African camels could hold important clues to controlling the potential spread of a respiratory disease transmitted by the animals. For many years African camels have lived with the disease and the risk of it spreading to humans is still low. But more research is necessary to understand the disease better. This is even more important given the confirmation that the chains of transmission of the human Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection originated from contact with camels.
‘Members of communities that live in forests and depend on hunting for survival have been reported to be at risk because bush meat, widely used as their source of food, can be a source of deadly pathogens from wild animals to humans. The Arusha-based, Nelson Mandela University and the US Centre[s] for Disease Control have now entered into a project aimed at curbing the transmission of diseases from wild animals to human beings.’
The Urban Zoo project is visiting 99 households across Nairobi, rich and poor, with livestock and without. They’re taking samples from people, their animals, and whatever wildlife they can find nearby (and catch): storks, mice, bats, et cetera. They’re sampling the ground around homes, yards and livestock pens with white paper booties. ‘The aim, says University of Liverpool veterinarian Judy Bettridge, is “to try and understand on a small scale how those bacteria are shared” among each household’s people, livestock and environment. “And then when we scale it up, are the bacteria here being shared with the household that’s 50 meters over there? Or 100 meters over there? So, how far can they actually spread?” . . .
In case you missed it, earlier this year, Washington Post food–science columnist Tamar Haspel served up an interesting story in The Plate, a blog of National Geographic’s Future of Food series. Her story’s about a long-term research project’s attempt to develop disease-resistant cattle for African farmers.
An Urban Zoo research project in Kenya (more formally called ‘Epidemiology, Ecology and Socio‐Economics of Disease Emergence in Nairobi’) is tracking pathogen flows in and around Kenya’s capital city.
Maria Teresa Correa, an epidemiologist and public health professor at North Carolina State University, and Delia Grace, a veterinary epidemiologist and food safety scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), have an interesting chapter on an interesting subject — Slum livestock agriculture — published in the Encyclopedia of Agriculture and Food Systems (2014).
‘Playing chicken’, a balanced and comprehensive article on antibiotic use in chicken production in Canada has appeared in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of The Walrus, a Canadian general interest magazine.