Linking soils and human health: geospatial analysis of ground-sampled soil data in relation to community-level podoconiosis data in North West Cameroon

Harriet Gislam, Niall Burnside, Matthew Brolly, Kebede Deribe, Gail Davey, Samuel Wanji, Cheo Emmanuel Suh, Simon Kemp, Michael Watts, Jennifer LeBlonde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Podoconiosis is a form of leg swelling, which arises when individuals are exposed over time to red clay soil formed from alkaline volcanic rock. The exact causal agent of the disease is unknown. This study investigates associations between podoconiosis disease data and ground-sampled soil data from North West Cameroon. METHODS: The mineralogy and elemental concentrations were measured in the soil samples and the data were spatially interpolated. Mean soil values were calculated from a 3 km buffer region around the prevalence data points to perform statistical analysis. Analysis included Spearman's rho correlation, binary logistic regression and principal component analysis (PCA). RESULTS: Six elements, barium, beryllium, potassium, rubidium, strontium and thallium, as well as two minerals, potassium feldspar and quartz, were identified as statistically related to podoconiosis. PCA did not show distinct separation between the spatial locations with or without recorded cases of podoconiosis, indicating that other factors such as shoe-wearing behaviour and genetics may significantly influence podoconiosis occurrence and prevalence in North West Cameroon. CONCLUSION: Several soil variables were statistically significantly related to podoconiosis. To further the current study, future investigations will look at the inflammatory pathway response of cells after exposure to these variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-946
Number of pages10
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume114
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com

Keywords

  • Cameroon
  • geospatial
  • interpolation
  • mineral
  • podoconiosis
  • soil

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