UVA Researchers Seek to Save Children From Deadly Diarrhea in New International Effort

January 10, 2024 by

UVA's Josh Colston, PhD (left), James Platts-Mills, MD

Josh Colston, PhD (left), James Platts-Mills, MD

UVA researchers have joined a new international consortium that will work to understand how climate change could affect dangerous diarrheal diseases, a leading cause of death for children under 5 years old.

Josh Colston, PhD, and James Platts-Mills, MD, will lead UVA Health’s contributions to the new SPRINGS consortium, which is spearheaded by the Amsterdam Institute of Global Health and Development and Amsterdam UMC, a leading medical center.

Consortium researchers fear that climate change threatens the fragile progress made in reducing childhood diarrhea in the past decades. Floods and droughts could have dire effects on the countries and communities most stricken by childhood diarrhea, which contributes to more than a half-million deaths of young children each year, mostly in tropical and lower-income regions of the world.

“There’s been so much progress in reducing the burden of this disease in the past few decades, and now there’s a risk of that all being undone by climate change,” said Colston, an epidemiologist with the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health. “First and foremost, public health decision-makers in the countries and regions affected by this problem need to be empowered with the tools and evidence they need to build health systems that are prepared for the impacts of a changing climate on the populations they serve. That’s what the SPRINGS initiative aims to provide.”

Read full press release in the UVA Health newsroom.


Filed Under: Faculty, Research