The central African lowland rainforests in Gabon have a high diversity of wild animal species and have recently been the site of emergence or reemergence of a number of key pathogens. The rural communities within this African forest block are key sites for the surveillance of emerging infectious diseases.
Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fevers cause severe, often-fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). Disease is caused by infection with either Ebola or Marburg and both viruses are members of a family of RNA viruses called the Filoviridae. Infections with filoviruses are acute and because the natural reservoir of the virus is unknown, the manner in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak has not been determined. It is thought that the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal and individuals in rural central Africa acutely infected with various pathogens may not seek treatment or may receive inaccurate diagnoses. Also, people who develop acute illness as the result of infection with zoonotic agents may not have access to clinical facilities.
Ebola and Marburg viruses are known to be endemic to the Republic of Gabon. Numerous human and animal outbreaks of Ebola have occurred in Gabon over the past 15 years and Marburg was recently isolated from fruit bats collected in Gabon. Through partnering with CIMRF in Gabon, PREDICT activities will increase surveillance for these hemorrhagic fevers and expand opportunities to detect other zoonotic pathogens. PREDICT implementing partner: Metabiota