Abstract # 9:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 13, 2014 11:30 AM-11:45 AM: Session 2 (Decatur A) Oral Presentation


D. A. Travis1, E. V. Lonsdorf2, T. R. Gillespie3, I. Lipende4, J. Raphael5, K. A. Terio6, C. M. Murray7, D. Mjungu4, A. Collins4, M. B. Parsons3,8, T. Wolf1, R. Singer1, B. H. Hahn9, M. L. Wilson1 and A. E. Pusey10
1University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine, 1988 Fitch Ave, St Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA, 2Franklin and Marshall College, 3Emory University, 4Jane Goodall Institute, 5Tanzanian National Park Authority, 6University of Illinois , 7George Washington University, 8US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9University of Pennsylvania , 10Duke University
     Characterizing and managing health risks, especially those posed by infectious diseases, is fraught with both scientific and political challenges. Tropical ape habitat typically has high biodiversity (including potentially pathogenic microorganisms), is generally surrounded by increasing human and livestock pressure, and often contains animals habituated for research and tourism - increasing their potential exposure to microbes from around the globe with relatively little pre-exposure health screening or preventative measures. Conversely, non-human primates have been identified as natural reservoirs of some of the most important emerging zoonotic diseases of humans. Thus, these communities represent the “perfect storm” for bi-directional disease emergence and spread in situations of high emotion and complicated politics. They also represent an incredible opportunity to show the value of science-based health management and policy. The Gombe Ecosystem Health Project was created to systematically build the infrastructure needed for health risk assessment and contingency planning. To date, the focus has been on the creation and validation of good scientific field protocols to establish baselines of “normal” health, while attempting to characterize threats to these animals and humans in a non-invasive manner. Here, we discuss the need to move from science to policy, highlighting potential approaches to address pressing management questions, and the potential challenges to the implementation of these policies in the real world.