About Zoonosis

Zoonoses diseases that are naturally transmitted from animals and humans ? are an increasing threat to human medicine, veterinary medicine and, in many cases, to the agricultural economy.

The major research focuses of our Zoonosis group are on zoonotic pathogen Streptococcus suis, avian influenza (H5N1) and antimicrobial resistance.


Streptococcus suis

Streptococcus suis (S. suis) is well known opportunistic pathogen in pigs and a emerging zoonotic pathogen that can cause severe systemic infection in humans. S. suis is commonly carried in the nasal cavities, tonsils as well as the respiratory, alimentary and genital tracts of pigs. S. suis can also be isolated from healthy pigs and these healthy carriers are a source of S. suis transmission in and between herds.

Of the 35 known serotypes, serotype 2 has been identified as the most common serotype accounting for the vast majority of human cases (~99% of cases). Human cases infected with other serotypes (4, 14 and 16) have also been reported. Although most reports of human cases concern sporadic cases of infection, two outbreaks of human S. suis infection occurred in China in 1998 and 2005. These outbreaks emphasized the importance of S. suis as an important emerging zoonotic pathogen. Meningitis, causing deafness in up to 60% of recovered patients, is the most common clinical presentation in humans infected with S. suis. Besides septicemia, toxic shock syndrome and endocarditis have also been reported in S. suis infected patients. The risk factors for human infection include direct exposure to S. suis infected pigs, pig products or eating undercooked contaminated pork products such as fresh blood pudding or internal organs. This indicates that S. suis is an important both as occupational pathogen and as a potential food borne pathogen. Occupational exposure to pigs or pork was documented in 88% of the European S. suis patients and nearly 50% of Asian cases infected with S. suis while processing or consuming fresh or undercooked pork products.


What were doing to improve outcomes for patients

Today, zoonotic infection is recognised as an emerging health issue. Our work focuses on identifying the prevalence and circulation of zoonotic pathogens (S. suis, Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp.) in the animal reservoir, in food chains and in high risk cohorts. We are also trying to understand how these pathogens move from animals to humans, and the impact of antimicrobial resistance on zoonotic disease management. We aim to identify potential preventive measures that can help us to better control or reduce zoonotic transmission in Viet Nam.


Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the most important public health issues of our time, since it has drastic consequences for treatment of human diseases in hospital and community settings, as well as in veterinary medicine. Addressing this problem requires a One Health approach. Indiscriminate use of antimicrobials in animal production is contributing to the problem worldwide. Selection for antimicrobial resistance is not only likely to occur in the animals themselves, but also in the environment where antimicrobials are discharged. In Viet Nam AMR represents a real challenge for the veterinary and public health authorities.


What were doing to understand antimicrobial resistance better

We are currently carrying out research to determine the impact of antimicrobial usage on AMR in poultry and pig production. Such studies will enable us: (1) to investigate the epidemiology of AMR in animal populations, in the environment, and its impact on human populations; and (2) to set the basis for further interventions that may help reduce antimicrobial use when it is not necessary in animal production.


Our zoonosis researchers


Our zoonosis research locations

  • Dong Nai
  • Dong Thap Province
  • Ha Noi
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Hue
  • Soc Trang Province
  • Tien Giang Province
  • Thai Binh Province


Our zoonosis research collaborations/partnerships

Our current collaborations include:

  • Hospital for Tropical Diseases, HCMC, Viet Nam
  • National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ha Noi, Viet Nam
  • General Hospital in Hue, Hue, Viet Nam
  • Sub-departments and Regional Offices of Animal Health (Tien Giang, Thai Binh, Dong Nai, Daklak, Soc Trang)
  • Prof. Maskell, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Cambridge University
  • Prof. Gottschalk, Department of Pathology and Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Universit?