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PLoS One. 2016 Aug 24;11(8):e0161576. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161576. eCollection 2016.

Prioritization of Zoonotic Diseases in Kenya, 2015.

Author information

Global Disease Detection Program, Division of Global Health Protection, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nairobi, Kenya.
Zoonotic Disease Unit, State Department of Veterinary Services; Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, Nairobi, Kenya.
Zoonotic Disease Unit, Department of Preventive and Promotive Heath; Ministry of Health, Nairobi, Kenya.
Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.
Epidemic Intelligence Service, Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.
Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training program, Ministry of Health, Nairobi, Kenya.
Department of Public Health, Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America.
Center for Global Health Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya.
Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, United States of America.



Zoonotic diseases have varying public health burden and socio-economic impact across time and geographical settings making their prioritization for prevention and control important at the national level. We conducted systematic prioritization of zoonotic diseases and developed a ranked list of these diseases that would guide allocation of resources to enhance their surveillance, prevention, and control.


A group of 36 medical, veterinary, and wildlife experts in zoonoses from government, research institutions and universities in Kenya prioritized 36 diseases using a semi-quantitative One Health Zoonotic Disease Prioritization tool developed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with slight adaptations. The tool comprises five steps: listing of zoonotic diseases to be prioritized, development of ranking criteria, weighting criteria by pairwise comparison through analytical hierarchical process, scoring each zoonotic disease based on the criteria, and aggregation of scores.


In order of importance, the participants identified severity of illness in humans, epidemic/pandemic potential in humans, socio-economic burden, prevalence/incidence and availability of interventions (weighted scores assigned to each criteria were 0.23, 0.22, 0.21, 0.17 and 0.17 respectively), as the criteria to define the relative importance of the diseases. The top five priority diseases in descending order of ranking were anthrax, trypanosomiasis, rabies, brucellosis and Rift Valley fever.


Although less prominently mentioned, neglected zoonotic diseases ranked highly compared to those with epidemic potential suggesting these endemic diseases cause substantial public health burden. The list of priority zoonotic disease is crucial for the targeted allocation of resources and informing disease prevention and control programs for zoonoses in Kenya.

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