Surveillance of Potentially Zoonotic Viruses

Surveillance of Potentially Zoonotic Viruses Field Trip

Thanks to the University of Helsinki Taita Station, Dr. Joseph Ogola PhD, researcher in the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology  together with Dr. Kristian Forbesa Visiting Faculty member recently had a good field trip in Kenya to sample bats, mosquitoes, and ticks for surveillance of potentially zoonotic viruses. The team, consisting of researchers from the University of Helsinki and funded by the Academy of Finland and the Nessling Foundation, had the opportunity to collaborate with local experts in Kenya to conduct this critical research.

Studying zoonotic viruses is crucial in identifying potential threats to human health. Many emerging infectious diseases, such as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19, have been found to originate from animals, highlighting the importance of surveillance and early detection of such viruses. During the field trip, the team collected samples from various locations in Kenya, focusing on areas with high biodiversity and proximity to human settlements. The team also worked closely with local communities, explaining the importance of our research and engaging them in the collection process.

In conclusion, the field trip to Kenya was an exciting and rewarding experience. We hope the collected data will contribute to the global effort to identify and mitigate the risks of emerging zoonotic viruses.