Measuring, mapping, monitoring and mitigating drivers of the emergence of zoonotic and food-borne diseases: A case study

Published on 9 November 2010

Research Areas



Start Date: 1 May 2010 | End Date: 1 February 2011


The aim of this project is to create a multi-disciplinary grouping of researchers, policymakers and other stakeholders to address the issue of the emergence of zoonotic and food-borne diseases in urban and peri-urban settings in the developing world.

A combination of growth and migration is resulting in massive increases in the population of urban and peri-urban zones in Africa. The United Nations has estimated that city populations in Africa will rise from 35% of the total population in 2007 to 51% by 2030. The impacts of this on human welfare, healthcare, sanitation, and other policy-oriented fields has received vast attention, but there has not been a substantive effort to integrate across disciplines, particularly with regard to the impacts of these diverse issues on disease transmission.

The focus is on diseases involving livestock reservoirs, using Nairobi, Kenya as a case study. Urban farming and livestock keeping are significant income generators; urbanization has been identified as one of the main drivers of the emergence of human diseases, though with little specific focus. It has been proposed that the processes leading to the emergence of new diseases are likely to be those that also matter for the re-emergence of endemic zoonotic and food-borne infections. Understanding these as models is a tractable problem; this study will therefore (1) improve our ability to predict the occurrence and burden of new diseases and (2) provide an opportunity to understand the biology and social ecology of existing but neglected diseases.

Funding: Medical Research Council (UK) through the UK Government’s Living With Environmental Change Initiative.

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