The Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) at Kansas State University was established in 2010 to help protect the nation’s agricultural and public health sectors against high-consequence foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic disease threats. CEEZAD has four principal missions:
- Development of novel, safe, efficacious and DIVA-compatible vaccines for prevention and control of high-impact emerging and zoonotic diseases that can be manufactured in the U.S.
- Development and expansion of technologies and platforms for laboratory and point-of-need pathogen detection.
- Development of models to predict high-consequence disease behavior in the U.S. to aid prevention or outbreak control.
- Development of education and training programs for students, veterinarians, first responders and researchers in high-impact animal diseases and animal emergencies.
June 23, 2017
CEEZAD co-sponsors conference
for rural veterinary practitioners
An inaugural event in Manhattan, Kansas, has helped educate rural veterinarians on how to respond and work together in the event of a potential transboundary emergency situation.
Held June 4 at the Hilton Garden Inn, the Rural Veterinary Practitioner Conference was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with collaboration from the Beef Cattle Institute, Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, National Agriculture Biosecurity Center (NABC), College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University and the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
The conference’s theme was “Preparing for Disease Challenges” and featured a variety of speakers such as Dr. Justin Smith, Kansas’ animal health commissioner. He has responsibility for directing the statewide response outbreaks of emerging or transboundary disease(s). He noted that Kansas is particularly vulnerable, in part, due to the annual shipment of more than 4.5 million head of cattle into the state (not counting cattle shipped purely for purposes of slaughter).
Dr. Smith said contingency plans in Kansas are based on the possible outbreak of foot and mouth disease, as it represents a worst-case scenario. He said, “If we can stop that, we can stop anything.”
Dr. Smith explained the first element of such contingency plans is to stop movement of the animal, which is a key element in controlling the spread of any potential outbreak. He emphasized how veterinarians in Kansas would play key roles in the event of any such outbreak since the state’s full-time manpower is sufficient to cope with the needs in an emergency.
Dr. Smith said the state response would involve a permitting process, but added that the state does not want any of its plans to damage the ability of farmers and ranchers to participate in the market.
“We want to make sure we can move product as soon as possible,” Dr. Smith said. “The issue is doing it at the speed of commerce.”
Dr. Ken Burton, director of project coordination for the Biosecurity Research Institute at Kansas State University and program director for the NABC, noted that with about 320,000 viruses capable of infecting mammals, potential concerns are abundant. He pointed out the nation’s agricultural sector is responsible for about 1 in 10 jobs, contributing $835 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product. With that level of activity, Dr. Burton said it’s easy to understand why the job of protecting the nation’s animal food supply from potential transboundary and emerging threats is so vital.
Other Kansas State University animal health experts spoke at the conference including Dr. Natalia Cernichiaro, assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, who discussed the use of data to investigate outbreaks. Dr. Mike Sanderson, a professor in the same department, outlined the Secure Beef Supply program.
Dr. Mike Miesner, clinical associate professor and section head of Livestock Services discussed common diseases that can look like more serious trans-boundary diseases. Professor emeritus Dr. Jerome Nietfeld reviewed differential diagnoses of transboundary diseases, and Dr. Lina Mur, research assistant professor in infectious diseases epidemiology, gave an overview of the global movement of transboundary animal diseases.
Dr. Gregg Hanzlicek, assistant professor and director of Production Animal Field Investigations, spoke about disease trends as determined by diagnostic submissions to the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Winding up the conference was Dr. Bob Larson, professor of production medicine, who covered clinical diagnostic interpretation.
June 21, 2017
Scientists learn history of 1918 Spanish Flu at Ft. Riley
By Season Osterfeld | 1ST INF. DIV. POST
More than 25 scientists from around the globe visited Fort Riley May 10 to hear the history of the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak at the installation and tour the museums.
The scientists were in Manhattan, Kansas, May 7 to 10 for the 8th International Conference on Emerging Zoonosis hosted by staff of Kansas State University. The conference is held every three years and consists of an interdisciplinary forum of physicians, veterinarians, epidemiologists, immunologists, virologists, microbiologists, public health experts and others. During the event, the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans and the economic impact of transboundary diseases were discussion topics.
With the assistance of retired Lt. Col. Arthur DeGroat, director of military affairs at Kansas State University, and Capt. Jamie Pecha, 1st Infantry Division preventive medicine officer, the international scientists received the history of the H1N1 Influenza, or Spanish Flu, that struck Fort Riley and spread across the world in 1918.
Fort Riley is believed to be the origin of the world-wide epidemic that killed millions, said Robert Smith, director of the museum division at Fort Riley.
“It was probably the greatest pandemic the world has ever seen,” he said. “They (researchers) think it killed between 2 and 4 percent of the world’s population. It was even greater than the bubonic plague back in the 14th century.”
Over lunch at Demon Dining Facility, Smith presented the history of the Spanish Flu at Fort Riley, as well as background on the installation and living conditions of Soldiers at that time. With a smirk, Smith told the scientists that patient zero was an Army cook named Albert Gitchell.
“They thought it mutated from pigs and then infected some Soldiers, some draftees, from Pascal County, Kansas, and they came here to train at Fort Riley and then the first recorded flu case here was a cook of all people,” he said.
Stephanie Hober, grant specialist, Kansas State University Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, said the tour and history were enjoyable and gave the group local background information on an epidemic several have studied.
“They’re getting to see the historical significance of Fort Riley in the outbreak of the Spanish Flu and the impact it had on the surrounding area here in the time it happened and the advances they’ve made since that time,” she said.
Understanding the history of the 1918 Spanish Flu and how it spread through a military installation, across the nation and internationally helps scientists develop a larger picture on how viruses and diseases transform into pandemics and on to epidemics, said conference co-host Dr. Jürgen Richt, from Kansas State University’s Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases.
“It’s history and it’s very good that Fort Riley is a historic place and has a historian who is very able to describe well the history of how from Fort Riley these disease evolved and causes millions and millions of deaths,” Richt said. “It’s very important to have this historical perspective.”
Richt said the conference gets the scientists and experts communicating across disciplines when they normally would not. They can exchange information and work together to understand, treat and prevent diseases that travel between humans and animals.
“We have to bring these people together, they often don’t speak,” he said. “The medical doctors don’t speak with the veterinarians and vice versa and we can solve these problems so far. These zoonosis can become epidemics … We have to understand, not only from the human side, but also what’s going on in the animal reservoirs, and only then can we have a clear picture of what the risks are for these diseases to spread and come to our shores and what we need to stockpile now, like (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) vaccines … These are the kinds of questions we have to address and that’s why we bring together epidemiologists, virologists, bacteriologists and so on.”
June 15, 2017
Workshop looks at Level 4 priorities and needs in anticipation of NBAF’s opening
When the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) opens in Manhattan, it will present a host of opportunities to advance scientific research into emerging and zoonotic threats to the nation’s animal food system, and to protect public health.
But those opportunities will also present significant challenges as experts face the daunting task of prioritizing which of innumerable challenges to take on.
An international panel of experts on the subject addressed those opportunities and challenges at a Level 4 BSL workshop hosted by the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) May 6-7 at Kansas State University.
Tim Barr, NBAF program manager, told attendees that construction of lab space at the NBAF, which began in 2015, will be completed by 2020, with the facility expected to go “on line” in May of 2021. He said the NBAF will enable the US to conduct comprehensive research, develop vaccines and anti-virals, and provide enhanced diagnostic capabilities to protect the nation from numerous foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic diseases.
That’s important because the ag and food industries contribute $1.5 trillion annually to the nation’s economy.
The NBAF will be the only BSL Level 4 facility in the nation targeted specifically at high-consequence threats to animals and humans. It is designed to replace the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, an outdated Level 3 facility.
Research on pathogens now undertaken at Plum Island – including Foot and Mouth Disease, African Swine Fever and Classical Swine Fever – will be moved to the NBAF. Research into other, more serious potential threats – including Nipah Virus, Hendra Virus and Ebola, is expected to be begun. That research is not now conducted in the United States.
Martin Groschup, of the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute in Germany, said the most important pathogens to be worked on are those which are most threatening to the US agriculture industry and to the American people, those with a public scare factor, those with a risk of accidental pathogen incursion, those posing mortality threats, those with epidemic potential, those with an impact on the animal industry, and those with no vaccine availability.
Among diseases he specifically mentioned were influenza viruses, Henipaviruses, Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, Filo viruses, and Zika.
Although little known in the United States, Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever – abbreviated as CCHF -- is a widespread tick-borne viral disease that is endemic in Africa as well as parts of Europe and Asia. In humans, its mortality rate can be as high as 40 percent. It is one of several virus diseases identified by the World Health Organization as a likely cause of a future epidemic.
“We have about one thousand cases in Turkey every year,” Groschup said. “We have it in Albania, in Kosovo, in Bulgaria, Romania.”
The first problem, researchers agreed, is prioritization since neither human, space nor financial resources permit studying everything. In response to that, Heinz Feldmann, chief of the virology lab at Rocky Mountain Laboratories, said the NBAF should aim for all level 4 pathogens of concern.
A second problem they agreed on was sustainability. However successful research is initially, it will not be useful if it cannot be taken into the field and implemented long-term.
Feldmann also identified gaps in emergency response capabilities that need to be considered. Those gaps include: obtaining pathogen strains and control samples; development of laboratory tests; fast-tracking pathways to animal modeling; a shortage of trained personnel; and support for clinical and basic research.
Workforce development is also a concern. Michael McIntosh, of the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Plum Island, said a 2015 survey of personnel at that facility indicated that a significant number do not intend to relocate to Manhattan when Plum Island is closed and its work is transferred to the NBAF. Beyond that, he said the anticipation is that numerous new positions will be created, the combined impact being significant workforce gaps. He said there will certainly be a need for increased expertise in zoonotics and epidemiology.
April 27, 2017
April 20, 2017
BSL3 Safety Program for Engineering, Non-Medical Students
Enrollment is now open for a new CEEZAD-sponsored summer program designed to acquaint students in engineering and other non-medical fields with support careers at high containment facilities such as at the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, currently under construction in Manhattan, Kan.
The one-week program includes hands-on and classroom training, as well as invited guest speakers addressing topics including Risk Assessment, Facility Planning and Design, Structural and Containment Equipment, Information Systems, and Physical Security. An end-of-program group project will synthesize material learned during the week.
The application deadline is 5 p.m. CST April 24. Class size is limited to 6 students, and applicants must be current enrollees as a full-time undergraduate (junior or senior) or graduate student at a Kansas college or university.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens and must have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Use the link below to apply.
March 14, 2017
See our new blog section:
March 9, 2017
Application deadline for the CEEZAD BSL-3 Training/Transboundary Animal Disease Summer Program has been extended to Monday, March 13, 2017.
March 3, 2017
Biosecurity Research Institute accepting applications for Transboundary Animal Disease Workforce Development Program
The Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) is accepting applications for five research fellowship positions in the Transboundary Animal Disease Workforce Development program. The fellowship is designed to foster the development of research scientists to safely plan and execute research on transboundary animal diseases (TAD) in BSL-3, BSL-3Ag, and BSL-4 environments. This opportunity will leverage the expertise and resources of the BRI and the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL) to train next generation PhD, DVM, and post-doctoral researchers to work in high and maximum-containment environments on TADs.
To see the complete application requirements and details, please visit: www.bri.k-state.edu/education/TADFellowship.html
Complete application materials must be received by 11:59 p.m. central, March 31, 2017.
February 16, 2017
Gonzalez named CEEZAD's Deputy Director
Dr. Jean-Paul J. Gonzalez has been named Deputy Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD).
Announcement of Dr. Gonzalez’ appointment, which is effective immediately, was made by Dr. Juergen Richt, the Regents Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University and Director of CEEZAD. Based at Kansas State University, CEEZAD is a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence specializing in prevention of emerging, zoonotic and transboundary threats to U. S. agricultural systems. Read more
January 31, 2017
CEEZAD in collaboration with Orion Integrated Biosciences announces Biodefense Internship Program
Orion Integrated Biosciences Inc. is a Biodefense Company advancing new analytical and visualization tools for the detection, characterization and mitigation of infectious diseases and the interpretation and contextualization of Big Data for Biodefense.
Part of the mission of Orion Integrated Biosciences Inc. is the establishment of a Biodefense Internship Program for junior computer scientists and software engineers in order to strengthen the next generation workforce in the areas of bioscience and national security. Read more
January 18, 2017
CEEZAD Grants Approach $5 million During 2016
The Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) (www.ceezad.org) received nearly $5 million in extramural funding during calendar year 2016. That represented a 34 percent increase from 2015, when the Center received about $3.65 million in research grants. Read more