Strategy 5: Disease monitoring and the One Health model
© Erin Wessling
Most western chimpanzees live in human-altered landscapes, making their populations vulnerable to emerging disease at the wildlife-human interface, especially to pathogens of human origin (see Gilardi et al. 2015). Disease risks underlie the rationale for a One Health approach to chimpanzee conservation and provide an imperative for enhanced disease surveillance as an integral component of conservation management.
Unfortunately, there is a paucity of data to quantify ongoing disease threats to chimpanzee populations caused by contact between animals and people, despite documentation of disease transfer in human-dominated habitats. A review of current knowledge of EVD epidemiology in great apes by Leendertz et al. (2017) can serve as a template for a complete description of the issues, state of knowledge and current data gaps in chimpanzee health as a first step in a disease risk assessment.
To rectify these data gaps and address potential disease risks in western chimpanzees, vital will be the development of field staff capacity in disease surveillance techniques, including technical expertise in non-invasive diagnostics and monitoring in great apes. Policy makers and the general public must be made aware of the risks of disease transfer between humans and apes and the implications this has for human and environmental health. It is essential to create enabling conditions, including strong governance to equip point people for an efficient disease response system.
Objective 5.1: By early 2021, a risk communication matrix of identified point people is formed for western chimpanzee health in West Africa.
Objective 5.2: By early 2022, risk analysis of the current status of western chimpanzee diseases is completed, and by early 2023 a programme of disease risk mitigation is implemented.