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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

2013 Press Releases

December 16, 2013

CEEZAD Call for White Papers

The Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases invites White Paper submissions for high impact research contributing to one or more of CEEZAD's major theme areas: Vaccines, Diagnostics/Detection, Epidemiology/Modeling and Education and Outreach. Priority will be given to projects that focus on CEEZAD's mission to enhance the capabilities of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by developing state-of-the-art countermeasures for transboundary animal diseases. Diseases of particular interest at this time include Foot and Mouth Disease, African Swine Fever and Classical Swine Fever. Projects already at an advanced stage of development for which funding would bring a product closer to the end-user, and projects which clearly engage partners, stakeholders and end-users are encouraged.Read More

November 6, 2013

Biosurveillance enterprise for operational awareness, a genomic-based approach for tracking pathogen virulence

To protect our civilians and warfighters against both known and unknown pathogens, biodefense stakeholders must be able to foresee possible technological trends that could affect their threat risk assessment. However, significant flaws in how we prioritize our countermeasure-needs continue to limit their development. As recombinant biotechnology becomes increasingly simplified and inexpensive, small groups, and even individuals, can now achieve the design, synthesis, and production of pathogenic organisms for offensive purposes. Under these daunting circumstances, a reliable biosurveillance approach that supports a diversity of users could better provide early warnings about the emergence of new pathogens (both natural and manmade), reverse engineer pathogens carrying traits to avoid available countermeasures, and suggest the most appropriate detection, prophylactic, and therapeutic solutions. While impressive in data mining capabilities, real-time content analysis of social media data misses much of the complexity in the factual reality. Quality issues within free-form user-provided hashtags and biased referencing can significantly undermine our confidence in the information obtained to make critical decisions about the natural vs. intentional emergence of a pathogen. At the same time, errors in pathogen genomic records, the narrow scope of most databases, and the lack of standards and interoperability across different detection and diagnostic devices, continue to restrict the multidimensional biothreat assessment. The fragmentation of our biosurveillance efforts into different approaches has stultified attempts to implement any new foundational enterprise that is more reliable, more realistic and that avoids the scenario of the warning that comes too late. This discussion focus on the development of genomic-based decentralized medical intelligence and laboratory system to track emerging and novel microbial health threats in both military and civilian settings and the use of virulence factors for risk assessment. Examples of the use of motif fingerprints for pathogen discrimination are provided. Read More

Septmber 25, 2013

Molecular Biocontainment For The Flu

A team from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of Maryland, College Park has engineered a flu virus that is transmissible among ferrets but not humans. The microRNA-based containment strategy provides a safeguard in case of accidental release or intentional misuse of viruses used in influenza research and could help study how pandemics originate, although the stability of the engineered strain and how well it recapitulates wild-type virus biology have yet to be thoroughly determined. Ever since the emergence of the H5N1 strain in 1997, influenza researchers have sought to determine what mutations confer human to- human transmissibility. The goal is to use the information to monitor circulating avian strains to preempt or better contain the next pandemic. (page 7) Read More

Septmber 16, 2013

Online Course Focuses On Zoonotic Diseases and Collaboration

The Center for Food Security and Public Health (CFSPH) at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine announces the first offering of a new web-based course, October 7 - November 3, 2013. The Zoonoses: Protecting People and Their Pets course provides an excellent opportunity for animal and human healthcare professionals and students to refresh and gain knowledge of key zoonotic diseases. The course includes lessons, case studies, a discussion board, and online resources to assist in conveying zoonotic disease prevention measures to clients. "Companion animals play an important role in people's lives," said Dr. Glenda Dvorak, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, course instructor, Assistant Director, CFSPH. Dr. Dvorak emphasizes that "Partnerships between human, veterinary and public health professionals are needed to raise awareness, enhance detection, and promote prevention of zoonotic diseases to protect the health of people and pets." The cost to register for the course is $50. This course is subsidized with support from the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) at Kansas State University, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence. All course participants will receive a copy of the companion textbook (a $70 value). Read More

May 2, 2013

The Novel H7N9 Influenza A Virus: Its Present Impact and Indeterminate Future

As concerns heighten over the newest strain of bird flu, it is critical to stay informed of the latest available information in order to effectively combat this outbreak. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases has just published an important statement from Juergen A. Richt, Director, Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD), and Robert E. Kahn, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, regarding the present impact and future of H7N9. Free access to this article is available through the end of May: Read More


April 30, 2013

Prion Progress

Although disease-causing prions are an extreme pathogenic aberration in protein behavior, emerging evidence places them at the end of a broad spectrum of ordered protein aggregates with diverse biological roles. This Select highlights recent findings on prions, including mutations that push proteins with prion-like domains over the threshold to pathogenicity in degenerative disorders, a vertebrate model of prion disease with the fastest known incubation time, and a system to examine how cytoplasmic prions are transmitted between cells. A unique therapeutic perspective is also offered by a recent study that suggests potential beneficial effects of prion-like amyloid fibrils in neuroinflammatory diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. Please read the complete Article


April 29, 2013

CEEZAD EEDA Course Registration is Open

Are you looking for a new and interactive way to learn more and/or refresh your knowledge about foreign animal diseases and emergency response? By taking the web-based course Emerging and Exotic Diseases of Animals, used at all U.S. veterinary colleges, you can now earn up to 18 RACE approved, continuing education hours. Learn More


April 18, 2013

New Flu Virus in China Worries and Confuses

As many an influenza researcher has observed, the virus that they study is predictably unpredictable. But when a bird flu virus makes the jump to people, it’s easy to predict how humans will react: Pandemic jitters will reverberate around the world, media will scrutinize the actions of public officials, and investigators will begin racing to answer questions about the virus’s origins, spread, and potential threat. Please read the complete Article for more information


April 15, 2013

The Novel H7N9 Influenza A Virus: Its Present Impact and Indeterminate Future

Influenza A viruses are unpredictable in their emergence, ability to mutate or reassort, and especially their capacity to cross species. Each of these three aspects of unpredictability are evident in a puzzling new virus which began in China earlier this year and has become a significant public health hazard, but not (at least thus far) a harbinger of a pandemic. It appears that this virus is a newly emerging reassorted bird flu virus with the significant characteristic of travelling among numerous avian and mammalian species as a low pathogenic avian influenza virus which surprisingly is a highly pathogenic virus for the human species. The good news is that there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission, but the bad news is that this newly minted H7N9 avian virus can kill human beings who come in contact with birds or poultry that appear healthy but are in fact carrying a lethal zoonotic agent. The world is being given a crash course in the importance of "One Health", because it is primarily through research at the human-animal-environmental interface that this virus can be better understood and hopefully controlled. There are no existing vaccines for the H7N9 virus for any species including humans. Please read the complete Article for more information