A post-doctoral researcher from the RVC is part of an international consortium of experts, PANDORA ID NET, that responded to an outbreak of Chikungunya in the Republic of the Congo.
The team is investigating the spread of the serious viral disease, which causes fever and joint pain and is transmitted via mosquitos, and undertaking valuable research which will assist further efforts to combat the disease.
Dr Najmul Haider from the RVC is assessing the circulation of the virus in mosquitos and other wild animals, known as its ‘sylvatic cycle’. To do so, he is taking where possible samples of the virus from the rodents and non-human primates which play a major part in perpetuating the disease. Dr Haider and the PANDORA team also aim to develop a mathematical model with the meteorological and vector abundance data, which can predict the size of the outbreaks in humans in Congo. They will create socio-ecological models which will examine drivers of emergence of the epidemics in Congo.
PANDORA ID NET, is a multidisciplinary ‘One Health’ initiative which aims to develop and strengthen outbreak responses across sub-Saharan Africa (https://www.unza-uclms.org/pandora-id-net). The international team behind the response comprised an epidemiologist, physicians, entomologists, virologists, veterinarian and a vector-borne disease modeller from various European and African institutes. These included:
- Franceso Vairo (team leader), Marco Iannetta and Concetta Castilletti from The National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Italy
- Patrick Kija Tungu from The National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania
- Dr Najmul Haider from the Royal Veterinary College, United Kingdom.
To co-ordinate the response, the team worked closely with important organisations in the area, including the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) African regional office, the WHO’s Republic of Congo country office, the National Laboratory of Congo and FCRM, an organisation focused on emergency disease management in the country.
Dr Najmul Haider, Post-doctoral Researcher at the RVC, said: “The diversity and abundance of wild animals in Africa, and the proximity of human dwelling with wildlife, make it a perfect place for emergence and re-emergence of vector-borne/infectious diseases. Chikungunya in Republic of Congo is just one another example where Aedes albopictus mosquito plays an important role in the epidemic.”
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About the RVC
- The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a constituent College of the University of London.
- The RVC offers undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences.
- It is currently the only veterinary school in the world to hold full accreditation from AVMA, EAEVE, RCVS and AVBC.
- In 2017, the RVC received a Gold award from the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – the highest rating a university can receive.
- A research-led institution, the RVC maintained its position as the top veterinary institution in the Research Excellence Framework (2014), with 79% of its submission being rated as world-class or internationally excellent.
- The RVC also provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals: the Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital in central London, the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals (Europe's largest small animal referral centre), the Equine Referral Hospital and the Farm Animal Clinical Centre located at the Hertfordshire campus.