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Toph Allen

Research Scientist

Toph Allen

Toph Allen, Research Scientist at EcoHealth Alliance, applies his expertise in social science, epidemiology and statistical modeling to improve our understanding of disease emergence.
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Showing 56 News Items.

EcoHealthNet Application Extended to January 16, 2015

December 18, 2014

The 2015 Workshop, International One Health: Conservation Medicine Policy and Practice, will be held at Tufts University in Massachusetts from May 31st-June 6th. Research Exchange projects can take place between March and August 2015.

Lurking in the Shadows - The Scientist

December 2, 2014

Bats harbor diverse pathogens, including Ebola, Marburg, SARS, and MERS viruses. Understanding why could help researchers stymie deadly emerging diseases.

Taking Fruit Bats off the Dinner Menu Will Help Stop Ebola - Take Part

October 24, 2014

A better answer in an age of emerging diseases is not to interfere with the animals in the first place.

Did environmental decline help the spread of Ebola? Toronto Star

October 19, 2014

The Ebola epidemic besieging West Africa may be the starkest warning yet that as we tear down forests, we open ourselves up to new strains of virulent disease.

Did Deforestation Pave the Way for Ebola Outbreak? Discovery News

October 16, 2014

Deforestation might have a role in this year’s outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which already has killed 4,500 people there.

Why Bats Are Such Good Hosts for Ebola and Other Deadly Diseases - Dr. Kevin Olival interviewed by Wired

October 15, 2014

In a 2013 study, Olival and colleagues examined the virome of a giant bat called the Indian flying fox. In that one species, they detected 55 viruses, 50 of them previously unknown.

New York City Rats Found Carrying 18 New Viruses - Dr. Peter Daszak comments on new research for ABC News

October 15, 2014

It's a first of its kind of study on rats. The creatures have long been associated with filth. It turns out the city's rat population carries 18 new viruses.

Rats and Their Alarming Bugs - The New York Times interviews Dr. Peter Daszak

October 14, 2014

Recently, a team of pathogen hunters at Columbia University went on an expedition closer to home. They conducted a survey of the viruses and bacteria in Manhattan’s rats, the first attempt to use DNA to catalog pathogens in any animal species in New York City.

Isolating Ebola-affected nations could worsen outbreak, experts say

October 10, 2014

Experts say closing U.S. borders to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia would not stop Ebola from spreading outside Africa and could even worsen the outbreak there.

Framing Biodiversity and Health

October 10, 2014

The Twelfth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 12), is taking place this week and next in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.

Here's how cutting down West African trees made us vulnerable to Ebola

October 9, 2014

Scientists say that more than six out of 10 infectious diseases in humans were transmitted from animals.

Early Spread of AIDS Traced to Congo's Expanding Transportation Network - National Geographic

October 2, 2014

In the 1960s AIDS spread rapidly across the Congo, riding a wave of social change as the region developed and its transportation network expanded.

Stemming the spread of animal-to-human diseases

September 29, 2014

Land-use change – such as when forests are converted into agricultural land or when urban areas move into pristine or rural sites – are often discussed from the aspect of carbon emissions.

Support EcoHealth Alliance when you shop at AmazonSmile!

September 17, 2014

Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. Support EcoHealth Alliance by starting your shopping at

Ebola's Arrival in Senegal - Mother Jones

September 4, 2014

With the virus entering Senegal and health workers discovering a fresh outbreak in Nigeria, global health groups such as the World Health Organization are getting increasingly strident with their concerns.

Congo Confirms Ebola Outbreak The Wall Street Journal

August 25, 2014

Re-Emergence of Virus in Congo Has Killed at Least Two People

Smuggled Bushmeat Is Ebola's Back Door to America Newsweek

August 21, 2014

n addition, bushmeat may serve as a potential route for other diseases, “especially some of the livestock diseases, [like] hoof-and-mouth and African swine fever. Those can survive a very long time in a piece of meat,” says Bill Karesh, one of the authors of the 2012 study and a public health policy expert at EcoHealth Alliance.

Ebola In The Skies? How The Virus Made It To West Africa - Dr. Peter Daszak on NPR's All Things Considered

August 19, 2014

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the most explosive in history. One reason the virus spread so fast is that West Africa was blindsided. Ebola had never erupted in people anywhere close to West Africa before.

Ebola Is Just One of Many - Dr. William Karesh Blogs for The Huffington Post

August 18, 2014

Most known human infectious diseases are shared with animals (61 percent of known organisms pathogenic to humans). This is especially true for recently-emerging human infectious diseases which have primarily originated from wildlife.

Is climate change key to the spread of Ebola? - Dr. William Karesh interviewed by CNBC

August 15, 2014

bola outbreaks may become more frequent because of climate change, scientists have warned, as the deadly disease ravages four countries across West Africa. Nearly 2,000 people have caught Ebola since the epidemic started in February. More than 1,000 people have died.

Ebola Also Devastates Wild Ape Population - Voice of America interviews Dr. William Karesh

August 13, 2014

William Karesh, an infectious disease expert at EcoHealth Alliance, said, “It’s becoming very clear that there’s a strong correlation between environmental change of any type and disease emergence.

Video: Animal-to-human diseases like Ebola are on the rise, but they can be contained - Dr. Jonathan Epstein interviewed by The Globe and Mail

August 13, 2014

Animal-to-human diseases like Ebola are on the rise, but they can be contained. Watch the interview.

Ebola Shows the World is Primed for the Perfect Microbial Storm - Newsweek

August 13, 2014

The role of wild animals in the origin of novel diseases was laid bare in 2008 when Dr. Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance, Kate Jones of the Institute of Zoology and University College London, and colleagues from Columbia University, New York, analysed 335 emerging diseases from 1940 to 2004.

Is Climate Change Responsible for the Severity of the Ebola Outbreak? Newsweek interviews Dr. Jon Epstein

August 12, 2014

Humans are the major driver of emerging diseases,” says Jonathan Epstein, an epidemiologist at the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance who studies Ebola and other infectious disease.

Bats may provide answers on Ebola -

August 11, 2014

"These viruses spill over because of things we're doing to the environment," said Jonathan Epstein, a veterinary epidemiologist with the scientific organization EcoHealth Alliance.

Ebola outbreak deemed a global health emergency by WHO - CBC News

August 8, 2014

World Health Organization declaration means travel restrictions can be imposed

Record Ebola epidemic strikes - Dr. Kevin Olival in Science News

August 8, 2014

Nearly 1,000 people in West Africa have died from the disease, which may have been triggered by eating wild animals.

Dr. Jonathan Epstein interviewed on CCTV on the current Ebola outbreak

August 7, 2014

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has prompted federal officials to fast-track development of a vaccine. An experimental treatment is being developed by a California company.

Dear New York, Don't Freak Out About Ebola. You're Going to Be Fine. - Dr. Jon Epstein interviewed by Mother Jones

August 5, 2014

New York City specifically is prepared for infectious disease outbreaks of this nature.

Ebola Threat Expands in West Africa - Dr. William Karesh interviewed by The Wall Street Journal Online

August 4, 2014

Nigerian health authorities confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous nation and quarantined eight additional people. Dr. William Karesh discusses the outbreak on the News Hub with Sara Murray.

Deforestation, development may be causing Ebola outbreaks, experts say Al Jazeera America

August 4, 2014

As humans transform ecosystems and come into closer contact with animals, scientists fear more viral epidemics.

The U.S. is Sitting on Promising Ebola Vaccines - Dr. Jon Epstein interviewed by Newsweek

August 4, 2014

Ebola was once thought to be a intermittent scourge limited to the bush of Central Africa. The virus would jump from its animal hosts to a nearby community eating those animals, but these outbreaks flared up and quickly “burned out,” killing about 1,600 people over the nearly four decades since the first case was identified in a Sudanese factory worker in 1976.

Poverty Helps Fuel Ebola Outbreak, Experts Say - Dr. Karesh interviewed by Voice of America

August 1, 2014

Ebola spreads through contact with the blood and fluids of infected people. But experts say the outbreak is also being fueled by poverty and poor governance.

The Critical Question We're Not Asking About The Ebola Outbreak - Dr. Jon Epstein interviewed by The Huffington Post

July 31, 2014

The ebola outbreak in West Africa has the world on edge: Will the virus spill into new communities? Will it cross more borders? Even oceans? How can caregivers raise the victims' chances of survival, as well as reduce their own chances of getting sick?

Where Does Ebola Come From? - Dr. Jon Epstein interviewed by The Atlantic

July 29, 2014

How eating bats, washing victims' bodies, and a lack of doctors are all contributing to the worst Ebola outbreak of all time.

How To Fight The Worst Ebola Outbreak In History - Dr Jon Epstein interviewed for HuffPost Live

July 28, 2014

Doctors in West Africa are fighting the worst Ebola outbreak in history. A top specialist leading the charge is now infected and there's no cure. We take a look at the spread of the disease and how it can be stopped.

Eating bush meat as viral feast - Dr. Kristine Smith interviewed by The Guardian

July 24, 2014

Veterinarian Kristine Smith of EcoHealth Alliance, a wildlife conservation and health group in New York City, led the new analysis, published in PLoS ONE. Her team analyzed primate and rodent bush meat that had been serendipitously caught at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and eventually at four others (in Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta and Houston) over the past five years.

MERS may be airborne, scientists say - Dr. Kevin Olival quoted on

July 22, 2014

There have been 836 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS infection since its first appearance in 2012, according to the latest numbers provided by the World Health Organization. At least 288 related deaths have officially been reported to the WHO.

How deforestation shares the blame for the Ebola epidemic - The Washington Post

July 8, 2014

Like most matters involving an Ebola epidemic, chronicling its first horrifying infection is not an easy endeavor. But even in circumstances in which details are hard to come by, certain similarities have emerged.

We Are Making Ebola Outbreaks Worse by Cutting Down Forests - article featuring Drs. Karesh & Epstein

July 7, 2014

Epidemiologists explain how human activity helps spread the deadly virus in West Africa.

Transmission catalog proposed to help combat zoonotic diseases - Nature Medicine

July 7, 2014

A team led by disease ecologist Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance, a conservation organization headquartered in New York, reported in mBio the results of an exhaustive survey of all the viruses hosted by a single fruit bat species, the Indian flying fox, which is known to harbor emerging zoonotic pathogens.

Flawed Saudi Response is Cited in Outbreak of the Middle East Virus MERS - The New York Times

June 29, 2014

It was the darkest hour since the new illness, known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, first appeared in Saudi Arabia late in 2012. In all, more than 700 cases have been documented in 20 countries, nearly all of them linked to Saudi Arabia. More than 250 people have died.

Rift Valley Fever: An EcoHealthy Approach - Join us on June 11th for a cocktail reception and presentation in NYC

June 11, 2014

Dr. Peter Daszak and the scientists of EcoHealth Alliance cordially invite you and a guest to a cocktail reception and presentation on Wednesday, June 11th in NYC.

Treating the wildlife in our midst - The Boston Globe interviews Dr. Jon Epstein

May 26, 2014

Admissions to the clinic, part of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, have risen 41 percent in little more than a decade, driven by the dramatic increase in proximity between humans and wildlife across New England.

Camels and Contagion: Inside Global Hunt for Source of MERS - EcoHealth Alliance highlighted in a National Geographic article

May 13, 2014

With another case of the virus confirmed in the U.S., virus detectives are tracing its spread.

First case of MERS, a SARS-like respiratory illness, reported in North America - Dr. Peter Daszak in the Toronto Star

May 2, 2014

American health officials are reporting the first case of the Middle East respiratory syndrome in the United States, where a health-care worker who recently returned from Saudi Arabia is now being treated at an Indiana hospital.

Deadly Middle East Virus in U.S. For First Time - Dr. Peter Daszak interviewed in TIME

May 2, 2014

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, has found its way to the United States for the first time, with one confirmed case so far. A deadly virus largely found in the Middle East has appeared in the United States for the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

MERS mystery: Virus found in camels - CNN

April 29, 2014

Researchers from Columbia University, King Saud University and the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance managed to isolate live MERS virus from two single-humped camels, known as dromedaries.

Camels Confirmed As Source of MERS Virus - NBC News

April 29, 2014

A countrywide survey of camels shows many, if not most, are infected with a strain genetically almost identical to the strain that’s infecting people, a team at Columbia University, King Saud University, and the EcoHealth Alliance reported.

Defending Madagascar’s Frogs from Invading Fungus

March 31, 2014

EcoHealth Alliance researcher, Jonathan Kolby, blogs about his experience in Madagascar.

Celebrating Steps Forward for Wildlife Conservation on "World Wildlife Day"

March 3, 2014

In December 2013 the United Nations General Assembly declared March 3rd World Wildlife Day, commemorating the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973.

Camels Key in Transmission of Deadly Virus in Middle East - EcoHealth Alliance in TIME

February 26, 2014

A new study released on Feb. 25 provides the strongest evidence yet that camels are a major player in Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a viral disease that has killed dozens of people in the Middle East since it was first detected in 2012 and whose origin remains elusive.

Camels Linked to Spread of MERS Virus in People - EcoHealth Alliance in The New York Times

February 25, 2014

A new study suggests that camels are the major source of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, a viral disease that has sickened 182 people and killed 79 of them since it was first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard and Dr. Peter Daszak were invited to the United Nations today to present on the links between biodiversity and human well-being.

February 4, 2014

This opportunity will help link the contribution of biodiversity towards sustainable development goals.

Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds: Update

January 28, 2014

H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in poultry and wild birds in Republic of Korea.

Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation Public Hearing - Watch the Public Hearing Here!

January 16, 2014

EcoHealth Alliance will testify at this public hearing provide input on New York State’s laws and regulations protecting endangered species and restricting the sale of ivory.