Topic: Bio-surveillance in the Democratic Republic of Congo
In a world of pandemic threats like Ebola, Zika, and Influenza, biosurveillance is needed in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where these infectious diseases emerge and re-emerge. Biosurveilliance for certain diseases like Ebola is particularly difficult because we have yet to discover the animal reservoir and events of animal-to-human viral transmission are extremely rare. We have been conducting serosurveys and natural history studies of survivors of Ebola virus disease while conducting a national micro-census to answer important research questions about Ebola virus seroprevalence rates, epidemiological risk, and long-term health and immunity. These findings inform our understanding of post-infectious sequelae of viral hemorrhagic fever and emerging infectious diseases and will improve our ability to predict and prepare for future outbreaks. Dr. Rimoin started working in the DRC over 15 years ago on Monkeypox, and she will present results from a series of serology, epidemiological, and clinical studies on Ebola virus and its survivors dating back to the first Ebola outbreak in 1976.