Zoonoses research in Somalia: A scoping review using a One Health approach
Zoonoses are likely to cause a substantial burden on both human and animal health systems in Somalia, given the close proximity between the pastoralist majority and their livestock. However, decades of instability leading to weak disease surveillance have meant that data on the burden of zoonoses is lacking. The aim of this scoping review was to assess and synthesize the available literature on the presence and burden of zoonoses in Somalia.
We used keywords to search Web of Science for relevant publications. Studies were included if they contained relevant data on a zoonosis and were undertaken in Somalia or were undertaken in another country where exposure could reasonably be assumed to have occurred in Somalia (e.g., migrants/refugees, returning soldiers, exported animals). Studies were not included if they focused on Somali ethnic communities permanently living elsewhere or if zoonotic aspects were not considered. We extracted data on disease(s) reported, geographic focus, data reported (human, animal, environment), study design and author affiliation.
A total of 22 zoonotic infections were documented in 76 publications. The most frequently studied diseases were Rift Valley Fever (n = 15, 17%), brucellosis (n = 13, 14%) and hepatitis E (n = 10, 11%). Around 30% of papers reported data from relevant populations outside Somalia. Only 18 papers undertook laboratory analysis within Somalia. Most papers reported data on humans (45%) and animals (36%) with limited research on the environmental domain. Descriptive studies (47%) dominated and most were led by non-Somali researchers (89% in first authors and 95% of last authors).
This study highlights the need for well-designed zoonoses research in Somalia supported by capacity building of local researchers and investments in diagnostic laboratories.