Infectious Diseases Shared Between Animals and Humans


Dr. Emily Jenkins (WCVM) & Dr. Shelley Kirychuk (Medicine) 

Current strengths at the U of S and on this team exist in the fields of veterinary infectious diseases, human infectious diseases, epidemiology and environment health. 

Theme Goal

To develop evidence on which to base research priorities and public health policy. 

Update on activities

A SHRF Phase 1 application was successfully funded; "Assessing and Mitigating Risks of Infectious Disease (AMRID) (in SK) ".  The AMRID group is an inter-professional group from U of S colleges, including senior and junior researchers, and collaborators from across Canada (wildlife health, environment, agriculture, public health, veterinary microbiology, human infectious diseases, law and government).   The SHRF Phase 1 grant is a networking grant designed to build the research group (breakfast meetings), as well as, provide funding for hosting the present workshop and retreat.  The AMRID Phase 1 overall objective is to assess risks, risk perception and prioritize zoonoses from a public health perspective in Saskatchewan. This is especially relevant since the 2005-08 national notifiable zoonotic disease data indicates that Saskatchewan rates are higher than the Canadian average. 

Next steps

  • Risk assessment: incorporate the results of an expert opinion disease prioritization exercise and key informant and community interviews
  • Risk perception: design and conduct interviews with public health and community leaders in rural and remote areas of Saskatchewan
  • Risk management: conduct cost-benefit analyses weighing the inherent risks and costs of management, as well as the nutritional, socio-economic, and cultural benefits of intact relationships among people, domestic animals, wildlife, and the environment  (potentially Phase 2 activity)
  • Risk communication: share knowledge translation materials with stakeholders

Year 2 (April 2014-March 2015) plans: hire another MPH student (for key informant interviews), submit proposals to hold a One Health workshop and breakout session at the 7th International Symposium on Safety and Health In Agriculture and Rural Populations: Global Perspectives at the UofS in October 2014, and work with the larger One Health group to develop and update a One Health website.  We will apply for SHRF Phase 2 funding in fall of 2015.   

The Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture (CCHSA) continues One Health initiatives.  Dr. Shelley Kirychuk and Dr. John Gordon are Co-PIs on a CIHR training program entitled: Public Health and the Agricultural Rural Ecosystem (PHARE).  The project began in 2002 and has funded 96 Masters, PhD and Post-doctoral trainees across 14 disciplines.  Trainee research must have a health outcome/focus and relate to public health, agricultural health, rural health and/or ecosystem health.  There is a foundational class, seminar series, and annual conference which provide the structure and incorporate one health issues.  The CIHR funding concludes in 2016 and some students will cross over to CREATE.

CCHSA has a Saskatchewan Rural Health network comprised of 28,000 farm families.  These families’ rural municipalities (RM’s) subscribe as members and their farm families receive support in the way of health and safety training and advice.  CCHSA currently has 200 of Saskatchewan’s RMs enrolled in the program.  Farmers are potentially one of the highest risk groups for potential zoonotic impacts.  The network regularly communicates with these families, and hosts a website, Facebook and twitter account.  The network may be a good avenue for communicating to risk populations.