PREDICT Success: Yellow Fever Discovered in Bolivian Howler Monkeys

Howler Monkey

PREDICT helped identify and respond to a Yellow Fever outbreak in March of 2012 after five howler monkey carcasses were found near a wildlife sanctuary in eastern Bolivia. Two of the five monkeys were necropsied at the Municipal Zoo in La Paz, and PCR conducted on liver samples revealed that they were infected by a flavivirus. 

The Ministry of Public Health was immediately notified and cDNA sequencing confirmed that the infections had been caused by two Yellow Fever viral strains, both of which were related to human cases in Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil. 

Only eight days passed between the onset of outbreak and notification of the Bolivian government. Preventive measures were promptly implemented in the affected area, including vaccination campaigns, public outreach and mosquito control. Thanks in part to the fast response, no human cases occurred during the outbreak.

The Yellow Fever event helped to strengthen alliances with the Bolivian government, USAID, PAHO Bolivia, and other partners for outbreak response.

The diseased monkeys were reported by our counterparts at the Ambue Ari Wildlife Sanctuary Park. The necropsies were performed at Zoo Municipal Vesty Pakos and PCR was conducted at the Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of San Andreas. Results were relayed to Max Manriquez, Head of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health, Erick Machicado, Coordinator of the Yellow Fever Program at the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) in Bolivia and Angela Nuñez, Biodiversity Program Associate at the General Directorate of Biodiversity.