A chimpanzee that died at a Cameroon sanctuary has tested positive for monkeypox earlier this month, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) last week.

Public domain image/Rosendahl
Public domain image/Rosendahl

A group of 22 chimpanzees, including the dead animal, used to live in a 3-hectares enclosure isolated from the other compartments of the Mefou Primate Sanctuary.

the Cameroon network of Animal diseases epidemio-surveillance (RESCAM), Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal industries, was informed about the mortality of a chimpanzee from the Mefou Primate Sanctuary, on August, 16th.

Following epidemiological investigation and sampling, the Research center for Armies health (CRESAR) performed analyses and confirmed the presence of simian orthopoxvirus, which is the causal agent responsible for a zoonotic disease known as Monkeypox. Poxvirus Congo basin strain was identified. Clinical signs were: lack of appetite and progressive occurrence of nodules and blisters on the face.

The sanctuary is populated with chimpanzees, gorillas and monkeys (300 in total) over about 900 hectares. It is compartmentalized and fenced. Animals were introduced within the sanctuary. Quarantine was applied (sick animals kept inside the enclosure) and biosecurity measures are reinforced for the staff working within the enclosure.

Epidemiological investigation is continuing and active surveillance of rodents and the environment is being performed within the sanctuary.