Unit | Human and Animal Health

Rabies Vaccination Campaign, N'Djamena, September 2014

The unit uses a One Health approach for zoonoses control and improving the health of mobile populations. We demonstrate the synergistic potentials of closer cooperation between the human and animal health sectors. Particular attention is paid to the added value of One Health for better health and well-being, environmental services and financial savings. Among neglected zoonoses in developing countries, brucellosis and rabies are central in our work, which spans from capacity-building to interventions.

Systemic integrated approaches

We do systemic research to consider health as an outcome of social-ecological systems given its connections in social, cultural, economic and ecological dimensions. This allows us to describe both qualitative and quantitative linkages between humans, animals and the environment.

Inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches

Our inter- and trans-discplinary research on seasonal and labor migrants benefits from long-standing work on the health of mobile pastoralists and balances the needs of both communities and service providers. These processes lead to testing of adapted information and services in mobile communities.

Jakob Zinsstag

Jakob Zinsstag, Professor, PhD, DVM

Health of Pastoralists and the Future of Pastoralism

A major topic in our unit is the testing of innovative ways to improve the health of pastoralists, their livestock and the pastures they use. In many regions, there are hardly any alternatives to mobile livestock production which uses the vast dry grasslands. Ongoing research and action projects are in Mongolia, Chad and Ethiopia. Since we are among only a few research units working on health of pastoralists, the World Animal Health Organization asked us to edit a thematic issue on the Future of Pastoralism. It gives a broad view on pastoralism and pastoral livestock production from a cultural, social, economic, ecological and climatic, conservation, institutional, governance and security perspectives.

Towards Elimination of Dog Rabies in West- and Central Africa

Why is there no or insufficiently effective action to control and eliminate dog rabies? There is considerable overrepresentation of laboratory investigations or pathogen associated and basic epidemiology research. However, information on effective control activities and policies is nearly absent. Our research contributes to fill the gap between knowledge and effective action by addressing the social, political, economic and psychological complexity of effective rabies control interventions. In Chad, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire, we assess the burden of rabies for planning provision of post-exposure prophylaxis. Dog rabies could be eliminated by mass vaccination of dogs, thus we are also studying the dynamics of dog rabies elimination after mass vaccination.

Download the flyer for the second edition of our book ‘One Health: The Theory and Practice of Integrated Health Approaches’.


High-Tech Sensors and Blockchain: New Avenues Towards Elimination of Rabies

Rabies continues to kill approximately 60,000 people every year, mainly in Africa and Asia. In order to reach the goal to eliminate dog-mediated human rabies worldwide by 2030,... More...


Targeted Vaccination to Interrupt Rabies Transmission

Although the disease is preventable, rabies continues to kill more than 60,000 people per year – mainly children in Asia and Africa. New research by Swiss TPH may pave the way to... More...


Proof-of-Concept Study Reveals Feasibility of Eliminating Rabies in Africa

The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, together with European and African collaborators, carried out a mass dog vaccination in Chad and determined its effect on human... More...

Practicing One Health not only improves human and animal health but also allows considerable financial savings and contributes to a better environment. This value cannot be achieved working alone but is a triumph of truly interdisciplinary and intersectoral work. The course reflects this and brings together different disciplines in a selection of case studies, demonstrating the advantages of a closer cooperation between human and animal health and social and cultural sciences.


Le cours «One Health: Connecter les humains, les animaux et l'environnement» est maintenant disponible en français! Familiarisez-vous avec One Health, un concept prometteur, et les solutions efficaces qu'il apporte aux problèmes de santé urgents.

Commencez maintenant: tales.nmc.unibas.ch/en/one-health-connecter-les-humains-les-animaux-et-l-environnement-13/

Arnskötter W, Marcar V.L, Wolf M, Hund-Georgiadis M, Hediger K. Animal presence modulates frontal brain activity of patients in a minimally conscious state: a pilot study. Neuropsychol Rehabil. 2021(in press). DOI: 10.1080/09602011.2021.1886119

Berger-González M, Pelikan K, Zinsstag J, Ali S.M, Schelling E. Transdisciplinary research and One Health. In: Zinsstag J,Schelling E,Waltner-Toews D,Whittaker M,Tanner M, eds. One Health: the theory and practice of integrated health approaches, 57-70. Wallingford: CABI, 2021

Bosch F, Palmeirim M.S, Ali S.M, Ame S.M, Hattendorf J, Keiser J. Diagnosis of soil-transmitted helminths using the Kato-Katz technique: what is the influence of stirring, storage time and storage temperature on stool sample egg counts?. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2021;15:e0009032. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0009032

Chitnis N, Zinsstag J, Fuhrimann S, Hattendorf J. Animal-human transmission models. In: Zinsstag J,Schelling E,Waltner-Toews D,Whittaker M,Tanner M, eds. One Health: the theory and practice of integrated health approaches, 145-156. Wallingford: CABI, 2021

Diakité N.R et al. Baseline and impact of first-year intervention on Schistosoma haematobium infection in seasonal transmission foci in the northern and central parts of Côte d’Ivoire. Trop Med Infect Dis. 2021;6:7. DOI: 10.3390/tropicalmed6010007

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Selected projects at this location: