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Mathematical modeling of bacterial carriage in children (MMAPS)



Project aim:
Indigenous children experience excessive rates of otitis media. The disease is caused by many different bacteria. Previously, researchers have only been able to examine one bacterium at a time. Metagenomics is a new science which allows study of numerous bacteria simultaneously. Using metagenomic methods, the study aims to examine how otitis media develops and why some children do not respond to therapy. This will allow the design of better interventions to improve ear health for Indigenous children.

Using data previously collected from other studies in Indigenous communities and children in child care, mathematical models allow the question 'what if?', and answer important public health questions:
1. What environmental and public health measures can reduce the cycle of cross-infection in child-care and high-risk populations?
2. What coverage rates with pneumococcal vaccine will eliminate the vaccine-specific bacteria from child care centres, from the wider community, and from high risk populations?
3. Will infections with bacteria not covered by vaccine then increase?
4. Will the resistant bacteria tend to disappear if antibiotic use is restricted?
5. Under what circumstances will antibiotics help to control infection?

The modelling will promote understanding of the social and health costs of bacterial infection in Aboriginal communities and child care and use educational scenarios to promote uptake of the most cost-effective and socially acceptable interventions.


Child Health Division
Menzies School of Health Research
PO Box 41096
Casurina NT 0811
Ph: (08) 8922 8196
Fax: (08) 8927 5187

Related publications

Marsh R (2011)

Culture-independent analysis of the bacteriology associated with acute otitis media in Indigenous Australian children.

Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Charles Darwin University: Darwin

Marsh RL, Binks MJ, Beissbarth J, Christensen P, Morris PS, Leach AJ, Smith-Vaughan HC (2012)

Quantitative PCR of ear discharge from Indigenous Australian children with acute otitis media with perforation supports a role for alloiococcus otitidis as a secondary pathogen.

BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders; 12: 11

Retrieved 3 October 2012 from

Smith-Vaughan H, Marsh R, Binks M, Kaestli M, Morris PS, Leach AJ (2012)

The importance of considering bacterial load in otitis media research.

Paper presented at the OMOZ 2012. 2-4 May 2012, Fremantle, WA


Last updated: 13 July 2015
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