Passive epidemiological surveillance in wildlife in Costa Rica identifies pathogens of zoonotic and conservation importance

Epidemiological surveillance systems for pathogens in wild species have been proposed as a preventive measure for epidemic events. These systems can minimize the detrimental effects of an outbreak, but most importantly, passive surveillance systems are the best adapted to countries with limited r...

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Main Authors: Aguilar-Vargas, Fernando, Solórzano-Scott, Tamara, Baldi, Mario, BARQUERO-CALVO, ELIAS, Jiménez Rocha, Ana Eugenia, Jiménez, Carlos, Piche-Ovares, María Marta, Dolz, Gaby, León, Bernal, Corrales-Aguilar, Eugenia, Santoro, Mario, Alfaro-Alarcón, Alejandro
Format: Artículo
Language: Inglés
Published: PLoS ONE 2022
Subjects:
Online Access: http://hdl.handle.net/11056/24002
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262063
Summary: Epidemiological surveillance systems for pathogens in wild species have been proposed as a preventive measure for epidemic events. These systems can minimize the detrimental effects of an outbreak, but most importantly, passive surveillance systems are the best adapted to countries with limited resources. Therefore, this research aimed to evaluate the technical and infrastructural feasibility of establishing this type of scheme in Costa Rica by implementing a pilot program targeting the detection of pathogens of zoonotic and conser- vation importance in wildlife. Between 2018 and 2020, 85 carcasses of free-ranging verte- brates were admitted for post-mortem and microbiology analysis. However, we encountered obstacles mainly related to the initial identification of cases and limited local logistics capacity. Nevertheless, this epidemiological surveillance scheme allowed us to estimate the general state of health of the country’s wildlife by establishing the causes of death according to pathological findings. For instance, 60% (51/85) of the deaths were not directly associated with an infectious agent. Though in 37.6% (32/85) of these cases an infectious agent associated or not with disease was detected. In 27.1% (23/85) of the cases, death was directly related to infectious agents. Furthermore, 12.9% (11/85), the cause of death was not determined. Likewise, this wildlife health monitoring program allowed the detection of relevant pathogens such as Canine Distemper Virus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Angiostrongylus spp., Baylisascaris spp., among others. Our research demonstrated that this passive surveillance scheme is cost-effective and feasible in countries with limited resources. This passive surveillance can be adapted to the infrastructure dedicated to moni- toring diseases in productive animals according to the scope and objectives of monitoring wildlife specific to each region. The information generated from the experience of the initial establishment of a WHMP is critical to meeting the challenges involved in developing this type of scheme in regions with limited resources and established as hotspots for emerging infectious diseases.