Tackling histoplasmosis; a neglected disease impacting on equine health and human livelihoods


  • Dr Claire Scantlebury

    University of Liverpool

Project summary

Histoplasmosis causes epizootic lymphangitis (EZL), a severe fungal infection that occurs frequently among working horses in Sub-Saharan Africa. This disease has a significant effect on the health and welfare of horses and a subsequent effect on the livelihoods of the people who depend on them for agriculture and transport. Little work has been done to understand how this disease is transmitted, meaning that the best methods for controlling the disease are unknown.

This research programme will investigate how this disease is transmitted in Ethiopia and The Gambia by analysing information about animal management as well as environmental and clinical samples. Molecular, biological and statistical analyses will be used to compare animals with and without EZL. We will establish the main routes for infection and investigate whether there are particular strains of histoplasma that contribute to disease and whether there are similarities between histoplasma species that infect horses and people. This project brings together an international team including experts in infectious disease, fungal pathobiology, global and population health and veterinary non-governmental organisations.

Findings will be shared with local communities, regional clinics and laboratories with the aim of designing achievable and practical prevention strategies.