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Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Program                                                            
Phase 4 (2009 Deadline)

Capacity Building, Epidemiology, and Risk Assessment of Endemic and Emerging Tick-Borne Disease in KPK and FATA, Pakistan

Mike Teglas, University of Nevada, Reno
Khalid Khan, Veterinary Research Institute Peshawar
Pakistani Funding (Department of State): $140,303
US Funding (Department of State): $172,186
Project Dates: November 15, 2010 - November 14, 2013 (Extended through September 30, 2014)
 
Project Overview

UNR-VRIP Tick-Borne Disease Picture 2
Dr. Khalid Khan (center) and colleagues collect blood samples to test for tick-borne infections (photo courtesy of Dr. Khan)

In Pakistan more than 75 percent of the population earns their livelihood from raising livestock. Tick-borne diseases often result in decreased meat, milk, and fiber production, spontaneous abortion, and death in livestock populations. Infection by tick-borne pathogens not only results in economic hardship for people relying on livestock for their survival but also can be transmitted to the farmers themselves. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province of Pakistan and the adjacent Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) share a poorly controlled border with Afghanistan, which increases the risk of transboundary transmission of diseases and parasites, yet there is little data regarding the distribution of ticks and tick-borne diseases in those regions. The long-term goal of this study is to establish a region-wide surveillance program for ticks and tick-borne diseases and to gain better understanding of key ecological factors required by ticks. Data collection efforts and analysis will serve as a source of hands-on training for Pakistani scientists and students and will serve as the platform for capacity building at the collaborating institutions. By the end of this project, the Pakistani partner institute will be able to offer molecular-based diagnostic services for tick-borne diseases and train and support local veterinary and human healthcare providers. An online database of ticks and tick-borne diseases in Pakistan will provide for better information dissemination and communication, and the undergraduate and graduate students participating in the project should also see their academic and career paths in the molecular biological sciences strengthened. The US partner university also plans to use the relationships developed through this cooperative program to recruit graduate students into a proposed International Vector Biology Training Program that would provide sustained training and support to vector-borne disease prevention efforts being developed in Pakistan and potentially other countries.

Quarterly Update

During the 3rd quarter of 2013, Sample collection from multiple areas of the province have been collected and processed for use in Drs. Khan and Ijaz’s upcoming training in US. The visa application process has been delayed considerably this year. A renewed DS 2019 Form was sent to Drs. Khan and Ijaz. They are currently waiting for approval of the visa application.

Tick borne disease ELIZA tests have been sent to Pakistan for us in project analyzing exposure in human agricultural workers from UNR. The two PIs will continue with a new project investigating the prevalence of zoonotic tick-borne disease (transmitted from animals to humans) in farmers and agriculturalists that live in close proximity to their livestock. The PIs expect this project to be a component of one or more graduate level student’s research project.

Progress Reports

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