The inaugural lecture of prof Henriette van Heerden in the department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases took place on 16 November 2021, entitled Untangling multi-host, transmission and control dynamics of anthrax and brucellosis. This inaugural addressed present research conducted on controlled diseases, specifically anthrax and brucellosis, in domesticated and wild animals, especially in Africa. This address further highlighted the multidisciplinary approach to detect and characterise these multi-host pathogens with their transmission dynamics to enable more effective control solutions. Anthrax and brucellosis are bacterial zoonotic diseases that both infect humans, livestock, and wildlife. Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis transmitted between hosts by biotic and abiotic vectors. In contrast, brucellosis is a highly contagious disease caused by bacteria in the genus Brucella that is spread through direct and indirect contact with infected animal materials or secretions. With anthrax, the transmission efficiency by the vectors will be presented as part of a continuous debate on the intricate role of vectors in the life cycle of this pathogen and effective control. With brucellosis, the burden and far-reaching adverse implications for multiple hosts together with the brucellosis control programme will be emphasised as well as education intervention efforts. Despite continuous research of these pathogens, untangling and breaking the chain of transmission remains challenging and underscores the interdisciplinary and collaborative approach required to ensure animal and human health.
The inaugural lecture can be viewed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhSc7cRAjs0. The lecture is also available for CPD (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeRud707EJAi7aGhgcohfrhwh8AVq2fC_8Cq03pLyDwMxxd3Q/viewform).