Zoonoses in the Bolivian Amazon: alarming initial results from an NGO-led one health initiative

E. Alandia Robles, E. Martinez, D. Arteaga Voigt, P. Durán, Tine Hald, E. Quispe, C. Salazar, A. Salas, L. R. Nielsen

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Purpose: Building on prior surveillance experiences from the Bolivian Amazon region, a new initiative aims to improve the livelihood of rural communities by detecting, preventing and combating zoonotic diseases. Methods & Materials: A new organisational approach has been chosen to develop sustainable health solutions for humans, domestic animals, wildlife and local ecosystems in remote indigenous communities with limited access to health services and whose territory is being affected by anthropogenic changes. The initiative is built on three pillars: research, capacity building and citizen engagement and is led by a local non-profit organisation, Teko Kavi, who works closely with Bolivian regional health and veterinary authorities, laboratories and universities as well as local indigenous community organisations, health centres and schools to improve awareness raising and building of networks and the much needed new capacities. The project is funded by a Danish social capacity building fund, and a Danish NGO-collaboration partner of Teko Kavi and two Danish universities provide One Health and capacity building expertise. Samples were collected in 2018 from 76 humans and 84 domestic animals in addition to environmental and wildlife samples in two Tacana Indigenous Territory villages in the San Buenaventura municipality located in the Amazon region of La Paz Department, Bolivia. Also, health information was collected for data analysis by face-to-face interviews of the tested people and owners of the tested animals. Results: The results are alarming: a high proportion of participating humans in the two villages were ill with fever, muscle pain, nausea and fatigue among other symptoms on or shortly prior to the day of sampling. Moreover, a high proportion (27%) of human serum samples were found to contain IgM antibodies directed against Leptospira spp., indicative of acute infection, while 63.6% of PCR-tests of urine samples from humans and 50% from animals were Leptospira-positive. Besides this hitherto unreported disease in the area, other important zoonotic pathogens were also detected in the samples, including Hantavirus and Aerococcus viridans. Conclusion: Information meetings have been held in the local communities as well as between the health institutions and workers, and a participatory integrated health intervention strategy is being discussed between partners in the initiative.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Pages (from-to)5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventInternational Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 4 Nov 20167 Nov 2016


ConferenceInternational Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance


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