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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

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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.

 News/Events Highlights

December 10, 2019

CEEZAD director addresses OIE on fight against ASF

Two Kansas State University faculty members, including the director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD), recently updated researchers at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris, France, on CEEZAD’s novel mitigation strategies against a disease impacting much of the world’s pork industry.

Dr. Juergen A. Richt briefed OIE staff members and experts on mitigation, vaccine and diagnostic strategies for African Swine Fever, which is spreading across eastern and central Europe as well as most of Asia.

The disease, which is not a health threat to humans but is almost always fatal in pigs, has depleted pork supplies in many areas, and has been cited as a major reason for recent increases in the price of food worldwide.

Since its discovery in China in August of 2018, “more than 50 percent of Chinese pigs have been culled or died with African Swine Fever,” Dr. Richt said. He noted that China once produced 50 percent of pork in the world, 700 million pigs a year. “This is not happening any more.”

The biggest problem, he said, is there is no vaccine, and no treatment for this disease. “The only way to control ASF is bio-security and culling of animals.”

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) is the world’s oldest and leading organization of researchers into animal-related diseases.

Dr. Roman Pogranichniy, a virologist and faculty member in Kansas State University’s Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, and section head of the Virology and Serology Laboratory (http://www.ksdl.org), also lectured at OIE. He discussed recent efforts to train veterinarians and pig producers in Ukraine – where the disease is widespread – on ASF mitigation and control strategies to prevent disease from spreading and from being introduced into pig production facilities.


October 4, 2019

CEEZAD conducts lectures and research during Asia trip

Dr. Juergen Richt has returned from a two week-long visit to Asia designed to give lectures and combat the spread of animal diseases including African Swine Fever (ASF).

Dr. Juergen Richt, CEEZAD’s director, conducted lectures and field tests in China, Mongolia and South Korea.

Dr. Richt said ASF, which made its way to China in August of 2018, has caused the loss “of a significant portion of the Chinese swine population.” China has been home to the world’s largest pork industry in recent years. He spoke about progress in CEEZAD’s effort to control the spread of ASF using vaccines and point-of-need diagnostic techniques during lectures in Shanghai and Nanchang in China, Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, and Seoul in South Korea.

Dr. Richt was told that pig prices were three times higher in China now than they had been during a previous visit about a year ago. Dr. Richt said that was due to steep declines in Chinese pork production, which also affected sales of sow feed and swine vaccines significantly.


In Mongolia, Dr. Richt was joined by another CEEZAD member – Dashzeveg Bold, a CEEZAD graduate research assistant from Mongolia – and conducted field research in the Gobi Desert. That research included collecting blood and nasal swab samples from 90 young camels, and their diagnostic examination for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

Dr. Richt mentioned that all the drawn samples proved negative for either disease, although some of the laboratory testing for MERS remains ongoing.

In Mongolia, the camel sampling and testing efforts were conducted in the field using mobile diagnostic PCR machines (Biomeme Franklin).  Then, at the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, CEEZAD conducted additional research on ASF, Classical Swine Fever and FMD. There the team was able to amplify and sequence parts of the genomes of all three viruses from infected samples using the portable PCR machine and the portable next generation sequencing device (MinION Nanopore).


In Korea, Dr. Richt met with swine producers, veterinarians and veterinary diagnosticians. Dr. Richt also lectured on ASF at Konkuk University, South Korea’s major veterinary medicine research university. Since identification of the ASF virus in South Korea on Sept. 20, the country’s pig producers and veterinary authorities have been working to limit its spread.