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Investigations of the interactions of zoonotic pathogens in humans and animals (SHIP-NEXT Module One Health)

As part of the population-based project Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP) a third cohort (NEXT) was established in mid-2021. Within the NEXT module “One Health”, animal contacts (dog, cat, poultry) of the 4000 randomly selected participants (20-79 years) will be investigated and risk factors for zoonotic transmission as well as husbandry and environmental conditions examined. The aim is to gain a better understanding of the complex interactions between humans-pets-livestock-environment as well as risk factors for the zoonotic transmission in the private household in order to generate a stronger awareness for the private interaction with pets and livestock.

Biomaterials (blood; rectal, oropharyngeal and nasal swabs; rectal samples) are tested for parasitic (Echinococcus spp., cestodes: dogs, cats; Toxoplasma gondii: cats), bacterial (Campylobacter spp.; dogs, cats, poultry, humans; Borrelia burgdorferi: dogs) and viral pathogens (Hepatitis E virus: dogs, cats, humans; FSME virus: dogs, cats, poultry, humans). Whole genome sequencing of the intestinal microbiome is performed on 450 samples (50 non-pet owners with risk of food associated exposure; 100 animal owners and 300 animal contacts), to compare bacterial strains and resistance genes. Biomaterials and extracted DNA are stored in the biobank and are thus available for future diagnostics.

The questionnaire will be offered as online survey to animal owners nationwide to assess regional heterogeneity. Based on all generated results as well as literature and expert knowledge risk assessments will be performed and recommendations for private animal owners derived. Due to the extensive examination protocol in humans, this One Health approach allows not just investigating risks for zoonotic transmissions in animal keeping households, but also associations of animal husbandry and examined zoonotic infections with human health.


The project is implemented in cooperation between the University Medicine Greifswald and the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut.

Participating institutes of the University Medicine Greifswald:

  • Institute for Community Medicine
  • Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute for Medical Mikrobiology
  • Clinic for Internal Medicine A
  • Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
  • Institute for Immunology and Transfusion Medicine

Participating institutes of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut Riems:

  • Institute for Epidemiology
  • Institute for Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases


This work was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) based on a decision of the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany, granted by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE; grant number 28N203201).

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