International Congress Examines Zoonotic Diseases and Impact in Developing Nations

International Congress on Pathogens at the Human-Animal Interface

Ethiopian President "Welcomes international scholars"

Columbus, OH – In an effort to prevent as many as 2 million deaths each year, the inaugural International Congress on Pathogens at the Human-Animal Interface (ICOPHAI) is being planned for September 15-17, 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dr. Wondwossen Gebreyes, director of Global Health Programs at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine is chairing the congress, which will also prominently feature Ohio State professors and National Academy of Sciences members Dr. Lonnie King and Dr. Linda Saif. Dr. King, internationally renowned scientist and current Dean of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine will deliver the keynote address and Dr.Saif, professor, OSU Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine will address enteric viral zoonotic diseases in sessions designed to bring together scientists from the developing world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific countries, with those from the US, Europe and other developed nations.

“We want to foster interaction among scientists, policy makers, and development partners and facilitate scientific information exchange,” said Dr. Gebreyes. In east and central Africa alone, lives of more than 150 million people depend primarily on livestock. The majority of the emerging infectious diseases are of zoonotic origin – starting in an animal population and moving to humans. Diarrheal diseases, most of which originate from food and water, are the third most common cause of child mortality, with an estimated two million deaths each year globally.

The three-day congress will include eight thematic plenary sessions: Enteric food- and water-borne infections; Emerging zoonoses and the wildlife interface; Respiratory zoonotic diseases and global impact; Drug discovery and antimicrobial resistance; Immunology and vaccine development; Parasitic zoonoses and the environment; Genomics and molecular epidemiology; Policy, Capacity Building and other significant issues.

Other noted speakers include Ohio State Professor Dr. Yehia Mo. Saif, Director Food Animal Health Research Program; Professor Jonna AK Mazet, Director of the One Health Institute and Wildlife Health Center in the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and Global Director for PREDICT; Dr. Rudovick Kazwala professor of food safety and molecular epidemiology at Sokoine University, Tanzania; and Dr. Frank Brombacher, professor and head of the Infectious Disease Unit in the Department of Immunology, University of Cape Town, South Africa. 

Members of the local and international organizing committee met with His Excellency Girma Woldegiorgis, president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the host nation for ICOPHAI2011. His Excellency Girma Woldegiorgis, has pledged to fully support the congress.

“Diseases related to livestock are of paramount significance to Ethiopia and indeed all developing regions, particularly for the pastoralist communities,” said His Excellency Woldegiorgis. “Urban and rural communities are exposed to such diseases through consumption of animal products. I commend The Ohio State University and all the partners on this noble effort. This congress will undoubtedly have a strong impact on our nation and the region in general. As the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, I affirm our commitment to work with the organizing committee to welcome international guests and make sure the congress is successful.”

The deadline for registration is August 31, 2011. To receive further news and submit your application online: http://icophai2011.org/.