Migration and household water management practices: An interdisciplinary examination of cholera outbreaks in urban Cameroon


Dr. Mark Moritz, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology


Our team is seeking IPR seed grant funds to support a pilot study of the ecology of cholera in the city of Maroua, Cameroon, which will allow us to write competitive proposals for NSF and NIH. The goal of the study is to examine why some neighborhoods have higher incidence rates of cholera than others and what the role of demographic, human health behavior, and environmental risk factors is. We will use an interdisciplinary approach, integrating spatial, ethnographic, epidemiological, and microbial analyses to better understand the ecology of infectious diseases in urban settings in sub-­‐Saharan Africa. Initially, we will focus on cholera, which is endemic in the Far North Province of Cameroon, but our study is designed such that we can use the same dataset – surveys of households and water management – in future studies of other diseases that spread through contaminated water, such as typhoid and hepatitis A. We are particularly interested in the research question whether cholera is endemic in Maroua due to environmental reservoirs or whether it is constantly reintroduced due to migratory movements of individuals traveling to and from the border regions of Nigeria (see also Dowell and Braden 2011; Piarroux et al. 2011). A greater understanding of the dynamics of the disease, will contribute to more effective control of cholera in the region.

Publications resulting from this seed grant

2014. Profitós, J.M.H.; Mouhaman, A.; Lee, S.; Garabed, R.; Moritz, M.; Piperata, B.; Tien, J.; Bisesi, M.; Lee, J. Muddying the Waters: A New Area of Concern for Drinking Water Contamination in Cameroon. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 12454-12472. PMCID:PMC4276624

2016. Jessica Healy-Profitós, Seungjun Lee, Arabi Mouhaman, Rebecca Garabed, Mark Moritz, Barbara Piperata, and Jiyoung Lee.  Neighborhood diversity of potentially pathogenic bacteria in drinking water from the city of Maroua, Cameroon. Journal of Water and Health. 14(3):559-570.

2016. Jessica Healy Profitos, Barbara Piperata, Mark Moritz, Jiyoung Lee, Seungjun Lee, Arabi Mouhaman, Michael Gundich, Rebecca Garabed,  One Health Research in Cameroon: A Critical Role for Anthropologists. Practicing Anthropology. 


Dr. Moritz's lab website
Dr. Moritz's NSF funding news!