Darryn Knobel, BVSc, MSc, MRCVS, PhD
Dr. Knobel grew up in South Africa and received his veterinary degree from the University of Pretoria. He has focused his career on enhancing knowledge of the epidemiology of rabies in free-roaming dog populations in resource-poor communities, and in applying this knowledge to improve the health of dogs and the communities in which they live. He has conducted this work in several different countries including South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. He has published over 50 papers on the topic of rabies and other zoonotic diseases in animals and people. He holds an adjunct appointment with the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria.
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVSc), University of Pretoria
Master of Science (MSc) in Zoology, University of Pretoria
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Edinburgh
Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Epidemiology Specialty
Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
Member of the South African Veterinary Council
Dr. Knobel’s current research interests are focused on the effect of factors such as age, sex and concurrent infections on the outcomes of rabies vaccination in free-roaming dog populations in resource-constrained communities.
Anderson, A., Kotzé, J., Shwiff, S.A., Hatch, B., Slootmaker, C., Conan, A., Knobel, D.L. & Nel, L.H. (2019). A bioeconomic model for the optimization of local canine rabies control. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases13(5): e0007377. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007377
HIS ROLE AT THE UNIVERSITY
As the Director for the Center for Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health, Dr. Knobel oversees the center's focus on the role of wildlife and the broader ecosystem in the emergence of disease, and conversely, on the impact of infectious diseases from humans or domestic animals on wildlife.
HIS RESEARCH INTERESTS
Conservation medicine and ecosystem health are emerging fields in the study of diseases in populations. They apply the principle of “One Health,” or the recognition that the health of humans, animals, and the ecosystems in which they live, are inextricably linked. Infectious diseases in particular can no longer be studied in isolation, as these diseases often affect multiple species, including humans, domestic animals and wildlife.
Identifying the factors that influence the spread of these diseases, and devising solutions for their control, is therefore best done through a holistic approach. For example, a disease such as Ebola, may circulate undetected in a wildlife population until man-made changes to the environment disturb this system, perhaps leading to more contact between the wildlife host and domestic animals or humans themselves, resulting in disease spillover that can have dramatic consequences. To eliminate such diseases demands an understanding of the ecological and socio-economic drivers of their emergence and spread in new populations or to new areas.
ENGAGING STUDENTS IN RESEARCH
“I appreciate that, compared to most other vet schools, we have a really high proportion of DVM students who are engaged with research. I think that adds a new perspective for the students and also benefits faculty. I’ve been impressed with the caliber of students, and with the unique skills they bring with them from their undergraduate degrees or their own personal interests in particular topics.”
Non-specific protective effects of rabies vaccine in animals and people
Population ecology and humane population management of owned, free-roaming dogs
Kolo, F, Conan, A, Clift, S, Henning, A, Knobel, DL. Age- and sex-specific rates and causes of mortality in an owned, free-roaming dog population. University of Pretoria.
Grover, M, Bessell, P, Conan, A, Knobel, DL. Epidemiology of dog rabies at a wildlife interface in the South African lowveld. University of Pretoria/University of Edinburgh
Anderson, A., Kotzé, J., Shwiff, S.A., Hatch, B., Slootmaker, C., Conan, A., Knobel, D.L. & Nel, L.H. (2019). A bioeconomic model for the optimization of local canine rabies control. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 13(5): e0007377. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007377
Conan, A., O’Reilly, C., Ogola, E., Ochieng, B.J., Blackstock, A.J., Omore, R., Ochieng, L., Moke, F., Parsons, M.B., Xiao, L., Roellig, D., Farag, T.H., Nataro, J.P., Kotloff, K.L., Levine, M.M., Mintz, E.D., Breiman, R.F., Cleaveland, C. & Knobel, D.L. (in press) Animal-related factors associated with moderate-to-severe diarrhea in children younger than five years in western Kenya: a matched case-control study. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Knobel, D.L, Arega, S.M., Reininghaus, B., Simpson, G.J.G., Gessner, B.D., Stryhn, H. &. Conan, A. (2017) Rabies vaccine is associated with decreased all-cause mortality in dogs. Vaccine 35: 3844-3849. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.05.095
Hiby, E., Nattras Attema, K., Brimley, R., Hammond-Seaman, A., Jones, M., Rowan, A., Fogelberg, E., Kennedy, M., Balaram, D., Nel, L., Cleaveland, S., Hampson, K., Townsend, S., Lembo, T., Rooney, N., Whay, H.R., Pritchard, J, Murray, J., van Dijk, L., Waran, N., Bacon, H., Knobel, D.L., Tasker, L., Baker, C. & Hiby, L. (2017) Scoping review of indicators and methods used to evaluate the impact of dog population management interventions. BMC Veterinary Research 13:143. doi: 10.1186/s12917-017-1051-2
Aretmiou, E., Conan, A., Knobel, D.L., Thompson, R., Spackman, C. & Kelly, P.J. (2017) Children’s attitudes towards cats on St. Kitts, West Indies. Anthrozoös 30(2): 263-271. doi:10.1080/08927936.2017.1311030
Gessner, B., Knobel, D.L., Conan, A. & Finn, A. (2017) Could the RTS,S/AS01 meningitis safety signal really be a protective effect of rabies vaccine? Vaccine 35(5): 716-721. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.12.067
Berrian, A.M., van Rooyen, J., Martínez-López, B., Knobel, D.L., Simpson, G., Wilkes, M.S. & Conrad, P.A. (2016) One Health profile of a community at the wildlife-domestic animal interface, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 130: 119-128. doi:10.1016/j.prevetmed.2016.06.007
Barongo, M.B., Bishop, R.P., Fèvre, E.M., Knobel, D.L. & Ssematimba, A. (2016) A mathematical model that simulates control options for African swine fever virus. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0158658. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158658
Byaruhanga, C., Collins, N.E., Knobel, D.L., Chaisi, M.E., Vorster, I., Steyn, H.C. & Oosthuizen, M.C. (2016) Molecular investigation of tick-borne haemoparasite infections among transhumant zebu cattle in Karamoja Region, Uganda. Veterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports 3-4: 27-35. doi: 10.1016/j.vprsr.2016.06.004
Keehner, J.R., Cruz-Martinez, L. & Knobel, D.L. (2016) Conservation value, history and legal status of non-native white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Tropical Conservation Science 9(2): 758-775.
van Schalkwyk, O.L., De Clercq, E.M., De Pus, C., Hendrickx, G. & Knobel, D.L. (2016) Heterogeneity in a communal cattle farming system in a zone endemic for foot and mouth disease in South Africa. Geospatial Health 11(2): 338. doi: 10.4081/gh.2016.338
Kolo, A.O., Sibeko-Matjila, K.P., Maina, A.N., Richards, A.L., Knobel, D.L. & Matjila, P.T. (2016) Molecular detection of zoonotic rickettsiae and Anaplasma spp. in domestic dogs and their ectoparasites in Bushbuckridge, South Africa. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 16(4): 245-252. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2015.1849
van Schalkwyk, O.L., Knobel, D.L., De Clercq, E.M., De Pus, C., Hendrickx, G. & Van den Bossche, P. (2016) Description of events where African buffaloes (Syncerus caffer) strayed from the endemic foot-and-mouth disease zone in South Africa, 1998-2008. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 63(3): 333-347 doi: 10.1111/tbed.12280
Byaruhanga, C., Collins, N.E., Knobel, D.L., Kabasa, W. & Oosthuizen, M.C. (2015) Endemic status of tick-borne infections and tick species diversity among transhumant zebu cattle in Karamoja Region, Uganda: Support for control approaches. Veterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports 1: 21-30. doi:10.1016/j.vprsr.2015.11.001
Byaruhanga, C., Oosthuizen, M.C., Collins, N.E. & Knobel, D.L. (2015) Using participatory epidemiology to investigate management options and relative importance of tick-borne diseases amongst transhumant zebu cattle in Karamoja region, Uganda. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 122: 287-297. http://dx.doi:org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.10.011
Conan, A., Akerele, O., Simpson, G., Reininghaus, B., van Rooyen, J. & Knobel, D.L. (2015) Population dynamics of owned, free-roaming dogs: Implications for rabies control. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 9(11): e0004177. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0004177
van Schalkwyk OL, Knobel DL, De Clercq EM, De Pus C, Hendrickx G, Van den Bossche P. Description of events where African buffaloes (Syncerus caffer) strayed from the endemic foot-and-mouth disease zone in South Africa, 1998-2008. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. In press.
Maina AN, Jiang J, Omulo SA, Cutler SJ, Ade F, Ogola E, Feikin DR, Njenga MK, Cleaveland S, Mpoke S, Ng’ang’a Z, Breiman RF, Knobel DL, Richards AL. High prevalence of Rickettsia africae variant in Amblyomma variegatum ticks from domestic mammals in rural western Kenya: implications for human health. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. In press.
Halliday JEB, Knobel DL, Allan KJ, Bronsvoort M de C, Handel I, Agwanda B, Cutler SJ, Olack B, Ahmed A, Hartskeel RA, Njenga MK, Cleaveland S, Breiman RF. Urban leptospirosis in Africa: A cross-sectional survey of Leptospira infection in rodents in the Kibera urban settlement, Kenya. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2013;89(6):1095-1102. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.13-0415
Bai Y, Malania L, Boonmar S, Suksawat F, Castollo DA, Moran D, Maruyama S, Knobel DL, Kosoy M. Global distribution of bartonella infections in domestic bovids and characterization of Bartonella bovis strains using multi-locus sequence typing. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(11):e80894. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080894
Townsend SE, Sumantra IP, Pudjiatmoko, Bagus GN, Brum E, Cleaveland S, Crafter S, Dewi APM, Dharma DMN, Dushoff J, Girardi J, Gunata IK, Hiby EF, Kalalo C, Knobel DL, Mardiana IW, Putra AAG, Schoonman L, Scott-Orr H, Shand M, Sukanadi IW, Suseno PP, Haydon DT, Hampson K. Designing programs for eliminating canine rabies from islands: Bali, Indonesia as a case study. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2013;7(8):e2372. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002372.
Jiang J, Maina AN, Knobel DL, Cleaveland S, Laudisoit A, Wamburu K, Ogola E, Parola P, Breiman RF, Njenga MK, Richards AL. Molecular detection of Rickettsia felis and Candidatus Rickettsia asemboensis in fleas from human habitats, Asembo, Kenya. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. 2013;13(8):550-558. doi:10.1089/vbz.2012.1123.
Putra AAG, Hampson K, Girardi J, Hiby E, Knobel DL, Mardiana IW, Townsend S, Scott-Orr H. Response to a rabies epidemic in Bali, Indonesia, 2008-2011. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2013;19(4):648-651. doi:10.3201/eid1904.120380.
Knobel DL, Maina AN, Cutler SJ, Ogola E, Feikin DR, Junghae M, Halliday JEB, Richards AL, Breiman RF, Cleaveland S, Njenga MK. Coxiella burnetii in humans, domestic ruminants and ticks in rural western Kenya. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2013;88(3):513-518. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.12-0169.
Gsell AS, Knobel DL, Kazwala RR, Vounatsou P, Zinsstag J. Domestic dog demographic structure and dynamics relevant to rabies control planning in urban areas in Africa: the case of Iringa, Tanzania. BMC Veterinary Research. 2012;8:236. doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-236.
Omemo P, Ogola E, Omondi G, Wasonga J, Knobel D. Knowledge, attitude and practice towards zoonoses among public health workers in Nyanza province, Kenya. Journal of Public Health in Africa. 2012;3:e22. doi:10.4081/jphia.2012.e22.
Halliday JEB, Daborn C, Auty H, Mtema Z, Lembo T, Bronsvoort M, Handel I, Knobel DL, Hampson K, Cleaveland S. Bringing together emerging and endemic zoonoses surveillance: shared challenges and a common solution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B. 2012; 367:2872-2880. doi:10.1098/rstb.2011.0362.
Madder M, Walker JG, van Rooyen J, Knobel DL, Vandamme E, Berkvens D, Vanwambeke SO, De Clercq EM. E-Surveillance in animal health: use and evaluation of mobile tools. Parasitology. 2012;139: 1831-1842. doi:10.1017/S0031182012000571.
Maina AN, Knobel DL, Jiang J, Halliday JEB, Feikin DR, Cleaveland S, Ng’ang’a Z, Junghae M, Breiman RF, Richards AL, Njenga MK. Rickettsia felis infection in febrile patients, western Kenya, 2007–2010. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2012;18: 328-331. doi:10.3201/eid1802.111372.
Kennedy LJ, Randall DA, Knobel DL, Brown JJ, Fooks AR, Argaw K, Shiferaw F, Ollier WER, Sillero-Zubiri C, Macdonald DW, Laurenson K. Major histocompatibility complex diversity in the endangered Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). Tissue Antigens. 2011;77:118-125. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0039.2010.01591.x.
Lembo T, Hampson K, Kaare MT, Ernest E, Knobel DL, Kazwala R, Haydon DT, Cleaveland S. The feasibility of canine rabies elimination in Africa: Dispelling doubts with data. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2010;4: e626. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000626.
14th Meeting of the International Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics, Merida, Mexico, 3rd-7th November 2015, Oral presentation: “Mass vaccination of 70% of dogs can control rabies, even in rapidly-growing populations of free-roaming dogs with high rates of turnover due to births and death.”
64th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Philadelphia, USA, 25th-29th October 2015, Oral presentation: “Animal-associated risk factors for diarrhea in children under five in western Kenya: the GEMS-ZED case-control study.”
26th International Meeting on Rabies in the Americas, Fort Collins, USA, 4th-8th October 2015, Poster presentation: “Do animal rabies vaccines have a nonspecific protective effect when administered to young puppies in high-mortality settings?”
2nd International Conference on Dog Population Management, Istanbul, Turkey, 3rd-5th March 2015, Oral presentation: “Dynamics of an owned, free-roaming dog population: implications for population management.”
Knobel DL, Akerele OA, Conan A. Dynamics of an owned, free-roaming dog population: Implications for rabies control. 12th Annual Congress of the Southern African Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine. Port Elizabeth, South Africa. August 2014.
Knobel DL, Conan A. Dog ecology and rabies control in Africa. 39th World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress. Cape Town, South Africa. September 2014.
Knobel DL, Bessell P, Grover M, Reininghaus B. Rabies and wildlife conservation in Africa. 39th World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress. Cape Town, South Africa. September 2014.
Knobel DL, Wassung M, Meyer A, Conan A. Participatory and active surveillance for disease syndromes in communal cattle at the livestock/wildlife interface, South Africa. 14th International Conference of the Association of Institutions for Tropical Veterinary Medicine. Johannesburg, South Africa. August 2013.
Knobel DL. Q fever in humans and animals in rural western Kenya. 30th World veterinary Congress. Cape Town, South Africa. October 2011.
Knobel DL. Cats, rats and kids: preliminary results from a zoonotic enteric disease study in young children in western Kenya. 30th World veterinary Congress. Cape Town, South Africa. October 2011.
Population ecology and humane population management of owned, free-roaming domestic dogs in underserved communities.
Epidemiology and control of infectious diseases of owned, free-roaming domestic dogs in underserved communities.
Population ecology and humane population management of non-native island fauna in the Caribbean