and approvals needed more time and resulted in a three-month extension of the sample collection initiation date.

Summary

The planning and initiation of the project at ground level was a great experience yielding many valuable lessons. At field level and hospital level, theresponse from participants during orientation workshops was very encouraging. Even when resource and logistic problems were discussed, all participants were keen to overcome these obstacles and were assessing the situation in a very positive manner.

Data Analysis

In October, CIP participants attended a descriptive data analysis workshop to assist with the analysis, interpretation and presentation of the data collected during the project. For more about the Sri Lankan Leptospirosis Data Analysis Workshop, click here.