Wendy P O'Meara, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Research Professor of Global Health
Campus mail Eldoret Kenya, Box 90519, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 613-4406
Email address wendy.omeara@duke.edu

Dr. Wendy O’Meara is an Associate Professor at Duke University School of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, visiting professor at Moi University, and the Associate Director for Research of the Duke Global Health Institute. She has been based full-time in Kenya since 2007.

Dr. O’Meara’s team is interested in improving rational drug use for suspected malaria fevers through expanding the use of diagnostic tools in the community and in health facilities. As many as 90% of fevers that seek treatment in the formal sector receive antimalarials, and it is estimated that only 20% of those buying antimalarials over-the-counter in the retail sector actually have malaria. Such overuse poses a significant threat to the continued efficacy of first-line antimalarials. Dr. O’Meara has conducted several randomized controlled trials in western Kenya to test interventions designed to improve the use of information from malaria diagnostic testing in order to target antimalarials to those with confirmed infection. In 2005, she helped to establish the Malaria Diagnostic Centre of Excellence in Kisumu, Kenya.

Dr. O’Meara is also working towards elucidating malaria transmission networks by identifying individual human-to-mosquito and mosquito-human transmission events through leveraging variability in key parasite genes (collaboration with Steve Taylor’s lab).  By tracking generations of infections from humans to mosquitoes, a clearer understanding of the reservoir of infection will be possible and  interventions such as ivermectin and transmission blocking vaccines can be targeted to maximizes their effectiveness.

Dr. O’Meara also has experience in marrying innovative spatial techniques with epidemiologic outcomes. Recent work includes an analysis of health systems factors that contribute to early childhood mortality in sub-Saharan Africa and the impact of malaria prevention on birth outcomes.

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003

Publications

Grassia, Jillian T., Christine F. Markwalter, Wendy P. O’Meara, Steve M. Taylor, and Andrew A. Obala. “SARS-CoV-2 Cross-Reactivity in Prepandemic Serum from Rural Malaria-Infected Persons, Cambodia.” Emerg Infect Dis 28, no. 5 (May 2022): 1080–81. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2805.220404.

PMID
35447068
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Sumner, Kelsey M., Elizabeth Freedman, Judith N. Mangeni, Andrew A. Obala, Lucy Abel, Jessie K. Edwards, Michael Emch, et al. “Exposure to Diverse Plasmodium falciparum Genotypes Shapes the Risk of Symptomatic Malaria in Incident and Persistent Infections: A Longitudinal Molecular Epidemiologic Study in Kenya.” Clin Infect Dis 73, no. 7 (October 5, 2021): 1176–84. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciab357.

PMID
33904907
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Salgado, Christina, George Ayodo, Michael D. Macklin, Meetha P. Gould, Srinivas Nallandhighal, Eliud O. Odhiambo, Andrew Obala, Wendy Prudhomme O’Meara, Chandy C. John, and Tuan M. Tran. “The prevalence and density of asymptomatic Plasmodium falciparum infections among children and adults in three communities of western Kenya.” Malar J 20, no. 1 (September 17, 2021): 371. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-021-03905-w.

PMID
34535134
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Simmons, Ryan A., Rebecca Anthopolos, and Wendy Prudhomme O’Meara. “Effect of health systems context on infant and child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa from 1995 to 2015, a longitudinal cohort analysis.” Sci Rep 11, no. 1 (August 11, 2021): 16263. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-95886-8.

PMID
34381150
Full Text

Meredith, Hannah R., Amy Wesolowski, Diana Menya, Daniel Esimit, Gilchrist Lokoel, Joseph Kipkoech, Betsy Freedman, et al. “Epidemiology of Plasmodium falciparum Infections in a Semi-Arid Rural African Setting: Evidence from Reactive Case Detection in Northwestern Kenya.” Am J Trop Med Hyg 105, no. 4 (August 2, 2021): 1076–84. https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.21-0256.

PMID
34339387
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Sumner, Kelsey M., Judith N. Mangeni, Andrew A. Obala, Elizabeth Freedman, Lucy Abel, Steven R. Meshnick, Jessie K. Edwards, Brian W. Pence, Wendy Prudhomme-O’Meara, and Steve M. Taylor. “Impact of asymptomatic Plasmodium falciparum infection on the risk of subsequent symptomatic malaria in a longitudinal cohort in Kenya.” Elife 10 (July 23, 2021). https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.68812.

PMID
34296998
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Heng, Siyu, Wendy P. O’Meara, Ryan A. Simmons, and Dylan S. Small. “Relationship between changing malaria burden and low birth weight in sub-Saharan Africa: A difference-in-differences study via a pair-of-pairs approach.” Elife 10 (July 14, 2021). https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.65133.

PMID
34259625
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Woolsey, Aaron M., Ryan A. Simmons, Meley Woldeghebriel, Yunji Zhou, Oluwatosin Ogunsola, Sarah Laing, Tayo Olaleye, et al. “Correction to: Incentivizing appropriate malaria case management in the private sector: a study protocol for two linked cluster randomized controlled trials to evaluate provider- and client-focused interventions in western Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria.” Implement Sci 16, no. 1 (March 16, 2021): 27. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-021-01093-4.

PMID
33726771
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Maffioli, E. M., W. Prudhomme O’Meara, E. L. Turner, and M. Mohanan. “Can individuals’ beliefs help us understand nonadherence to malaria test results? Evidence from rural Kenya.” Review of Development Economics 25, no. 1 (February 1, 2021): 163–82. https://doi.org/10.1111/rode.12708.

Full Text

Woolsey, Aaron M., Ryan A. Simmons, Meley Woldeghebriel, Yunji Zhou, Oluwatosin Ogunsola, Sarah Laing, Tayo Olaleye, et al. “Incentivizing appropriate malaria case management in the private sector: a study protocol for two linked cluster randomized controlled trials to evaluate provider- and client-focused interventions in western Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria.” Implement Sci 16, no. 1 (January 20, 2021): 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-020-01077-w.

PMID
33472650
Full Text

Pages