Research Centre for Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases
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Research Centre for Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases

Iranian physicians have been familiar with the human plague for a long time. Although there is little information about the situation of plague from earlier centuries, we have more documented evidence from the 19th and 20th centuries.

In 1952 during a plague outbreak in the western area of Iran, Pasteur Institute of Iran founded a health research Centre in Akanlu, a village located between Zanjan, Kurdistan and Hamadan provinces. As a result of the foundation of this Centre, the teams of Pasteur Institute of Iran could deal with the control of the plague in there via taking effective strategies.

In this research Centre, nowadays is called Research Centre for Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases, Dr. Baltazard and his Iranian colleagues conducted extensive research on the plague, and the Akanlu research Centre established itself as an international reference institution for plague. During the scientific growth of the center, a large number of foreign scientists visited Iran to conduct related research. Researchers such as microbiologist, Henri Mollaret; zoologists, Dr. Xavier Misonne, Dr. Douglas, M. Lay, and Dr. Yves Jean Golvan; entomologist, Dr. Jean Marie Klein; and parasitologist, Dr. Alain Chabaud are just a few who can be pointed out. All of them conducted extensive studies on different aspects of the plague.

The achievements of Pasteur Institute of Iran regarding plague research attracted global attention, and such a success motivated them to assign Iranians international plague research. The experts and researchers of Pasteur Institute of Iran, known as WHO experts, continued to conduct related research in many neighboring countries such as Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, Southeast Asia (India, Indonesia, Thailand), Burma, Brazil, and Africa (Zaire, Tanzania); they published all of their research results to be used by others. Most of this research was financially supported by WHO.

The Research Centre for Emerging and Reemerging infectious diseases can be regarded as the pioneer Centre for field epidemiology in Iran. The Department of Epidemiology of Pasteur Institute of Iran and the Akanlu Research Centre did researches on tularemia, recurrent fever, rabies in addition to plague studies during the years.

Since 2013 and in the period of renovation of this the centers, 300 square meters of the old buildings were renovated and laboratories and new buildings with a surface area of 340 square meters were completed. The dedicated laboratories for rodentology studies, serology, molecular studies and culture, seminar halls and guest accommodation (for up to 40 persons) offer a suitable environment for research and education in this region. The Centre holds the national reference laboratory for plague, tularemia and Q fever, aims to be the WHO collaborating centre in near future and has conducted several studies on emerging and reemerging infectious diseases so far.

The results of researches carried out based in this centre during last five years, were reports of plague on wild animals, tularemia in rodents and human, Q fever seropositive and clinical cases in human and livestock, and report of Francisella tularensis infection in surface waters in Iran. This Centre has also collaborations with other departments of Pasteur Institute of Iran to do research on other Emerging and Reemerging infectious diseases such as Crimean Congo Heamorrhagic Fever (CCHF), Dengue fever, West Nile fever, Rift valley and fever recurrent fever. This is a support of the Iranian CDC for investigation and control of and Reemerging infectious diseases.

The Centre’s educational activities are in the form of workshops, implementation of educational courses and internships and apprenticeship courses. From 2013 to 2015, a total of 400 persons from 11 countries, 45 Universities and 150 students from the Universities of Mashhad, Tehran, Hamadan and Pasteur Institute of Iran completed the necessary educational programs in this centre.

It is our hope that this research Centre can continue to be successful in conducting local, national and international projects long into the future.

Cooperating partners Hungarian Academy of Sciences Pasteur institute of Madagascar Pasteur institute of Paris WHO Office in Iran University of Oslo Pasteur institute of Iran Tehran University of Medical Sciences Iranian Society of Microbiology Hamadan Univ. of Med. Sci. University of Kerman Kurdistan Un. of Med. Sci. Université de Grenoble Nat. Mus. of Nat. Hist., France Friedrich Loeffler Institut

I did not choose the plague, but it desired me!

Marcel Baltazard (1907-1971), founder of research centre