Disease Control


Pipetting in ILRI's biosciences laboratories

Pipetting in ILRI’s biosciences laboratories (photo credit: ILRI/David White).

The scourge of infectious diseases in Africa was the subject of a recent symposium co-hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa, the Uganda National Academy of Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) in Durban, South Africa on 12–13 April 2018.

The symposium titled Surveillance and response to infectious diseases and co-morbidities: An African and German perspective was attended by about 100 participants from Africa and Germany including senior researchers, policymakers and representatives from the private sector. Presentations and discussions revolved around antimicrobial resistance, One Health, co-morbidities of infectious diseases and the ‘Big Four’ infectious diseases in humans (HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and hepatitis C).

Scientists from the human medical field dominated the symposium but in a panel discussion, the few animal health scientists present, including Kristina Roesel from the Animal and Human Health program of the International Livestock Research Institute, drew the audience’s attention to the importance of a One Health perspective on human disease as two thirds of human pathogens are of animal origin. Thomas Mettenleiter, member of the Leopoldina and president of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (German Federal Research Institute for Animal Health), moderated the panel discussion.

The symposium was preceded by a one-day workshop on science advice jointly organized with the International Network for Government Science Advice–Africa and the International Council for Science Regional Office for Africa. Invited junior scientists got practical exposure to science advice including drafting communication strategies and role plays on infectious disease outbreak scenarios.

Article by Kristina Roesel

CGIAR Research Program on Livestock

Photo credit: Fernanda Dórea

Research shows that six out of 10 emerging human infectious diseases are zoonoses. Thirteen zoonotic diseases sicken over 2 billion people and they kill 2.2 million each year, mostly in developing countries. Poor people are more exposed to zoonoses because of their greater contact with animals, less hygienic environments, lack of knowledge on hazards, and lack of access to healthcare. 80% of the burden of these zoonotic diseases thus falls on people in low and middle income countries.

A workshop at last week’s Uppsala Health Summit zoomed in on zoonotic diseases in livestock and ways to mitigate risk behaviour associated with their emergence and spread. Critical roles and behaviours of people and institutions in preventing, detecting and responding to zoonotic livestock diseases were identified – as well as necessary changes and incentives so we are well-prepared for infections long before they reach people.

These zoonotic infections…

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Cattle being watered at the Ghibe River in southwestern Ethiopia

Cattle being watered at the Ghibe River in southwestern Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

 

The successful eradication of rinderpest in 2011 offers vital lessons that can be applied in the ongoing quest to eradicate other deadly animal diseases.

In an opinion piece in SciDev.Net (16 Aug 2017), Delia Grace, co-leader of the Animal and Human Health program at the International Livestock Research Institute, shares her experiences as part of the global rinderpest eradication campaign.

Read the full article on SciDev.Net

A livestock health worker prescribes drugs to a dairy farmer in Bangladesh

A livestock health worker prescribes drugs to a dairy farmer in Bangladesh (photo credit: IFPRI/Akram Ali, CARE Bangladesh).

An opinion piece by International Livestock Research Institute veterinary epidemiologist Delia Grace shines the spotlight on the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance and the need to tackle the problem while finding a balance between low access to antimicrobials (particularly in developing countries) and overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture.

She writes:

“Antimicrobial use is a matter of access versus excess. Somehow, we must reduce the use of antimicrobial drugs in animals to tackle growing levels of drug resistance while ensuring that these life- and livelihood-saving treatments reach those who really need them.”

Read the complete article, Can the livestock sector find the elusive ‘win-win’ on drug resistance? Devex, 16 December 2016

ILRI Asia

Nobody likes getting sick. However, climate change, like higher temperatures, heavier rainfall and higher humidity, is already a given, and diseases highly sensitive to such changes would likely increase over time.

Climate change might also make the environment more suitable for diseases to spread, not only among individuals of the same species, but also across species (known as zoonotic diseases). In fact, 70% of the emerging diseases today, like ebola, A(H1N1) (‘swine flu’) and avian influenza (‘bird flu’), have been transferred from animals to humans. Such diseases threaten not only agricultural and food production, but also human lives as well.

A better understanding of how diseases are linked to climate change is needed. “We need more information on climate-sensitive zoonotic diseases to improve healthcare,” said Dr Hu Suk Lee of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

A team of researchers from ILRI and national climate, agricultural and…

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ILRI Clippings

womanandlivestockatdandoragarbagedump_cropped

A woman sorts through a heap of garbage at the Dandora dumping site among other people, cattle, pigs and storks, in Nairobi (photo credit: Simon Maina / AFP / Getty Images).

Written by Eric Fèvre

‘There are fears that Africa’s next major modern disease crisis will emerge from its cities. Like Ebola, it may well originate from animals. Understanding where it would come from and how this could happen is critical to monitoring and control.

‘Growth and migration are driving huge increases in the number of people living in Africa’s urban zones. More than half of Africa’s people are expected to live in cities by 2030, up from about a third in 2007.

‘The impact of this high rate of urbanisation on issues like planning, economics, food production and human welfare has received considerable attention. But there hasn’t been a substantive effort to address the effects on the transmission of the organisms—pathogens—that…

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The hidden dangers of irrigation in Kenya

By Imogen Mathers

If you are unable to listen to this audio, please update your browser or go here to download.

For farmers in Kenya, creative ways to irrigate crops can be the difference between a harvest failing or thriving. In this drought-prone country, access to reliable water sources is a daily challenge.

Few would argue with the need for better irrigation. Yet certain techniques introduced by the government to spur food production have dangerous side effects, warns Bernard Bett, a veterinary epidemiologist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya.

The pools and canals that underpin flood irrigation create ideal conditions for mosquitoes to thrive, and are a draw for wildlife to gather and drink. This confluence of elements forms a perfect petri dish for zoonotic diseases such as malaria and dengue to circulate between wildlife, livestock, humans and insects.

Instead, Bett suggests exploring alternative techniques such as drip irrigation, a small change that can play a big part in keeping people safe from vector-borne diseases.

The interview was recorded on 18 March 2016 at One Health for the Real World, a symposium in the United Kingdom organised by the Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa consortium and the Zoological Society of London.

This article was originally published on SciDev.Net. Read the original article.

AITVM conference logo 2016

The holistic concept of ‘One World-One Health’ in disease prevention and control will be among the topics of discussion at the first joint international conference of the Association of Institutions for Tropical Veterinary Medicine (AITVM) and the Society of Tropical Veterinary Medicine (STVM) which is scheduled to place on 4-8 September 2016 in Berlin, Germany.

AITVM is a foundation of 24 veterinary faculties and livestock institutes based in Africa, Asia and Europe with the mandate to improve human health and quality of life by means of increased and safe food production in tropical regions through enhancement of research, training and education in veterinary medicine and livestock production within the framework of sustainable development.

STVM is made up of scientists, veterinarians and students from more than 40 countries with common interests in tropical veterinary medicine. It is a non-profit organization whose purpose is the advancement of tropical veterinary medicine, hygiene and related disciplines.

The joint conference will bring together animal health and production experts, senior and junior career researchers and students from all over the world to discuss research and development topics including animal and zoonotic disease control, food safety, genetic resources and biodiversity, rural development and animal production, training and capacity building and animal welfare.

The conference is organized by the Institute for Parasitology and Tropical Veterinary Medicine and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Reference Centre for Veterinary Public Health of the Freie Universität Berlin.

The co-organizing institutions are:

  • the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute – Federal Research Institute for Animal Health
  • the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment
  • the German Veterinary Medical Society
  • Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Germany
  • the Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The conference organizers are now accepting abstracts. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 March 2016.

Visit the conference website for more information.

Cow in Kenya

Cow in Kenya. A new Rift Valley fever risk map for Kenya will help develop prevention and control measures to combat the disease in the country (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

A new Rift Valley fever risk map for Kenya, based on data from a period spanning over 50 years, will be an important tool for use in developing measures to prevent and control the disease in the country.

Rift Valley fever is a viral disease that affects animals such as cattle, sheep, camels and goats. It is also a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to people.

Rift Valley fever epidemics occur every 3 to 10 years in specific regions of the Greater Horn of Africa, southern and western Africa and in the Arabian Peninsula, resulting in high rates of infection and death among people and livestock.

In Kenya, the most recent outbreaks of the disease occurred in 1997-98 and 2006-07. Experts agree that the severity of Rift Valley fever epidemics can be reduced through the use of effective early warning systems followed by rapid implementation of prevention and control measures.

In 2008, international experts and decision-makers from eastern Africa developed a risk-based decision support framework designed to guide responses during various stages of the Rift Valley fever disease cycle.

Now, a team of researchers from Kenya, the Netherlands and the United States of America has added to the arsenal of tools to prevent and control Rift Valley fever by using surveillance data from 1951 to 2007 to develop a Rift Valley fever risk map for Kenya.

The map shows the risk of an outbreak of the disease for each of the 391 administrative divisions in the country (based on the 1999 administrative map), classifying the divisions as high, medium or low risk.

The authors of the study say that the Rift Valley fever risk map will provide the Government of Kenya with an evidence-base from which it can respond to a Rift Valley fever epidemic warning as well as develop long-term prevention and control programs in high-risk areas.

The map is published in an article in the journal PLOS ONE (25 Jan 2016): Predictive factors and risk mapping for Rift Valley fever epidemics in Kenya

Citation
Munyua, P.M., Murithi, R.M., Ithondeka, P., Hightower, A., Thumbi, S.M., Anyangu, S.A., Kiplimo, J., Bett, B., Vrieling, A., Breiman, R.F. and Njenga, M.K. 2016. Predictive factors and risk mapping for Rift Valley fever epidemics in Kenya. PLOS ONE 11(1): e0144570.

Cattle in Botswana

A herd of cattle in Botswana. A new report by ILRI identifies key evidence gaps in our knowledge of antimicrobial resistance in the livestock and fisheries sub-sectors in the developing world (photo credit: ILRI).

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) develop the ability to continue growing in the presence of an antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal or antiparasitic substance to which they were previously sensitive.

The use of antibiotic drugs to prevent and treat livestock diseases is a key driver for the development of agriculture-related antimicrobial resistance which is now a global public health problem as antibiotics in food animals can enter the food chain and affect the health of consumers and communities.

In developing countries, antimicrobial resistant pathogens are commonly found in animals, animal food products and agro-food environments. However, the lack of national surveillance systems means that we do not have reliable estimates of the true burden of antimicrobial resistant infections in developing countries.

In addition to lack of accurate information on antibiotic use in developing countries, there is limited understanding of the sources of antimicrobial resistance in animal agriculture and the relative importance of different sources.

In order to address these concerns, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has this month (June 2015) produced a report which aims to identify key evidence gaps in our knowledge of livestock- and fisheries-linked antimicrobial resistance in the developing world, and to document ongoing or planned research initiatives on this topic by key stakeholders.

ILRI veterinary epidemiologist Delia Grace wrote the report which reviews the knowns and unknowns of

  • the prevalence of antimicrobial resistant infections in livestock and fish systems and products;
  • the health and economic impacts of livestock- and fisheries-linked antimicrobial resistance in the developing world;
  • technical capacity in developing countries to assess antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance in the livestock and fisheries sub-sectors;
  • key drivers of antimicrobial resistance in livestock and fisheries production in the developing world; and
  • modalities of reducing antibiotic use and levels of resistance.

She concludes with a call to address the global problem of antimicrobial resistance through an evidence-based approach which includes filling knowledge gaps, careful piloting of interventions and rigorous evaluation of success and failure.

The report was produced by ILRI for Evidence on Demand with the assistance of the UK Department for International Development contracted through the Climate, Environment, Infrastructure and Livelihoods Professional Evidence and Applied Knowledge Services programme, jointly managed by DAI (which incorporates HTSPE Limited) and IMC Worldwide Limited.

Download the report, Review of evidence on antimicrobial resistance and animal agriculture in developing countries.

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