Parameterising a model for the emergence and spread of zoonoses (with reference to Ebola, Lassa Fever and Monkey Pox) in West Africa

Richard Kock (primary)
Hawkshead Lane
Royal Veterinary College
Deborah Watson-Jones (secondary)
Pathology Infectious Disease Epidemiology


The scale of the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in 2014 overwhelmed West African health systems and smaller outbreaks continue regularly in the wider region with the most recent in Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018. Lassa Fever Virus persistence and emergence is creating a considerable burden on the health systems especially those supporting expanding agricultural and settlement communities in the region. The most recent outbreak of LVF drawing global attention in Nigeria in 2018/19. Some hundreds of thousands of infections are estimated annually and tens of thousands of mortalities. Important research questions to study remain, particularly those related to the role of the current rural development pathways and associated risk of disease emergence from peri-domestic animal reservoirs (wild and domesticated animals). Monkey Pox virus appears to be emerging in both Nigeria and Sierra Leone at the same time and may have drivers similar to the VHFs in the proposed study areas. This project aims to address these questions using a combination of modelling and fieldwork, identifying spill-over into and, potential epidemiological roles of peri-domestic species and key infrastructure or development drivers of these infections spill-over. The results will be important for future planning towards preventing VHF outbreaks, while the methods developed should be broadly applicable to a variety of diseases in a number of settings.


Funk S, Piot P. (2014) Mapping Ebola in wild animals for better disease control. Elife. 3:e04565. doi: 10.7554/eLife.04565.
Redding, D.W., Moses, L. M., Cunningham, A. A., Wood, J. and Jones K. E. Environmental-mechanistic modelling of the impact of global change on human zoonotic disease emergence: a case study of Lassa fever Methods in Ecology and Evolution 2016, 7, 646–655 doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12549
Wallace R., Fernando Chaves L., Bergmann, L. R., Ayres C., Hogerwerf, L., Kock, R. and Wallace R.G. Clear-Cutting Disease Control Capital-Led Deforestation, Public Health Austerity,and Vector-Borne Infection Springer International Publishing 978-3-319-72850-6 (eBook)
Mary G. Reynolds, et al. (2019) Human Monkeypox in Sierra Leone after 44-Year Absence of Reported Cases Emerging Infectious Diseases • • Vol. 25, No. 5, May 2019
Petersen E. et al (2018) Monkeypox

Animal disease, health and welfare
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
Molecular BiologySimulation / Modelling