Pathogènes -Area 1

Spread of human pathogens

The spread of pathogens (PA) is studied using collections of microorganisms isolated from samples of human origin, but also from the environment (occupational, domestic, hospital) and from animals (livestock and wildlife).

Escherichia coli, Bactéries

Aedes albopictus, tiger mosquito, disease vector © Institut Pasteur
Researchers in this area work on PAs that are spread in the community and/or in hospitals. Therefore, they include ‘natural’ environmental reservoirs (water, soil, air) and hospital reservoirs (air, water systems, surfaces) in their analyses, using sensors or environmental samples as well as human samples from healthy or infected individuals, whether hospitalised or not. To understand the spread of PAs, it is essential to make collections on a large temporal and spatial scale. For example, the microorganisms studied by researchers in this field have been collected in several countries (Germany, Spain, United States, United Kingdom, etc.) over long periods of time (centuries for paleomicrobiologists).

The aim is to decipher the spread of pathogens and the eco-epidemiology of infectious diseases. The methods used are based on the comparison of phenotypes and genotypes of PAs.

These strategies allow us to:

– identify the characteristics of PAs and the environmental and host conditions that favour their spread,

– develop predictive models for the risk of pathogen emergence at different spatial and temporal scales, and develop tools to predict and control current and future epidemics.

Addressing the spread of HA also includes improving primary and secondary screening tools for specific infections and/or their sequelae, including accurately characterising the phenomenon of vaccine hesitancy and improving cervical cancer screening (improving women’s performance and experience) caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).

Electron micrograph of papillomavirus, scale bar 70 nm