Monkeypox is an emerging Orthopoxvirus responsible for monkeypox disease, clinically similar to smallpox with a lethality of around 1 to 10%. This disease is a zoonosis initially transmitted from an animal reservoir and then spread by human-to-human and nosocomial transmission.
Monkeypox has been designated by the 2018 WHO Research and Development Blueprint as an emerging disease requiring accelerated research and development of public health actions. However, little is known about this virus, its animal reservoir, the risk factors for human involvement, and the ecological and social factors that contribute to its emergence. There is no specific treatment or vaccine against monkeypox. However, the immunity given by smallpox vaccination would provide cross-immunity against monkeypox virus infection.
Our project will piggyback on the national monkeypox surveillance process and will allow a holistic approach to this disease in CAR through multiple complementary approaches. This project will characterize animal reservoirs of monkeypox virus and their ecological habitats, and will shed light on the interactions between humans and these reservoirs to identify practices that can prevent zoonotic viral transmission.
Through the study of past and ongoing epidemics, we will document the epidemic potential of the disease and the risk factors associated with human-to-human transmission, with the aim of improving control measures during epidemics. At the same time, the project will characterize the ecological zones favorable to the occurrence of monkeypox epidemics in Central Africa and the recent changes characterizing these zones. Finally, the project will contribute to the reinforcement of local capacities (laboratory diagnostic, field and sequencing capacities, and infection prevention and control (IPC) capacities) in a region that experiences frequent viral emergences. The interest of this project lies in a preventive management of these potential emergences in a generic way by understanding their epidemiology and the factors involved in their emergence, and the importance of strengthening the health and surveillance systems of the countries concerned.
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