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Emerging and re-emerging infections

We work with partners in Bangladesh and internationally to detect, characterise and respond to emerging and re-emerging infectious disease threats.

Programme lead

Dr Sayera Banu

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Our approach

Detection of emerging and re-emerging infections is important both locally and internationally, with the potential for rapid and global dissemination of infectious agents. Our work depends on extensive surveillance platforms and close collaboration with local and international partners to identify and respond to outbreaks.


We have a long-standing collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has enabled us to build platforms to track infections, through hospital-based surveillance and population-based surveys. Avian influenza is an important focus – we monitor live bird markets for signs of infection in market workers.

We have a particular interest in understanding the environmental and social factors that may contribute to the transmission of infections such as Nipah virus from animals to humans.


We use our understanding of likely routes of infection transfer to develop new interventions. We aim to identify methods that are practical and affordable, and so would be suitable for wider scale-up. 

For example, we have developed bamboo skirts to prevent contamination of date palm sap with bat saliva and urine, an important route for Nipah transmission to humans. We are also working on interventions to limit spread of avian influenza in live bird markets.


We are evaluating a range of strategies to prevent disease transmission. These include vaccination of people and of potential reservoir organisms (e.g. cattle for anthrax, pigs for Japanese encephalitis). We are also evaluating communication campaigns to reduce the risk of Nipah infection.

We routinely respond to infectious disease outbreaks in Bangladesh in partnership with the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), and in collaboration with the local One Health initiative.