Peru represents excellent opportunities for further developing a zoonotic disease surveillance system through sampling wildlife in the animal trade and hunted by Peruvian indigenous communities. Market surveillance activities have been built on previous activities conducted since 2007 to detect Avian Influenza and other pathogens in wet markets and from wildlife confiscated by the Peruvian authorities. Monitoring of bushmeat sales at these markets is also being implemented. Additional programs established by the Wildlife Conservation Society to monitor subsistence of wildlife and communal management of natural resources trains hunters to collect samples allowing for the opportunistic sampling of wildlife recently extracted from the forest.
Peru is currently undergoing significant land use changes as three major transoceanic highways are being built to traverse Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon territories. A large extension of natural forest and rural settlements are currently being disturbed and modified, and so it is expected that in the near future normal disease patterns will also be altered. The Southern Inter-oceanic Highway will cross through the Madre de Dios region at its final stage, where US NMRCD lab is quantifying ecological disturbance and changes in vectors and reservoir populations. Strengthening partnership with NMRCD is a strategic way to reinforce and extended surveillance of small mammal hosts and other target species.
Country Coordinator: Dr. Patricia Mendoza
Patricia graduated in Veterinary Medicine in 2005 from the University of San Marcos in Lima (Peru). She began research on infectious diseases in the wild bird trade in 2007, as part of the Tambopata Macaw Project initiative. Patricia became a candidate in 2009 for the Certificate on Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa, and joined WCS in 2010 as PREDICT country coordinator for Peru, where she continues to study infectious zoonotic diseases in the wildlife trade.