Epidemiology, Ecology and Socio-Economics of Disease Emergence in Nairobi


Barbara Haesler, Jonathan Rushton, Joshua Onono, Pablo Alarcon Lopez




This US$5.4M project assesses the risk of emerging zoonotic pathogens in Nairobi by investigating existing livestock value chains and aiming to understand consumer behaviour, sociological factors, microbiological assessments, and the wider environment.

Project details

The project investigates whether there is an association between livestock keeping and diarrhoeal disease in children, but also tackles the broader question of how the presence of livestock affects the microbial ecology of the city: how are the microbial floras of humans, livestock, other animals (such as rodents and birds) and the wider environment related?

The two principal lines of investigation in this project include: 1) studying a diversity of Nairobi neighbourhoods and social groups, stratified by poverty status to divide the city into several strata, and conduct a cross-sectional study of several households in each stratum and 2) from each sample location, and based on in-depth interviews, the project envisages working backwards along the chains of supply of animal products that end in each of the sample sites, building a comprehensive picture of the livestock commodity value chains that feed into urban Nairobi.

This will help to improve understandings of the geographical origins of each chain and the biological and social interactions that take place at each node of the chain. The same in-depth work as in the cross-sectional sample will be undertaken at each node. The chains under study will most likely originate both outside and within the city boundaries, consequently representing a range of chain complexities. Results are not yet available.


International Livestock Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, University College of London, University of Nairobi, Kenyan Medical Research Institute, African Population and Health Research Institute, and the International Institute for Environment and Development.

Further information