Brucellosis, caused by a number of species of the genus Brucella, is one of the most common zoonotic diseases in the world, affecting hundreds of thousands of people annually.
It is a serious disease of livestock including cattle, goats, sheep and camels, causing abortions and stillbirths. New varieties of brucella have recently been found in whales and seals.
Despite efforts to control this disease with vaccines and treatments, brucellosis continues to pose a major global health threat. It is a particular risk to people who work closely with livestock and communities with higher consumption of unpasteurized dairy projects.
Even with antibiotic treatment, some human patients have disease that lasts for years, causing serious illness, including cardiac and neurological disease.
COHR is working with partners to use whole genome sequencing technology to unlock the secrets of how brucella can be so easily transmitted between animals and humans and how it can evade the human immune system to cause persistent infection.
By searching for genes that are responsible for the spread and severity of infection, COHR is helping to find new ways to control and treat this disease.