Zoonotic & infectious disease

More than two-thirds of emerging infectious diseases have their origins in animals. Examples of zoonotic diseases or zoonoses (diseases transmitted between animals and humans) include Zika virus, Ebola virus, avian flu, SARS, MERS, West Nile virus, Lyme disease and yellow fever.

Many common foodborne infections caused by Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter and other pathogens also have their origins in animals and are a major cause of disease globally.

Global disease experts have recognized that a One Health approach is critical to addressing the growing threat from emerging zoonotic diseases.

This is because many of the drivers of zoonotic disease outbreaks in humans and animals relate to environmental changes such as deforestation, agriculture intensification, biodiversity loss and climate-induced flooding and droughts.

The UW Center for One Health Research (COHR) is actively engaged in research to better understand zoonotic diseases across human, animal and environmental sectors to find better ways to detect, treat and prevent these emerging disease threats.

Our research includes:

The UW MetaCenter for Pandemic Disease Prevention and Global Health Security

COHR is a key part of the new UW initiative to address the critical problem of emerging pandemic disease threats such as Ebola, MERS, Zika and influenza. The MetaCenter is harnessing the unique strengths of academic centers at the UW to strengthen disease prevention, detection and response capabilities in countries and regions across the globe. 

Whole genome approaches to Brucella pathogenesis and transmission

Brucellosis is a bacterial infection of livestock and other animals that can be transmitted to people and cause severe and long-lasting disease. COHR is collaborating with the Greninger lab, the UW Center for Exposures, Diseases, Genomics and Environment and the Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva Israel on research using whole genome sequencing to discover determinants of virulence and spread in humans.

Mapping vulnerability to dengue outbreaks in Peru

In conjunction with the UW MetaCenter for Pandemic Preparedness and Global Health Security, COHR is working with the Universidad de Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru, on mapping health system vulnerability to climate-induced outbreaks of dengue, a serious viral infection spread by Aedes mosquitoes. The project involves creation of information visualization tools for health system planners and testing the usability of these tools to prepare for outbreaks by improving global health security.

Weather-related risk of zoonotic disease in Washington state

COHR is collaborating with the Center for Health and the Global Environment and the Washington Department of Health on a project to map weather patterns in Washington state and explore connections between weather events and cases of zoonotic diseases in humans and animals.

Kenya global health security

Infection prevention and control in health facilities is one of the first lines of defense against a disease outbreak. In collaboration with UW-ITECH and CDC, COHR is helping with a project to build capacity for infection prevention and control in two model hospitals in Kenya and improve antimicrobial stewardship to reduce the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Building Capacity for Infection Prevention and Control in Hospitals and surveillance for emerging disease threats: Kenya