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Surveillance and Eco-epidemiology of Wildlife (SEEpiAS) Unit of the Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife

Head of Unit: Franck Boué

The Surveillance and Eco-epidemiology of Wildlife Unit is devoted to monitoring and studying the role of wild animals in the circulation of health hazards (mainly pathogens, parasites, bacteria and viruses) that can be transmitted to humans (zoonoses) or shared with domestic animals. It focuses particularly on Echinococcus parasites, ticks and the pathogens they transmit, and Mycobacterium bovis, which causes bovine tuberculosis.

Reference activity

The unit has the mandate of National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Echinococcus spp., mainly E. multilocularis and E. granulosus sensu lato.

Surveillance activities

Under this NRL mandate, the unit leads the epidemiological surveillance of Echinococcus multilocularis in France, jointly with the French Biodiversity Agency (OFB). It also organises ad hoc surveillance plans for Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato parasites in livestock, in conjunction with the Directorate General for Food (DGAL) and the Departmental Directorates for the Protection of Populations (DDPPs).

Working closely with the National Reference Laboratory for tuberculosis, whose mandate is held by the Laboratory for Animal Health, the unit provides support to managers with the surveillance of bovine tuberculosis in wildlife.

Research activities

In line with its NRL mandate, the unit establishes research programmes to improve and develop diagnostic tools and the epidemiology of Echinococcus spp. parasites, mainly E. multilocularis and E. granulosus sensu lato.

The unit's research on the Mycobacterium bovis bacterium focuses on eco-epidemiology and on the development of tools and vaccine protocols targeting one of the wildlife species primarily affected in France: the badger. This work is carried out in conjunction with the laboratory's experimental station and the NRL for tuberculosis.

The unit's other research topic is tick-borne pathogens. The team contributes to improving knowledge and understanding of:

  • the circulation of these pathogens within wildlife populations and at the interface between these populations and human and domestic animal populations,
  •  the distribution of ticks and of the infectious agents they carry, as well as the factors influencing this distribution,
  • the risk of human exposure to tick-borne infectious agents.