20 participants were trained in the capture, identification, and sampling of rodent and bat species found in West Africa.
Over the course of a week, 20 participants from the United States, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal were trained in the capture, identification, and sampling of rodent and bat species found in West Africa. The training included visits to sites such as the Nianing and Bandia nature reserves, identified by the local consortium team from the Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA).
The training was organized as part of the COHWA (Coordinated One Health approach to risk assessment of hemorrhagic fever viruses in West Africa) research project. Training veterinary laboratory personnel in diagnostic tools and cross-species sampling methods is an essential component in achieving COHWA’s objectives of determining the prevalence of these viruses through targeted surveillance of identified high-risk areas in West Africa.
The COHWA consortium is composed of 10 international institutions based in the U.S. and West Africa, including the Mérieux Foundation USA, and is funded by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) through Pennsylvania State University. The Mérieux Foundation’s office in Senegal provides organizational support and logistical management for key project activities.
The geographic reach of many viral pathogens is expanding and underscores the urgency of improved surveillance to understand regional risk, particularly in West Africa. The COHWA consortium proposes to shift the prevention and surveillance paradigm by identifying animal reservoirs and hosts that amplify viruses that are infectious to humans.
The project thus aims to determine the risks of exposure to human behaviors that amplify disease transmission.