Dr Steffi Knopp
Steffi is a postdoctoral researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, United Kingdom and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel, Switzerland. Her main area of research concerns the diagnosis, epidemiology and control of helminth infections in Africa. Her goal is to work towards sustainable control of neglected tropical diseases, including helminth infections, using an integrated multidisciplinary approach.
The current focus of her work is the Zanzibar Elimination of Schistosomiasis Transmission (ZEST) project, which aims to eliminate urogenital schistosomiasis from the Zanzibar islands in the United Republic of Tanzania and is funded by the Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation (SCORE). The research associated with the project includes the implementation of a randomized intervention trial that consists of three study arms. The impact of biannual mass drug administration (MDA) of praziquantel to the whole at-risk population (arm 1) is compared to MDA plus snail control interventions (arm 2), and to MDA plus behaviour change interventions (arm 3). Samples collected in the frame of the project will be tested with standardized quality controlled diagnostic methods and with new diagnostic approaches. A sound diagnosis of helminth infections is essential for an adequate implementation of disease control programmes, for the monitoring and evaluation of the success of programmes and for surveillance of disease recrudescence.