Research aims to reduce E. coli rates in rural regions

Source of Article:  http://media-newswire.com/release_1077948.html

 

New research into social perceptions of E. coli O157 risk in the Grampian region has been undertaken in a bid to better understand why the area has one of the world's highest rates of the potentially deadly infection. Hundreds of farmers, countryside visitors, and people living in the countryside, as well as scientists, medics, regulators and policy makers have been interviewed as part of the project to enhance knowledge of the bug which strikes about 50 people a year in the region, out of a population of approximately half a million.

 

 


(Media-Newswire.com) - New research into social perceptions of E. coli O157 risk in the Grampian region has been undertaken in a bid to better understand why the area has one of the world’s highest rates of the potentially deadly infection.

Hundreds of farmers, countryside visitors, and people living in the countryside, as well as scientists, medics, regulators and policy makers have been interviewed as part of the project to enhance knowledge of the bug which strikes about 50 people a year in the region, out of a population of approximately half a million.

The research conducted by Dr Colette Jones, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen is part of a three year Rural Economy and Land Use ( RELU ) project: 'Reducing Escherichia E. coli O157 risk in rural communities' which brings together a large team of researchers from across the UK including Bangor, Manchester, and London Universities led by Professor Ken Killham, Chair of Soil Science at the University of Aberdeen.

Gathering crucial findings from disciplines including geography, economics, immunology and soil science, the project will develop scientific models for UK authorities to assess and manage the risk of the bug in rural communities.

Dr Jones will showcase the research to the public this week ( Wednesday 5 November ) in her presentation Muck, money and mortality: views of E. coli O157 risk in rural areas, which takes place as part of the University of Aberdeen's Institute for Rural Research ( IRR ) lunchtime seminar series.

Dr Jones said: "Our research compares perceptions of E. coli O157 in the Grampian region with North Wales and aims to gain some understanding of how different people from different walks of life view the infection and their personal risk.

"Developing a profile on public views of E. coli O157 plays a key role in assessing the social factors which influence how people reduce risk.

Over 1900 people in Grampian and North Wales have been surveyed so far along with numerous stakeholders from key organisations including Health Protection Scotland, NHS Grampian, Aberdeenshire Council, SEPA and the Scottish Agricultural College.

Dr Jones continues: "Two early findings from the survey are the extreme contrast of experiences and views on the bug, and the feeling that some people are more susceptible to infection than others.  My seminar will give examples of the diversity of local opinion on the infection and show the wide fluctuation of E. coli O157 risk; how it can suddenly flourish into an outbreak or into the media."

Dr Jones' seminar Muck, money and mortality: views of E. coli O157 risk in rural areas will take place on Wednesday 5 November between 1-2pm in room G15, St Mary's, Elphinstone Road, Old Aberdeen.  The seminar is free and open to the public.  Prior registration is not required. 

For full listings of the speakers presenting during the Institute of Rural Research lunchtime seminar series visit http://www.abdn.ac.uk/irr/Seminars.html or contact David Watts ( d.watts@abdn.ac.uk ).

The University of Aberdeen's Institute for Rural Research specialises in theoretical and applied rural research which promotes inter-disciplinary approaches to complex research and practical policy issues. 

 

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