Multidrug-resistant Organisms

Multidrug-resistant organisms are an increasing challenge for healthcare institutions worldwide. Drug resistance spreading at an alarming rate among a variety of bacterial and parasitic species, causing both community-acquired and nosocomial infections. These infections are particularly dangerous for combat wounds, sometimes resulting in the loss of life and limb; furthermore, as Service Members are evacuated to higher levels of care, these infections can travel with them, spreading throughout the world. To effectively overcome this threat, new care must be given to detecting, preventing and controlling MDROs at all levels, ranging from small community focal efforts to the entire international community.


Highly problematic antibiotic resistant bacteria that we study include the ESKAPE-E pathogens (Enterococcus, Staphylococcus, Klebsiella, Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, Enterobacter and E. coli) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Current efforts are diversified into in vitro screening for new drugs and new drug combinations as well as in vivo testing of compounds, antimicrobial peptides and bacteriophages. Surveillance effort include phenotypic and genotypic characterization and identification of existing and novel antibiotic resistance genes from MDROs in Thailand, Cambodia and Nepal.


Surveillance conducted in collaboration with the Royal Thai Army also improves the joint medical intelligence picture of MDRO circulating in Thailand. These data are requisite components of effective force health protection measures and treatment guidelines for U.S. military personnel deploying to Southeast Asia. 


Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that can infect both men and women. Caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium, gonorrhea can cause infections in the genitals, rectum and throat. Although treatable, drug-resistant forms of gonorrhea are increasing in prevalence. If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, infertility and increased risk of HIV infection. Gonorrhea can also be passed from mother to child and cause blindness or life-threatening infections in the infant. As part of its work to track and characterize multidrug-resistant organisms, AFRIMS studies works with host-nation partners to study gonorrhea across Southeast Asia.
Bacterial and Parasitic Diseases | Retrovirology 


Malaria remains the most significant parasitic disease in the world. Transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito, nearly half of the global population is at risk, with an estimated 216 million cases per year in 91 countries. While progress has been made to reduce the burden of malaria around the world, rising resistance to existing malaria drugs and insecticides, geopolitical instability and increasingly inaccurate rapid diagnostic tests threaten these accomplishments. As such, it is a significant threat to both public health and deployed U.S. military forces, the majority of whom lack immunity to the parasite. Addressing the threat of malaria to military and global populations is of critical concern to health diplomacy and international security and a challenge that requires sustained commitment to research and developing effective scientific, clinical, political and social solutions.
Bacterial and Parasitic Diseases | Entomology | Veterinary Medicine