Zoonotic diseases


Session coordinators: Marcella Mori & Javiera Rebolledo



Session report available here.








Many people interact with animals in their daily lives. We raise animals for food and keep them in our homes as pets.  As the current human population continues growing, these interactions become more and more important due to the fact that we invade more and more the territory/habitat of wildlife. Increasing movements of people, as well as an increased trade in animals and animal products is also one of the factors that may account for new emerging zoonoses. Zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases, are caused by infectious agents that are transmissible under natural circumstances from vertebrate animals to humans. Zoonoses may arise from wild or domestic animals or from products of animal origin. They have been described since early historical times. At least 60 percent of all human pathogens are zoonotic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 75 percent of recently emerging infectious diseases that affect humans are of animal origin. Just as with toxins, zoonotic infectious disease agents may be better detected and prevented through employing the concept of animal sentinels. Sentinels being an individual or part of a population, potentially susceptible to an infection or infestation, that can be monitored for the appearance or recurrence of the causative pathogen or parasite. Beside the link between human and animal health/disease and their common drivers, other human factors can influence the management of zoonoses and should be taken into account in a One Health/EcoHealth view.


The WHO describes over 200 zoonotic diseases. In this particular session, we will discuss the scientific developments with an integrated view of some important zoonosis (Non-food borne zoonotic diseases), as well as the current means of monitoring and management together with the needs for future.  Finally, we would like to conclude with a historical view on the management of zoonotic diseases and the lessons that have to be learned for the future.


Session coordinators: Marcella Mori & Javiera Rebolledo 

Keynote speakers

Prof. Sally Cutler, Professor in Medical Microbiology, University of East London.: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Connect/Athena-Swan/Dr-Sally-Cutler

Sally graduated in Microbiology from University College, London in 1981. She then worked in diagnostic bacteriology at both The Royal London and Stoke Mandeville hospitals before rejoining her academic path. Whilst  working at Charing Cross Hospital, she  gained her PhD from Imperial College on Lyme Borreliosis in the UK in 1992. She continued here as a post-doctoral scientist switching her focus towards relapsing fever borreliae where she was able to cultivate two “non-cultivable” species, gaining her the Pierce prize for services to bacteriology from the society for applied microbiology. From here she broadened her repertoire of zoonoses taking on the role of research team leader for Brucellosis at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (now Animal & Plant Health). She has continued with her interests in arthropod-borne and zoonotic infections adding greater breadth to her areas of interest. She is now a full professor in medical microbiology at the University of East London where she has been based since 2007 and serves as an editorial panel member for CMI.  Having established an international reputation, she collaborates extensively on various zoonoses, their diagnosis and control.


Dr Marius Gilbert, Senior FNRS Research Associate, Université Libre de Bruxelles : http://lubies.ulb.ac.be/mgilbert.html

Marius Gilbert graduated in Agricultural and Applied Biological Sciences at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 1995, he was a visiting researcher for two years at the department of Zoology, University of Oxford, and earned a PhD on in insect pest ecology at the ULB in 2001. In 2006, he was awarded a “Research Associate” permanent academic position with the Belgian FNRS, hosted at the Université Libre de Bruxelles where he now leads the “Spatial epidemiology Lab.” (SpELL). Marius has broad interests in the spatial epidemiology of livestock diseases and invasive species. He’s a recognized expert in the spatial epidemiology of avian influenza and collaborated extensively with FAO and ILRI on risk modeling and on global mapping of livestock production systems. An overarching theme is the attempt to better understand how human activities have transformed agro-ecosystems, and consequently the conditions of emergence and spread of pathogens and invasive species.


Sophie Quoilin, MD: https://www.wiv-isp.be/en/people/sophie-quoilin

Head of the Unit Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the Scientific Institute for Public Health (WIV-ISP) in Brussels, Belgium. Medical doctor (UCL, 1993) she completed her education by obtaining a Master in Hospital Management (UCL, 1995) and studied tropical medicine at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITG, 1996) in Antwerp. Specific interests include health information system, surveillance on communicable diseases, epidemiological methods, preparedness plans, epidemiological support to public health crisis, analysis of health data, and monitoring of health risks and impact of preventive measures at Belgian level as in European perspective.


Prof. Claude Saegermanhttp://www.dmipfmv.ulg.ac.be/epidemiovet/

Claude is a Professor at the University of Liege and is interested in epidemiology and risk analysis applied to veterinary sciences (http://www.dmipfmv.ulg.ac.be/epidemiovet/) . Current research is mainly conducted on the development of methods for early clinical detection and understanding dynamics of infection of emerging (vector-borne and/or zoonotic) diseases and rare events, also for prioritizing animal diseases, based on an interdisciplinary approach and use of evidence-based medicine, and evaluation of disease control measures (including cost-benefit analysis).


Prof. Jacques Godfroid, Professor in Microbiology, Universitetet i Tromsø (UiT) - the Arctic University of Norway: https://en.uit.no/om/enhet/ansatte/person?p_document_id=360201&p_dimension_id=88165

Jacques Godfroid earned a DVM degree at the University of Liège in 1981. He further earned a Master degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Brussels and a PhD in Veterinary Science at the University of Namur. After having worked for 3 years at the International School of Veterinary Medicine in Dakar, Senegal, he went back to Belgium and worked at the Veterinary Institute in Brussels on brucellosis and mycobacterial infections in livestock and wildlife for 14 years. He was elected member and chairman of the task force of the European Union on bovine brucellosis, and sheep and goat brucellosis, respectively. In 2004, he moved to South Africa where he was appointed Professor in Microbiology to fill the Alexander Forbes Chair in Wildlife Diseases at the University of Pretoria. In January 2008 he moved to Norway, where he was appointed Professor in Microbiology at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science in Tromsø. In January 2014, his research group in Arctic Infection Biology has been transferred to the Arctic University of Norway. His research interest has always been on zoonotic brucellosis and mycobacterial infections (mainly bovine tuberculosis) at the livestock/wildlife/human interface “from the Arctic to the Antarctic”.