Abstract by Lindsey Meservey

Personal Infomation

Presenter's Name

Lindsey Meservey

Degree Level



Thomas Knapp
Nathan Mella
Tyler Heaton
Tanner Heaton
Jonathon Hill

Abstract Infomation


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Faculty Advisor

Paul Savage


Finding a Link Between Impetigo and Rheumatic Heart Disease


Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) causes over 300,000 deaths annually, most of them in third world countries. Decades of research confirm that untreated strep throat infections (caused by group A strep, or GAS) can trigger an autoimmune response that leads to RHD. However, despite increased worldwide attention toward treating strep throat, RHD rates can continued to increase, especially in tropical countries like Samoa. We hypothesize that GAS infections of the skin, commonly called impetigo, are also responsible for causing RHD in Samoa. We are teaming with the Samoa Rheumatic Relief Internship program to test this hypothesis. We will screen children for RHD and take throat, leg sore, and mat swabs. We will then analyze these samples to see if and which strains of GAS are present. We predict that the correlation between the presence of GAS in leg wounds and RHD will be as high as that as between GAS in the throat and RHD. We also expect to see that strains of GAS in leg wounds will be similar to those found on mats. We also expect to find that certain strains of GAS are more strongly correlated with RHD, consistent with previous research.