Capturing of ducks

Ecology meets Epidemiology

A conference with focus on disease ecology and arranged by the network One Health Sweden. The conference will be held on 22-23 March, 2017, at Linnaeus University in Kalmar.

Diseases have a profound impact on all forms of life, and can determine the fate of individuals and populations. Importantly, most pathogens can infect more than one host species, which means that diseases are often shared and shaped by interactions among species and the environment.

At the Ecology meets Epidemioloy workshop we wish to gather scientists from biological, veterinarian and medical faculties to discuss the latest topics in disease ecology, ranging from animal ecology, disease epidemiology and immunology. The conference is organized by One Health Sweden, a network of researchers across disciplines interested in the ecology and epidemiology of multihost and zoonotic pathogens. We especially encourage young researchers (PhD students and postdocs) to come and present their work, meet senior researchers and exchange ideas with peers.

Paper submittal and registration is now closed.

Keynote speakers

Nicolas Gaidet

Animal and Integrated Risk Management unit, CIRAD, France

An ecological approach to health: the case of avian-borne viruses
Ecological interactions between hosts and their environment are fundamental to the transmission of infectious diseases. Despite the recognition of wildlife as a major source of pathogen for human and livestock, and the associated risk in terms of public health and economic burden, wildlife ecology is a relatively recent discipline in the field of health research. An ecological approach to health is particularly relevant in the case of multi-host pathogens in order to understand complex epidemiological systems at the wildlife–livestock–human interface.

The recurrent Avian Influenza Virus (AIV) outbreaks over several continents has put a focus on the role of wild birds in the geographical spread and perpetuation of these viruses. This presentation will illustrate how ecology can help inform other health disciplines by investigating the mechanisms whereby host ecology and the environment influence the transmission of AIV in wild birds and other avian viruses.

Within a wild bird community, species differ in their contribution to the perpetuation of a virus according to their functional competence to transmit and spread viruses (differences in exposure to the pathogen, in group size and frequency of social aggregation, and in movement rate), but also in their intrinsic competence (differences in permissiveness for infection and in capacity to replicate the pathogen). The probability of successful transmission of a virus between distinct host species may be related to the phylogenetic distance between these species since co-evolutionary process between hosts and pathogens have shaped host species barrier to infection.
In this presentation, the ecological characteristics of bird host species (such as migratory pattern, foraging and social behavior, reproduction rate) and their phylogenetic relatedness will be investigated to evaluate their contribution to the transmission of avian viruses. The characteristics of distinct wild bird communities will also be analysed (in terms of species assemblage, abundance, and relative competence of the host species) to evaluate the capacity of host communities to introduce, perpetuate, and disperse these viruses. Study cases from both tropical and temperate regions will be used to illustrate how differences in host ecology and seasonality produce specific ecological interactions between wild birds and viruses in distinct ecological contexts.

Elinor Jax

Max Planck Institute of Ornithology, Germany

Gene expression profiling of whole blood as a means of detecting an immune response in an avian non-model species
Several emerging infectious diseases with major implications on biodiversity and human health have their origin in wild animals; still little research has been done on the immune system and its functions in wild populations. To better understand the ecology of infectious diseases and the spread of zoonotic diseases it is crucial to study infectious diseases and the immune system of their hosts in their natural environment. In this study we investigated the potential of using gene expression profiling from whole blood of a natural host of avian influenza virus, the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), as a means of detecting and analysing an immune response. For this purpose we simulated infections to mimic natural infections in mallards using three immunostimulants: lipopolysaccharides, polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid, and inactivated Staphylococcus aureus. A total of 100 blood samples, taken before and 3 hrs, 6 hrs, 12 hrs, and 24 hrs after stimulation, were individually analysed using high throughput Illumina RNA-sequencing and differential gene expression analysis. We found considerable differences in the gene expression profiles between stimulated and unstimulated individuals for all treatment groups and time points. More than 50% of the differentially expressed genes could be assigned roles in the regulation of immune functions. Identification of these genes, but also of genes with previously unknown functions, sheds light on the evolution of avian immune systems. Our findings are of major importance for the growing field of eco-immunology because blood samples, in contrast to organs, can easily and repeatedly be obtained in the wild without harming the animal.

Gunilla Hallgren

National Veterinary Institute, Sweden

Anthrax in Sweden, from past to present
Anthrax is a serious bacterial zoonotic disease that can affect most mammals especially herbivores. Human cases usually develop after exposure to infected animals and their tissues. The causing agent, Bacillus anthracis, is spore-forming and the spores are extremely resistant to inactivation and can survive in the environment for decades. Survival is influenced by pH, water activity, temperature and nutrients, and calcareous soils promote persistence. Anthrax was common in Swedish livestock up to the mid-twentieth Century and many cases were caused by contaminated feedstuff made from meat and bone meal. A feed ban in 1957 on the import of bone meal led to a drastic reduction of outbreaks. In recent years Sweden has suffered from four outbreaks of anthrax in livestock, the latest in 2016, when 12 animals on 6 different holdings and 3 moose died from anthrax. The control measures focus on decontamination, prompt carcass disposal and vaccination of animals in the area to prevent further cases. Information about historical outbreaks from Official National and Regional Veterinary Archives are used to assess the geographic risk of old anthrax spores. Climate change, with extreme weather events, may increase the risk of anthrax outbreaks in the future.

Lars Råberg

Functional Zoology, Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden

Ecology and epidemiology of Borrelia afzelii
Many pathogens have a number of antigenically different strains (serotypes) circulating in the host population. Here, I discuss how ecological processes—like niche separation, facilitation and competition—affect the diversity and distribution of strains, using the tick-transmitted bacteriumBorrelia afzelii as example.


Place: Glasverandan, Kalmarsalen, Kalmar

22 March
11.00-13.00 Arrival and registration, a light lunch is provided

13.00-13.10 Opening words: One Health Sweden

An ecological approach to health: the case of avian-borne viruses
Nicolas Gaidet, Cirad, France

Wild birds as drivers for the emergence and re-emergence of highly-pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N8 in Europe, 2014-2017: Marjolein Poen, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Linking spatial connectivity networks of waterbirds to the dispersal of avian influenza A virus: Mariëlle van Toor, Linnaeus University, Sweden

Seasonally recurring outbreaks of Salmonella Typhimurium among passerine birds, domestic cats and children: Robert Söderlund, SVA, Sweden

15.00-15.30 Coffee

Gene expression profiling of whole blood as a means of detecting an immune response in an avian non-model species
Elinor Jax, Max Planck, Germany

Dual transcriptomics of birds infected with malaria parasites: Elin Videvall, Lund University, Sweden

Anthrax in Sweden, from past to present
Gunilla Hallgren, SVA, Sweden

17.10-17.30 Coffee

Revealing high-risk ponds of the chytrid fungus in Swedish amphibian populations: Simon Kärvemo, Uppsala University, Sweden

Putting bacterial GWAS to the test: can we find the basis of host-association in a multi-host?: Håkan Johansson, Linnaeus University, Sweden

18.10 Poster tour and mingle

19.30 Dinner

23 March
Ecology and epidemiology of Borrelia afzelii
Lars Råberg, Lund University, Sweden

What host ecology can teach us about the role of rodents in zoonotic disease: Frauke Ecke, SLU, Umeå, Sweden

Disease ecology from an animal's perspective: ecological constraints for innate immune defenses: Arne Hegemann, Lund University, Sweden

10.20-10.40 Coffee

Urban agriculture ecology – nightmare epidemiology?: Johanna Lindahl, SLU, Uppsala, Sweden

A flexible room: getting the most of your animal house for successful infection studies: Malin Eriksson, SVA, Uppsala

The gut microbiota of six Antarctic bird species studied by 16S and 18S amplicon sequencing: Patrik Ellström, Uppsala University, Sweden

11.50-12.00 Final remarks: One Health Sweden

12.10-13.00 Lunch


We can host a maximum of 150 participants. The majority of participants will be research active Swedish ecologists, veterinarians and clinicians, but participants from other Nordic countries are also welcome. The conference will be open to all interested parties, including policy makers and other stakeholders.

The scientific committee

  • Professor Jonas Waldenström (Chairman of One Health Sweden and organizer of the event), Centre for Ecology and Evolution in Microbial Model Systems, Linnaeus University.
  • Professor, MD Björn Olsen, Department of Medical Sciences/Section of Infectious Diseases, Uppsala University.
  • Assoc. prof, DVM, Karin Artursson, Research coordinator, National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala, Sweden.
  • Professor, DVM, Charlotte Berg, Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
  • Assoc. prof, Helena Westerdahl, Department of Biology, Lund University
  • Professor, Henrik Rönnberg, Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
  • Assoc. prof, MD Josef Järhult, Department of Medical Sciences/Section of Infectious Diseases, Uppsala University.


We have pre-booked rooms at the hotels listed below. Please, call or email the hotel directly and mention the booking code "EME2017" when you book to get our special price. Note: The pre-booked rooms can not be booked on-line on the hotels website.

First Hotel Witt (single room from 886 SEK/night)
Södra Långgatan 42
SE-392 31 KALMAR
You can book this hotel via e-mail
or telephone +46 480-15250

Best Western Plus Kalmarsund Hotell (single room from 895 SEK/night)
Fiskaregatan 5
SE-392 32 KALMAR
You can book this hotel via e-mail
or telephone +46 480-480380

Are you looking for more affordable accommodations we suggest that you visit the following website:
Svanen Hotell och Vandrarhem (hostel)
telephone +46 480 25560


The meeting will take place at the conference venue Kalmarsalen (Skeppsbrogatan 49), a 5-10 minutes' walk from the railway station and close to the city center and hotels. The building overlooks the harbor, with a view over Kalmar Strait and the university. Parking is available outside the venue, and it is only a 15 minutes' taxi drive to the airport.

Visit Kalmarsalens webpage
Map to Kalmarsalen