In Kenya, camels are a very popular animal to keep as livestock. There’s value in their meat and milk products and as a result, there are now over three million camels in the country. But there is a danger that the people who come into contact with camels, and their products, face getting the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). MERS is a disease in people caused by a coronavirus (MERS-CoV) which was first identified in Saudia Arabia in 2012.
Most diseases that transmit from animals to humans (zoonoses) are not of the headline-grabbing, world-stopping variety write Eric Fèvre and Naomi Marks. They are an everyday reality for millions of people whose lives are quietly blighted or prematurely ended by diseases transmitted through farming and food systems.
Diseases that jump from animals to people are known by scientists as zoonoses. You may have heard of the headline-grabbing zoonoses named above. But others may be rather less familiar.
Eric Fèvre, professor of veterinary infectious diseases at the University of Liverpool and jointly appointed at the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya, . . . says people should not be concerned about their domestic livestock becoming a COVID-19 source.
Thousands of Kenyans are being wrongly diagnosed and treated for the milk linked disease brucellosis, reveals a new study. Now researchers at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) and six international institutions, want the responsible test withdrawn from public hospitals.
‘Prof Eric Fèvre, a researcher of veterinary infectious diseases at the Institute of Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi told the Business Daily the close interaction between people and animals worsened the situation.
Emerging infectious diseases are a major concern to the global public health community, both in terms of disease burden and economic burden. Understanding the processes that lead to their emergence is therefore a scientific research priority. Over the last five years Eric Fevre has been working with a group of researchers to understand what leads to the introduction of pathogens in urban environments and how those then emerge in the human population.
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.
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?” . . .
After nine years, the Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has produced the first global assessment of food-borne disease.