‘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.
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?” . . .
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.