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Notes from the Field:

Dr. Felix Lankester, Allen School faculty member and Director of the Serengeti Health Initiative, wrote to provide this update on current activities.

Once again I found myself marveling at the sight of Maasai families walking towards our village-based clinics with their dogs in tow to attend the joint health intervention being offered:  worming treatment against soil-transmitted helminths for family members, and rabies vaccination for dogs. Given the time that each family must invest to attend the clinic, and the effort that it takes for the team to travel to each community, it clearly made sense on so many levels that health interventions should, wherever possible, be coupled together.

This was the final field season of the Allen School’s Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Exploration project that has been on-going since January, 2016. During this period, the field team, comprising human and animal health practitioners, have visited 24 remote villages in the Ngorongoro District of northern Tanzania. Eight of these villages received the integrated One Health intervention of worming treatment for family members and rabies vaccination for dogs, while the other 16 villages received either worming or rabies vaccination alone. Our objective is to assess whether coupling together the interventions is feasible, cost-effective and improves coverage.

Maasai woman
A Maasai woman attending a dual-purpose mobile
health clinic in Tanzania. The program offers families
treatment for soil-transmitted helminths (worms), an
endemic health issue in the area, as well as rabies
vaccinations for their dogs.

Accompanying me on my trip was Dr. Sarah Cleaveland of the University of Glasgow (and Allen School adjunct professor), whose seminal work on rabies in northern Tanzania in the 1990s revealed that it was domestic dogs and not, as it is in the US, wild carnivore species, that are the reservoir host for rabies. Her work also suggested that, following effective vaccination of dogs, canine-mediated rabies would be eliminated in all species, including humans. Given that we now know that more than 99% of human rabies cases are caused by the canine variant of the virus, these pivotal conclusions allowed us to aspire to a world free from this horrific disease.

Following the tripartite agreement (WHO, FAO, OIE) in December 2015, in which we committed to the global elimination of human rabies by 2030, we must now first consider exactly how canine rabies can be eliminated. As Dr. Cleaveland frequently remarked, key to these considerations will be cost-effective delivery systems such as those being tested by our Grand Challenges project that, while allowing effective treatment of conditions like soil-transmitted helminths, could also transform our ability to reach those remote parts of rural Africa and Asia where rabies remains stubbornly endemic. 

In the coming six months we will analyze our results and we will keep you all posted on exactly what we find!

Rabies Vaccine
Dr. Felix Lankester administering a rabies vaccine. He is
researching cost-effective strategies to increase vaccination
coverage, with the aim of eliminating the disease in dogs and


Research News



Grants Awarded:

Dr. M. Kariuki Njenga has been awarded $3.4 million for Year 1 of “Conducting Communicable Disease Research in Kenya,” a 5-year Cooperative Agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The work will entail continuation of infectious disease surveillance in human and animal populations, antimicrobial resistance studies, and efforts to determine the presence of Zika virus in Kenya. Co-investigators on the project include Drs.  Douglas Call, Eric Lofgren, Tom Marsh, Terry McElwain and Jon Yoder.

Dr. Leigh Knodler is co-investigator on a grant titled “Intestinal Epithelial Inflammasomes: Frontline Defenders Against IBD?” funded by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada Grant-In-Aid of Research. Dr. Bruce Vallance of the University of British Columbia is the PI on the award. (7/01/2016 - 6/30/2019; $267,864)

Dr. Thumbi Mwangi has received a $50,000 grant of from World Health Organization and Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI) for a 1-year project on "enhanced surveillance for human rabies in Siaya County, Kenya.” The data will be used to inform the 2018 GAVI - Vaccine Investment Strategy.

Dr. Mwangi is also PI on a $33,000 grant from Sanofi Pasteur to the Government of Kenya’s Zoonotic Disease Unit and the Kenya Medical Research Institute, to work with Global Alliance for Rabies Control on establishing an electronic surveillance and reporting system for rabies in Makueni County, Kenya. 

Dr. Timothy Baszler is PI on several new and continuation awards in his role as Executive Director of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory: 

  • National Animal Health Laboratory Network, USDA-NIFA, Cooperative Agreement, 8/15/2016 – 8/14/2017, $326,000.
  • Training Program in Support of Quality Management Systems in Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Networks, USDA-APHIS-VS, Cooperative Agreement, 9/21/2016 – 9/20/2017, $22,000.
  • Expanded Testing Methods for Elements and Metals in Animal Diagnostic Specimens. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, 9/01/2016- 8/31/2017; $99,000.



Congratulations to faculty, staff and students on recent publications:

Antonation KS, Grützmacher K, Dupke S, Mabon P, Zimmermann F, LankesterF, et al. (2016) Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis causing anthrax in sub-Saharan Africa - Chromosomal monophyly and broad geographic distribution. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 10(9):e0004923. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004923

Callaby R, Toye P, Jennings A, Thumbi SM, Coetzer JA, Conradie Van Wyk IC, Hanotte O, Mbole-Kariuki MN, Bronsvoort BM, Kruuk LE, Woolhouse ME, Kiara H. (2016) Seroprevalence of respiratory viral pathogens of indigenous calves in Western Kenya. Research in Veterinary Science 108:120-124. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2016.08.010

Crowley SM, Knodler LA, Vallance BA. (2016) Salmonella and the Inflammasome: Battle for Intracellular Dominance. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology 397:43-67. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-41171-2_3.

Gitonga PN, Gachene CK, Njoroge E, Thumbi SM. (2016) Small ruminant husbandry practices amongst Kajiado and Marsabit pastoralists and their effects on Peste des petits ruminants control strategies. Livestock Research for Rural Development 28(2). 

Lankester F, Lugelo A, Werling D, Mnyambwa N, Keyyu J, Kazwala R, et al. (2016) The efficacy of alcelaphine herpesvirus-1 (AlHV-1) immunization with the adjuvants Emulsigen® and the monomeric TLR5 ligand FliC in zebu cattle against AlHV-1 malignant catarrhal fever induced by experimental virus challenge. Veterinary Microbiology 195:144–53. doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2016.09.019.

Mrutu R, Luanda C, Rugumisa B, Mwanyika G, Subbiah M, Call DR, Buza J. (2016) Detection of microbial surface contamination and antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli on beef carcasses in Arusha, Tanzania. African Journal of Microbiology Research, 10(30):1148-1155. doi: 10.5897/AJMR2016.8143

Munyua P, Bitek A, Osoro E, Pieracci EG, Muema J, Mwatondo A, Kungu M, Nanyingi M, Gharpure R, Njenga K, Thumbi SM. (2016) Prioritization of Zoonotic Diseases in Kenya, 2015 PLoS One. 11(8):e0161576. 

Mwanyika G, Buza J, Rugumisa B, Luanda C, Murutu R, Lyimo B, Subbiah M, Call DR. (2016) Recovery and prevalence of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella from fresh goat meat in Arusha, Tanzania. African Journal of Microbiology Research 10(32):1315-1321. doi: 10.5897/AJMR2016.8137

Mwanyika G, Call DR, Rugumisa B, Luanda C, Murutu R, Subbiah M, Buza J. (2016) Load and prevalence of antimicrobial resistant Escherichia coli from fresh goat meat in Arusha, Tanzania. Journal of Food Protection 79(9):1635-1641. doi:

Rugumisa B, Call DR, Mwanyika G, Murutu R, Subbiah M, Buza J. (2016) Comparison of the prevalence of antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli from commercial-layer and free-range chickens in northern Tanzania. African Journal of Microbiology Research 10(34): 1422-1429. doi: 10.5897/AJMR2016.8251

Rugumisa BT, Call DR, Mwanyika G, Luanda C, Murutu R, Lyimo B, Subbiah M, Buza J. (2016) Prevalence of antibiotic resistant fecal Escherichia coli isolates from penned broiler and scavenging local chickens in Arusha, Tanzania. Journal of Food Protection 79(8):1424-1429. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-15-584

Subbiah M, Mitchell SM, Call DR. (2016) Not all antibiotic-use practices in food-animal agriculture afford the same risk. Review. Journal of Environmental Quality 45(2):618-29. doi: 10.2134/jeq2015.06.0297.

Wuduri GA, Osiri JK, Lankester F, Subbiah M, Yoder J, Pepper S, McElwain T, Kaufman G. (2016) A multidisciplinary approach to mitigating antimicrobial resistance. Also see Instructor’s Notes. International Journal of Case Studies 22(1):122-124. 

Student and Fellow News


Azeza Falghoush, student of Dr. Douglas Call, successfully completed her PhD preliminary exam, presenting her proposal “Alternative strategies to overcome antibiotic tolerance of Acinetobacter baumannii biofilm communities.” Committee members also include Drs. Anders Omsland, Thomas Besser and Haluk Beyenal.

Jessica Klein, PhD student of Dr. Leigh Knodler, presented a poster entitled “Functional Relatedness in the Inv/Mxi-Spa Type III Secretion System Family” at the 5th ASM Conference on Salmonella, Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 2016, in Potsdam, Germany. Ms. Klein received a Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) travel grant to attend the conference.  

Faculty and Staff News


Adjunct Professor Dr. Sarah Cleaveland will be formally inducted into the National Academy of Medicine on October 15, 2016.  Dr. Cleaveland was elected to membership in the class of 2015. Drs.  Guy Palmer and Terry McElwain, will join her for the induction ceremony to be held at the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington DC.

Claudia Deobold has joined the lab of Dr. Douglas Call as the new research supervisor. She comes to the Allen School with from the University of Idaho, where she worked with several investigators on food- and vector-borne pathogens.


The Allen School welcomes Becky Manning as the new Administrative Manager. She comes to the position with extensive experience in business management at WSU, including financial systems and personnel supervision, most recently serving as Administrative Manager in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 


Two new fiscal specialists have also joined the Allen School’s administrative team. Pama Manoranjan and Trang Voulgarakis will be responsible for personnel appointments and processes, travel, inventory, and other front office duties. 

Dr. Thumbi Mwangi carried out a 3-day training course on "R-programming for statistical analysis.” The course was offered as a joint WSU-Allen School and University of Nairobi-Institute of Tropical Infectious Diseases (UNITID) training program. The training, held at UNITID on 31st August - 2nd September, was attended by 35 people – a mix of MSc and PhD fellows, medical and veterinary doctors, Zoonotic Disease Unit personnel, National Academy of Science fellows and University of Nairobi faculty. 

Statistical analysis workshop
Trainers and attendees at the R-programming for statistical analysis workshop. Standing, far right, UNITID Director Dr. James Machoki, and Dr. Thumbi Mwangi, second from right.

Dr. Mwangi attended a 2-week course “Introduction to Mathematical Models of the Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases,” Sept 12 – 23rd, 2016, at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London. His participation in the course was funded by the Wellcome Trust Foundation.

Dr. Jean Celli gave an invited seminar entitled "Brucella modulation of the host secretory pathway: effectors and consequences,” at the University of Namur, Belgium, August 29th, 2016.

Dr. Leigh Knodler gave an invited seminar at the University of Michigan, August 11th, 2016 entitled “Salmonella colonization of epithelial cells: what’s new?”

Dr. Knodler also presented a seminar at the 5th ASM Conference on Salmonella in Potsdam, Germany, Aug 29-Sept 1“RNA-seq based identification of cytosol-specific Salmonella genes."

Dr. Douglas Call was an invited speaker at the Gates Foundation/Global Good Quarterly meeting on antimicrobial resistance, September 6, 2016, in Bellevue, WA.

Dr. Call was also an invited speaker at the Washington State Department of Health, Zoonotic and Vector-borne Disease Workshop, September 22, 2016, in Ellensburg, WA. The talk was titled “A one-health perspective on antibiotic resistance in Tanzania.”

Dr. Call and Dr. Margaret Davis were invited speakers at the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association meeting on September9, 2016, in Spokane, WA.  They presented during a special session entitled, Antimicrobial Resistance: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff.

Dr. Call and colleague Dr. Ken Cain of the University of Idaho were recently featured in the trade publication Aquaculture North America for their work on Cold Water Disease in rainbow trout:



Dr. Thumbi Mwangi continues to write and produce materials to raise awareness of neglected tropical diseases. Recent articles include:

Op-ed piece on “Tackling Neglected Diseases" in the Nation Newspapers (August 12th, 2016):

Piece in the Global Alliance for Rabies Control bulletin and website (September 14th, 2016):

Also see a video of “Science Moth story telling” in Nairobi – done as part of Dr. Mwangi’s Aspen New Voices Fellowship:

WSU and partners produced a video on Strengthening Health systems through Action on Rabies Elimination (SHARE) as part of an application to the 100&Change McArthur Foundation grant opportunity:

Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health

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