Animal Mortality Surveillance in Uganda
Peter Marra and Isabelle-Anne Bisson are part of the PREDICT program, a USAID-funded Emerging Pandemic Threat (EPT) initiative. This program is led by researchers at University of California Davis and includes 4 other affiliated institutions:
- Wildlife Trust
- Wildlife Conservation Society
- Global Viral Forecasting Inc.
- and our institution, the Smithsonian
Our mandate at SI is to develop an animal mortality surveillance and reporting program as an early warning system of zoonotic disease outbreaks in key target countries, such as Uganda. Because wildlife can be the carriers and dispersers of infectious zoonotic pathogens, dead animals are often the first sign of an emerging zoonotic disease in a given location.
We aim to develop a low-tech and simple animal mortality reporting method (SMS texting via cell phones) for health and wildlife workers, as well as local people. Furthermore if significant animal outbreaks are identified, we hope to mobilize efforts by EPT team members and to use mechanisms already in place to document the causes of death in these animals to minimize potential threats from pandemic diseases.