JGI Fights Measles Outbreak in Congo
In the Republic of Congo, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) recently assisted the Congolese Ministry of Health in its efforts to vaccinate local communities against a measles outbreak in the area surrounding the Tchimpounga Nature Reserve. The reserve serves as a protected area for wild chimpanzees and also contains JGI’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center (TCRC), the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in Africa. By transporting government health workers to remote villages surrounding the reserve, JGI helped safeguard public health and prevent the highly contagious disease from being transmitted to local communities, as well as to chimpanzees and JGI staff. In addition, JGI staff vaccinated all of the chimpanzees residing at TCRC.
Measles primarily affects children and can cause serious complications in malnourished or immunocompromised people. In addition, the disease can be transmitted from humans to chimpanzees. Vaccinating local human populations is one of the most effective methods for preventing the spread of the disease. If not for these mobile services, people would be required to walk long distances, sometimes as far as 12 miles, to reach vaccination sites. Those unable to make the walk, including the sick, elderly and young children, would otherwise remain vulnerable to the disease, which could increase the risk of further outbreaks.