Experts Discuss COVID-19 and Animals, Infectious Diseases In Online Webinar Series


January 14, 2022

Zoonotic disease – diseases that transmit from animals to people – and their impact on public health have been in sharp focus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new webinar series from the Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses (CPHAZ) tackles a variety of topics related to zoonotic disease, public health and infectious diseases and infection control.

The series, open to the public, kicks off Tuesday, January 18 with ‘COVID-19 and animals: what do we know and why do we care?’ Led by Dr. Scott Weese, a veterinary internal medicine specialist with a focus on infectious diseases, the talk will provide an overview of SARS-CoV-2 in animals, and the potential human and animal impacts.

In his roles as CPHAZ director, a professor at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) and Chief of Infection Control for the Ontario Veterinary College Health Sciences Centre, Weese focuses on a range of infectious disease issues of animals and humans, including antimicrobial resistance, antimicrobial stewardship, emerging infectious diseases and infection control.

“As with most emerging diseases, SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, originated in animals. While it is a human-driven pandemic, transmission back to animals and spillback from animals to people can occur,” says Weese. “Could animals play a role in some human infections, creation of new variants or impact the ultimate outcome of this pandemic and what lessons have we learned for the next inevitable emerging infectious disease?”

The webinar series continues through the winter with talks each month. Register online to attend these free virtual webinars.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 – 7:00 PM
Dr. Scott Weese - COVID-19 and animals: what do we know and why do we care?








Tuesday, February 22, 2022 - 7:00 PM
Dr. Katie Clow
A professor in One Health in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine, Clow’s research focuses on the ecology and epidemiology of vector-borne zoonoses, applying a One Health approach, working collaboratively at the intersection of human, animal and environmental health.




Tuesday, March 15, 2022 - 7:00 PM
Dr. Zvonimir Poljak and Dr. Sheila Keay - Influenza and animals: Tangoing for millennia

A professor in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine, Poljak’s research focuses on infectious diseases of production animals, with primary focus on swine health, viral diseases, emerging diseases and zoonoses.




Keay is a Dr. Poljak’s PhD student investigating why it is so hard for veterinarians in the field to stay current.  Her research focuses on knowledge translation and influenza vaccines in swine. She previously worked in the swine industry in Canada and abroad.






Thursday, April 14, 2022 - 7:00 PM
Dr. Heather Murphy
A Canada Research Chair in One Health in OVC’s Department of Pathobiology, Murphy is an environmental engineer by training and has over 16 years of experience working in developed and developing countries on waterborne diseases. She worked for UNICEF and the Public Health Agency of Canada before joining Temple University in 2015 as an assistant professor in their College of Public Health.


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