Multidisciplinary Center for Infectious Diseases (MCID)

WildGuARDS- Accessing the “Garden Wildlife black box” to improve One Health and infectious disease epidemiology

Applicant: Dr. med. vet. Saskia Keller (Cluster: Epidemiology)

Recipient of MCID Early Career Research Grant for Women (ECRG-W)

Institute for Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI)

Many species we love from our own gardens, such as squirrels, birds, or hedgehogs, may carry important pathogens such as Salmonella and avian influenza virus. Some of them are transmissible to human and domestic animals or other wildlife, with potential impacts on populations and thus biodiversity. However, the general Swiss wildlife health surveillance (WHS) programme features some crucial gaps, including incomplete and scattered health data, especially concerning these garden species.

The project WildGuARDS explores new surveillance approaches focusing on birds through close collaboration with wildlife experts and bird stakeholders. First, we will define syndromes based on distinct pathological categories using necropsy reports and scientific literature. Second, we evaluate the feasibility of a citizen-based online reporting system for these syndromes using existing apps designed for species observations.