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10 March 2020

Give Now to Research on Infectious Diseases

In this unique historical moment, when we are all indiscriminately being put to the test, we should become more aware of the importance of infectious diseases in our lives and in the lives of weaker populations in low-income countries. Find out more about this Bocconi research project, led by Prof. Melegaro. You can give in a few clicks.

Colds and flu are very common conditions in young children, the elderly and among those who have weak immune systems. 
Due to their ease of contagion (breathing germ-contaminated air or hugging someone is enough), they can entail very high risks, and all this worsens drastically in poor countries, where healthcare resources are very limited.

Social contacts can therefore be very dangerous: among children most importantly, but also between children and family members, who in turn can be infectious. The daily activities called "social interactions" can then lead to the transmission of an infection from one person to another, unfortunately with very serious consequences for the weaker categories living in these countries.


Bocconi on the front line with Prof. Alessia Melegaro
For some time, Bocconi has been pursuing important research projects conducted by Prof. Alessia Melegaro, an Alumna with a PhD in Ecology & Epidemiology Group from Warwick University, and a PhD student in the unit of infectious diseases and epidemiology of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she was also awarded an MRC scholarship.

Aim of the study
Prof. Melegaro's research project aims to collect data on the interactions of individuals in rural/urban contexts in various low-income countries and use this data to develop mathematical models capable of understanding contagion pathways. These models will provide fundamental information for taking steps such as the introduction of prevention programs (e.g. vaccinations) and will help reduce the spread of epidemics and their consequent mortality.

And in practical terms?
The data will be collected thanks to social contact diaries and radio frequency sensor-based methods in families with children, to evaluate how children interact with their parents and other family members.

What we have done so far
These data have already been collected for Kenya and Zimbabwe. In 2020 they will be collected in Mozambique and later also in India, Pakistan and Guatemala.

How to contribute
You can give any amount you'd like to the research project, or you can give a specific amount for a "block" of the project: for example, the cost of 5 or 10 RFID sensors, a GPS receiver, or a researcher's trip to a rural area or one of the target countries. You can give the amount you want in a few clicks at this link