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U.S. Supporting Ecological Surveillance for Special Pathogens in Sierra Leone

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a funding opportunity in support of improved vector surveillance and laboratory capacity for viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHF) viruses and other high consequence pathogens of public health concern.

This funding effort supports CDC’s Global Health Strategy Agenda. The CDC is committed to providing Sierra Leone with scientific expertise for establishing and maintaining an effective ecological surveillance program aimed at early detection and regular monitoring of zoonosis in potentially infected forest-dwelling animals. Molecular diagnostic laboratory capacity devoted to the detection of high consequence pathogens in zoological samples is a limiting step for the detection and diagnosis of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (VHFs-including Ebola, Marburg and Lassa viruses), poxviruses and lyssaviruses (rabies) in animal populations. Development of these capacities are critical to the Sierra Leone’s ability to detect and respond to zoonosis in small animals and for building effective surveillance programs to detect spillover to other animal species if and when they occur.

This funding will maintain current laboratory capacity building activities while expanding others to include surveillance for the high-consequence pathogens poxviruses and lyssaviruses (rabies).

Detection and monitoring the burden of infections for high consequence pathogens in animal reservoirs represent a critical step to identify, mitigate and control outbreaks. These activities require a well-developed in-country capacity to perform collection of appropriate samples, detection and conduct differential diagnostics using established laboratory methods for VHF, Lyssa, and Poxviruses, and curate samples in a sustainable and secure manner.

The recipient is expected to collaborate with other CDC-funded partners and programs that may be working towards some of the objectives of this NOFO. CDC Sierra Leone country office, VSPB and the Pox-Rabies Branch will assist the recipient in connecting with other partners working in this area and the recipient will ensure work is not duplicative but complementary and supportive to other work funded by CDC.

The CDC intends to award a single cooperative agreement on 1 Aug 2019 for a maximum of $3 million USD over 5 years.

Additional details are available via Funding Opportunity Number: CDC-RFA-CK19-1903. Applications are due 24 May 2019.

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