Contestant: CUGH-Pulitzer 2016 Global Health Video Competition (Innovation Category)
Dispatch from the Field: Mongolia, Building capacity and leveraging technology to fight influenza and detect emerging infectious disease
CUGH-Pulitzer 2016 Global Health Video Competition Contestant (Innovation Category)
Mongolia is home to 3 million people and more than 50 million horses, camels, sheep and cattle. The risk of viruses mutating in animals and jumping to humans is realâ€”70 percent of emerging diseases that affect humans come from animals. In fact, it is believed that a 1989 human influenza pandemic was caused by a virus that is circulating in Mongolian horses today.
In Mongolia there is no influenza surveillance system for animals or humans in the countryâ€™s vast rural regions. It takes two weeks to get results of an influenza test in rural parts of the country because the samples need to be sent to the national capitol. During that time, the virus could begin the march to wipe out a farmerâ€™s invaluable herd or kill a person.
With NIH funding from the Fogarty International Center to spur public health innovation, One Health researchers at the Duke Global Health Institute are collaborating with colleagues in Mongolia to bring locally based rapid influenza testing to rural Mongolia.
According to principal investigator Greg Gray, â€œThis project will certainly help preserve the health of Mongolian people and their animals, and could potentially save lives,â€ said Gray. â€œIn addition, we are bringing a new level of rigor to medical research in Mongolia, which is important to building capacity in the countryâ€™s health sector.â€
Even better, if the project proves to be successful, it could be replicated in other developing countries where the transport of specimens is a challenge.
Jim Rogalski, Gregory Gray, Joy Stutts, Susan Gallagher, Diana Harvey