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Infectious Diseases (Epidemiology, Disease Ecology, Diagnostics)

Infectious Diseases (Epidemiology, Disease Ecology, Diagnostics)

Project Lead(s)
Dr. Irene Owusu Donkor Research Fellow1
Research Fellow
Project Background 

Infectious diseases arise from the presence of a pathogenic biological organism or its toxic products in a susceptible host. They differ from non-infectious diseases because of the mechanisms by which pathogens are transmitted as well as the population dynamics of disease occurrence transmission. Infectious disease epidemiology is the study of factors contributing to our understanding of why infections emerge and spread and how they may be prevented and controlled. Epidemiological methods are used to detect infectious pathogens, determine disease causality, understand pathogenesis and the natural history of infections as well as ways to devise effective interventions for their prevention and control. For example, through surveillance, case control and cohort studies, it is possible to detect disease outbreaks and identify causative infectious agents as well as factors contributing to propagation. Increasingly, molecular methods are also used to inform infectious disease transmission dynamic. The appearance of new infectious diseases and resurgence of old ones, often in new and drug-resistant forms, brings renewed urgency to infectious disease epidemiology.

Objectives/Research Areas 

Research in this group focuses on

  1. investigating the seroepidemiology of infectious diseases of public health concern
  2. understanding the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases of public health concern
  3. developing epidemiologic models to predict the potential for epidemics and define interventions that can contain possible outbreaks.
Key Publications  
  1. Yinda CK, Port JR, Bushmaker T, Offei Owusu I, Purushotham JN, Avanzato VA, et al. (2021) K18-hACE2micedeveloprespiratorydiseaseresemblingsevereCOVID-19. PLoS Pathog17(1): e1009195
  2. Port JR, Yinda CK, Owusu IO, Holbrook M, Fischer R, Bushmaker T, et al. SARS-CoV-2 disease severity and transmission efficiency is increased for airborne compared to fomite exposure in Syrian hamsters. Nat Commun [Internet]. 2021;12(4985):1–15.
  3. Gyapong, J.O., Owusu, I.O.,da Costa Vroom, F.B., Mensah, E.O., & Gyapong, M. (2018). Elimination of lymphatic filariasis: current perspectives on mass drug administration. Research and Reports in Tropical Medicine,9, 25-33.
  4. de Souza, D.K., Offei Owusu, I., Otchere, J., Adimazoya, M., Frempong, K., Ahorlu, C.S., Boakye, D.A., Wilson, M.D (2017). An evaluation of Wb123 antibody ELISA in individuals treated with ivermectin and albendazole, and implementation challenges in Africa. Pan African Medical Journal, 27:65
  5. Offei Owusu, I., de Souza, D. K., Anto, F., Wilson, M. D., Boakye, D. A., Bocakarie, M. J., & Gyapong, J. O. (2015). Evaluation of human and mosquito-based diagnostic tools for defining endpoints for the elimination of Anopheles transmitted lymphatic filariasis in Ghana. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 109, 628–635.
External Collaborator(s) 
Dr. Vincent Munster, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Antje Kamprad, Project Manager, Institute of Virology, AG Prof. Drexler, Charite- Universitatsmedizin, Berlin
Dr. Jewelna Akorli – Parasitology Department
Dr. Ivy Asante – Virology Department
Dr. Peter Quashie – WACBIP
Prof Ernest Kenu – School of Public Health
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations
World Health Organization
The African Academy of Sciences