Irchel Campus

Vetsuisse Public Health Conference 2018

Date and Location

This years' Vetsuisse Public Health Conference will take place on the 29th November 2018. It will be held in the Theatersaal (Y21-F-65A) on the Irchel Campus of the University of Zürich.

The conference brings together people interested in the research conducted in Veterinary Public Health in Switzerland. It is an opportunity to be updated on current projects and to network in the community. Everyone is welcome.

Participation is free and lunch will be offered thanks to a grant from the Graduate Campus of the University of Zürich.

Conference Program

The conference will contain several sessions:

  • Animal Welfare Session
  • Epidemiology Session
  • Food Safety Session
  • Poster Session

Submission of abstracts are welcome until 21 October 2018 (see below). The detailed programme will follow. The keynote speakers are presented below.

Alexandra P.M. Shaw - epidemiology keynote

Alex Shaw

Alex Shaw initially trained as an economist and began work on animal health and livestock economics in the mid-1970s. She started her career in Nigeria and went on to work for the Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics Research Unit (VEERU) at Reading University. Much of her working life has focussed on tsetse and trypanosomiasis problem in Africa. With funding from FAO and the DFID-Animal Health Programme, she and colleagues developed an innovative methodology for mapping the monetary benefits of tsetse control, going on to link these to the costs of different control strategies, so as to map benefit-cost ratios.  Her studies of the tsetse and trypanosomiasis problem in livestock and in people led to her becoming increasingly involved in assessing the dual burdens imposed on human and animal populations by other neglected zoonotic diseases, such as rabies, brucellosis and tuberculosis. She now focuses on both human and animal health economics in a One Health context. She contributed to three European Union Framework 7 research projects on neglected zoonoses in Africa, targeting advocacy, training and notably research into impact through ICONZ (Integrated Control of Neglected Zoonoses). She was also involved in the Ecosystems Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) project, Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium focussing on trypanosomiasis in Zambia. Currently she is working with colleagues at the University of Liverpool on two Gates-funded projects: one on the costs of tsetse control using tiny targets to help eliminate gambiense sleeping sickness, the other the first stages of a project to assess the global burden of animal diseases (GBADs). She works as an independent consultant based in Andover and is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Edinburgh’s Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine.


DALYs, dogs and dollars: the economics zoonoses control

The development of the DALY, and the first GBD information published in 1996 ushered in an era in human health economics where it was possible to look at disease on a global scale. The transparency and essential simplicity of the DALY with its combination of YLLs and YLDs based on disability weights applicable across countries has made it a very usable tool.  To the veterinary constituency, the DALY highlighted the desirability of an internationally recognised metric which could be used to advocate for resources to control different diseases.  It was widely felt that the ideal would be to have a YLL/YLD based metric for animals. For companion animals, whose lifespan their owners seek to maximise, this concept works well, as shown in a recent article.  For livestock it becomes much more complex, for example where the objective is to rapidly fatten animals to a target slaughter weight. For wildlife, their much longer lifespans in captivity and differing conservation statuses introduce a similar dilemma.  Overall ranking across species adds further complexity: how to compare, say, rats, cats, dogs, cows and giant pandas? The notion of the zDALY provides an elegant solution. This dual metric uses the notion of time trade-off.  Livestock losses are initially valued in monetary terms and then divided by a measure of per capita income, enabling them to be assimilated with DALYs. Where there are no obvious commercial values, as for wildlife and companion animals, more complex time trade-off or willingness to pay approaches would be needed.

For the decision-maker looking at the costs and benefits of controlling zoonoses there were hitherto three approaches.  First, monetary items (intervention costs, human health costs saved and animal health losses averted) could be amalgamated, leading to a ‘net cost’ which could then be compared to the DALY.  Second, the separable costs method apportions the purely monetary benefits between the human and animal health sectors, and allocates costs in the same proportions.  Third, the DALY could be assigned, purely in the context of this type of analysis, a monetary value of between 1 and 3 years GDP per person (the same values used in WHO’s cost-effectiveness thresholds) and a monetary benefit-cost ratio calculated.  Incorporating the zDALY allows for a much needed fourth option.  It effectively mirrors the benefit-cost analysis approach, yielding identical relative shares for human and animal disease losses.  While they can be critiqued and could be improved, these last two methods provide veterinary and medical decision-makers each with a metric familiar to their own constituencies, producing results which can be used to guide investments in a consistent and context-appropriate manner.

Stefan Schwarz - food safety keynote

Stefan Schwarz

Prof. Stefan Schwarz is managing director of the Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics at the Free University in Berlin. Stages in his carreer were at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, the TiHo in Hannover, and at the College of Veterinary Medicine der China Agricultural University. Prof. Schwarz has published 436 peer-reviewed papers and 37 books/ book chapters. He has received the "Martin-Lerche-Forschungspreis der Deutschen Veterinärmedizinischen Gesellschaft", the "Preis der Akademie für Tiergesundheit” and the "Nachwuchsförderpreis der Deutschen Veterinärmedizinischen Gesellschaft”. He is a veterinary specialist (Fachtierarzt) for Epidemiology, for Molecular Genetics and Gene Technology, and for Microbiology.


“One Health” is the evolution of the earlier used term “One Medicine” which recognizes that humans do not exist in isolation, but are a part of a larger whole, a living ecosystem, and that activities of each member of this ecosystem affect the others. The ‘One Health’ concept recognizes that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the health of the environment. Interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of healthcare of humans, animals and the environment are indispensable. Although the term "One Health" is fairly new, the concept has long been recognized, both nationally and globally. Since the 1800s, scientists have noted the similarities in disease processes among animals and humans, although human and animal medicine were separated until the 20th century.

Under the ‘One Heath’ umbrella, many different topics can be summarized, one of which is antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial agents are used extensively in human medicine, veterinary medicine, but also in aquaculture and horticulture. In all sectors, bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents occurs and the resistant bacteria as well as their resistance properties are interchanged. Examples will be provided that refer to emerging resistance properties seen recently among bacteria from humans and animals, including transferable resistance to (i) carbapenems, (ii) polymyxins, and (iii) oxazolidinones, all of which are antimicrobial agents listed as ‘critically important’ by the WHO. The examples presented will illustrate that antimicrobial resistant bacteria and their resistance genes have evolved in different sectors and are spread within and between these sectors via different transmission routes.

Ruedi Nager - animal welfare keynote

Ruedi Nager

Ruedi Nager is from the University of Glasgow.


details will follow shortly.

Call for Contributions and Registration

Abstracts for presentations and posters

Deadline is 21 October 2018.

Contributions from any institution are welcome, just apply in your subsection epidemiology, animal welfare or food safety.

For submission of abstracts for posters and presentations please consult the call for contributions (PDF, 1281 KB) and send your contribution to Claudia Guldimann before 21 October 2018.

Registration for participants

Registration is now open! Please fill in the following registration form before 15 November 2018.