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International network for capacity building for the control of emerging viral vector borne zoonotic diseases

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Global cooperation to control zoonotic diseases

Representatives from European countries teamed up to control the spread of vector-borne zoonotic diseases. By evaluating the existing infrastructure, they worked to integrate diagnostic methods and formulate recommendations on effective control measures.


Arthropod-borne diseases such as the West Nile fever (WNF), Rift Valley fever (RVF) and Crimean–Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) affect domestic and wild animal species. Their recent geographical expansion and high zoonotic potential (ability to cross the species barrier) poses a serious threat to human health. The main goal of the EU-funded ARBO-ZOONET project was to generate knowledge on these diseases and introduce diagnostic and surveillance tools, including disease control measures. Additionally, the consortium wished to raise public awareness, provide training and improve the infrastructure in endemic regions. Partners created a map describing human or animal disease-outbreaks and their distribution while simultaneously considering other causative factors such as the climate and ecosystem. Special emphasis was given to the vectors and mechanisms responsible for these outbreaks. An additional map highlighted the high-risk areas for disease transmission on a country basis. A meta-population model showed that the epidemiological patterns in Europe corresponded with the migrating patterns of birds from West Africa that carried the WNF virus. Consortium members successfully integrated diagnostic assays and standard operation practices, and performed quality assurance on molecular and humoral disease detection methods. They also reviewed the surveillance systems that are in place in each country. The impact of CCHF, WNF and RVF spread in Europe in terms of human and veterinary health perspectives was summarised in a document. This document also provided recommendations for the implementation of cost-effective surveillance and preventive actions. Partners included assessments of the current state of vaccine development, drug development and antiviral therapies for these diseases. Project activities and outcomes were disseminated through scientific meetings, publications and workshops. Particular attention was given to training staff in using state-of-the-art tools and technologies for effective pathogen detection. Hopefully this will contribute towards effective disease control and improved disease-outbreak management.

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