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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

News and Events Highlights

CEEZAD is a public source for the latest information on developments related to high-consequence foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic disease threats. 

March 7, 2019

CEEZAD’s director delivers keynote address at Gordon Research Conference

The director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases delivered the keynote address at this week’s Chemical and Biological Terrorism Gordon Research Conference held in Ventura, Calif.

Dr. Juergen Richt addressed conferees Sunday on the topic, “Rift Valley Fever: Development of Mitigation Strategies in Target Animals.” In his address, he discussed research efforts underway at the Richt Lab to develop target animal models for Rift Valley Fever and safe and efficacious vaccines. One focus of his presentation was familiarization of participants with ongoing research efforts at the Kansas State University-based Biosecurity Research Institute.

Rift Valley Fever is a vector-borne disease in ruminants, also capable of affecting humans. It is most commonly found in eastern and southern Africa and the Arabian peninsula.

During a Monday session, Dr. Richt also led a discussion on agro-terrorism, which are terrorist acts intended to disrupt or damage a country's agricultural system, especially the use of a biological agent against crops or livestock.

The conference, which has attracted biosecurity researchers from around the world, has been held every other year since 1998. Its purpose is to focus on the application of cutting edge research and apply that research to the development of new anti-terrorism tools. Major conference topics include novel imaging techniques that follow host response to chemical and biological insults, novel approaches to countering antimicrobial resistance, new detection technologies and the integration of understanding the problems and advances in agriculture bioterrorism.

March 3, 2019

Chronic Wasting Disease Spreading in Kansas

Salina radio station KSAL is reporting that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has collected and tested samples from 360 deer, 37 of which were confirmed positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.

The 37 confirmed positives came from deer taken in Cheyenne, Rawlins, Decatur, Norton, Phillips, Smith, Thomas, Sheridan, Gove, Rooks, Osborne, Scott, Lane, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Ford, Edwards, Stafford, Reno, and Pratt counties. While most positives are still coming from northwest Kansas, the disease has also been found in counties to the south and east.

CWD infects members of the deer family, including whitetail and mule deer, elk and moose.

Although research about the disease is ongoing, currently there is no cure, vaccine or other biological method of preventing CWD. And while recent news has reported a potential vaccine based on research that indicated the disease may be caused by spiroplasma bacteria, attempts to duplicate that research have been unsuccessful. Currently, the only tool to prevent the spread of CWD is to restrict the transport of deer and deer carcasses.

While CWD is always fatal to infected deer and elk, humans have never been known to contract the disease.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease that results in small holes developing in the brain, giving it a sponge-like appearance under the microscope. While deer may carry the disease for up to 2 years without showing any outward signs, in latter stages, a deer may exhibit decreased brain function and display a droopy head, staggering, loss of appetite, and a lack of response to people. It is advised that hunters who take deer from areas where CWD has been found have their deer tested whether or not they exhibited any signs.

January 7, 2019

Now Accepting Applications!

The CEEZAD BSL-3 Training/Transboundary Animal Diseases Summer Program is designed to introduce graduate, DVM and upper-level undergraduate students to high-containment training and to provide current practical and scientific information on select high consequence transboundary and zoonotic diseases.

The program is directed at highly motivated students with a demonstrated career interest in transboundary and zoonotic diseases of animals. The two-week program consists of one week of intensive, hands-on and classroom training at the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) at Kansas State University followed by a second week of  site visits to area industry partners and seminars and lectures from national and international subject matter experts in containment research and transboundary animal diseases.

Certain eligibility requirements apply. Successful applicants will receive a travel stipend up to $2,000 to cover transportation to and from Manhattan, Kansas and lodging and per diem expenses.  Applicants residing in or near the Manhattan, Kansas area may not be eligible to receive a travel stipend. An on-campus housing option is available.

All participants will be required to submit a final written report at the end of the program. 


Link with more information: 2019 CEEZAD Summer Training Program

Link to apply: 2019 CEEZAD Summer Program Application Information


November 29, 2018

CEEZAD director named a Fellow of prestigious national science association

The director of CEEZAD is one of two Kansas State University representatives named 2018 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS. 

Dr. Jürgen Richt, Regents distinguished professor and director of the university's Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, or CEEZAD, was selected for his distinguished research and advisory contributions to the field of zoonotic diseases, particularly for his pioneering role in the development of the One Health paradigm.

He was named along with Dr. James Guikema, late professor of biology and university administrator, for distinguished contributions to the fields of photosynthesis and gravitational biology, and in research administration and the NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training, or NSCORT. Dr. Guikema died in April.

They are among 416 fellows chosen this year by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is the world's largest scientific society. Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon association members by their peers. The association's fellowship program recognizes individuals whose efforts toward advancing science applications are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.

This year's fellows will be formally announced in the AAAS News and Notes section of the journal Science on Nov. 29. Richt and Guikema will be recognized at a certificate and pinning ceremony on Feb. 16, 2019, during the association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. 

Richt and Guikema join 21 current and emeritus Kansas State University faculty members who are fellows of the association.  

"Our 2018 fellows are truly deserving of this recognition for their career accomplishments," said Peter Dorhout, the university's vice president for research. "Dr. Richt is a distinguished leader in zoonotic diseases whose work has improved animal and human health throughout the world. In a special way, this distinction by AAAS helps us remember and honor Dr. Guikema and his countless contributions to the field of biology during his service to Kansas State University." 

Dr. Richt is a veterinary microbiologist who has worked with multiple agents of zoonotic potential, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease, chronic wasting disease, animal influenza viruses, Rift Valley Fever virus, Borna virus and other emerging pathogens. His career, which includes a seven-year assignment as lead scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Disease Center, has been spent developing novel vaccines and testing methods and remedies for a number of animal and zoonotic diseases.

He joined Kansas State University in 2008 as Regents distinguished professor and Kansas Bioscience eminent scholar in the College of Veterinary Medicine's department of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology. Richt became the director of the Department of Homeland Security's Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases at Kansas State University in 2010. As director, he leads an international network for scientific research involving multiple U.S. universities, foreign universities, and various industry and foreign partners.

Richt has authored or co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed articles. His work has been published extensively, including in such prestigious journals as Nature Biotechnology, Science, Journal of Experimental Medicine, PNAS, Cell Host Microbe and Journal of Virology. In 2011, Richt received the Pfizer Animal Health Award for Research Excellence and in 2014 the Kansas State University Iman Outstanding Faculty Award for Research.

November 16, 2018

Role of tick in the potential risk of spreading disease in Senegal is focus of newly published paper by CEEZAD official

CEEZAD’s deputy director is co-author of a recently published article analyzing the role played by ticks in the spread of Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) and other pathogen agents.

A particular focus of the article by CEEZAD’s Dr. Jean-Paul Gonzalez and three other co-authors is identifying the species of tick responsible for the disease’s spread in Senegal, where CCHF is known to circulate.

Dr. Gonzalez co-wrote the article with Massamaba Sylla, Institut de Recherches pour le Developpement, Dakar, Senegal; Mady Ndiaye, Departement de Biologie Animale, Universite Cheikh Anta, Dakar, Senegal and Marc Souris, Unite des Virus Emergents, Aix-Marseille University, France.

The article is titled “Ticks (Acari: Ixodida) of the genus Haemaphysalis Koch, 1844 in Senegal: a review of host associations, chorology, and identification.” It is being published this month in the journal Acarologia.

 The article reviews the role of the Haemaphysalis tick as a potential vector of zoonotic diseases, including CCHF, in Senegal. It concludes that ticks of thatgenus are a potential vector of CCHF in Senegal.

Those ticks are known to be infected elsewhere by the CCHF virus and be an efficient vector. Also they can transmit other arboviruses pathogen for human and animals including among others : Kyasanur Forest Disease,  Powassan, Louping-ill, Russian spring-summer encephalitis) and other pathogen agents of medical and veterinary importance  (Anaplasma spp., Babesia spp., Borrelia burgdorferi, Brucella melitensis, Francisella tularensis ssp., Hepatozoon canis, Mycobacterium, Pseudomonas spp.,Toxoplasma gondi, Theileria spp., Rickettsia spp., Sphingomonas spp., Wolbachia spp.,)

Based on a review of recent research, the article concludes that the haemaphysalid tick fauna of Senegal requires more in depth investigations to establish its role in the transmission of pathogens.


The authors note that with respect to climate change, migration and commercial trade, understanding the health risks associated with tick-borne pathogens appears of public health importance in the geographic domains where haemaphysalid tick circulate. Indeed, the authors add, their relative abundance, their seasonality, their geographical extension need to be assessed because the involvement of the Haemaphysalis genus in pathogen transmission may be underestimated.

October 4, 2018

CEEZAD’s director takes part in international symposium on emerging threats