Establishment of a multi-sectoral strategy for the control of brucellosis in the main peri-urban dairy production zones of West and Central Africa

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Veterinary College
Department Name: Clinical Sciences and Services

Abstract

Brucellosis is the world's most widespread zoonosis, imposing a substantial burden on the livelihoods of poor people as a result of human disease and reduced livestock productivity. However, brucellosis is rarely a priority for health systems and for this reason the WHO classifies brucellosis as a "neglected endemic zoonosis". The main routes by which people can be infected are consumption of contaminated dairy products and direct contact with infected animals. Therefore, the control of human brucellosis depends on its control in animals, mainly ruminants, while its detrimental effects include both animal and human disease. Although a range of tools (diagnostics, vaccines) are available and have been used, sometimes successfully, to control brucellosis in different parts of the world the disease remains present at high levels in others. It is likely that failure to control the disease is due to a combination of factors, some of them technical (e.g. quality and appropriateness of different vaccines for different settings), others socioeconomic (livestock keepers perceptions towards the disease and incentives for its control) or institutional (priority given by veterinary services to the disease, lack of interaction between animal health and public health services).
In this project we target one of the livestock systems in which Brucellosis is likely to pose the heaviest burden on vulnerable populations in Sub-Saharan Africa: dairy farms supplying milk to rapidly growing urban populations in West and Central Africa, and we will do it by integrating a range of disciplines so that we consider the different biological, social and institutional dimensions of the disease that are relevant for its control. We will focus on the first phase of control of the disease: the reduction of its prevalence by means of vaccination, since total eradication requires conditions that are not currently met in the target area. The so-called peri-urban dairy farms are an important source of wealth in poor settings and a source of protein in increasingly urbanised African populations. Furthermore, there is evidence that this region has the highest prevalence of ruminant brucellosis in Sub-Saharan Africa.
We will carry out a series of field studies to measure the burden of brucellosis in livestock productivity and human health in the main areas for peri-urban dairy production in the 15 target countries, to identify routes by which people become infected, to quantify the economic consequences of the disease for farmers and to understand farmers' perceptions and attitudes toward the disease. In parallel we will carry out a series of training activities and we will work with local institutions to identify barriers for effective and sustainable control and to overcome those. The results will be used to design and carry out 2-year control programs based on vaccination in a small number of settings. The effectiveness of these control programs will be carefully monitored and the results widely shared within and outside the region.
Central to this project is the Interstate School of Veterinary Science and Medicine of Dakar (EISMV) a regional educational hub that involves 15 West and Central African countries. EISMV academics will work in partnership with UK-based researchers from two leading veterinary and medical educational institutions: Royal Veterinary College and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and with the international reference laboratory for brucellosis at Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency. The Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed), an organization which works globally to facilitate access of poor livestock keepers to affordable livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics will also be an essential part of the consortium contributing to the translation of our research findings into tangible benefits for vulnerable populations and livestock keepers in poor countries.

Technical Summary

As one of the most prevalent zoonoses, brucellosis is an important constraint on the livelihoods of poor people acting both directly on human health causing chronic disability and indirectly via decreased livestock productivity. The heaviest burden is currently on vulnerable populations in Sub-Saharan Africa where emergent livestock systems (per-urban dairy farms) as increasingly required to supply milk to the rapidly growing urban populations. Transmission to humans is mostly by the consumption of contaminated dairy products and contact with infected animals. A range of diagnostic tools and vaccines are used in developed settings and have successfully controled brucellosis in animals and hence humans in different parts of the world. Their use however in LMIC animal health programmes are hampered by several technical, social and economic factors g. quality and appropriateness of different vaccines for different settings, livestock keepers perceptions towards the disease, competing demands lack of incentives for its control, unrecognised human burden from the disease. This project will be on peri-urban farm systems in collaboration with the Interstate School of Veterinary Science and Medicine of Dakar (EISMV) a regional educational hub in 15 West and Central African countries. A multidisciplinary research and development programme linking appropriately to industry is proposed to provide biological, social and institutional answers to the effective control of the disease by vaccination. Field studies will measure the burden of brucellosis in livestock, productivity and human health peri-urban areas identify routes by which people become infected, assess farmers' perceptions and attitudes toward the disease, assess vaccines for effectiveness in livestock, and explore key stakeholder and institutional relationships to identify how to effectively deliver use control measures for Brucella. Training and capacity building will be a central part of the work.

Planned Impact

The main beneficiaries from this research will be:

1. Dairy farmers in the main peri-urban dairy production zones of the 15 West & Central African countries targeted by the project.
All of them will benefit from more effective and sustainable ways of reducing the prevalence of brucellosis in their animals, including improved access to vaccines, improved local diagnostic capacity and improved awareness of veterinary and public health services of the burden of disease and of livestock keeper's priorities. These benefits will gradually build along the 4.5 years duration of the project. Furthermore, we expect the subset of farmers from areas selected for implementation of 5 control programs as part of the project to directly benefit from a reduction in the prevalence of infection towards the end of the project (years 4-5). Peri-urban dairy farmers from the target countries but located in areas not targeted by the 5 control programs, could benefit from the expansion of programs to their areas after the conclusion of the project. In summary, peri-urban dairy farmers will benefit from enhanced and more effective public and private services in relation to brucellosis control and from higher productivity as a result of lower prevalence of an infection that compromises reproductive efficiency and milk production of their cattle. Eventually, keepers of livestock of all ruminant species could benefit if our project succeeds at instigating national control programs for brucellosis in their countries.

2. The local population exposed to direct contact with dairy cattle in the above systems (livestock keepers, farm workers and their families) will benefit from a decreased risk of infection as prevalence in cattle is reduced. Brucellosis is associated with a considerable burden to the local population through subacute disease and chronic disability and its control in ruminants is likely to reduce direct transmission to humans.

3. Similarly to the previous group, the much larger population of consumers of milk and dairy products from the above livestock systems will benefit from a lower risk of exposure to Bucella spp via consumption of contaminated products.

Other beneficiaries will include:

Governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations involved in animal health, livestock production and public health, which, at the end of the project, will be in a better position to fulfil their mandates with regard to this important disease as a result of the empirical evidence generated by the field studies, the capacity building activities and the institutional work.

Private actors across the vaccine chain (manufacturers, retailers, vaccinators), veterinary and public health services and diagnostic laboratories will benefit from capacity building activities associated to the project.

Private actors across the emerging local dairy production chains in West & Central Africa will benefit from increased consumer confidence in the safety of their products.

The Interstate School of Veterinary Science and Medicine of Dakar, which is a major regional hub for veterinary education that actively engages 15 countries, will greatly benefit from acting as a key partner in this project through the establishment of functional links with leading educational institutions (LSHTM & RVC).

Similarly, diagnostic laboratories in the 15 target countries will establish links with the OIE international reference centre for brucellosis at AHVLA.

We are targeting countries and a production system with the highest prevalence of brucellosis in Sub-Saharan Africa and therefore with maximum potential impact from enhanced disease control. However, our project aims at enabling the implementation of a new generation of sustainable prevalence reduction programs for brucellosis that could be applied in other resource-scarce endemic settings beyond the target area and we will devote the last months of the project to maximize dissemination and impact.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Through the initial situation analysis and the two international workshops conducted so far, we have identified knowledge gaps and barriers to control of brucellosis in the region and we have established a solid network of people with a range of skills and experience to work together towards sustainable disease control programmes. Through this network we have been able to carry out a number of field studies on brucellosis in periurban dairy farms of several countries. A total of 18 studies in the same number of study areas in 12 countries has been completed. The results of these studies demonstrate that dairy cattle in several of these study areas are frequently infected by Brucella spp, creating conditions for human exposure to the pathogen, they have also highlighted livestock keeper practices that may contribute to the maintenance of the infection and to zoonotic transmission risk. We have also identified intensive dairy farming systems (as opposed to traditional transhumant systems) as likely to pose higher risk for Brucella transmission among cattle.
Ongoing longitudinal studies have allowed us to isolate Brucella spp. so far in two countries (Senegal and Togo), confirming that the species Brucella abortus infects dairy cattle in the studied areas of these two countries.
Our studies on human patients have shown a relatively high prevalence of human infection in areas of Cameroon and the KAP studies have identified key practices that should be tackled by public health education programs.
Our pilot intervention studies, based on the use of vaccine in cattle, have demonstrated to veterinary services of Togo, Cameroon and Burundi the practicality of vaccine-based control and may facilitate implementation of vaccine-based controls, which are currently being considered in Cameroon.
Exploitation Route The findings of the situation analysis show the main gaps and areas where more research is required to effectively tackle this disease in this livestock system in West and Central Africa. By identifying barriers such as i) the lack of reagents for diagnostic testing, ii) lack of baseline knowledge to design bespoke control programs or iii) lack of access to vaccines, researchers, governmental agencies, NGOs and international agencies aiming to support brucellosis control are in a better position to target specific issue that preclude effective control.
We have filled in some of the key gaps namely the baseline prevalence of brucellosis in selected periurban dairy areas. This is a keystone for the implementation of control programs and now available to the animal health services of the different countries. Beyond specific results for each of the study areas, the cross-sectional studies show i) the heterogeneous status of brucellosis between periurban dairy areas across the region, which can indicate a potential for prioritising control programs in some areas, ii) specific local practices and beliefs that should be considered in the design of control programs in animals and prevention strategies for the population and iii) the variation in the typologies of dairy farms. These findings fill in key knowledge gaps that were identified during the situation analysis and provide decision and policy makers (national, international and NGOs) with scientific evidence needed for implementing control programs.
Our pilot intervention studies, based on the use of vaccine in cattle, have demonstrated to veterinary services of Togo, Cameroon and Burundi the practicality of vaccine-based control and may facilitate implementation of vaccine-based controls, which are currently being considered in Cameroon.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL https://www.brucellosis.info/
 
Description As a result of the workshop on Brucellosis Diagnostics held in Dakar in June 2015, all participating laboratories across the region (15 countries) received training in appropriate serological techniques and laboratory procedures for Brucella diagnosics in both humans and animals. This has been an important contribution towards much needed standardization of diagnostic activities in this setting. These laboratories have now increased capacity to diagnose brucellosis in the livestock sector of their countries. Involvement of the UK laboratory in charge of brucellosis diagnosis (APHA) as the provider of training and technical advise as part of this project has benefited the UK lab by gaining access to samples and test results from endemic areas, which may eventually improve the way brucellosis surveillance is carried out in the UK. The project has carried out field studies in 9 different African countries. These studies have involved veterinarians, field technicians and laboratory technicians in the different countries who made use of standardized data collection tools and laboratory techniques for diagnosis of brucellosis. As a result the veterinary services of these countries are in a better position to carry out similar studies for this or other livestock diseases. The studies have generated prevalence data that is now available to animal health services and is expected to be used in the near future as part of control programs. The project is contributing to some countries initiating discussions on brucellosis control programs. An example is Cameroon, where after conclusion of pilot vaccination program carried out as part of the project the government is considering broader use of vaccines to control the disease. This is an ongoing process.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Capacity building and Transfer of competence on laboratory serological techniques (standardisation and deployment of ELISA techniques for the diagnosis of Brucellosis)
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact We have trained laboratory technologist at our partner institution in Cameroon (CRFilMT - www.crfilmt.org) on deployment, standardisation and performance of ELISA diagnostic for brucellosis. No routine diagnostic for Brucella was previously offered in country, and the centre now has the platform and capacity to perform the test as well as train more local staffs, including in hospitals. This will give them the ability to contribute to the national brucellosis control strategy being elaborated and supporting the MoH. The general improvement in ELISA technique has also been used to implement new ELISA diagnosis test for other disease, notably Onchocerca, and the partner is currently leading in using those techniques in supporting Onchocerca elimination efforts in Cameroon.
 
Description Contribution to the elaboration of Cameroon's national strategy for brucellosis control (Ongoing)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description PI appointed a member of the Expert Committee for a programme establishing Brucella-free villages in India and attended committee meeting in India
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Standardisation of brucellosis diagnostic techniques across the region
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact As a result of the Diagnostics of Brucellosis workshop held in Dakar in June 2015, all participating labs across the region received training in appropriate serological techniques and laboratory procedures for Brucella diagnosics in both humans and animals. This has lead to a standardised approach in this setting which is currently being evaluated by way of proficiency testing in all participating countries.
URL https://zelsbrucellosis.wordpress.com/activities-so-far/diagnostics-workshop-dakar-june-2015/
 
Description Standardization of the epidemiological tools used by field veterinary epidemiologists
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The workshop on Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health Aspects of Brucellosis that was held in Dakar between 13th - 15th December 2017, aimed to share practical aspects of the implementation of cross-sectional studies of dairy herds in dairy production areas of the region and build capacity on specific epidemiological skills required to implement similar studies for brucellosis or other diseases. Delegates from the 15 participating countries have the chance to meet and to exchange knowledge about technical aspects related to field epidemiological studies which was carried out in a set of 7 countries. The workshop included training sessions on epidemiological principles, data collection methods, epidemiological analysis using EpiInfo, spatial epidemiology and practical aspects of Brucellosis control. Participants responses to the post-workshop survey showed that around 90% of them found this workshop useful and the knowledge obtained during it can be used in the field for other diseases.
 
Description Impact Accelerator Award
Amount £80,000 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 06/2017
 
Description MRC London Intercollegiate DTP Studentships
Amount £78,000 (GBP)
Organisation MRC Doctoral Training Program 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 03/2022
 
Title Questionnaire development in open data kit and training of research fellows 
Description For the purpose of data collection in the study area, a questionnaire has been structured and translated in to electronic data collection forms using Open Data Kit (https://opendatakit.org). The questionnaire was uploaded into a tablet and was available in English and French. The data collection system that we have used in this project is applicable to other projects involving field data gathering in this and other settings. Data gathered in the field were uploaded on an android app ODK Collect and subsequently uploaded to RVC's sharepoint. All field researchers and technicians involved in data collection received training on using the tabs for data collection. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The use of ODK tool for data collection increased the quality of the collected data by reducing errors and it enhanced timely back-up of the data on SharePoint server. 
 
Title Study protocol 
Description Laboratory methods for the serological diagnosis of human brucellosis 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Laboratory methods for the serological diagnosis of human brucellosis have been developed and established at the local partner institutions, with clear standard procedures and manuals that can be shared with local scientists and health practitioners. This includes the Rose Bengal rapid agglutination test (RBT) and indirect ELISA in both English and French. They have already been used extensively in Cameroon and at early stages in Senegal 
 
Title Study protocols 
Description Study protocol for a pilo t vaccine study prepared, discussed and agreed with veterinary services in Burundi, Cameroon and Togo and currently being applied. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact These study protocols standarized vaccine administration and samples collection procedures 
 
Title Study protocols 
Description Study protocols for the cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of Brucella available in English and French through dedicated project website and shared across network of institutions. The protocol includes procedures for biological samples collection and isolation of Brucella from different biological samples. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact These study protocols standerised biological samples collection and microbiological procedures within the study area 
 
Title Brucella isolates from dairy cattle herds in periurban areas of Senegal and Togo 
Description This database includes data Brucella spp. which was isolated from hygroma samples collected from Senegal and Togo. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This database will allow us to identify and molecularly characterize at subspecies level, Brucella species infecting cattle in the study countries. 
 
Title Dairy herds data set for Peri-urban areas in Central and West Africa. 
Description This database includes the data that was collected during a set of 18 cross-sectional studies that were conducted in 12 West and Central African countries (Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, Togo, Senegal, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Central Africa Republic, Chad and Gabon). This data abase includes information about dairy farms characteristics (type, size and structure), husbandry practices, knowledge of livestock owners about brucellosis, milk hygiene practices, milk consumption practices, and 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This database is being used to identify the typologies of dairy herds in this area, this piece of information will bridge the knowledge gaps identied by the situation analyis. Ultimately this will provide policy makers in the area with the necessary tools to adopt suitable control strategy. Moreover this database can be used to investigate other diseases in the area. 
 
Title Data base-human study 
Description This database includes data on individuals sampled during the human pilot study which was carried out in two areas (Dakar -Senegal and Bamenda-Cameroon) as part of the whole project. This database includes demographic information, data regarding contact with animals and consumption of milk and other dairy products, and data on the previous expouser to brucellosis. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This database will facilitate a large community-based cross-sectional study of the age and gender-specific sero-prevalence of human brucellosis in the general population n the two ares, it will be followed by mathematical modelling to estimate the incidence of infection in each setting and at the end a case-control study will be conducted to investigate potential main routes of exposures for acute brucellosis (animal contacts vs consumption of contaminated animal products) in respective settings. 
 
Title Database on diagnostic tests results 
Description This database includes the optical density values obtained from testing milk samples (bulk and individual samples) and serum samples, collected during the the cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in different countries, by using different types of serological tests for brucellosis (I-ELISA, C-ELISA and RBT). 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The analysis of this data set will enable the OIE reference laboratory for brucellosis-The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), UK to evaluate the performance of the used diagnostic tests under in different settings. 
 
Title Database on vaccine value chain generated from questionnaires, participatory activities, and animal health structures of five countries: Senegal, Togo, Rwanda, Cote d'Ivoire and Burundi. 
Description Data were collected by means of, interviews with stakeholders, participatory activities and quantitative survey. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The database will be used to identify and address the social, regulatory and institutional barriers for the implementation of a control strategy based on vaccination in the study countries 
 
Title Seroprevalence of human brucellosis in a group at occupational risk (livestock keepers, dairy farm workers and abattoir workers) in Cameroon an Senegal. 
Description Data collected from a cross-sectional survey of livestock keepers, dairy farm workers and abattoir workers in the Bamenda peri-urban area in Cameroon, and Dakar, Thies and Niakhar areas in Senegal. Data include questionnaire of basic demographics and some key routes of exposure to brucellosis, and small serum sample used for serological diagnosis of exposure to Brucella spp. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The database was used to: - Promote local capacity development - final year medical students in both countries where involved in the data collection, analysis and used the dataset for their MD thesis, as part of their initiation to research. It was also an opportunity to introduce them to One Health and its principles, through their interaction with their DVM peers involved in the livestock surveys. - The data served as a pilot to further develop and adapt data collection tools and procedures (including laboratory serological diagnosis of brucellosis) for the main cross-sectional study, as well as transfer of competences - Analysis will provide an idea of the prevalence of brucellosis in groups at relatively higher risk and allow to investigate main routes of exposure. 
 
Description CZ Veterinaria 
Organisation CZ Veterinaria
Country Spain 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Improve understanding of the status of brucellosis in the region.
Collaborator Contribution Participation as trainers in the diagnostic workshop in Dakar. Provision of advise on current status of Brucella vaccine technology.
Impact Staff from the company participated as trainer in diagnostics workshop.
Start Year 2015
 
Description FADH BBSRC- Indian Department of Biotechnology initiative 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Department Farmed animal disease and health (FADH)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Knowledge and methodology sharing between the two projects which have broadly similar aims in different settings.
Collaborator Contribution Knowledge and methodology sharing between the two projects which have broadly similar aims in different settings.
Impact Enhancement of current diagnostic protocols for brucellosis serology
Start Year 2015
 
Description FAO regional office 
Organisation Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)
Country Italy 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Staff from FAO regional office participated in diagnostics workshop and we have established a communication channel for the exchange of information related to the ZELS project topic and relevant for FAO. Recently, FAO staff have been advising a PhD student associated to the project and we expect their involvement to intensify as the project progresses. Specifically, FAO has a number initiatives to promote the safety of animal derived foods including milk, and our work on a milk-borne pathogen is highly relevant in this context. Furthermore, the focus of one of the PhD projects associated to this project is microbiological hygiene of milk produced in periurban dairy farms in Senegal. The collaboration with FAO will facilitate engagement with local stakeholders and eventually the dissemination and impact of findings.
Collaborator Contribution Participation in diagnostic workshop and information exchange. Advise on aspects of milk hygiene in periurban dairy farms in Senegal.
Impact Nothing to report.
Start Year 2015
 
Description FAO's Centre d'Urgence pour les Maladies Animales Transfrontières - Sénégal (ECTAD). 
Organisation Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)
Country Italy 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The center has received support from USAID to develop a regional Field Epidemiology Training Program for Veterinarians (FETPV) across the same countries targeted by this ZELS project. The UK and Senegalese PIs (Guitian and Akakpo) have provided advise on the structure of the program and discussed the potential for the training workshops planned as part of the ZELS project to be integrated with the new regional training program. Both RVC and EISMV have been invited to be part of the regional training initiative.
Collaborator Contribution The center has received support from USAID to develop a regional Field Epidemiology Training Program for Veterinarians (FETPV) across the same countries targeted by this ZELS project
Impact 1. Holding a Workshop on Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health Aspects of Brucellosis in Dakar between 13th - 15th December 2017.
Start Year 2017
 
Description German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung - BfR) 
Organisation Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We will make some of the collected biological samples available to this collaborator.
Collaborator Contribution This collaborator has expertise in molecular approaches to diagnosis of human Brucellosis. This collaboration may help expand the diagnostic platform, as well as capacity development and technology transfer to the Southern partners.
Impact No out come at the moment.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) 
Organisation Institute of Development Research (IRD)
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Exchange of information on brucellosis and brucellosis diagnostics, including participation of staff involved in IRD,s Demographic Surveillance System in the workshop on diagnosics organized via the ZELS project. Collaboration in the implementation of field studies in dairy farms and a pilot study of human subjects.
Collaborator Contribution Exchange of information on Demographic Surveillance System (DSS) in Niakhar and discussions about potentially running some of the human field studies of the ZELS project within the catchment are of the DSS. Share use of resources including existing databases established by the DSS, use of field enumperators for purpose of our field studies and use of laboratory facilities for sample preparation.
Impact As a result of this colaboration the area of Niakhar in Senegal has been selected as one of our focus areas where to conduct field studies in dairy farms and human subjects. A cross-sectional and KAP study of dairy farms is about to start and will be continued with a longitudinal study of dairy farms. In parallel, a pilot of study of human cases of brucellosis will be carried out in the same target area.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Laboratoire Central de l'Elevage NIGER (LABOCEL) (Niamey) 
Organisation Ministry of Livestock
Department Central Laboratory of Livestock
Country Niger 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Our main contribution is the design and implementation of an epidemiological study of dairy farms in a peri urban area in Niamey-Niger to ascertain i) the frequency and distribution of brucellosis in dairy cattle ii) identify risk factors for brucellosis in and iii) assess the Knowledge attitudes and practices of livestock owners regarding brucellosis in this area.
Collaborator Contribution This partner has facilitated all the logistics needed for the fieldwork and started data collection in Niamey-Niger
Impact Logistics for data collection including collection of biological samples in Niamey-Niger have been started.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Laboratoire Centrale Vétérinaire 
Organisation Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries
Department Central Veterinary Laboratory
Country Mali 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Our main contribution is the design and implementation of an epidemiological study of dairy farms in a peri urban area in Bamako-Mali to ascertain i) the frequency and distribution of brucellosis in dairy cattle ii) identify risk factors for brucellosis in and iii) assess the Knowledge attitudes and practices of livestock owners regarding brucellosis in this area.
Collaborator Contribution This partner has facilitated all the logistics needed for the fieldwork and started data collection in Bamako
Impact Logistics for data collection including collection of biological samples in Bamako-Mali have been started.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Laboratoire national vétérinaire, Bujumbura, Burundi 
Organisation National Veterinary Laboratory
PI Contribution Our main contribution is the design and implementation of an epidemiological study and vaccine pilot study of dairy farms in a peri urban area in Bujumbura-Burundi to ascertain i) the frequency and distribution of brucellosis in dairy cattle ii) identify risk factors for brucellosis in and iii) assess the Knowledge attitudes and practices of livestock owners regarding brucellosis in this area, iv) isolate the circulating Brucella spp in the area and vi)implement a vaccine pilot study
Collaborator Contribution This partner has facilitated all the logistics needed for the fieldwork and started data collection in Bujumbura-Burundi.
Impact 1) Herd level prevalence of brucellosis in the area was obtained. 2)Data collection in the area has been finished, 3) longitudinaal study for the isolation of Brucella in going on 4) Vaccine pilot study is going on.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Rwanda Agricultural Board 
Organisation Rwanda Agriculture Board
PI Contribution Our main contribution is the design and implementation of an epidemiological study of dairy farms in a peri urban area in Kigali and Nyagatare--Rwanda to ascertain i) the frequency and distribution of brucellosis in dairy cattle ii) identify risk factors for brucellosis in and iii) assess the Knowledge attitudes and practices of livestock owners regarding brucellosis in this area.
Collaborator Contribution This partner has facilitated all the logistics needed for the fieldwork and started data collection in Kigali and Nyagatare- Rwanda
Impact Logistics for data collection including collection of biological samples in Kigali and Nyagatare- Rwanda have been started and almost finished.
Start Year 2017
 
Description University of Ngaoundéré, School of Science and Veterinary Medicine 
Organisation University of Ngaoundéré
Country Cameroon 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our main contribution is the design and implementation of an epidemiological study of dairy farms in two peri urban areas in Cameroon to ascertain i) the frequency and distribution of brucellosis in Ngaoundere and Bamenda dairy cattle ii) identify risk factors for brucellosis in Ngaoundere and Bamenda and iii) assess the Knowledge attitudes and practices of livestock owners regarding brucellosis in this area.
Collaborator Contribution This partner has facilitated all the logistics needed for the fieldwork and started data collection in Cameroon
Impact Data collection including collection of biological samples in the two study areas.
Start Year 2016
 
Title Improvement of serological testing technique for brucellosis 
Description Dr John McGiven of APHA has been looking to utilize the field testing from this project to improve diagnostic protocols. He says; 'The situation with the milk ELISA presents a strong and specific example of tangible benefits these projects bring back to GB. There is some concern in GB that the ever increasing number of animals contributing to bulk milk samples presents a risk that individual infected animals will not be detected. The best way to study this is to try the milk ELISA in a situation where brucellosis is present in some herds and where we can test individual milk samples (and sera ideally) for the animals contributing to the bulk tank. This is clearly not possible in the UK but will be achieved through the ZELS project. Additionally, a redesign of the milk ELISA aimed at increasing sensitivity and robustness whilst maintaining specificity that will directly address the concerns related to the sensitivity of the surveillance of the GB dairy can now be evaluated in the field though the ZELS project as described.' 
Type Diagnostic Tool - Non-Imaging
Current Stage Of Development Early clinical assessment
Year Development Stage Completed 2015
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact Further enhanced the collaboration with FADH BBSRC- Indian Department of Biotechnology initiative who are using the same techniques. 
 
Title Lateral Flow Device diagnostic assay for bovine brucellosis 
Description As part of the this project, The Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency-OIE reference center for Brucellosis (APHA), has develop diagnostic assay for bovine brucellosis using purified rough lipopolysaccharide and glycoconjugate antigens with a potential to differentiate between infected and vaccinated animals. Assays are being evaluated using sera from the APHA serum bank and from partners within this Project. The selected Brucella antigens were developed in to a format that is suitable for the construction of portable lateral flow devices (LFD) that may be applied within the local surveillance laboratory and provide training to aid in their implementation. APHA provided the LFD manufacturer with the chosen Brucella antigen and assist in the serological evaluation of the development process. 
Type Management of Diseases and Conditions
Current Stage Of Development Early clinical assessment
Year Development Stage Completed 2017
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact The use of the portable LFDs will enhance brucellosis diagnosis in the study countries. 
 
Description Actively maintained project website: https://www.brucellosis.info/ 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Actively maintained webpage presents general information about project's activities, collaborators and outputs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Brucellosis Workshop Dakar 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Between 15th and 18th June 2015, a four-day workshop was delivered at The Interstate School of Veterinary Science and Medicine of Dakar (EISMV). The focus of the workshop was diagnostic of brucellosis in the West and Central region of Africa. However, other broader aspects such as current disease burden, diagnostic capacity, access to vaccines and barriers to control of the disease in each country where discussed in detail. A total of 28 participants from both human and animal health sectors in 14 countries in the region attended the workshop and contributed to the dissemination of information and sharing of ideas between countries in the region. Guests also attended form FAO regional offices and private healthcare companies.

Feedback form the participants was very encouraging, some examples are given below;

'We are planning to undertake a brucellosis control program through vaccination, and our first goal is to ensure about le prevalence of brucellosis infection in our herd. That will implicate the use of appropriate and accurate test of diagnosis in term of use the different techniques I learnt about during the workshop on brucellosis diagnosis in Dakar at the EISMV under your supervision.'

'The training allowed us to orient ourselves in the diagnostic methods and kits to choose from. Thus, under the current performing diagnostic laboratory, we will systematically seek brucellosis before clinical cases of abortion. But also included in the monitoring of zoonoses systematic control of milk on farms.'

'In the surveillance of yellow fever and measles, we receive many suspected cases especially for yellow fever after diagnosis is not confirmed. After this training I plan to make the diagnosis of brucellosis in these samples.'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://zelsbrucellosis.wordpress.com/activities-so-far/diagnostics-workshop-dakar-june-2015/
 
Description International brucellosis conference, Delhi, Nov 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Aims and objectives of the project were disseminated at this meeting, which brings together Brucella experts from all over the world. The meeting also contained several discussions on the sustainable control of the disease in Central and West Africa. The PI for this project (J. Guitian) gave a keynote speech and chaired a panel discussion on the control of brucellosis.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.dbtbrucellosis.in/brucellosis2016/invitation.php
 
Description Meetings with the FAO's Centre d'Urgence pour les Maladies Animales Transfrontières - Sénégal (ECTAD). 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The center has received support from USAID to develop a regional Field Epidemiology Training Program for Veterinarians (FETPV) across the same countries targeted by our ZELS project. The UK and Senegalese PIs (Guitian and Akakpo) have provided advise on the structure of the program and discussed the potential for the training workshops planned as part of the ZELS project to be integrated with the new regional training program. Both RVC and EISMV have been invited to be part of the regional training initiative.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description PI Interviewed as part of an article published in the International Animal Health Journal (Vol. 4, Issue 2) entitled "Innovation and Collaboration: Combating the Endemic Threat of Brucellosis". 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Interviewed in relation to the threat posed by brucellosis and the challenges associated with its control in LMICs. The interview took place in the context of an international initiative aimed at promoting the development of improved vaccines for their deployment in low income settings with funding from a range of donors and under the AgResults Initiative.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://issuu.com/mark123/docs/iahj_may_2017_web
 
Description Participatory meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact As part of the activities related to this project, focus group discussions (FGD) were held in Senegal, these FGDs were attended by 179 participants among them 103 women
In line with the FGDs, meetings and interviews were conducted with Policy Makers (Chief veterinary officer and Head of food safety), Academics (Medical professors of Infectious diseases (n = 2), Veterinary professors (n =1)) and Stakeholders (FAO regional office (n = 2)).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Poster and presentation at the Royal Society: A New Era in Brucellosis Diagnosis and Control. J. McGiven, L. Duncombe, L. Howells, P. J. Hogarth, A. Dell, S. Haslam, P. Hitchen, N. V. Ganesh, S. S. Mandal, S. Sarkar, J. M. Sadowska, D. Bundle'. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dissemination of challenges related to brucellosis control and new opportunities for improved control informed by recent scientific developments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation on Brucellosis in West and Central Africa and ZELS project activities 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation at 50th aniversary of Interstates Veterinary School of Dakar attended by representatives from the different member states.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Research Highlights event, RVC 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact On the 30th November 2015 the project was presented alongside other RVC projects looking at brucellosis worldwide as a poster and stand at the half-day event. University researchers as well as members of the public attended this event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.rvc.ac.uk/research/researchers/researcher-association/research-highlights
 
Description Training sessions on epidemiology in practice and epidemiology in the context of one health 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A training session has been delivered building on the experience generated by this project. The session was delivered in the UK, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, by J. Guitian and I. Musallam to approximately 50 MSc students with veterinary and medical backgrounds.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop in Kigali-Rwanda 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 1. After this workshop a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between RVC and Rwanda Agricultural Board that sets up the basis for collaboration including field studies to ascertain prevalence of infection in different areas. 2. The MOU will facilitate wide dissemination of the results of the Rwanda brucellosis control program across the region. This is of relevance because the Rwanda control program is the only well-established, formal brucellosis control program across the countries we are targeting. We will provide the Rwanda Agricultural Board with assistance to analyze the results of their control program and monitor its effectiveness and these findings will be of interest to other countries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017