Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a highly contagious and deadly disease in small ruminants that have gained focus from both the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the World Bank as one of the most important animal diseases present today. The FAO and OIE have joined in an effort to control and eradicate PPR as a step to secure livelihood and fight poverty, as many of the most vulnerable groups rely on their sheep and goats for food and income. PPR is caused by the virus small ruminants morbillivirus (SRMV) (previously peste des petits ruminants virus). Since it was discovered in 1942 in Côte d'Ivoire it has spread from eastern Africa to almost all of Africa and Asia. This area holds the major part of the worlds sheep and goat population, with 1.7 billion animals at risk.
I’m a PhD-student at the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, Section of Virology and my PhD project is focused on the highly interesting disease PPR. Since PPR is not present in Sweden I have travelled to Tanzania to study the disease there. We sampled sheep and goats from all kinds of farms, from herds of 2-3 animals to the maasai herds of 600 animals. These samples were used to decide the seroprevalence of PPR and some of its most common differential diagnosis, in addition we studied risk factors for sheep and goats to become seropositive for any of the diseases. Trying to figure how, where and when the virus is spread is very important when planning the eradication of PPR. In my continued work with PPR I will focus on the pathogen-host interaction and field sequencing techniques.
Before becoming a part of the section of virology I studied at SLU and I have a master’s degree in veterinary science. I did my master’s degree project on molecular epidemiology of rabies at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. After graduating in 2013 I worked as a small animal veterinarian at the University Animal Hospital (UDS) and also as a teacher for veterinary students at SLU. With my background as a small animal veterinarian, I have always found diseases in dogs and cats very interesting. This is especially true when it comes to cats and recently we succeeded in identifying feline morbillivirus in Sweden for the first time.
Main supervisor: Mikael Berg (BVF, SLU)
Co-supervisors: Jonas Johansson Wensman (KV, SLU), Anne-Lie Blomström (BVF, SLU), Muhammad Munir (The Pirbright Institute, UK), Gerald Misinzo (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania)