One hundred years of zoonoses research in the Horn of Africa: A scoping review. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2021;15(7)
HPRU-EZI Authors - Maya Wardeh, Matthew Baylis,
Background One Health is particularly relevant to the Horn of Africa where many people’s livelihoods are highly dependent on livestock and their shared environment. In this context, zoonoses may have a dramatic impact on both human and animal health, but also on country economies. This scoping review aimed to characterise and evaluate the nature of zoonotic disease research in the Horn region. Specifically, it addressed the following questions: (i) what specific zoonotic diseases have been prioritised for research, (ii) what data have been reported (human, animal or environment), (iii) what methods have been applied, and (iv) who has been doing the research? Methodology/principal findings We used keyword combinations to search online databases for peer-reviewed papers and theses. Screening and data extraction (disease, country, domain and method) was performed using DistillerSR. A total of 2055 studies focusing on seven countries and over 60 zoonoses were included. Brucellosis attracted the highest attention in terms of research while anthrax, Q fever and leptospirosis have been comparatively under-studied. Research efforts did not always align with zoonoses priorities identified at national levels. Despite zoonoses being a clear target for ‘One Health’ research, a very limited proportion of studies report data on the three domains of human, animal and environment. Descriptive and observational epidemiological studies were dominant and only a low proportion of publications were multidisciplinary. Finally, we found that a minority of international collaborations were between Global South countries with a high proportion of authors having affiliations from outside the Horn of Africa. Conclusions/significance There is a growing interest in zoonoses research in the Horn of Africa. Recommendations arising from this scoping review include: (i) ensuring zoonoses research aligns with national and global research agendas; (ii) encouraging researchers to adopt a holistic, transdisciplinary One Health approach following high quality reporting standards (COHERE, PRISMA, etc.); and (iii) empowering local researchers supported by regional and international partnerships to engage in zoonoses research.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases