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Emerging viral threats in Gabon: health capacities and response to the risk of emerging zoonotic diseases in Central Africa

Bourgarel M., Wauquier N., Gonzalez J.P.. 2010. Emerging Health Threats Journal, 3 : p. 1-11.

DOI: 10.3134/ehtj.10.163

Emerging infectious diseases (EID) are currently a major threat to public health worldwide and most EID events have involved zoonotic infectious agents. Central Africa in general and Gabon in particular are areas that favor the emergence of zoonotic EIDs. Indeed, human incursions in Gabonese forests for exploitation purposes lead to intensified contact between humans and wildlife, creating an increased risk of emergence of zoonotic diseases. In Gabon, 51 endemic or potentially endemic viral infectious diseases have been reported. Of these, 22 are of zoonotic origin and involve 12 families of viruses. The most notorious are dengue, yellow fever, Ebola, Marburg, Rift Valley fever and chikungunya Viruses. Potential EIDs due to contact with wildlife in Gabon are therefore plentiful and need to be monitored. The Gabonese Public Health system covers most of the country geographically, providing good access to health information and efficient monitoring of emerging diseases. However, even though the population is equally distributed between urban and rural areas, access to treatment and prevention services is better in urban areas where medical structures are more developed and financial resources are concentrated. In spite of this, Gabon could be a good region for investigating the emergence or re-emergence of zoonotic EIDs.

Mots-clés : zoonose; virose; maladie transmise par vecteur; gestion du risque; gabon; afrique centrale; Émergence

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