Wednesday, 15 May 2019

A case of the chimp sniffles or major outbreak? Syndromic surveillance may hold the key

MAY 10, 2019
by Morris Animal Foundation
Two sniffling chimps could be one too many for a wild chimpanzee community susceptible to respiratory disease outbreaks, report Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at the University of Minnesota. The team's findings were a result of their development of a syndromic surveillance system to noninvasively and preemptively detect a potential outbreak of respiratory disease. The study recently was published in EcoHealth.
"This could significantly improve our ability to intervene and slow down, or even stop, outbreaks among great ape groups," said Dr. Tiffany Wolf, Assistant Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota. "Hopefully, we can use this technique to better understand disease transmission among wildlife around the world."
Respiratory diseases are increasingly recognized as having a significant impact on great ape populations that have at least some level of contact with humans. In Gombe, respiratory disease is responsible for, or has been associated with, more than 50 percent of mortalities in chimpanzees.
Syndromic surveillance is a type of surveillance that can detect a health issue before a disease is diagnosed, or even before a specific pathogen is known to be involved. It uses easily identifiable indicators that do not require physical contact with an individual or a population.

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