Prof Sarah Cleaveland

Professor of Comparative Epidemiology
Fellow of the Royal Society

Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine
College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow, G12 8QQ
United Kingdom


Institute webpages

Summary of Research

The principal aim of our research is to understand the dynamics, impacts and implications of infections in natural ecosystems, with a focus on diseases in tropical countries.

The group's work focuses on several key themes:
(a) identifying animal reservoirs of infection
(b) understanding risk factors for new and emerging infectious diseases
(c) quantifying the burden of disease
(d) understanding infection dynamics in linked human and animal populations
(e) designing cost-effective disease control strategies that benefit public health, livestock economies and wildlife conservation
(f) exploring innovative strategies for surveillance of emerging and zoonotic diseases

Project List

Social, economic and environmental drivers of zoonoses in Tanzania (SEEDZ)
Sarah Cleaveland and Jo Sharpe
With (Tanzania): Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development. (UK): Institute of Development Studies. Other: Otago University, Washington State University
Supported by BBSRC and NIH (2014–2018)

The impact and social ecology of bacterial zoonoses in northern Tanzania
Sarah Cleaveland and Jo Halliday
With the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center/Duke University collaboration and Sokoine University of Agriculture
Supported by BBSRC and NIH (2011-2015)

Towards the strategic control of endemic foot-and-mouth disease in Africa: new techniques for a neglected problem
Sarah Cleaveland, Dan Haydon, Richard Reeve and Tiziana Lembo
In collaboration with the Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright and University of Edinburgh (UK) and Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Central Veterinary Laboratory, Tanzania and Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania)
Supported by the BBSRC DfID and Scottish Government CIDLID initiative (2010-2014)

Development of a vaccination strategy for malignant catarrhal fever
Sarah Cleaveland and Felix Lankester
Supported by the BBSRC DfID and Scottish Government CIDLID initiative (2010-2014)
In collaboration with Nottingham University (Prof. David Haig) and Moredun Research Institute (Dr. George Russell) in UK and Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute and the Veterinary Investigation Centre, Arusha in Tanzania
Supported by the BBSRC DfID and Scottish Government CIDLID initiative (2010-2014)

Surveillance and monitoring of zoonoses
Sarah Cleaveland and Jo Halliday
Supported by the Department for International Development (2010-2011)

Rodents and bats as reservoirs of zoonoses: ecological and social factors affecting human disease risk
Sarah Cleaveland and Darryn Knobel
Supported by the Medical Research Council (ESEI initiative, catalyst grant) (2010-2011)

An integrated epidemiological study of zoonotic pathogens in linked human and animal populations in rural Kenya
Sarah Cleaveland, Darryn Knobel in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control International Emerging Infections Program, Kenya and Kenya Medical Research Institute
Funded by the Wellcome Trust (2007 - 2010)

Carnivore and scavenger species as sentinels of new and emerging diseases in the UK
Sarah Cleaveland in collaboration with Darren Shaw, Anna Meredith (University of Edinburgh)
Funded by DEFRA (2006 - 2009)

Carnivore Viral Transmission Dynamics in the Serengeti, Tanzania
Sarah Cleaveland, Dan Haydon, Tiziana Lembo, Meggan Craft
In collaboration with Princeton University, University of Minnesota, Sheffield University, Lincoln Park Zoo, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania
Funded by NSF/NIH Ecology of Infectious Diseases Program (2003-2007)
Lincoln Park Zoo (2007 - 2008)

Key References

  • Hampson K., Dobson A., Kaare, M., Dushoff J., Magoto M., Sindoya E. and Cleaveland S. Rabies exposures, post-exposure prophylaxis and deaths in a region of endemic canine rabies: a contact-tracing study. PLOS Neglected Diseases 7: (3). e53 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.100005.3
  • Kaare, M., Lembo, T., Hampson K., Eblate, l E., Estes A., Mentzel, C. and Cleaveland S. Optimising rabies control strategies in rural Tanzania. Vaccine 27: 152-160. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.09.054
  • Knobel D.L., Kazwala R.R., Laurenson M.K., Cleaveland S.  A cross-sectional study of factors associated with dog ownership in Tanzania. Biomed Central Vet Research 4:5  doi: 10.1186/1746-6148-4-5.
  • Breiman R.F., Njenga M.K., Cleaveland S., Sharif S.K., Mbabu M. and King L. (2008) Lessons learned from the 2006-7 Rift Valley Fever outbreak in East Africa: implications for prevention of emerging infectious diseases. Future Virology, 3(5): 411-417
  • Lembo, T., Haydon, D.T., Velasco-Villa, A., Rupprecht C.E., Packer, C., Brandoi P.E., Kuzmin, I.V., Fooks, A.R., Barrat, J. and Cleaveland, S. (2007) Molecular epidemiology identifies only a single rabies virus variant circulating in complex carnivore communities of the Serengeti. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 274: 2123-2130. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2007.0664
  • Cleaveland, S., Packer, C., Hampson, K., Kaare, M., Kock, R., Mlengeya R.,Lembo, T., Craft M. and Dobson, A. (2007) The multiple roles of infectious diseases in the Serengeti ecosystem. In: Serengeti III (Eds. Sinclair, A.R.E and Packer, C.), Chicago University Press, Chicago.
  • Halliday J.E.B., Meredith A.L., Knobel D.L., Shaw D.J., Bronsvoort B.M. de C., and Cleaveland S. (2007) A framework for evaluation animals as sentinels for infectious disease surveillance. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. doi: 10. 1098/rsif.2207.0237.
  • Cleaveland S., Mlengeya T., Kaare M., Haydon D., Lembo, T. Laurenson M.K., and Packer C. (2007) The conservation relevance of epidemiological research into carnivore viral diseases in the Serengeti. Conservation Biology. 21: 612-622. doi: 10.111/j.1523-1739.2007.00701.x
  • Cleaveland, S., Shaw, D.J., Shirima, G., Kazwala, R.R., Mfinanga, S.G, Eblate, E. and Sharp, M. (2007)  Mycobacterium bovis in rural Tanzania: risk factors and patterns of infection in human and cattle populations. Tuberculosis, 87: 30-43.  doi:10.1016/
  • Haydon D., Randall, D., Matthews, L., Knobel, D., Tallents, L., Gravenor, M., Williams S., Pollinger, J., Cleaveland, S., Woolhouse, M., Sillero-Zubiri, C., Marino, J., Macdonald, D., Laurenson, K. (2006) Low-coverage vaccination strategies for the conservation of endangered species. Nature, 443: 692-695. doi:10.1038/nature05177
  • Lembo,T.,  Niezgoda, M., Velasco-Villa, A.,  Cleaveland, S., Ernest E., and  Rupprecht, C.E (2006) Field evaluation of a direct rapid immunohistochemical test for rabies diagnosis: a preliminary study. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 12: 310-314.
  • Knobel D., Cleaveland S., Coleman P.G., Fèvre E., Meltzer M.I. Miranda M.E.G., Shaw A., Zinsstag J. and Meslin F-X.  (2005) Re-evaluating the burden of rabies in Asia and Africa. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 83: 360-368.
  • Cleaveland S., Kaare M., Tiringa P., Mlengeya, J. Barrat (2003) A dog rabies vaccination campaign in rural Africa: impact on the incidence of dog rabies and human dog-bite injuries. Vaccine, 21: 1965-1973. doi:10.1016/S0264-410X(02)00778-8.
  • Haydon D., Cleaveland S., Taylor L. and Laurenson M.K. (2002) Reservoirs of infection: a conceptual and practical challenge? Emerging Infectious Diseases8:1468-1473.
  • Cleaveland S., Fèvre E., Kaare M. and Coleman P. (2002) Estimating human rabies mortality in Tanzania from dog bite injuries. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 80 (4), 304-310.
  • Cleaveland S., Laurenson M.K. and Taylor L.H. (2001) Diseases of humans and their domestic mammals: pathogen characteristics, host range and the risk of emergence. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B, 356, 991-999.

Full list of Publications can be found on via this link

Group Members

  • Tiziana Lembo (post-doctoral research fellow)
  • Will De Glanville (post-doctoral research associate)
  • Alicia Davis (post-doctoral research associate)

Post-doctoral mentorship

Dr. Robert Fyumagwa (TAWIRI as part of the AfriqueOne consortium)

Current PhD students

  • Felix Lankester
  • Kathryn Allan


The work of the group spans a wide range of field, laboratory and analytical techniques. Field work involves implementation of large-scale field trials (e.g. rabies/CDV vaccination of dogs), clinical investigation, pathology (wildlife and domestic animal), wildlife capture and anaesthesia, and establishment and evaluation of diagnostic tests for veterinary and medical use in Africa.

Related Links

The Serengeti programme (Afya Serengeti) is supported by donations of vaccine from Intervet (MSD Animal Health)

The group has close collaborative links with the following institutions in:


  • Sokoine University of Agriculture (
  • National Institute for Medical Research (
  • Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (
  • Tanzania National Parks
  • Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries
  • Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre
  • Nelson Mandela Africa Institute of Science and Technology, Arusha (Sarah Cleaveland has a position as Visiting Professor) (
  • Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, Moshi


  • Kenya Medical Research Institute/Centre for Disease Control and Prevention International Emerging Infections Program

South Africa

  • University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, South Africa

Cote d'Ivoire

  • Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientiques (, which is the lead institution for the Wellcome Trust-funded consortium 'Afrique One' ( involving 11 institutions in east and west Africa.

Sarah Cleaveland is a founding Director of the Alliance for Rabies Control ( which spearheads the World Rabies Day campaigns.