About three quarters of emerging diseases emanate from animals (zoonotic diseases) either directly or indirectly. Despite barriers and precautions taken to prevent encounters with these pathogens, zero risk is still not guaranteed, because risk distribution is uneven and is propagated by known and unknown factors.
Livestock keeping and consumption of livestock products constitute important routes of transmission of certain zoonotic diseases, but the extent and impact of this transmission can be minimized through a proper understanding of how pathogens get introduced and transmitted along the various livestock value chains that bring food products from sites of production to sites of consumption. Livestock value chains are, however, complex and dynamic, as are the networks for livestock prod-uct distribution. Understanding how these chains operate, how they are regulated, who dominates the various chains, what the challenges are, etc. presents a great opportunity for understanding what can be done to improve and make these systems more robust.
One of the many sub-components of the Urban Zoo project will focus deeply to understand the dairy value chains operating in Nairobi, with the main objective being to understand the types of dairy value chains that are operating in the city and particularly to understand their func-tionality and importance in terms of consumers reached. Understanding the trends affecting the entire value chain and examination of the pow-ers and interests that are driving change along the chains, will help de-termine avenues and opportunities for realistic action, lobbying, and policy entrepreneurship to generally improve on milk safety.
The dairy study is organized in two main phases; i) that of value chain analysis (see illustration below) and ii) a laboratory component that will utilize genetic mapping tools to describe pathogen diversity and trans-mission using E. coli as a marker. Both formal and informal production and marketing systems will be examined.
Figure 1: Schematic diagram for value chain: Source FAO 2011 by N. Taylor and J. Rushton
Report written by: Dr. Stella Kiambi, PhD Student working on the Dairy Value Chain Analysis.
The Zoonotic and Emerging Disease group studies a range of epidemiological issues revolving around the domestic livestock, wildlife and human interface