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One Health

Moredun’s One Health research looks at the transmission pathways of pathogens between livestock, wildlife, people and the environment to help understand the risks and to develop methods to mitigate against disease.

There is often an intersection between human, animal and environmental health, as many of the same microbes are present within different ecosystems. Rabies, for example, is spread to humans through the saliva of an infected animal entering open wounds, the mouth or eyes. But by developing a rabies vaccine for dogs while simultaneously running an education and immunisation programme for humans, it is possible to work on eliminating the disease.

 

” ‘One Health’ is an approach to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes.”

– World Health Organisation

 

The World Health Organization highlights three areas where a One Health approach is particularly relevant: food safety, the control of zoonoses (diseases that can spread between animals and humans, and combating antibiotic resistance. Here at Moredun, our research encompasses each of these areas.

One Health at Moredun

Here at Moredun, our research focuses on the prevention and control of diseases in livestock. However, some of the same pathogens that are carried by livestock can also be transmitted to people, causing illness. These are called ‘zoonotic pathogens’, examples of which include Toxoplasma gondii, Cryptosporidium parvum, E. coli and Campylobacter.

Moredun’s One Health research looks at the transmission pathways of pathogens between livestock, wildlife, people and the environment to help understand the risks and to develop methods to mitigate against disease.

Our research projects involve:

  • The development of novel, rapid diagnostic techniques to detect and identify pathogens in both animal and environmental samples
  • The development of vaccines to protect against disease and shedding of zoonotic pathogens into the environment
  • Knowledge exchange projects to conduct inter-disciplinary work to encourage an inclusive One Health approach

Our One Health Experts

Professor Julie Fitzpatrick


Professor Lee Innes

Recent papers:

  • A One Health approach to vaccines against Toxoplasma gondii
  • A One Health Approach to Tackle Cryptosporidiosis

Dr Clare Hamilton

Toxoplasma gondii in the Caribbean: Prevalence and genetic diversity in free-roaming chickens  (One Health Congress Poster 2020; PDF)

Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic parasite of global importance. The World Health Organisation and the Centre for Disease Control recognise toxoplasmosis as one of the most important foodborne diseases worldwide and a leading cause of death amongst foodborne illnesses. The disease also impacts the livestock sector where it is a major cause of ovine abortion. Control of T. gondii requires partnership between medical and veterinary professionals, thus making it a true One Health parasite.

My work at Moredun currently focuses on the role of different meat products in foodborne toxoplasmosis as well as characterising T. gondii virulence in different hosts with the aim of developing a host-specific system to aid vaccine design and drug development.

Recent papers

  • Detection of Toxoplasma gondii in retail meat samples in Scotland
  • A One Health approach to vaccines against Toxoplasma gondii

Papers directly related to my poster

  • Prevalence and Genetic Diversity of Toxoplasma gondii in Free-Ranging Chickens from the Caribbean
  • Predominance of atypical genotypes of Toxoplasma gondii in free-roaming chickens in St. Kitts, West Indies

Dr Beth Wells

My One Health research interests and outputs are as below:

  • Whole catchment approaches to Cryptosporidium control including livestock and wildlife interactions
  • On farm Cryptosporidium transmission and farm management options for parasite control
  • Parasite transmission in water and public health
  • Providing solutions to Cryptosporidium contamination reduction in water supplies

Recent papers

  • A One Health Approach to Tackle Cryptosporidiosis
  • Cryptosporidium Prevalence in Calves and Geese Co-Grazing on Four Livestock Farms Surrounding Two Reservoirs Supplying Public Water to Mainland Orkney, Scotland
  • Prevalence, species identification and genotyping Cryptosporidium from livestock and deer in a catchment in the Cairngorms with a history of a contaminated public water supply
  • Controlling Cryptosporidium in the environment

Dr Nuno Silva

Characterisation of the microbial resistome of a Sheep farm: A sewage-sludge experimental model (WOHC oral presentation)

Sewage is one of the major contributors to the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and spread of resistance determinants into the environment. We investigated the impact of agricultural use of human sewage sludge on the evolution of ARGs/MGEs from sludge-treated soil and animals that graze on it.

We used a unique sewage-sludge experimental model, established at the University of Glasgow Research farm, and comprising a 5.5 hectare “biosolids-treated” plot, receiving periodically applications of thermally treated sludge pellets since spring 2018. Soil samples from control and treated plots, spatially separated to avoid potential cross-contamination, and faeces from sheep grazing on it, were compared by analysis of resistance gene content.

Preliminary results suggest that animals grazing on sludge pellet-treated pasture may not face a higher risk of selective pressure than animals from non-treated pasture suggesting that the use of human biosolids in agriculture may be safe with regards to dissemination of AMR.


Dr David Smith (Moredun Fellow)


Dr Eleanor Watson

Nanopore sequencing to assess carriage of microbes and antimicrobial resistance genes by a marine sentinel species  (WHOC poster; JPG)

My research largely focusses on Campylobacter, a zoonotic bacteria which is the leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in humans worldwide. Campylobacter species are widespread amongst animals and sources of human infection include contaminated meat (particularly poultry), raw milk and water.

Campylobacter is also a major cause of ovine abortion and the ubiquitous nature of Campylobacter means it is a potential vehicle for the spread of antibiotic resistance genes through the food supply chain. Control of Campylobacter is therefore a high priority on the One Health agenda and current research at Moredun involves the application of proteomics and comparative genomics to investigate adaptation and survival within animal reservoirs.

My work also takes a One Health approach to explore the potential impacts of human activity on wildlife in terms of microbial contamination from sewage and agriculture. We are developing methods to rapidly detect pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes within field samples with the aim of further understanding pathogen transmission and assessing risk.

Recent papers

  • Unexpected differential metabolic responses of Campylobacter jejuni to the abundant presence of glutamate and fucose
  • Metabolomics Evidence of land-sea transfer of the zoonotic pathogen Campylobacter to a wildlife marine sentinel species Molecular Ecology
  • Proteomic and genomic analysis reveals novel Campylobacter jejuni outer membrane proteins and potential heterogeneity

Dr Tom McNeilly

One Health in Action: COVID-19

“I am delighted to see this example of One Health in action. This combined effort between the world class team at Moredun and SRUC has shown how vets and medics can work together to support the NHS and combat this pandemic”

– Sheila Voas, Chief Veterinary Officer Scotland

Moredun is a member of the SEFARI consortium along with five other institutes.

During 2020/21, SEFARI was using its skills and expertise to assist with national and regional strategies dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our collective efforts included loaning equipment, staff volunteering and adapting our research to help with understanding the impacts of the crisis.

In addition, Moredun, along with colleagues from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) Veterinary Services worked hard to support the NHS by providing extra capacity for testing to help tackle the pandemic.

Helping with a pandemic was not what Moredun was expecting to be doing during its Centenary year! However, it exemplifies the spirit and ethos of all SEFARI staff and our willingness to step forward in a time of crisis and do what we can to help. Efforts such as these show how effective a One Health approach can be used against COVID-19 and could provide capacity in the future to help tackle other potential zoonotic diseases.

You can read more details in our blog post on the SEFARI website: One Health in Action – Setting up a new testing node for COIVD-19 with the NHS


With schools moving to online learning during 2020/21 SEFARI developed and released various, free-to-use primary and secondary-level educational resources. Three SEFARI colleagues (Dr Eleanor Watson, Moredun; Dr Karen Scott, Rowett Institute; Prof Nicola Holden, SRUC) designed a new curriculum-linked booklet detailing the the technology that is used to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus and diagnose COVID-19.

You can view and download the booklet directly from the SEFARI website: The science behind COVID-19 testing: A resource for Higher Biology 

Scotland: A Blueprint for a One Health Nation

6th World One Health Congress – Public Engagement Plenary Session

Moredun, supported by SEFARI, took part in a Special Partner Session organised by the University of Edinburgh. “A Blueprint for a One Health Nation” saw four local scientists discuss the concept of One Health and what it means for Scotland.

Journalist and broadcaster Simon Cousins carried out the interviews.

What is One Health?

Generation Alpha and One Health

What do Scots want for the future of food and farming?

Approaches to emergent infections under climate change and threats to biodiversity

Control the Crypto!

Cryptosporidiosis is the disease caused by infection with protozoan parasites called Cryptosporidium. The disease causes production losses in livestock farming and can also be a significant cause of disease and morbidity in humans, especially in the young, elderly or immune-compromised individuals.

For details on the research we carry out here at Moredun, visit our Disease & Research page on Cryptosporidiosis.

Our fun animation highlights how to ‘Control the Crypto’ (funded by the BBSRC and the Moredun Foundation).

Our experts

Dr Tom McNeilly

Dr Beth Wells

Professor Elisabeth (Lee) Innes

(MBE, FRSE, FRSA, FRSB, ARAgS)

Dr Clare Hamilton

Dr Eleanor Watson

(BSc (Hons), PhD)

Dr Nuno Silva

Dr David Smith

Prof Julie Fitzpatrick

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