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Community / Land projects / IndiaZooRisk+: Using OneHealth approaches to understand and co-develop interventions for zoonotic diseases aff

IndiaZooRisk+: Using OneHealth approaches to understand and co-develop interventions for zoonotic diseases aff


01/21 - 03/24


This project is part of


Zoonotic diseases (that spread from animals to humans) disproportionately affect poor tropical communities and can lead to loss of life, impaired livelihoods, health and welfare. Forest habitats are a significant source of such diseases. For communities that depend on forests for food, fuel and income, accessing forests comes with the increased risk of being exposed to zoonotic pathogens. Although we know that zoonotic diseases are increasing globally, we still lack knowledge on how these diseases circulate between wildlife, livestock and people as they use forests, and how environmental changes like forest degradation interact with human migration, local culture and society (knowledge sharing), and policy (land tenure, disease prioritisation) to exacerbate emergence and spread. Focussing on India as a key global hotspot for endemic and emerging zoonotic diseases and bringing together a network of policy makers and practitioners from the human health, animal health and environmental sectors with experts (public and animal health, ecology, epidemiology and social science) - thereby following the One Health approach -, this project aims to reduce health, welfare and livelihood impacts of zoonotic diseases by (1) better understanding the impacts of different drivers on health outcomes and spread of zoonotic diseases (2) co-develop improved interventions, integrating traditional knowledge, with affected forest communities and, thereby building the capacity of local communities to be more resilient to zoonotic diseases. Three neglected zoonotic diseases, Leptospirosis, Kyasanur forest Disease and Scrub Typhus that are widespread across the Western Ghats forest communities and cause severe complications and death if untreated, yet have different transmission routes, will be taken as key case-studies for field research. The research underpinning these improvements will include: (1) understanding how local culture and policies, nutrition and environment factors affect community interventions, perceptions and health outcomes from zoonotic diseases. (2) investigating how different communities share knowledge on diseases and health intervention, including traditional knowledge, both with each other and with practitioners and managers, to improve communication strategies. (3) studying the role of different wildlife and livestock hosts and tick and mite vectors in transmission of disease to humans in different seasons. (4) understanding how long distance seasonal migration of pastoralists may promote resilience or increase their exposure to diseases and environmental change. (5) developing computer models and risk maps, integrating environmental and social data, for predicting the distribution and spread of diseases. (6) building capacity in research, data analysis and cross-sectoral collaboration to underpin future One Health approaches in India. Improved decision-support tools and Apps and prioritisation of traditional knowledge will help disease managers, policy makers and community workers to develop novel interventions and better target vaccination and communication efforts towards the communities that are most at risk and help managers in agriculture and environmental sectors to understand how, for these communities, disease impacts may coincide with other negative impacts of environmental change. The project platform and approach of co-developing research, training and decision support tools on zoonotic diseases with stakeholders across sectors, accounting for their needs and underlying ecological and social processes, will build significant capacity in science, policy and practitioners to respond to these emerging and endemic global threats in India and beyond.


The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) supports cutting-edge research to address challenges faced by developing countries. The fund addresses the UN sustainable development goals. It aims to maximise the impact of research and innovation to improve lives and opportunity in the developing world.