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Zoonoses and marginalised infectious diseases of poverty: Where do we stand?

David Molyneux1*, Zuhair Hallaj2, Gerald T Keusch3, Donald P McManus4, Helena Ngowi5, Sarah Cleaveland6, Pilar Ramos-Jimenez7, Eduardo Gotuzzo8, Kamal Kar9, Ana Sanchez10, Amadou Garba11, Helene Carabin12, Amal Bassili13, Claire L Chaignat14, Francois-Xavier Meslin15, Hind M Abushama16, Arve L Willingham17 and Deborah Kioy17

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Place, Liverpool, L3 5QA, UK

2 WHO/EMRO (Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office) Consultant, Communicable Disease Control, c/o Elkoba Street, Apartment 52, Roxy, Cairo, Egypt

3 National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories and Director, Collaborative Core Special Assistant to the President for Global Health, Boston University, Cross-town Center 391, 801 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, USA

4 Molecular Parasitology Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, 300 Herston Road, QLD Q 4029, Brisbane, Australia

5 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health, Sokione University of Agriculture, Mail Box 3021, Morogoro, Tanzania

6 Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

7 Philippine NGO Council on Population Health and Welfare, No. 304 Diplomat Condominium Bldg, Russel Avenue corner, Roxas Blvd., 1300 Pasay City, Philippines

8 Instituto de Medicina Tropical "Alexander von Humboldt", Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Av. Honorio Delgado 430-Urb. Ingenieria-SMP-Lima 3 31 Lima, Peru

9 R-109, the Residency, City Centre, Salt Lake City, Calcutta 700 064, India

10 Department of Community Health Sciences, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, ON L2S 3A1, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

11 Riseal - Niger, 333, avenue des Zarmakoye, BP. 13724, Niamey, Niger

12 The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 801 Northeast 13th Street, Room 309AB, Post Office Box 26901, Oklahoma 73104, USA

13 ZOOM-IN Focal Point, TB Surveillance Officer, Tropical Disease Research, Communicable Disease Control, World Health Organization, Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office, Abdul Razzak Al Sanhouri Street, P.O. Box 7608, Nasr City Cairo 11371, Egypt

14 Sanitation and Hygiene, Protection of the Human Environment, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland

15 Zoonoses and Veterinary Public Health, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia 1211 Geneva, Switzerland

16 Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Khartoum, P.O. Box 321 11115 Khartoum, Sudan

17 Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) World Health Organization, Avenue Appia 20, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland

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Parasites & Vectors 2011, 4:106  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-106

Published: 14 June 2011


Despite growing awareness of the importance of controlling neglected tropical diseases as a contribution to poverty alleviation and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, there is a need to up-scale programmes to achieve wider public health benefits. This implementation deficit is attributable to several factors but one often overlooked is the specific difficulty in tackling diseases that involve both people and animals - the zoonoses. A Disease Reference Group on Zoonoses and Marginalised Infectious Diseases (DRG6) was convened by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), a programme executed by the World Health Organization and co-sponsored by UNICEF, UNDP, the World Bank and WHO. The key considerations included: (a) the general lack of reliable quantitative data on their public health burden; (b) the need to evaluate livestock production losses and their additional impacts on health and poverty; (c) the relevance of cross-sectoral issues essential to designing and implementing public health interventions for zoonotic diseases; and (d) identifying priority areas for research and interventions to harness resources most effectively. Beyond disease specific research issues, a set of common macro-priorities and interventions were identified which, if implemented through a more integrated approach by countries, would have a significant impact on human health of the most marginalised populations characteristically dependent on livestock.