Tierra incognita, that is the best way to describe the area where we are implementing a study financed by OKF. Putumayo is a desolated region in the Amazon rainforest which is almost completely undescribed in any scientific paper. Malaria, dengue, and many other tropical infectious diseases are endemic. But how prevalent exactly, and which species, nobody knows. The only way to find out and to spread the truth is through a decent scientific study. We wrote a proposal for a study regarding the prevalence malaria, it got granted by the OKF, and now we are in the middle of implementation.
We’re taking blood samples from three different communities dispersed in our region. One is as far as we can go upriver, the other as far as we can go downriver, and the third is the community where we live, right in the middle: Puerto el Carmen de Putumayo. The sampling we repeat after three months and after six months to see if there is any seasonal influence. In April we sampled for the first time, next month we will start sampling the second batch.
Within the communities, while participants are waiting, we do a rapid diagnostic test. In case positive, we directly start treatment. The whole blood we take back to our laboratory where we prepare a blood smear for microscopic examination and we prepare a dried blood spot on a filter paper for molecular diagnostics, possibly in a later stage.
It is truly amazing to lead this investigating, in the middle of this tierra incognita of the Amazon.