New zoonoses (pathogens derived from animals) are emerging, and known zoonoses are re-emerging in animal and human populations at alarming rates throughout the world. These pathogens represent a serious concern for medical and veterinary public health authorities, as well as for the authorities concerned with regulating biosafety and biosecurity at national and international levels. The confluence of people, animals (wild and domestic) and animal products is unprecedented, largely due to the ease of traversing large distances rapidly, afforded by the aviation industry.

The Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases (CEZPD) aims to be a national and international centre of excellence for emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases.  CEZPD aim to function as a resource for knowledge and expertise to the South African government, the SADC countries and the African continent, to assist in the planning of relevant policies and programmes and to harness innovation in science and technology to support surveillance, detection and outbreak response systems. In observing this goal, the CEZPD supports South Africa’s commitment to the International Health Regulations.

The Centre includes the Parasitology Reference Laboratory and Vector Control Reference Laboratory.