2nd Joint Call: SEA-dog-SEA

This project aims to explore the social and ecological dimensions of dog-associated zoonotic diseases in order to improve their management in rural areas of SE Asia (Socio-Ecological Approach of dog-borne diseases in SE Asia). It is funded under the 2nd Call of Southeast Asia - Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Science and Innovation.
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A large majority of human diseases is due to zoonotic pathogens, and a significant proportion of those originate from domestic animals. Dog was the first domesticated animal, with the initial centre for domestication located in Asia, and it is currently the most widespread and abundant human commensal. Dogs play an important role of reservoirs for major public health infectious threats, such as rabies. However, apart from rabies, dog-human epidemiological relationships have received relatively little attention, with disease such as cystic echinococcosis being classified as a neglected zoonotic disease. Similarly, is still unclear what roles dogs may play in Asia in the epidemiology of leptospirosis, emerging rickettsiosis or Japanese encephalitis. A key knowledge gap is the paucity of information regarding the behavioral, ecological, and socio-economic determinants of dog-human interactions in SE Asia, in order to improve the management of dog populations for veterinary and public health benefits.


The Project 

SEA-dog-SEA project will study the social and ecological dimensions of dog zoonotic diseases in rural sites selected in Indonesia (Bali), with additional sites in Cambodia and Thailand supported by complementary surveys. The field surveys will combine: i) dog ecology, population dynamics and contact network (GPS tracking, camera traps); ii) dog shared microbiome and prevalence of selected dog-borne diseases (e.g. leptospirosis, internal helminths and rickettsia); iii) perceptions and practices of local populations regarding dog keeping and management (anthropology, social-network of owners…): iv) modelling of multi-layered networks and zoonotic risks associated with dogs. The comparisons between countries will highlight the main drivers of dog-associated zoonotic risks and allow for improved management of dog populations for better prevention of spill-over risks.


The Science

The project adopts an interdisciplinary approach to analyse the linkages between dogs’ spatial behaviour and population dynamics with the socio-cultural and environmental characteristics of the study sites. The movements and distribution of selected dogs will be assessed during radio-tracking sessions using GPS collars, combined with camera-trap monitoring of marked/unmarked dog populations. A questionnaire survey (translated in Balinese/Thai/Khmer), key-informants interviews and participatory mapping will be carried out in the participating villages in order to assess local perceptions and practices regarding dog keeping and management. The screening of zoonotic pathogens in selected dogs will use standardised laboratory diagnostic techniques (rabies antibodies, leptospirosis, rickettsiosis… depending on the sites), while NGSs will be used to analyse the microbiota of sympatric free-ranging dogs based on faecal samples collected. The analysis of contact networks between dogs, and associated social networks between dog-owners, will aim at identifying key individuals/”superspreaders” and key areas/resources to target the management of spill-over risks..


The Team

The SEA-dog-SEA paartners are:


Michel de Garine-Wichatitsky:


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