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Afrique One

A f r i q u e


O n e


N째 002, April-December 2011

N e w s l e t t e r

Afrique One

Thryonomys swinderianus (grasscutter): a model for One Health implementation

Prof Bassirou Bonfoh Director Consortium Afrique One


frique One, after the inception workshop that gathered 11 Postdocs in April 2011 (Arusha, Tanzania) is now fully operational with the launch of all activities related to capacity building and research agenda. In the last months, the training component was the major activity. In the next couple of months, the training team will be developing the process of negotiating the introduction of the training module into our collaborative universities’ Master and Doctoral courses as a welcome package or supplementary modules for the students and researchers. This process has already received attention from the Deans and Directors as well as the Vice-chancellors during the last major meeting conveyed respectively by Afrique One and the Wellcome Trust (November 2011 in Dar es Salaam). During Afrique One management Board meeting held in October 2011 (Saly Portudal, Senegal) significative progress in activities has been acknowledged by the Deans and Directors who expressed the need to better inform on Afrique One model and its scientific and institutional capacity building offers. The recognition and the relevance of the Postdoc positions in our research centres and universities are appreciated and this “New species” in the academic environment is becoming a tradition taken by some new initiatives (NMIMR in Accra, EISMV, in Dakar) and we are proud of that. Furthermore the FP7-KBBE project “Training of the One Health Next Scientific generation in the Sahel and Maghreb” will be a supportive curriculum development component for Afrique One. Through the application of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary principles, researchers within Afrique One have identified methodological linkages, institution networking and the huge potential of data and samples sharing across and beyond the consortium. The first outcome of this exercise is the identification of the grass-cutter (Thryonomis swinderianus) as a model for One health implementation research both on its use for understanding the ecology, wildlife conservation, food security; zoonoses risk analysis and captive animal behaviour. We describe here two main cross-country cases studies with a focus on Mycobacterium ulcerans (Buruli ulcer) and Hantavirus transmission to human during husbandry practices and grass-cutter meat consumption. In term of research administration, our future challenges are to overcome some of the research administration such as improving and strengthening the financial system and the development of Afrique One strategic plan beyond the time of the current African Institution Initiative of the Wellcome Trust. The Directorate of Afrique One wishes Happy New Year 2012 and fruitful scientific research.

News Afrique One training activities .......................2 5th Management Board meeting of the Consortium Afrique One ................................2 African Institutions Initiative Workshop, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania .........................................3

Zoom on project A One Health approach to understanding the transmission of Buruli ulcer in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire ......................................................5 Detection of Hantavirus in the stools of grasscutters «Thryonomys swinderianus» breeding by RT-PCR. .......................................5

Publications List of publications and conferences ..............6

Member Institutions ............................7 Past and Future Events ...........................8


note on the consortium logo: We likened our efforts to building this consortium to that of building a house. Understanding of higher-level population and ecosystem processes rests hierarchically on sound understanding of simpler processes. Vertically aligned sets of pillars, each representing different zoonotic diseases, support these different levels of our understanding of ecosystem health - the same disease potentially contributing to understanding at different levels. Different colours represent the contributions of different institutions to this understanding, so some pillars are multi-coloured, and of course some pillars await construction.

Publication Director Contributors Prof. Bassirou Bonfoh Prof. Agathe Fantodji Prof. Bassirou Bonfoh Editor-in-chief Prof. Mireille Dosso M. Sylvain Koffi Dr. Aurelie Cailleau Dr. Karim Ouattara Co-editor Dr. Solange Kakou Dr. Karim Ouattara M. Sylvain Koffi Graphic Designer M. Boris Kouakou M. Casimir B. Yatanan M. Boris Kouakou

News Afrique One training activities Afrique One training sessions are gradually established. in June 2010, forty (40) researchers received personalized support for the analysis of their data and the use of R Software. Additionally, a training on qualitative research methodology was held from 22-27 May 2011 in Arusha, Tanzania. Two other courses in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) were held both at the University of Dar Es Salaam (25 participants) and at Dakar Inter-State School of Science and Veterinary Medicine (20 participants) from 1-5 August 2011. The attendants, who accounted for almost all the Afrique One member institutions, were able to establish links strengthening the interconnection of Afrique

One network, and were equaly able to acquire the basics of geographic data management. Several other courses took place, among which a training on molecular biology from 3-14 October 2011 at the University of Dar es Salaam and two trainings for Principal Investigators and Postdocs on scientific article writing and project management (1619 October 2011) during the 5th management board meeting in Saly Portudal, Senegal. The first one provided participants with skills ranging from structuring ideas to the strategy of publication. The second one provided participants with a standardized methodology for the organization and management of projects.

5th Management Board meeting of the Consortium Afrique One From October 17 to 22, 2011, was held in Saly Portudal, Senegal, the 5th Management Board meeting. The meeting was hosted by the Inter-State School of Science and Veterinary Medicine (EISMV), a school under the direction of Professor Louis Joseph Pangui. This meeting was to evaluate the progress of the whole consortium and provide more informations about activities to Dean and Directors from institutions involved in Afrique one but also to some decision makers such as African Union. The meeting was attended by 50 peoples mostly post doctoral fellows, principal investigators, coordination and Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of Afrique One and several representatives from the Wellcome Trust, the African Union through Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources

Photo: EISMV Dakar


(IBAR) and a satellite institution (Centre International de Recherches MĂŠdicales de Franceville, Gabon) of the consortium. The Deans, Directors and different representatives listed above appreciated the progress of the consortium and proposed some ideas to achieve the goal of Afrique One with their support. Consortium members and invited partners are committed to improving collaboration in order to enhance individual and institutional capacity in Africa research institutions. The Farcha zootechnical and veterinary Research Laboratory (LRVZ) based in Chad, was choosen to host the next meeting of the Management Board in 2012.

3 African Institutions Initiative Workshop, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Fom 15 to 18 November 2011, was held the African Institutions Initiative Workshop hosted by the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Tanzania and the Wellcome Trust (one of the world’s largest private medical research charities). Seven consortia were invited SNOWS, THRiVE, CARTA, SACIDS, SACORE, IIDP, and Afrique One. Afrique One was represented by Bassirou Bonfoh (Director), Sayoki Mfinanga (Deputy Director) and Karim Ouattara (Coordinator). In addition, other participants from the Wellcome trust staff, the Consortium for National Health Research (Kenya) and the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), a leading institution for science and innovation policy in Africa, attended this meeting. The last two institutions

agreed to respectively share their experience and help facilitate linkage, exchange activities and collaboration between consortia. The strengths of this meeting were the presentations of the progress made by each consortium, the exchange between wellcome Trust Staff and all consortia, the meeting with the Vice Chancellors from consortia institutions and the meeting with the board. It pointed out the interest to involve institutions leaders in order to facilitate the integration of different consortia staff and management system within their respective institutions. Lastly, a tour visit of key MUHAS and NIMR sites was conducted.

NIMR TB lab renovated by Afrique One. Photo: Bassirou Bonfoh

Group shot including Directors of Consortia, African institutions initiative Advisory board members, Vice chancellors, Financial and management team members of the Wellcome Trust and learning and evaluation team members from RAND.

Zoom on projects

A One Health approach to understanding the transmission of Buruli ulcer in Ghana and Côte d’Ivorie “Across country study” Buruli ulcer is a re-emerging mycobacterial disease that is characterized by necrosis and extensive destruction of affected tissue and bone involvement (osteomylietis) in extreme cases. Limbs and cooler parts of the body are the areas that are typically affected. The disease is focally distributed over about a third of the world with SubSaharan Africa and Australia being the most endemic regions. Prevalence rates range from 1-150/100,000 infected individuals annually. In some endemic countries particularly Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Benin, Buruli ulcer is currently the second most important mycobacterial disease coming second to tuberculosis with leprosy being the third. The causative organism, Mycobacterium ulcerans, is a slow growing environmental mycobacterium. It share about 99% sequence homology with M. marinum, a well characterized fish pathogen. The bacterium is localized extracellularly in infected human tissues unlike other mycobacteria, however, in the environment, the DNA has been associated with a wide range of organisms comprising, plants, insects, amphibians, fishes, mammals and humans. As such all endemic communities have slow moving water bodies as a common risk factor. Since the mode of transmission still remains unknown, the work at CSRS is based on the hypothesis the overlapping environmental habitats of the pathogen, animals and humans directly influences the transmission of M. ulcerans. Hence Afrique One intends to outline

zoonotic risk in transmission of M. ulcerans between the environment, small mammals and humans using socio-anthropological and socio-economic data and also provide an excellent platform to the building of capacity in molecular biological methods in identification of strains, which is now at the fore-front of scientific research. Ultimately the information gathered from this work will aid in the adoption of a One Health policy approach to develop possible interventions and contribute to train 3 Msc, 2 Phd and 2 Associated Postdocs.

Pre-operative Buruli ulcer lesion on the back of young ivorian boy at Zoukougbeu traitement center, Côte d’Ivoire. Photo: Lydia Mossi An undermined Buruli ulcer formed in an experimentally infected grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianus). Photo: Phyllis Addo

Typical water body found in endemic areas

GPS coordinates or sampling sites in both Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.


5 Detection of Hantavirus in the stools of grasscutters «Thryonomys swinderianus» breeding by RT-PCR. The grasscutter is only present in Africa, specifically in sub-Saharan area. It is the rare animal whose meat is struck with no taboos. Everything is used in this animal. Poaching, destruction of natural habitats of animals, ecosystems and species through hunting lead to their depletion. The breeding of big wild rodents such as grasscutter is an alternative. Thus, along with other West African countries facing chronical deficit in animal protein and also in view of maintaining biodiversity through the protection of ecosystems and species, Côte d’Ivoire encourages the breeding of unconventional animal such as the grasscutter. The benefits expected from grasscutter breeding are now multiple: From food perspective, grasscutter meat is highly appreciated by most customers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The grasscutter is much appreciated for its organoleptic qualities. Its use, provides people with the animal protein while ensuring food security. Economically, wild grasscutter is an income-generating activity mainly through the sale of its meat. Globally, evaluated at 76, 8 billion FCFA in 1996 bushmeat accounted for 1.4% of GDP in Côte d’Ivoire. From a scientific point of view, the great grasscutter (Thryonomis swinderianus) as well as some other species, are already used as new laboratory animal. On the socio-cultural point of view, the grasscutter bones are used in traditional medicine and some ritual sacrifices.

Docile grasscutters as pet animals (Photo: Fantodji A.)

the farmer to improve field’s fertility. However, the use of wild and domesticated grasscutter is risky given the constraints associated with various pathologies observed, of which the best known are those under control while some other pathologies still causing the sudden death of the animal, remain an enigma. These pathologies include Hantavirus. The Hantavirus cause asymptomatic infection in rodents and are responsible for hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, pulmonary syndrome and kidney disease epidemic in humans. Transmission is made through contact with droppings of infected rodents through biting or aerosols. In Africa, the spread of Hantavirus is poorly known. However, several investigations have noted the presence of pathologies associated with Hantavirus in west and central areas.

The burnt hairs of the grasscutter provides with a powder used in lotions to heal certain wounds. They can also be used as sponge in dermatology. In addition to these roles mentioned above, it is good to know that the domesticated grasscutter is subject to veterinary care which makes its meat a healthy one. The grasscutter is also used as a pet. From the environment and ecosystem perspective, grasscutter breeding contri- This project conducted by UFR Sciences de la Nature butes to sustainable development through the non- (University of Abobo-Adjamé), Institut Pasteur and Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte degradation of the environment. Sustainable development takes into account both the d’Ivoire, aim to determine the contamination of development and the promotion of unconventional grasscutters by Hantavirus, using RT-PCR molecular animal breeding which is a component of sustainable detection.

agriculture and conservation of biological diversity. Additionally, the project involved in Afrique One At the farm, the droppings of grasscutter, denied food Consortium, funded by the Wellcome Trust foundainto compost are excellent organic fertilizers used by tion will bring in 3 Postdocs, 1 PhD and 6 Masters.

Publications List of last publications and conferences CSRS Wilson M. D, Daniel Adjei Boakye, Lydia Mosi, Kingsley Asiedu (2011). In the case of transmission of Mycobacterium ulcerans in Buruli ulcer disease Acanthamoeba species stand accused. Ghana Medical Journal Volume 45 number 1 Dziedzom K. de Souza, Quaye C., Mosi L., Addo P., Boakye D. A. (2011). A quick and cost effective method for the diagnosis of Mycobacterium ulcerans infection BMC Microbiology. In review Bassirou B., Giovanna R., Kone I. Dao D., Girardin O., Cissé G., Zinsstag J., Jürg U., Tanner M. (2011). Reserarch in a War Zone. Nature Vol 474 569.

UAA Coulibaly D.-N’Golo, Allali B., Kouassi K. S., Fichet-Calvet E., Becker-Ziaja B., Rieger T., Ölschläger S., DossoH., Denys C., Meulen J., Akoua-Koffi C., Günther S. (2011) Novel Arenavirus Sequences in Hylomyscus sp. and Mus (Nannomys) setulosus from Côte d’Ivoire: Implications for Evolution of Arenaviruses in Africa PLoS ONE Vol 6 | Issue 6 | e20893

TAWIRI Hoener, O.P., Watcher, B., Goller, K.V., Hofer, H., Runyoro, V., Thierer, D., Fyumagwa, R.D., Muller, T., & East, M.L. (2011). The impact of a pathogenic bacterium on a social carnivore population. Journal of Animal Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2011.01873. Hampson K., Lembo, L., Bessell, P., Auty, H., Packer, C., Halliday, J., Beesley, C.A., Fyumagwa, R., Hoare, R., Ernest, E., Mentzel, C., Metzger, K.L., Mlengeya, T., Stamey, K., Roberts, K., Wilkins, P., Cleaveland, S. 2011. Predictability of anthrax infection in the Serengeti, Tanzania. Journal of Animal Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02030. Knauf S., Batamuzi S., , Mlengeya E.K., Kilewo, T., Lejora M., , Nordhoff I.A.V., Ehlers M., Harper B., , K.N., Fyumagwa, R., Hoare, R., Failing, K., Wehrend, A., Kaup, F.J., Leendertz, F.H., & Ma¨tz-Rensing, K. (2011). Treponema Infection Associated With Genital Ulceration in Wild Baboons. Veterinary Pathology. DOI: 10:117/0300985811402839. Fyumagwa, R.D., Simmler, P., Meli, M.L., Hoare, R., Hofmann-Lehmann, R., & Lutz, H. (2011). Molecular detection of Anaplasma, Babesia and Theileria species in a diversity of tick species from Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. S.Afr. J. Wildl. Res. 41(1): “In press”.


EISMV Kamga W. A.R., Gbati O.B., Kone P., Chatagnong., Bakou S.N., Diop.E.H. et Tainturier D. (2011). Seroprevalence of neosporosis in intensive and semi - intensive dairy cattle herds in Senegal. In « 1st International One Health Congress Human Health, Animal Heath, The Environnement and Global Survival at Melbourne Convention Centre – Victoria, Australia ». Melbourne, 14 – 16 February 2011. Abstrats 98, EcoHealth, 7(Supplement1)S144. Kamga .W A.R., Gbati O.B., Kone P., Dombou E., Sene M., Bakou S.N., Diop P.E.H. et Tainturier D. (2011). Seroprevalence of dogs neosporosis in breeding areas of Dakar and Thies – Senegal. In « 1st International One Health Congress Human Health, Animal Heath, The Environnement and Global Survival at Melbourne Convention Centre – Victoria, Australia ». Melbourne, 14 – 16 February 2011. Abstrats 99, EcoHealth, 7(Supplement1)S145. Gbati O.B., Kone P.., Kamga W. A.R., Bakou S.N., Pangui L.J. (2011). Prevalence of Sarcocystis cysts in the muscles after slaughter of cattle in West Africa. In « 1st International One Health Congress Human Health, Animal Heath, The Environnement and Global Survival at Melbourne Convention Centre – Victoria, Australia ». Melbourne, EcoHealth, 7(Supplement1)S145.

NIMR Muhimbili Mahoney A. M, Bart J. W., Cox C., Beyene N., Mgode G., Jubitana M., Kuipers D., Kazwala R., Mfinanga G. S, Durgin A., Poling A., Using giant African pouched rats to detect tuberculosis in human sputum samples: 2010 findings. The Pan African Medical Journal. July 2011;9:28; ISSN 1937-8688 Bwana V., Tenu F., Magesa S. M. and Sayoki G. M.. Smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis among HIV patients receiving Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Health Research; Volume 13, Number 1, January 2011; 17 – 24.

MU Stoffel SA., Alibu VP., Herbert J., Ebikeme C., Portais JC., Bringaud F., Schweingruber, ME and Barrett MP (2011): Transketolase in trypanosome brucei. Mol Biochem Parasitol. 179(1):1-7

7 LRZV Berg S., Garcia-Pelayo M C., Müller B., Hailu E., Asiimwe B., Kremer K., Dale J., M Boniotti B., Rodriguez S., Hilty M., Rigouts L., Firdessa R., Machado A., Mucavele C., Ngandolo B. N. R., Bruchfeld J., Boschiroli L., Müller A., Sahraoui N., Pacciarini M., Cadmus S., Joloba M., Soolingen Van D., Michel A. L, Djønne B., Aranaz A., Zinsstag J., Van Helden P., Portaels F., Kazwala R., Källenius G., Hewinson R G., Aseffa A., Gordon S. V, Smith N. H. (2011) African 2, a clonal complex of Mycobacterium bovis epidemiologically important in East Africa. Journal Of Bacteriology Vol: 193, Issue: 3, Pp 670-678

Member Institutions

Smith N. H, Berg S. , Dale J. , Allen A. , Rodriguez S. , Romero B., Matos F. , Ghebremichael S. , Karoui C., Donati C., Machado A. da C., Mucavele C. , Kazwala R. R , Hilty M. , Cadmus S., Ngandolo B. N. R. , Habtamu M. , Oloya J., Muller A., Milian-Suazo F. , Andrievskaia O. , Projahn M., Barandiarán S., Macías A. , Müller B. , Zanini M. S., Ikuta C. Y., Rodriguez C. A. R., Pinheiro S. R., Figueroa A., Soolingen S.-N. C., Mosavari N., Chuang P.-C. , Jou R., Zinsstag J. , Dick van , Costello E., Aseffa A., Perez F. P.-, Portaels F. , Rigouts L., Cataldi A. A., Collins D. M , Boschiroli M. L., Hewinson R G. , Ferreira J. S. N., Surujballi O. , Tadyon K., Botelho A., Zárraga A. M., Buller N., Skuce R., Michel A., Aranaz A., Källenius G., Niemann S., Boniotti M B., van Helden P. D , Harris B., Zumárraga M. J., Kremer K., Gordon S. V and Jeon Bo-Y. (2011). Infect Genet Evol European 1: A globally important clonal complex of Mycobacterium bovis. PMID 21571099

Afrique One is financed by the

Past and Future Events PAST At the initiative of CIRAD in Montpellier-France, Professor Bassirou Bonfoh delivered a speech from 2224 November 2011 on : «Dynamics and management of bird flu virus at the interface, birds and man». A technical workshop of experts for fighting Buruli Ulcer in West Africa was held from 7-9 November 2011 in Accra, Ghana. The CSRS together with some local patners organized a national workhop on bruli ulcere from 10-11 october 2011 in Adiopodoumé, Abidjan on: «Efficient Control of Buruli ulcer in Côte d’Ivoire: the need for an integrated Research and Control.» From 15-17 September 2011 was held in the political capital of Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the first International Congress on pathogens in the human-animal interface (ICOPHAI) to solve one of major public health problems in the world today: zoonoses. This conference brought together scientists, policymakers and other stakeholders worldwide. From 1-7 September 2011 were held celebrations marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS). Participated in this event, over 500 individuals including twenty from Switzerland. Were also present several members of the Ivorian Government headed by Dr. Ibrahima Cisse, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, acting as sponsor. That event was under the sign of «60 years of research in partnership for sustainable development» The first One Health Conference in Africa was held from 14-15 July 2011 at National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) of the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS), Johannesburg, South Africa. A training session on Fundamentals of data management was held from 20-24 June 2011 in Durham City, North Carolina, USA. The Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) and the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) organised a joint meeting from 12-16 June 2011 at Naura Springs Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania.

FUTURE CSRS will host in collaboration with Imperial College of London, a workshop on “Exploring capacity for metabolic profiling in Côte d’Ivoire” from 11-13 January 2012 (Sponsored by Wellcome Trust). The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy, is organizing a Workshop on “Infectious Diseases” from 23 January-3 February 2012 in Arusha/Tanzania. CSRS will host a training course entitled “Molecular biology - VNTR PCR of environmental samples to test for Mycobacteria” from 24-28 January 2012, Abidjan/Côte d’Ivoire. The World Vetenerary Association together with the Global Risk Forum will organize the World Summit on One Health from 19-23 February 2012 in Davos/Switzerland CSRS will host a training session on project writting in March 2012, Abidjan/Côte d’Ivoire. Ecohealth will organize the 4th Biennial Conference of the International Association for Ecology & Health from 15-18 October 2012 in Kunming/China.

Contacts Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS) Address: 01 P.O Box 1303 Abidjan 01 Fax: (+225) 23 45 12 11 Tel: (+225) 23 47 27 90 / 92 Email:


Director : Prof. Bassirou Bonfoh Deputy Director: Prof. Fantodji Agathe Tobgé Deputy Director: Dr Sayoki Mfinanga

Afrique One News N° 002, April-Decembre 2011