Strengthening Public Health by Understanding the Epidemiology of Rodent-Borne Diseases (RoBoPub)

Strengthening Public Health by Understanding the Epidemiology of Rodent-Borne Diseases (RoBoPub)

Client:  Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (2017-2020) | Area: Health Research

Main Interest |

The interdisciplinary RoBoPub consortium under the direction of Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut Federal Institute for Animal Health (FLI) aims to create the necessary knowledge of the epidemiology of Hantavirus disease and Leptospirosis and to translate these findings into public health intervention measures. Hantavirus as well as Leptospira bacteria are prevalent in Germany and transmitted by infected rodents like common and bank vole. Evoked diseases show distinct regional and seasonal variation, whereby the influenza similar symptoms supposedly lead to a high dark figure of non- and false-diagnosed cases. Thus, the majority of human Hantavirus and Leptospira infections come along with mild clinical symptoms, serve and mortal disease courses with permanent renal damage and failure can occur.

In context of the synergistic OneHealth-Initiative, various aspects of disease transmission, manifestation and diagnosis of human disease as well as social aspects regarding risk perception and sensitising the general public and medical practitioners, are researched. All insights will be integrated in a risk assessment, which forms the bases for generating fine-scale risk maps, early warning modules, management strategies and public health recommendations. These will be disseminated to the general public and highly affected groups in cooperation with public health services.

Next to SINE, following cooperation partners are part of the interdisciplinary consortium:

  • Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut Federal Institute for Animal Health (FLI), Insel Riems (coordinator)
  • Federal Institue for Risk Assessment (BfR), Berlin
  • Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI), Münster
  • Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (LAVES), Wardenburg
  • Niedersächsisches Landesgesundheitsamt (NLGA), Hanover
  • Universitätsmedizin Charité Campus Mitte (CCM), Berlin
  • Leipzig University (UL), Leipzig


SINE-Mandate |

As a cooperation partner of the RoBoPub consortium, SINE is responsible for the research project “Awareness of rodent-borne diseases in Germany: the case of Hantavirus and Leptospira infection”. Based on qualitative, empirical research and accompanied by methodological triangulation, risk perception, knowledge and practices concerning the dealing with both pathogens as well as the information requirements of the general public and the sensibility of medical practitioners in endemic (and upcoming) regions, are analysed. Based on that, new communication strategies will be developed for both target groups, including new media channels like social media, e-Health, m-Health and telehealth.


Methods |

  • Generation of a topic related database with relevant literature in the field of rodent-borne diseases with a special focus on Hantavirus and Leptospira.
  • Guided expert interviews with medical practitioners in existing and emerging endemic regions, public health services and relevant stakeholder associations.
  • Telephone Interviews with people living in existing and emerging endemic regions.

Results are incorporated in new and target related information and communication strategies, in cooperation with Public Health Services. Thereby, approaches including E-Health, Telehealth and Social Media, are focussed.

For SINE, RoBoPub is a systematic sequel of the nationwide EU-Project EDENext ( In EDENext, SINE conducted a comparative analysis of five countries (Albania, Finland, France, Germany and Turkey) regarding the risk perception and communication of vector-borne infections (including Hantavirus and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever).

For further information please contact Dr. Kerstin Dressel


Responsible | Dr. Kerstin Dressel (project management), Dr. Marion Müller, Sebastian Kleele M.A., Dr. Wiebke Schär, Dipl.-Soz. Lisa Donath and Anne Götz, B.A. (Student Assistant).