Dr. Denise Dekker
+49 40 42818-521
+49 40 42818-512
“One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach — working at the local, regional, national, and global levels — with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment” (CDC.gov)
Bacterial infectious diseases are common medical problems in developing countries. Due to limited diagnostic facilities, the causative agents and sources of infection as well transmission pathways often remain unidentified. Empiric treatment is a common practice in facilities with scarce resources, fostering the emergence of antibiotic resistance leading to difficult-to treat infections. Due to the absence of effective monitoring, circulating bacterial strains and changes over time are not always entirely understood.
Also, infections seen in humans are often zoonoses representing a public health concern around the globe. This is linked to our close relationship with animals in agriculture and in the environment in particular affecting rural areas of developing countries. Zoonotic pathogens can be transmitted to humans through direct contact or through food, water or the environment. Overuse of antibiotics in animal husbandry has significantly contributed to the increase of multi drug resistant bacteria, also seen in humans. Bacteria are capable of adapting to different environments. They for example can persist on hospital surfaces, in water and soil for extended periods exhibiting a transmission reservoir and harbouring antibiotic resistance, subsequently causing human infections.
Our research interests include the generation and comparison of bacteriological data from humans, animals and the environment in countries with limited resources. A special research focus is on transmission and the identification of transmission reservoirs of antibiotic resistant bacteria in rural areas of sub-Saharan African countries. Our activities will support and guide patient management and public health measures.
Genetic adaptation of Salmonella enterica in human and animal reservoirs in sub-Saharan Africa