Leptospirosis is the world’s most widespread zoonosis and is an important emerging infectious disease. With over 1 million cases and 60,000 deaths around the globe, leptospirosis places a disproportionate public health burden on urban slum populations and impoverished regions worldwide. The pathogenesis of leptospirosis remains poorly understood, imposing a major barrier for the development of better diagnostic and prevention methods. Dr. Albert Ko and collaborators have been conducting hospital-based surveillance and prospective community-based cohort studies in Salvador, Brazil, a major city in the northeastern of the country where leptospirosis is endemic. The research conduct by the Ko lab combines multidisciplinary epidemiology, ecology and translational research-based approaches to identify prevention and control strategies that can be implemented in slum communities. Dr. Elsio Wunder conducts translational research focused on understanding the pathogenesis of leptospirosis and vaccine development. Other sites of study are Colombia, South Africa, and Rwanda, with collaborations on the epidemiology of the disease with focus on the One Health approach. Adjunct professors working on leptospirosis include Drs. Mitermayer Reis and Federico Costa. Dr. Reis work with leptospirosis epidemiology and Dr. Costa research is focused on the eco-epidemiology of the disease in slum communities.
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