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 journalArticle

Abstract

Background
Podoconiosis is a form of elephantiasis, that arises when individuals have, overtime, been exposed 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 was spatially interpolated. Mean soil values were calculated from a 3 kilometre buffered 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 (Ba), beryllium (Be), potassium (K), rubidium (Rb), strontium (Sr), thallium (Tl), and two minerals; potassium feldspar (K-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
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Cameroon
  • Geospatial
  • Interpolation
  • Mineral
  • Podoconiosis
  • Soil

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