The interdisciplinary One Health Unit (OHU) led by Dr. Isabelle Bolon and Dr. Rafael Ruiz de Castañeda addresses emerging issues in Global Health at the human-animal-ecosystem interface, including both health risks resulting from human-animal interactions such as zoonosis but also opportunities for health promotion associated to biodiversity conservation. This brings together theory and practice from a diversity of fields such as epidemiology of infectious diseases, veterinary public health, environmental health, zoology and disease ecology, urban ecology, conservation sciences, and citizen cyber-science. The OHU leads innovative teaching activities (e.g. MOOC, flipped‐classroom, distance education in Kenyan refugee camp) and interdisciplinary research (e.g. impact of snakebite on humans and animals in Cameroon and Nepal) in collaboration with local, national and international partners (University Hospitals of Geneva, Citizen Cyberlab, InZone, WHO, MSF, ITU, EPFL, Swiss TPH, Institut Pasteur, University of Montreal). The OHU promotes an integrated One Health approach and digital innovation to better understand and tackle global health challenges at the interface of human, animal and environmental health.
First One Health approach to snakebite
We are partners and in charge of One Health in the interdisciplinary SNSF project Snake-byte "Tackling the second deadliest Neglected Tropical Disease: predicting and reducing the impact of Snakebite on human and animal health through interdisciplinary analyses of hotspots and access to care".
Snakebite affects poor communities of the world causing over 135,000 deaths annually, and 400’000 victims of disability and psychological trauma. But the impact of snakebites on rural communities could be even higher if we look at the whole socio-ecological rural system applying the One Health approach. Since these rural communities are strongly dependent on their animals for food, work or as a direct source of revenue, a possible impact of snakebites on animals, for instance in terms of mortality or impaired productivity, could affect livelihood and human health. Although this problem is being reported by farmers and producers in different parts of the world, it has been poorly investigated and comprehensive quantification of the national, regional or global burden is missing. With an international team of experts in tropical medicine and public health, animal health, ecology and environmental sciences, herpetology, and spatial analysis, we aim to answer: What are the direct impact of snakebite on human populations in Nepal and Cameroon and the indirect impact through an impact on livestock and livelihood?
Artificial Intelligence and Citizen Sciences to tackle snakebite
We currently lead the project First medical decision-support tool for snake identification based on artificial intelligence and remote collaborative expertise. Snakebite deaths are preventable using correct antivenoms, which are often expensive, scarce and can have side effects. Antivenom choice is critical and depends first on identifying the biting snake. However, healthcare providers are not herpetologists (i.e. snake experts) and often struggle to identify the dead snake or to interpret the information provided by victims/bystanders/relatives. This project aims to develop and implement the first mobile app to urgently and reliably (I) identify snakes from photos using AI and crowdsourcing (i.e. global network of herpetologists), and (II) support victims and healthcare providers in the management of snakebite in endemic countries. More..
Science-policy initiatives for the early notification and response to emerging infectious diseases: International landscape analysis and positioning of Switzerland
With the Covid-19 pandemic, we observed a large multiplication of initiatives to prevent and respond to emerging infectious diseases at the human-animal-environmental interface. The general objective of this project funded by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs is to develop a landscape analysis of national and international science-policy initiatives around the early notification and response to emerging infectious diseases. The resulting science-policy recommendations will support the FDFA to define and plan future cross-sectional actions for improved capacity to early detection and respond to emerging infectious diseases in collaborations with Swiss and international academic and non-academic institutions.
The global fight against snake bites, BBC Future, 14.04.2021
La crise écologique favorise les pandémies, Tribune de Genève, 06.03.2021
D’autres virus apparaîtront à l’avenir, si nous n’agissons pas pour limiter les facteurs de risques, Le Temps, 01.05.2020
Une application mobile pourra identifier les serpents à l'origine de morsures, RTS, 2..07. 2019
L'intelligence artificielle se focalise sur les morsures de serpents, Journal de l'UNIGE, 28.03.2019
Les morsures de serpents cartographiées, RTS, 13.07.2018
UNIGE: une carte planétaire des morsures de serpent, SwissInfo.ch, 13.07.2018
La lutte contre les serpents dangereux s’intensifie, Tribune de Genève, 13.07.2018
Serpents, poison des zones rurales, Le Temps, 10.04.2018
News and Activities
The ITU-WHO Focus Group on ‘AI for Health’ will guide the technical development and implementation of our project "Snapp: First medical decision‐support tool for snake identification based on artificial intelligence and remote collaborative expertise". The project was recently accepted in New York as part of eight new use cases.
Our project "Snapp: First medical decision‐support tool for snake identification based on artificial intelligence and remote collaborative expertise" got funded by the "Fondation privée des HUG".
Find a description of the project here.
The kick-off meeting of the project Snake-byte took place on March 26th-27th 2018 at Campus Biotech and involved the international partners from Nepal and Cameroun, as well as snakebite experts from WHO and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine .
Learn more about our "First Global Flipped Classroom in One Health': From MOOCs to research on real world challenges" just published in the One Health Journal.
Read the article and watch the video of this event.
Check our Coursera’s MOOC on "Global Health at the Human-Animal-Ecosystem Interface" and discover more about our work and the people we work with in Geneva and around the world. Joining our MOOC is a great opportunity to discuss with us and to join a global community working on or learning about Global Health (i.e. One Health, EcoHealth etc.).
Please register here , and watch the teaser here.
Scientific Articles & Conference Proceedings
- JOLY, Alexis et al. Overview of LifeCLEF 2021: an evaluation of Machine-Learning based Species Identification and Species Distribution Prediction. Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference of the CLEF Association (CLEF 2021). 2021.
- MOOS, Bethany et al. A scoping review of current practices on community engagement in rural East Africa: Recommendations for snakebite envenoming. Toxicon: X 2021
- DURSO, Andrew et al. Citizen science and online data: Opportunities and challenges for snake ecology and action against snakebite. Toxicon: X 2021
- BOLON, Isabelle et al. What is the impact of snakebite envenoming on domestic animals? A nation-wide community-based study in Nepal and Cameroon. Toxicon:X 2021
- POIRIER, Ophélie et al. Modelling forest degradation and risk of disease outbreaks in mainland Equatorial Guinea. Journal of Public Health and Emergency 2021
- MACHALABA, Catherine, et al. Applying a One Health Approach in Global Health and Medicine: Enhancing Involvement of Medical Schools and Global Health Centers. Annals of Global Health 2021
- ALCOBA, Gabriel et al. Development of a transdisciplinary methodology for cross-sectional analysis of snakebite epidemiology at a national scale. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2021
- CIANFAGNA, Mark et al. Biodiversity and Human Health Interlinkages in Higher Education Offerings: A First Global Overview. Frontiers in Public Health 2021
- DURSO, Andrew et al. Supervised Learning Computer Vision Benchmark for Snake Species Identification From Photographs: Implications for Herpetology and Global Health. Frontiers in AI 2021
- DURSO, Andrew et al. Crowdsourcing snake identification with online communities of professional herpetologists and avocational snake enthusiasts. Royal Society Open Science 2021
- BOLON, Isabelle et al. One Health education in Kakuma refugee camp (Kenya): From a MOOC to projects on real world challenges. One Health 2020
- LUKAS, Picek, et al. Overview of the SnakeCLEF 2020: Automatic Snake Species Identification Challenge, CLEF working notes 2020, CLEF: Conference and Labs of the Evaluation Forum, Thessaloniki, Greece 2020
- HIERINK, Fleur, et al. Forty-four years of global trade in CITES-listed snakes: Trends and implications for conservation and public health. Biological Conservation 2020
- OCHOA, Carlos, et al. Assessing the Increase of Snakebite Incidence in Relationship to Flooding Events. Journal of Environmental and Public Health 2020.
- BOLON, Isabelle et al. Identifying the snake: First scoping review on practices of communities and healthcare providers confronted with snakebite across the world. PLoS ONE 2020
- FLAHAULT, Antoine et al. Precision global health for real-time action. The Lancet Digital Health 2020
- RUIZ DE CASTANEDA, Rafael, et al. Citizen science could map snakebite risk. Nature 2019
- BABO MARTINS, Sara et al. Snakebite and its impact in rural communities: The need for a One Health approach. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2019
- BOLON, Isabelle et al. Le fardeau des morsures de serpent sous l’angle One health : première étude communautaire nationale évaluant l’impact des morsures de serpent sur les animaux d’élevage et les moyens de subsistance au Cameroun et au Népal ». XXVes Actualités du Pharo, Marseille 3-5 October 2019 One health, vers Une seule Santé! Médecine et Santé Tropicales, 2019, 29:3, p.232 (Abstr.)
- RUIZ DE CASTANEDA, Rafael, et al. Snakebite and snake identification: empowering neglected communities and health-care providers with AI. The Lancet Digital Health 2019
- BOLON, Isabelle et al, Snakebite in domestic animals: First global scoping review. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 2019
- BEMPONG, Nefti-Eboni et al. Precision Global Health - The case of Ebola: a scoping review. Journal of Global Health 2019
- KOGAN, Nicole et al. Wet Markets and Food Safety: TripAdvisor for Improved Global Digital Surveillance? JMIR Public Health Surveill 2019
- BOLON, Isabelle et al. Impact of snakebite on livestock and livelihood: a neglected issue?. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2019
- ALCOBA, Gabriel et al. Snake-byte: first national epidemiological study on snakebite shows high annual incidences in Nepal and Cameroon. Abstracts from the 11th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health. London: Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; 2019 p. S67.
- BEMPONG, Nefti-Eboni et al. Precision Global Health: The Case of Ebola. A Scoping Review. Journal of Global Health, 2019
- BOLON, Isabelle et al. Espaces verts et forêts en ville : bénéfices et risques pour la santé humaine selon l’approche « Une seule santé » (One Health). Revue Forestière Française. 2018
- ZINSSTAG, Jakob et al. Climate change and One Health. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 2018, vol. 365, n° 11.
- RUIZ DE CASTANEDA, Rafael et al. First ' Global Flipped Classroom in One Health ': From MOOCs to research on real world challenges. One Health, 2018
- GENEVIÈVE, Lester Darryl et al. Participatory approaches and open data on venomous snakes: A neglected opportunity in the global snakebite crisis? PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2018, vol. 12, n° 3, p. e0006162.
- BEMPONG, Nefti-Eboni et al. Taking flight with Precision Global Health: a scoping review on avian influenza. Journal of Public Health and Emergency, 2018
- LONGBOTTOM, Joshua et al. Vulnerability to snakebite envenoming: a global mapping of hotspots. The Lancet, 2018
- FLAHAULT, Antoine et al. Precision global health in the digital age. In: Swiss Medical Weekly, 2017
- FLAHAULT, Antoine, RUIZ DE CASTANEDA, Rafael Luis, BOLON, Isabelle. Climate change and infectious diseases. Public Health Reviews, 2016
- RUIZ DE CASTANEDA, Rafael Luis, BOLON, Isabelle, FLAHAULT, Antoine. The First Interdisciplinary MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Global Health at the Human-Animal-Ecosystem Interface. EcoHealth, 2016, vol. 13, p. S116.