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Investigating the spread of infectious diseases with NSF, NIH, UK funding
Date:9/14/2011

New research aimed at controlling the transmission of diseases among humans, other animals and the environment is being made possible by grants from a collaboration among U.S. and U.K. funding agencies.

By improving our understanding of the factors affecting disease transmission, the projects will help produce models to predict and control outbreaks.

Funding is from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease (EEID) Program.

It is also being provided by the U.K. Ecology of Infectious Diseases Initiative of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and U.K. Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Combined, the grants total $17 million.

Research supported by the U.S.-U.K. collaboration aims to combat diseases that are particularly prevalent and damaging in the developing world, especially those transmitted from animals to humans, called zoonoses.

About 75 percent of recently emerging diseases are infections that may be transmitted between animals and humans. They pose serious threats to human health and to global food security.

Projects will draw on expertise from both the biological and social sciences to help public health workers in the developing world combat the emergence and spread of disease.

For example, scientists will conduct research on the transmission of bacterial diseases that cause fever in Tanzania, with the hope of developing better control strategies.

Another project will investigate the spread of a viral disease related to HIV in colobus monkeys. The researchers hope to gain insights into how HIV was initially transmitted from animals to humans.

Other projects aim to further an understanding of how viruses evolve to infect their hosts.

Researchers in the U.S. will also investigate white-nose syndrome in eastern bats, sudden oak de
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Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

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