SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • yellow fever;
  • outbreak;
  • zoonotic surveillance;
  • Alouatta;
  • epizootics

Abstract

The natural transmission cycle of Yellow Fever (YF) involves tree hole breeding mosquitoes and a wide array of nonhuman primates (NHP), including monkeys and apes. Some Neotropical monkeys (howler monkeys, genus Alouatta) develop fatal YF virus (YFV) infections similar to those reported in humans, even with minimum exposure to the infection. Epizootics in wild primates may be indicating YFV circulation, and the surveillance of such outbreaks in wildlife is an important tool to help prevent human infection. In 2001, surveillance activities successfully identified YF-related death in a black-and-gold howler monkey (Alouatta caraya), Rio Grande do Sul State (RGS) in southern Brazil, and the YFV was isolated from a species of forest-dwelling mosquito (Haemagogus leucocelaenus). These findings led the State Secretariat of Health to initiate a monitoring program for YF and other 18 arboviral infections in Alouatta monkeys. The monitoring program included monkey captures, reporting of monkey casualties by municipalities, and subsequent investigations. If monkey carcasses were found in forests, samples were collected in a standardized manner and this practice resulted in increased reporting of outbreaks. In October 2008, a single howler monkey in a northwestern RGS municipality was confirmed to have died from YF. From October 2008 to June 2009, 2,013 monkey deaths were reported (830 A. caraya and 1,183 A. guariba clamitans). Viruses isolation in blood, viscera, and/or immunohistochemistry led to the detection of YF in 204 of 297 (69%) (154 A. g. clamitans and 50 A. caraya) dead Alouatta monkeys tested. The number of municipalities with confirmed YFV circulation in howlers increased from 2 to 67 and 21 confirmed human cases occurred. This surveillance system was successful in identifying the largest YF outbreak affecting wild NHP ever recorded. Am. J. Primatol. 74:68–76, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.