Surveillance, control and prevention of neglected zoonotic diseases in Uganda
Despite substantial human, social and economic cost, Rift Valley fever, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and brucellosis have been long neglected and, as a result, we lack good understanding about the natural history of these diseases and the strategies for mitigation and control. Another gap in knowledge is how these infections are understood by the affected communities, which practices and behaviours make them zoonotic (transmissible to humans), and what the best one-health approaches are to limit the risk of spillover events to humans.
The overall objective of this project is to improve understanding and control of these diseases at the human-animal-wildlife interface in the cattle corridor of Uganda. This project will investigate the disease burden in humans, animals and wildlife and will characterize the disease dynamics and drivers across geography, habitat, population density and economic activity. It will also investigate how gender and population-level inequalities shape local transmission dynamics for these diseases. Finally, it will develop a one-health approach (integrating people, animals and ecosystems) to enhance surveillance and reporting systems for these diseases and other zoonoses of global significance.
A series of mixed-methods research studies will be conducted in diverse agricultural systems which interface with conservation areas within the Uganda cattle corridor. The project will specifically target sites with a history of the three targeted zoonotic outbreaks, providing an opportunity to study transmission dynamics and networks of these diseases in the multi-ethnic communities in relation to gender, animal markets and diverse agricultural systems. It will provide an understanding based on farming practices, land use, interface of humans and animals in wildlife and forest environments, gender inequalities and other socio-economic factors. One-health models incorporating well-evidenced interventions to mitigate these diseases and their drivers will be developed to strengthen preparedness and responses.