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Jonas Johansson Wensman

Jonas Johansson Wensman
I am a veterinarian since 2004 with a special interest in infectious diseases, especially the interplay between pathogen, host and environment. I am working with various pathogens (mainly viruses, but also bacteria) and several host species. Research questions are based on clinically relevant problems, focusing on pathogen factors (prevalence, genetic characterization, immunomodulation and immune evasion mechanisms), host factors (genetics, host immune responses) and environmental factors (management routines, infection pressure/co-infections, wildlife interactions). The importance of these factors and how they interplay in infectious diseases is my major research interest.


I am leading the course Degree project in veterinary medicine

I am also lecturing in different courses, mainly on infectious diseases.


I am leading the following on-going research projects:

Infectious diseases in sheep and goats in low- and middle-income countries

Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is an economically important disease, especially affecting the household economy of the poorest people, since the main hosts are domestic sheep and goats in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, species important for the daily survival. Smallholders keeping small ruminants, mostly women, are one key driver in poverty alleviation in many regions of the world, but infectious diseases, such as PPR, represent serious threats to further development of the smallholder production. PPR is spreading rapidly despite availability of vaccines and diagnostic tests. The role of wildlife in PPR epidemiology is still uncertain.

We are currently studying different aspects of infectious diseases, focusing on PPR, in sheep and goats in low- and middle-income countries, mainly Tanzania, Pakistan, Botswana and Zambia.

Ongoing research is funded by the Swedish Research Council (Grant no. 348-2013-6402, 348-2014-4293 and 2016-05667).

Virus infections in small ruminants


Antibody quality of colostrum in dairy cows and uptake of colostral antibodies in dairy calves: importance for health and production, and potential for genetic selection

The antibody quality of the colostrum is essential for the newborn calf, as the calf is totally dependent on the passive transfer of colostral antibodies during the first 24 hours of life to keep healthy and survive until weaning. A high proportion of the cows have insufficient antibodies in the colostrum. There are also calves that do not obtain as much antibodies as expected. This is called failure of passive transfer (FPT). Some calves, on the other hand, do acquire antibodies very efficiently. We are convinced that genetic factors are important for these processes.

The aims of this project are to study how the antibody quality of colostrum and the efficiency of passive transfer affects health and production in dairy herds. Moreover, the project aims to identify candidate genes associated with antibody quality of colostrum and passive transfer, and their potential for genetic selection, potentially leading to substantially improved calf health and production.

This project is funded by Swedish Farmers’ Research Foundation (Grant no. V1430009).


Variation of microbiota – effects on disease and mortality in Swedish dairy calves

Despite considerable research and information efforts during the last decades, the calf health in Swedish dairy herds and the level of biosecurity have not improved substantially. An unacceptably large part of the neonatal mortality is today unexplained, but most likely related to infections early in life. Our hypothesis is that different infectious agents create a high infection load, which has a great impact on calf mortality and overall herd production. We will compare herds with high and low calf mortality to study the importance of differences in microbiota and infection load for morbidity and mortality associated with neonatal calf diarrhea. This project aims to use metagenomics and quantitative molecular analytical methods to identify and quantify all infectious agents present in fecal samples from calves, investigate highly virulent E. coli strains and relate this to the within-herd and between-herd biosecurity. The project will give the overall picture of the infection load in Swedish dairy herds, the contributing infectious agents and how the infectious load varies in a herd over time. This knowledge will give us a better basis for prophylaxis and relevant advice to the producers in order to improve calf health. We are convinced that biosecurity is profitable and that the results of the project will rapidly be applicable in practice without high costs.

This project is funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas (Grant no. 2016-00666).


Kennel cough in dogs

Kennel cough or canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) is a well known disease in dogs and is easily recognized. The diagnosis is usually made based on characteristic clinical signs, without any further laboratory diagnostics to establish the etiological agent. Therefore, the knowledge about which viruses and bacteria that cause disease outbreaks in Sweden is limited.

CIRD is a disease complex and can be caused by several viruses (e.g. canine parainfluenzavirus (CPIV), canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) and canine herpesvirus (CHV)) and bacteria (mainly Bordetella bronchiseptica), either as a single infection or as co-infections. Other viruses and bacteria than the above mentioned have also been considered as a cause of CIRD. Studies have shown that the etiological diagnosis can only be identified in around 30% of the cases. Hence, hitherto unknown viruses could also be a cause of CIRD.

This project aims to give important information about the viruses and bacteria involved in disease outbreaks of CIRD in Sweden. This information is important for disease prevention and control, and for giving adequate advice to veterinary clinicians and dog owners to prevent spread of disease at outbreaks.

Ongoing research is funded by the research foundations of Agria and Swedish Kennel Club, Jan Skogsborg and Sveland Foundation of Animal Health and Welfare. In addition, MSD Animal Health is also supporting this research.

Kennel cough in dogs


Bornavirus infections

Bornavirus causes neurological diseases in a wide range of species. In Sweden it is mainly known as the cause of staggering disease in cats, but bornaviruses have also been found in horse, lynx and parrot. My research aim to increase the understanding of the epidemiology in Sweden and other countries, and how virus is able to evade the host immune response to establish persistent infection. For this, I am collaborating with several researchers at SLU (Mikael Berg, Anne-Lie Blomström and Bodil Ström Holst), SVA (Veronica Rondahl, Erik Ågren, and others) and partners in Norway, Iceland, Germany, United Kingdom and USA.

Current research is funded by the Sveland Foundation of Animal Health and Welfare, for investigating bornavirus in parrots and wild birds.


Education and degree

Associate Professor in Infectious Diseases, SLU 2016

PhD in Virology, SLU 2011

Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine, SLU 2004



Postdoc in Ruminant Medicine, SLU 2012-2015

Associated Researcher at Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania 2014-2015

Research Coordinator 2016-2017

Coordinator for Global Development at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science 2019-

Researcher in Ruminant Medicine 2015-



Selected publications

Selected publications

1.     Wensman, J.J., Munir, M., Thaduri, S., Hörnaeus, K., Rizwan, M., Blomström, A-L., Briese, T., Lipkin, W.I. & Berg, M. 2013. The X proteins of Bornaviruses interfere with type I interferon signaling. J Gen Virol, 94(2):263-269.

2.     Wensman, J.J., Blomqvist, G., Hjort, M. & Holst, B.S. 2013. Presence of antibodies to Schmallenberg virus in a dog in Sweden. J Clin Microbiol, 51(8):2802-2803.

3.     Wensman, J.J., Lindahl, J., Wachtmeister, N., Torsson, E., Gwakisa, P., Kasanga, C & Misinzo, G. 2015. A study of Rift Valley fever virus in Morogoro and Arusha regions of Tanzania – serology and farmers’ perceptions. Infect Ecol Epidemiol, 5:30025.

4.     Jinnerot, T., Malm, K., Eriksson, E. & Wensman, J.J. 2015. Development of a TaqMan real-time PCR assay for detection of Bordetella bronchiseptica in dogs. Vet Scie Res Review 1(1):14-20.

5.     Wensman, J.J., Leuchowius, K-J., Yan, J., Berg, A-L., Ludwig, H., Bode, L., Belák, S., Landegren, U., Söderberg, O. & Berg, M. 2016. Visualization of Borna disease virus protein interactions with host proteins using in situ proximity ligation assay. British J Virol, 3(1):11-23.

6.     Fischer, K., Chenais, E., Torsson, E. & Wensman, J.J. 2016. Where is the Participation in Participatory Epidemiology? How Engagement with Social Science could lead to Improved Understanding and Control of Peste des Petits Ruminants. British J Virol 3(4):105-114.

7.     Torsson, E., Kgotlele, T., Berg, M., Mtui-Malamsha, N., Swai, E.S., Wensman, J.J. & Misinzo, G. 2016. History and current status of peste des petits ruminants virus in Tanzania. Infect Ecol Epidemiol 6:32701.


Links to publications: Google Scholar Citations orcid


Senior Lecturer at the Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health; Virology Unit
Telephone: +4618671446
Postal address:
BVF, Virologi, Box 7028
Visiting address: Ulls väg 26, Uppsala