The overall objective of the department is to increase, through capacity building the health security by enhancing and strengthening the preparedness to common health threats and biosafety risks at national and regional levels.
Specific objectives include
- Prevent outbreaks of zoonotic viruses through early detection, diagnosis and identification within the region
- Improve integrated surveillance (animal, human, entomological)
- Provide risk assessment of the different emerging viruses (transmission, spread, human impact)
- Recommend and implement public health measures for control where possible.
- The department of Arbovirology, Emerging and Re-emerging Disease comprises of three laboratory sub-networks: Arbovirology, Plague and Viral Special Pathogens Branch. All three laboratory sub-networks provide routine surveillance of vector-borne viruses representing a potential risk of emergence in the region.
- The Arbovirology surveillance program performs differential serological and molecular arbovirus diagnostic tests and analyses for yellow fever virus, West Nile virus, Zika virus, Dengue virus, Chikungunya virus, O'nyong nyong virus and Semiliki Forest virus. The Arbovirus laboratory has been recently approved by WHO as a Regional Reference Laboratory (RRL) for yellow fever. As a WHO RRL, the laboratory will provide yellow fever confirmatory testing for suspected outbreaks in Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.
All three surveillance programs receive funding from the US CDC, through the CDC-UVRI Co-operative agreement. Other funding agencies include the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) through the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP).