ICONZ : Integrated control of neglected zoonoses: improving human health and animal production through scientific innovation and public engagement

Project identifier 131-ICONZ
Project Status finished
Start date 2009-04-01
End date 2014-12-31
Roadmap Theme
  • Sustainable intensification: Animal and crop health
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Keyword neglected zoonotic diseases
    Location Morocco; Mali; Nigeria; Uganda; Tanzania, United Republic of; Mozambique; Zambia
    Budget 7 620 060
    Main Funder Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) (FP7)
    Coordinator University of Edinburgh
  • Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp
  • University of Copenhagen
  • Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University
  • Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) Federal Research institut for Animal Health
  • University of Minho
  • University of Navarra
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
  • University of Liverpool
  • Laboratoire Central Vétérinaire (LCV)
  • Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Sciences (IAV)
  • Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM)
  • National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI)
  • Makerere University
  • Stellenbosch University
  • Sokoine University of Agriculture
  • University of Zambia
  • Avia-GIS
  • French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES)
  • Project Web Site https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/221948
    Documents Final report summary



    This project aims at Improving Human Health and Animal Production in developing countries through Integrated Control of Neglected Zoonoses in animals, based on Scientific Innovation and Public Engagement. Neglected zoonoses, such as anthrax, rabies, brucellosis, bovine TB, zoonotic trypanosomiasis, echinococcosis, cysticercosis and leishmaniasis, are major causes of ill-health in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Production animals and companion animals of significant societal value act as reservoirs for transmission to man, and the burden of these diseases on affected communities is compounded by the adverse effects many diseases have on the productivity of livestock and hence the livelihoods of the poor. Control of these diseases in animals represents an opportunity to address the constraints they pose to both human health and animal productivity, thereby contributing to poverty reduction and the MDGs. Effective control in animals will require scientific innovation to identify and (where necessary) develop tools for diagnosis, for quantification of disease burdens, and for control. Public engagement at all stakeholder levels will be needed to ensure that strategies are appropriate for use in affected communities and are adopted within the policy framework of affected countries. The project will: (i) map and review research activities at a global level, (ii) survey and assess the burden of zoonoses in communities, (iii) improve or develop disease control tools as appropriate for conditions in affected countries, with private sector inputs where appropriate, (iv) develop cost-effective control and prevention strategies taking into account economic, sociological and cultural factors as well as traditional knowledge, (v) build capacity in ICPCs through technology transfer and training and (vi) empower communities and policy makers to utilise control and prevention strategies appropriately and effectively.

    Results in brief

    Zoonoses, diseases or infections that can be naturally transmitted between animals and humans, pose a serious threat to human health and animal production. The dual burden of these diseases both in humans and livestock increases their social and economic impact, particularly in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

    Twenty-one African and European partners joined forces to develop suitable interventions for eight neglected zoonotic diseases (NZDs) under the EU-funded project ICONZ (Integrated control of neglected zoonoses: Improving human health and animal production through scientific innovation and public engagement).

    The consortium's aim was to develop integrated control packages for the diseases anthrax, bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, cystic echinococcosis, porcine cysticercosis, leishmaniasis, rabies and zoonotic trypanosomiasis.

    Partners successfully completed a baseline sample collection of over 22 000 animals and most of the data analyses in all 7 African International Cooperation Partner Countries (ICPCs). These were used as input for the field-based case studies along with the sociological research methodologies and epidemiological studies that were developed. As a result, ICONZ is the first multidisciplinary large-scale study undertaken across Africa on NZDs.

    Researchers developed and tested methodologies to assess the socioeconomic burden arising from these eight zoonotic diseases and the findings were published in journals and presented at international conferences and workshops. They also identified risk factors and created a knowledge base on best practices in order to develop cost-effective and appropriate intervention strategies and protocols.

    ICONZ collaborated with another EU-funded project, DISCONTOOLS, and developed an inventory system for all eight zoonoses. It comprises details such as diagnostic tools, treatment and policy recommendations for each of the diseases and regular data updates. Diagnostic and quality assurance tests for these diseases were successfully conducted. Project members also developed a database cataloguing all relevant research and publications as well as funding sources for the zoonosesofinterest.

    Regarding dissemination, and besides the project website, outcomes were presented at international meetings and conferences, and published in eight issues of the ICONZ magazine in English and French. The successful last international meeting of the project was held in Geneva in 2014 and co-hosted together with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with ADVANZ, another EU-funded project addressing NZDs. ICONZ also participated in high-profile events such as the One Health congresses in Melbourne (2011) and Bangkok (2013).

    One reason for the neglect of NZDs has been their lack of political power to attract the attention of national governments and donors. The work by ICONZ will help explain NZDs and their epidemiological and economic impacts to decision-makers, thereby creating a critical mass to raise their profile. The wider recognition of NZDs will also address the problems of under-reporting and misdiagnosis.