Arbovirus, Rabies, Rickettsia and Related Zoonotic Diseases
The Arbovirus, Rabies, Rickettsia and Related Zoonotic Diseases section undertakes research, surveillance and diagnostic activities for zoonotic and vector-borne pathogens including arboviruses (i.e. dengue, Zika Chikungunya, Yellow Fever, West Nile, Powassan, Eastern equine encephalitis) and rickettsial diseases, a family of bacterial pathogens that can be transmitted to humans by ticks, fleas, lice and mites (i.e. epidemic typhus, rickettsialpox, African tick bite fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever). This section also performs primary diagnostic testing for Q fever, a zoonotic infection endemic in Canada, and serology for the detection of antibodies to rabies virus in humans. The Section's efforts focus on reducing the risk to humans of exposure to rickettsial diseases and arboviruses by enabling accurate laboratory diagnosis; serological testing for detection of antibodies to rabies virus in pre- and post-exposure patients; and research on the pathogenesis of rabies viruses. During COVID, this group has focussed on the development of conventional cell-based SARS-CoV-2 neutralization assays and pseudotype neutralization assays to determine the level of neutralizing antibodies following natural infection and vaccination in Canadian populations.